palmaia house of aia mexico

Palmaïa – The House of AïA: Sustainable Luxury on the Mayan Coast

Traveling inevitably has a negative impact on the planet; between flying to your destination, driving to your hotel and getting around while you’re there, it’s very difficult to have a completely zero-carbon travel experience. But, you can make sure that the place you’re staying at has a minimal, or even beneficial, effect on the environment.

Enter the Palmaïa – The House of AïA. If, like us, you’ve been dreaming of a (sustainable) beach holiday for months, this might just be the place for you. With plant-based cuisine, renewable energy and sustainable design, this wellness resort on the coast of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera has everything you need to relax sustainably. 

Palmaïa – The House of AïAview of beach

Since opening in 2000, the resort, in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, has prioritised having a minimal impact on the amazing environment that surrounds it. For example, instead of being built on top of the mangrove jungle, the resort was built around it, allowing the nature and animals to live naturally without intervention. In fact, guests often report seeing spider monkeys, iguanas, anteaters and armadillos on the property.

For its cuisine, the Palmaïa – The House of AïA follows a “plant-based first” ethos, focusing on vegan dishes that will leave guests feeling full and satisfied, but still offering non-vegan dishes for those that ask. The resort adopted this stance in recognition of the significant environmental impact of industrial agriculture, including animal consumption.  

Palmaïa vegan food

Overall, every room in the resort is cruelty-free, ensuring that animal-tested or derived products make their way into the property, and all bathroom amenities are refillable and made with 100% biodegradable ingredients. Guests also won’t see a single-use plastic item anywhere at the resort; instead, they’ll be provided with a refillable bottle.

Palmaïa – The House of AïA room interior

Excitingly, the resort recently announced that it is now entirely powered by 100% renewable energy, making it the largest property in Playa del Carmen to switch completely to renewable energy. According to Palmaïa, this initiative will see the resort reduce its output of carbon emissions by 56,000 tons over 10 years. 

Palmaïa outside terrace

They’re not stopping here, though – the resort plans to install 2,000 solar panels over the next year to generate more green energy. A special heat pump is also being installed to supply hot water to each of the oceanfront suites, which is estimated to save an additional 22 tons of carbon per year. In its mission to become carbon neutral, these initiatives put Palmaïa well ahead of its competitors. 

Learn more about the Palmaïa – The House of AïA at

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See also: “Stay Clean Go Green” With a Staycation at Eaton Hong Kong

svart hotel

Svart: The World’s First Energy-positive Hotel

Living in a city like Hong Kong can be tough – the agonising work hours, the constant pressure to be social and the general hustle and bustle. Wouldn’t you love to get away? Is the Arctic Circle far enough? Then you’ll love the Svart hotel, which touts itself as the world’s first energy-positive off-grid destination, nestled in the pristine polar region.

Planned for operation in 2022, the hotel’s glass-fronted structure allows a 360-degree view of the Svartisen glacier from its position atop the waters of the Holandsfjorden fjord. The low-impact design will allow it to produce more energy than it uses, reducing its energy consumption by 85% compared with a modern hotel. The architects have also designed the rooms and terraces in such a way that it can fully take advantage of the sun’s energy. The roof will be laid with solar panels produced using hydro-energy.

svart hotel
Source: Svart Hotel

The 99-room property has four restaurants, a two-storey spa and a farm. Inspired by the Fiskehjell – a traditional Norwegian wooden structure used to dry fish – the hotel is being constructed using poles that reach several metres below the water, reducing seabed disruption. 

Once the hotel opens, guests can learn more about the making of Svart at an on-site education centre and design laboratory, which will also provide insight into waste management, glacier protection and sustainable farming. 

Ultimately, the Svart hotel’s goal is to inspire travellers to care for the protection of nature, specifically the polar region. It claims that it’s the first building to be designed and built according to the highest energy efficiency standards in the northern hemisphere, aiming to meet the Paris Agreement. It can harness enough solar power to cover both the hotel operations – including the boat shuttle – and the energy needed to construct the building. 

svart hotel
Source: Svart Hotel

Svart plans to operate fully off-grid and to become carbon neutral and zero-waste within five years of its opening, which means that the hotel and its services, including the greenhouse farm, boat shuttles, and experiences, will be completely self-sufficient in electricity, water and waste management. For food, it is planning a “farm-to-table” service. 

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See also: This Indonesian Island Resort Should Be On Your Eco Bucket List

This Indonesian Island Resort Should Be On Your Eco Bucket List

Think your household is eco-friendly? What about your building? Your city? We’re betting that it doesn’t quite measure up to Cempedak, a private island resort in Indonesia’s Riau archipelago that is made almost entirely from bamboo. 

From the fans to the toilet paper, almost everything on the island is made from Java and Sumatran bamboo. Otherwise, the island resort was built using local, natural materials – even the furniture was built on-site using driftwood, construction scraps and recycled timber.

cempedak from above
Cempedak from above (Source: Cempedak)

The resort features spacious two-story seafront villas with their own plunge pools, a bamboo spa set on boulders in a mangrove bay, and a grass tennis court for barefoot games of boules or croquet. Sweet lemongrass has been planted as a natural insect repellent, and pathways are lit by low-voltage LED lighting. Solar power accounts for more than half the electricity when fully occupied. The food served showcases organic, local produce from a local farm and permaculture farm on nearby Bintan. 

cempedak resort
Source: Cempedak

Cempedak started in 2017 as the passion project of former Australian banker, Andrew Dixon, who bought the island with three of his friends. In upgrading the resort, they focused on cultural sensitivity, eco-friendly design, privacy and simple luxury. They wanted to show that responsible tourism can be profitable and beneficial to the environment, without compromising on guest comfort. 

grass tennis court at cempedak
The grass tennis court. Source: Cempedak

In recent months, Cempedak collaborated with Seven Clean Seas, which paid their furloughed staff additional income to carry out beach clean-ups. So far, Dixon says that over 60 tons of plastic has been collected. 

Guests can get to Cempedak via Singapore, with a 2.5 hour journey that includes a private speed boat which runs on biodiesel 30 (containing 30% palm-oil based fuel). 

Long-term plans for the zero-waste island include reducing carbon emissions to zero, expanding no-fishing zones and establishing a hatchery programme for turtle eggs collected from neighbouring islands. 

For a chance to see baby turtles nesting under the boathouse, a silver leaf monkey swinging through the trees or even an endangered pangolin, add this gorgeous resort to your bucket list and plan your dream stay at Cempedak’s website. 

See also: Six Sense Ibiza: Sustainable Luxury on the Island

rosewood staycation for good

Staycation For Good At The Rosewood Hong Kong

Fancy a meaningful family staycation? Then head to Rosewood Hong Kong for their “Staycation for Good,” a purposeful programme that aims to tackle social and environmental issues. 

The first Staycation for Good – which bookings are now open for – will cover food waste and will take place in late August. Rosewood is partnering with Social Venture Hong Kong, Food Angel and Produce Green Foundation to teach families about ethical food production and food waste reduction through an interactive and fun farm-to-table journey.

food angel
Source: Food Angel

The package includes an interactive tour by Food Angel on food waste, where families will learn how to upcycle food waste through games and workshops, as well as a half-day excursion with Produce Green Foundation where families will take part in rice planting and learn about regenerative agriculture and composting. 

produce green foundation
Source: Produce Green Foundation

Guests will also be treated to a workshop hosted by Matchali, a local matcha brand, on its zero-waste initiative from packaging to composting. Following the workshop, guests will be able to create their own matcha drinks. 

Food waste in Hong Kong is a massive issue. In 2018, levels of food waste hit the highest level since records began in 1991, with Hongkongers sending 1.53kgs of trash per person to landfills every day. In the same year, it was found that 31% of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong was food waste.  

rosewood launches staycation for good

The Rosewood Staycation for Good will take place quarterly and the next programme will return over the Christmas period – which will revolve around empowering underprivileged families. 

Be one of the first to experience the Staycation for Good at Rosewood Hong Kong. The first edition takes place from 23-25 August 2021 at a starting rate of HK$5,300, which includes a HK$500 donation to Social Ventures Hong Kong.

Book now on Rosewood Hong Kong’s website

See also: Six Senses Ibiza: Sustainable Luxury on the Island