These seven very different hotels share one thing in common – they’ve all been built and run with sustainability in mind. Each has been brilliantly designed in a way that is eco-friendly, yet still looks and feels cool and contemporary.

Most of us strive to be more environmentally conscious; recycling is second nature, more of us are switching emission expelling car journeys for walking or cycling, and wind farms are no longer a remarkable sight. However, with spring finally arriving and our minds turning to mini-break plans and dream holidays, the thought of eco-friendly travel may not have occurred to us. We’ve asked lifestyle blogger Vikki Pearson of Style&Minimalism to share her knowledge on some of the top sustainable hotels around the world. We’ve also included our top pick, The Zetter, a sustainable hotel that is close to home and rapidly becoming a firm favourite in the office. Why not consider one of these for your next travel destination?

Room Interior at The Zetter Hotel.jpgRoom interior: The Zetter Hotel, featuring the Flos IC F2. Image credit: The Zetter Group.

The Zetter Hotel, Clerkenwell, UK

Located in a converted Victorian townhouse in the heart of London’s premier design district, the Zetter has everything you might expect from a boutique hotel. It’s rich in character, has bags of personality and is filled to the brim with envy-inducing furniture, lighting and accessories. But one thing that might surprise you about this Clerkenwell hot-spot is that it’s eco-friendly and sustainable too – qualities that, as life-long advocates of forever design, we firmly support. The Zetter has since become our hotel of choice when visiting the capital. In fact, we love it so much that we’d even recommend a pit-stop in the nearby Zetter Townhouse while you’re there as well.

Dramatic view of the exterior of The Zetter Hotel.jpg

Double image of the Letter interior featuring HAY Result Chair.jpgAbove: The dramatic exterior of the Zetter Hotel. Below: The sustainable nature of the Zetter does not diminish the design aesthetic. The HAY Result Chair sits within a Zetter hotel room. Image credits: The Zetter Group.

What makes it sustainable?

• It has a stunning central atrium and skylight that provide natural light and passive ventilation

• The bedrooms are equipped with nifty detection systems that reduce energy

• The hotel recycles 100% of its glass and paper waste

• The bath and shower products have been chosen for their natural ingredients and environmentally-friendly packaging

• Bicycles are available for guests to hire

• The hotel is a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and it fully supports restaurants in their quest to purchase food from sustainable and local suppliers

Meats and cheese platter at the Zetter Hotel.jpgThe Zetter fully supports restaurants in their quest to purchase food from sustainable and local suppliers. Image credit: The Zetter Group.

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA

New York might not be the first place that springs to mind when you’re on the hunt for a sustainable hotel. However, 1 Hotel has proven that big cities do have options for the environmentally-conscious, if you know where to look.

The entrance and lobby area of the 1 Hotel, Brooklyn.jpgGuests sit comfortably within the Cassina 412 Cab Chairs in natural leather. Image credit: James Baigrie.

Situated across the water, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has 194 eco-friendly rooms, many with panoramic views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and New York City skyline.

View of the city from the 1 Hotel, Brooklyn.jpgThe inimitable view of New York City from 1 Hotel, Brooklyn. Image credit: James Baigrie.

What makes it sustainable?

• There's a 54% ratio of regional and reclaimed materials, including original heart pine beams from the former Domino Sugar Factory, walnut from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and pine flooring from the Old Crow Distillery in Kentucky

• A rain-water reclamation system

• They donate a percentage of sales from in-room dining and mini bars to Action Against Hunger

• Many of the design details in the rooms are by local artisans

• Beds have hemp-blend mattresses by Keetsa, wrapped in 100% organic cotton sheets

Interior of a hotel room at 1 Hotel, Brooklyn.jpgFurniture and fittings that are built to last all adhere to the 1 Hotel's sustainability agenda. Image credit: James Baigrie.

Lefay Resort & Spa, Italy

The beautiful Lefay Resort & Spa in Lake Garda sits on a 11-hectare national park within the Riviera dei Limoni. It’s a simply stunning setting, and one that will have you feeling relaxed even before you set foot in their incredible spa. Everyone one that stays at Lefay is treated to a breath-taking view, as all of their 92 guest suites look out onto the tranquil lake.

Pool with a view at Lefay Resort & Spa, Italy.jpgA pool with a view at Lefay Resort & Spa.

What makes it sustainable?

• Natural untreated cotton has been used for all fabrics

• Chemical-free water-based paint has been used on all walls

• State-of-the-art technology reduces energy consumption through greater efficiency

• They utilize both a Biomass Plant and Micro-Turbine Cogeneration Plant that produce thermal and electrical energy, and an Absorption Cooling Plant which supplies 75% of the resort’s cooling requirements

• Rainwater and purified swimming pool water are used to irrigate the garden

• Recycled and ecological paper is used for all its paper materials and they only use glass bottles to limit the use of plastic.

Outdoor dining with cool cottons and lush plants. At the Lefay Resort & Spa.jpgOutdoor dining accompanied by cool fabrics and lush greenery.

São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal

São Lourenço do Barrocal is a restored 19th century farmhouse hotel, winery and spa located in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

The exterior of Sāo Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal.jpgImage credit: Nelson Garrido.

Once derelict, the estate has recently been renovated by eighth-generation owner José António Uva who has transformed the property, being careful to retain many of its original features. The result is satisfyingly rustic, yet thoroughly modern.

Bicycles outside of São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal.jpgAn honest and rustic aesthetic reflects the core values at São Lourenço do Barrocal. Image credit: Nelson Garrido.

What makes it sustainable?

• It's almost entirely self-sufficient, only outsourcing electricity, and is currently building a photovoltaic plant to allow them to become entirely self-sufficient

• Farm-to-table restaurant that sources ingredients from local organic suppliers as well as the Estate’s own organic garden and olive groves

• Preservation and re-use of many of the original building materials

• 4 boreholes for groundwater collection

• 24 solar panels

• 57 jobs were created, 80% of those employed are from the local area

The spa and wine tasting rooms located in the restored farmhouse spaces.jpgThe original farmhouse buildings now house the spa and eating areas, as well as guest rooms. Image credit: Nelson Garrido.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

The tropical sanctuary of Song Saa sprawls across two picture-perfect islands in the Koh Rong Archipelago of Cambodia. A further 23 undeveloped islands surround it, each with their own lush rainforests, tropical reefs and silky white beaches. It’s nothing short of heavenly, and the perfect antidote to our busy lives.

The tropical and responsible Song Saa resort.jpgThe natural and recycled materials of the resort compliment the tropical surroundings perfectly. Image credit: Markus Gortz.

What makes it sustainable?

• Recycling of locally sourced materials to create the Resort’s stylish design

• The Song Saa Foundation ensures the provision of livelihoods, education, employment, hope and motivation for Cambodian communities

• They work towards achieving and exceeding the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

• They are committed to the protection of ocean habitats and the preservation of marine life

• They strive to improve the lives of local communities through a broad range of initiatives; including medical missions, education programmes and organic farming support

• Conservation of terrestrial habitats and species in the Koh Rong Archipelago

Long interrupted white beach with a cottage bedroom to escape to.jpgAn idyllic backdrop, luxurious cottages and no guilt. Image credit: Markus Gortz.

Stedsans in the Woods, Sweden

Forget glamping, this is the most wonderful way to get back in touch with nature. Stedsans in the Woods is located in the tiny village of Bohult, in Southern Sweden. It’s an area of glassy lakes and deep forests, though not too far from some big cities. You can choose to sleep in either a stylish cabin, designed by Københavns Møbelsnedkeri, or a canvas tent with all essential luxuries.

Luxurious camping at Stedsans in the Woods, Sweden.jpgStedsans in the Woods offers luxury canvas tents or beautiful woodland cabins for guests. Image credit: Anders Guld.

What makes it sustainable?

• They use only natural ingredients and there is no waste, all leftover food feeds the animals on the farm or is turned back into soil, and all water goes directly on to the vegetables

• Most ingredients come directly from the forest or from their small-scale permaculture farm, often picked or harvested minutes before being served. Fresh fish comes directly from the local lakes.

• Compost toilets

• 100% natural soaps

The lake at Stedsens in the Woods.jpgStunning views greet you the moment you awake. Image credit: Stine Christiansen.

White Pod, Switzerland

In the Swiss resort of Valais, 15 dome-shaped tents sit neatly on the side of the mountain, in a peaceful spot that overlooks the valley below.

The dome shaped tents at White Pod, Switzerland.jpgThe unique shape of the tents respect the natural landscape while offering a cosy shelter from the cold.

Inside the pods are all the luxuries you’d expect from a hotel, plus wood‑burning stoves and luxury organic bedding. From here you can hike, dogsled, or even ski on White Pod’s private ski slopes.

Interior of the dome tents at White Pod, Switzerland.jpgA snowy view from a comfortable cocoon.

What makes it sustainable?

• The pods can be dismantled and the area could return to nature, leaving little trace of the hotel behind

• Use of closed fireplaces to slow down wood pellet consumption

• Water‑saving devices on water taps and shower heads

• Use of local spring water and wood from the surrounding forests

• Raise guests’ awareness to the surrounding fauna and flora

• Strict sorting of organic and non‑organic waste

• Use of local wine and meat suppliers

• Use of 100% biodegradable cleaning products.

• Use of FSC certified paper

Exterior of the dome shaped tents at White Pod, Switzerland.jpgThe round pods can be removed easily and the land would return to nature, with minimal trace.

So, when you plan your next getaway, think eco and feel good in the knowledge you’re doing your bit for the environment and the future.

Thank you to lifestyle blogger Vikki Pearson, of Style&Minimalism.

Planning a visit to any of the above, or know of a great sustainable hotel we’ve missed? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram