Global warming. Arctic melting. Rising sea levels. No longer relegated to environmental doomsayers and apocalyptic prophesiers, these predictions are now being confirmed by top scientists and world leaders around the globe. With all eyes firmly fixed on the dire state of our fragile ecosphere, citizens and businesses alike are growing increasingly aware of the immediate need for conservation and changes in our gluttonous habits towards the Earth’s limited resources – and that’s where hostels come in.
Hostelworld.com recommends the following environmentally friendly hostels, which, truthfully, are anything but inconvenient.
Gyreum: Sligo, Ireland
Direct from Middle-Earth and nestled snugly in the Irish countryside, this solar and wind powered hobbit-hole is constructed from renewable resources, including sheep wool insulation and a “living roof.” Designed with a reverence to the natural world, the structure aligns to the dawns & dusks of the summer and winter solstices when beams of light enter into the great central hall. During the day, ocean-loving guests can carry their shortboard past the hostel’s organic garden to some of the best surfing beaches in Ireland. Landlubbers can trek in their Birkenstocks across the rich landscape that inspired Yeats, searching the nearby hills for hidden pubs that serve their own inspiration by the pint.
Enigmata Treehouse Ecolodge: Camiguin, Philippines
Channel your inner Swiss Family Robinson with a stay in this state-of-the-art treehouse, overlooking the ocean and surrounded by white beaches, soaring waterfalls and bubbling hot springs. Operated by a vibrant artist and environmental protection group known as the Enigmata Creative Circle, the treehouse’s existence and operation is a testament to environmental awareness, offering biodiversity workshops and conservation seminars. Visitors can dine in the outdoor garden among the blooming rain trees or spend an evening in the treetop bar and lounge, stargazing and moon bathing. Those seeking personal reflection can retire to the poolside poets’ nook or the meditation corner perched atop the treehouse.
Port O Call YHA: Port Douglas, Australia
The Port O Call hostel proves that it is not necessary to resemble an eccentric tree-hugging commune to be eco-conscious. Hostellers loll in a huge lagoon-like pool heated by the sun’s rays. Inside the hostel, funky tropical bedrooms use light efficiency and solar energy to keep you warm through long blustery nights. There is plenty of action to be found on the 4-mile beach and marina located a mere 5-minute walk away. At this snazzy seaside hostel you are sure to quickly befriend an outgoing crowd that appreciate the value of a cold beer and a healthier planet.
Eco Beach YHA: Apollo Bay, Victoria
A chic, 3 million dollar hostel located within walking distance of spectacular sandy shores, Eco Beach YHA uses passive solar energy to ensure the satisfaction of both the environment and its guests. There is certainly no need to shell out extra cash for a tasty meal out at this hostel; an array of herbs can be picked right from the surrounding garden, perfect for experimenting with in the spacious, fully equipped kitchen. Wrap your leftovers up in recycled aluminum foil and grill them up for tomorrow’s lunch before heading out to surf and paraglide along the seashore. The Eco Beach hostel offers its guests an elegant, earth-conscious experience sure to please all.
Hedonisia Hawaii, Hawaii Big Island, USA
Don’t expect anything traditional at this hostel, as all accommodations have been fashioned from recycled materials and renewable products. A defunct school bus has been converted to sleep a family of four, a bamboo hut has been constructed with the couple in mind, and an old tractor has been renovated to house a lone traveller. Each sleep house has been placed strategically around the 3-acres of property to ensure that every guest awakes and steps outside to a breathtaking view, whether it is a gleaming ocean or the 2-acre volcanic crater located right on the property. But by far the most interesting view maybe found from the eco-friendly toilet which looks out over the jungle. Guests are encouraged to try their luck at living off the land, as gardens full of spices and salad greens make for nutritious ingredients. Hedonisia Hawaii Hostel offers the overworked traveller a rejuvenating break from consumer, mainstream society.
HI Boston Downtown: Boston, USA
Located at the birthplace of the American Revolution in Boston’s Back Bay, H.I. Boston is at the forefront of another uprising – the movement towards environmentally conscious lifestyles in bustling urban jungles. This hostel not only provides guided tours of the Freedom Trail and kayak trips down the Charles River, but also an eco-program that pushes both staff and patrons to be stewards of the earth by offering recycling stations, energy efficient lighting and appliances, recyclable carpet and low-flow plumbing. Boston Hostelling International is located only a brisk walk away from all of Boston’s most popular attractions: luxurious Newbury Street shopping, Quincy Market, and Fenway Park. The surrounding neighborhood also boasts some of the areas top-notch bars, so if the cocktails don’t help you sleep easy, let your mind be put to rest with the knowledge that you are doing your part to alleviate accelerated global warming.
HI Washington DC: Washington DC, USA
This hostel just eight blocks from the White House is one of the greenest hostels in North America and is committed to being a positive force on environmental issues. Each floor has its own recycling centre, where they promote the recycling of aluminum, glass, paper and plastic. But that’s not all…the paper used at reception is 100% recycled; compact fluorescent light bulbs are used throughout the city and the soap used in the kitchen is environmentally friendly. They even show documentaries on environmental topics once a month. If you feel the people at the White House aren’t doing their bit to help the environment but you want to help when you are in town, make sure to stay here.
Reykjavik City Hostel: Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is a country steeped in natural beauty, from tremendous icecaps and explosive geysers to steaming solfataras and magnificent waterfalls. Reykjavik City Hostel, one of the capital’s top hostels, has received awards for both its responsible treatment of nature and its excellence in service and quality. The hostel promotes energy monitoring, erosion control and extensive recycling services, while offering its pampered guests high-speed internet access, laundry service and fully equipped kitchens. Outside of the hostel, enjoy excursions to the beautiful Blue Lagoon, botanical gardens and tremendous waterfalls, all of which can be organized by a friendly staff at the front desk.
Grampians YHA Eco-Hostel; Grampians, Australia
Forget the grocery store, this hostel offers a delicious array of organic, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the backyard. Throw some freshly picked vegetables together with eggs straight from the estate’s chickens, garnish with some succulent fruit and indulge in an unforgettable breakfast before heading out to do some hardcore rock climbing and bushwalking in the Grampians National Park. Return home to a cozy lodge and warm-up next to an inviting wood heater that consumes 50% less energy than a traditional heating system while also serving as the main meeting spot for guests.
Deepdale Backpackers Hostel, Burnham Deepdale, England
Built around a partially covered stable courtyard and dating back to the seventeenth century, Deepdale transcends time, mixing old world traditions with new age amenities. Located on a working farm, which in 2004 was voted the most beautiful farm in Britain, the hostel engages in all forms of environmental and energy conservation including the use of solar panels for all accommodations. Deepdale is currently working with major universities to explore new forms of environmental approaches such as water recycling, wind turbines and bio-diesel fuel.
Source: The Castle Group, Inc.