The Green Awards Travel Winners

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We’ve deliberated, totted up the scores and collated the judges comments so we can proudly announce The Green Awards Travel Winners.

Best Hotel/Resort

GOLD: Valamar Amicor Green Resort

Built in partnership with the German DGNB association in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, Valamar Amicor Green Resort was designed to offer holidays in harmony with the local environment. The DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen / German Sustainable Building Council) certificate is a mark of holistic green building, recognised across the world. Having opened in summer 2022, Valamar Amicor Green Resort was the first family resort on the Croatian Adriatic with a platinum certificate for the highest-level DGNB green building standard.

Designed according to the nZEB (nearly zero energy building) standard, the hotel favours renewable energy sources and materials. Carefully developed to conserve local flora and fauna, the development seeks to minimise its carbon footprint and that of its guests, while maximising the guest experience.

Its interior design uses natural and recycled materials from local sources, re-interpreted by local artists. The build of the villas uses wood, whilst the paint on the walls is void of harmful particles, creating a sustainable approach and maximising air quality within the accommodation units. Sustainability in terms of the build was also maximised when it came to the new accommodation units through prefabricated construction – saving energy, speeding up construction, creating controlled production conditions and even allowing disassembly of parts for future alternative use.

Renewable sources generate 100% of its energy via solar panels on the roofs of villas for cooling buildings, heating water, and powering all technological systems, whilst all vehicles on the resort are electric. The resort also incorporates a range of energy saving operations, including automatic LED lights and in-built energy management tools.

The biosphere around the resort has been preserved to the greatest extent possible, with the hotel constructed in previously built-up land to preserve the natural environment and indigenous species. Whilst new species of plants are continuously planted to encourage biodiversity and recycled / natural materials were used to make paths, benches, inset houses and more.

Food prepared at the resort focuses on fresh ingredients, 77% of which is grown locally.

Within the sustainable framework lie family villas and suites each featuring private terraces, as well as a select number with private pools. Valamar’s MARO concept at the hotel includes children’s playrooms, creative workshops and entertainment that, through imaginative play, teach younger ones to care for the environment. There are playgrounds, sporting and spa facilities galore.

Our judges said:

“Valamar Amicor Green Resort is exactly that, GREEN. From the paint on the walls, to the fact that renewable sources generate 100% of the resort’s energy without losing site of the spectacular facilities for guests is a triumph!” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

JOINT SILVER: Habitat Escapes

With two nature reserves, Silverlake in Dorset and Lower Mill Estate in the Cotswolds, Habitat Escapes puts the health of the environment first. The company has its own on-site ecology team, which works tirelessly to promote biodiversity and protect endangered species. Through the “Habitat Zero” pledge, Habitat Escapes has set a bold goal to become a carbon neutral business by 2030 and is investing in the three ESG pillars: Environment; Social; Governance and working on a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

Latest properties on the Habitat Escapes portfolio are designed with energy efficiency in mind, featuring structurally insulated panels and air source heat pumps to reduce energy and heat loss. The energy efficiency of the buildings is just a small part of why Habitat Escapes’ estates were the first-ever to receive “Excellent” accreditation from “Building with Nature”, the UK’s first benchmark for high-quality green infrastructure, with developers meeting strict standards related to Wildlife, Water and Wellbeing. The estates also offer electric charging points, serve food and beverage provided by an onsite allotment or local suppliers, and use biodegradable products.

Both of Habitat Escapes’ estates are based within a few minutes of local rail stations to encourage green travel and Silverlake has been supported by Natural England for their approach to brownfield restoration and ecological restoration.

Many of Habitat Escapes’ properties have been designed with enhanced sustainable features, including living roofs, bee bricks, birdhouses and bat houses to encourage wildlife into the development and to help connect visitors with the natural world.

Habitat Escapes has its own Activity Hub to encourage guests to enjoy the natural world whilst having minimal impact on the environment. Activities include non-motorised water sports, bike hire and sunset water safaris. Habitat Escapes also aims to educate their guests about ecology through Wildlife Wednesdays, a series of hands-on nature activities as well as running nature walks, events and talks with the onsite ecology team and guest conservationists.

Habitat Escapes recently partnered with sustainability organisation, “Play it Green”, to offer guests a climate-positive booking. With this option, guests can offset their travel by planting trees and donating to a local environmental charity. Additionally, the company is planning to introduce new measures such as providing bottled water sourced on site, providing electric bikes for use from the train stations and on site, demonstrating their innovative approach to reducing their carbon footprint.

Our judges said:

“The Habitat Escapes team clearly has an tremendous passion and eye for detail with the number of sustainable initiatives and plans in place to make their stays both luxurious and eco-centric. We love that there is a dedicated ecology team.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

JOINT SILVER: Terre Blanche Spa Golf Resort

Located in Provence Côte d’Azur within 750 acres of unspoiled forest, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is dedicated to delivering sustainable solutions for both nature and guests. Whilst the hotel aims to be sustainable through every facet, it was originally designed to allow wildlife to flourish and is now home to over 175 plants, 54 bird, 41 insect and 20 mammal species.

The resort offers several eco-experiences for guests to discover local culture including ‘Bike & Bites, the local cheese farm, Fayence’s Provençal market, and family-owned vineyard Le Château des Selves for olive oil tasting. Moreover, children at the Kids Club are invited to attend workshops on the lifecycle of bees and their role within the ecosystem – increasing awareness of the fragility of the natural environment and the consequences of our actions. The Apiculture workshop includes pollination education, honey tasting and viewing the hotel’s hives under plexiglass.

Led by Executive Chef Christophe Schmitt, the dining outlets at Terre Blanche have undergone a sustainable overhaul, now serving seasonal, local produce and expanding the resort’s own herb garden.

Rehabilitated wildlife is released at the hotel the Kids Club invited to watch, both actively supporting wildlife conservation and education.

The resort also undertakes environmental initiatives including reforestation, every square foot of grass on its two 18-hole golf courses (around 30 hectares) is being replaced with Bermuda Grass Riviera which requires 50% less water. All fertilisers used on property are organic.

Looking ahead Terre Blanche is establishing new plans including the optimisation of heat production from renewable energy by 2026, a biological corridor, created between Terre Blanche and Saint Cassien Lake in order to preserve the natural environment, chiropteran shelters for bats, and areas of untended grassland and bug hotels, integrated around the golf courses.

Our judges said:

“It’s brilliant to see Terre Blanche taking on the difficult task of making golf more environmentally friendly. The care and attention for the environment around the hotel is clear to see. We also like the environmental education delivered to children in a fun and engaging way.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

BRONZE: MarBella Collection

MarBella Corfu has been operating with a strict environmental and corporate responsibility programme since 1999. The search for new ways to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and promote eco-friendly practices across the entire operation is ongoing.

The team reduces pollution through reducing energy consumption across all areas, using natural resources to heat water and reducing guest energy usage to desalination systems, which makes big steps towards carbon footprint reduction.

Each of the hotels has its own team overseeing initiatives and ensuring continuous improvement across recycling, water irrigation and all other areas of our operations.

The newest property, MarBella Elix is “Bike Friendly” certified, having fulfilled a range of internationally recognized criteria. Certified by NATTOUR, a non-profit organization that aims to protect the environment and promotes the development of alternative forms of tourism, giving priority to cycling tourism.

70% of employees are residents in both the Epirus and Corfu regions and 60% of the ingredients used in our restaurants are supplied locally by small producers. The majority of our restaurants are Mediterranean themed to offer a farm to table approach with recipes designed on seasonal ingredients.

The Collection is committed to supporting local residents and charities with regular donations to local non profitable organizations such as Arc of the World for the protection of the orphans in Epirus region. Similarly in Corfu the Corfu Town local municipal services responsible for social welfare and protection of single parent families is given funding by The Collection.

Our judges said:

“The MarBella Collection is clearly committed to a greener future and we are so pleased to see the steps made to reduce energy consumption and pollution whilst still providing a five star experinece for guests.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago is a renowned sporting and wellness destination situated in the heart of the Algarve, just 15 minutes from Faro airport. It is enclosed by a protected nature reserve, the Ria Formosa, and has only built on 9% of the land it owns, making sustainability a top priority for the resort. The Ria Formosa Natural Park, with its channels, salt marshes and salt flats which lie on the migration path of Flamingos. Located on the southern coast of Portugal, the Ria Formosa is made up of 18,000 hectares of tidal marshes protected by 60 km long system of sand-dune islands that separate the land from the ocean.

As part of an ongoing environmental initiative, the resort has teamed up with the GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf as well as local Wildlife Research and Rehabilitation Centre (RIAS) to help repopulate native species and return rehabilitated animals to the wild and protect its natural landscapes.

The resort endeavours to source all ingredients from local producers, and has also created its own farm to provide its restaurants with homegrown organic produce. Quinta has also announced a series of further measures to help foster nature, including placing information boards on the golf courses and nearby nature trails advising people of the wildlife living nearby.

Additionally, Quinta do Lago has worked on improving irrigation and introducing native plants in and around the golf courses to control and remove invasive exotic species; building ‘bug hotels’ for insects – helping to control garden pests so reducing the use of insecticides – increasing the number of bird-nesting boxes and constructing bee houses; removing single-use plastics at its restaurants; and using a new fleet of electric golf buggies across the resort are among the initiatives being introduced to help conserve resources.

And, as one of the biggest employers in the Almancil area with more than 600 staff employed throughout the year, Quinta do Lago also appreciates the importance of supporting the local community in its eco-strategy.

Our judges said:

“Quinta do Lago is a special place being cared for by a team that is working hard to create a sustainable future for the flora and fauna which surrounds it as well as the guests that visit.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

Best Hotel/Resort Eco Initiative

GOLD: Valamar Amicor Green Resort

A stroll away from the charming town of Stari Grad on spectacular Hvar Island and built in partnership with the German DGNB association in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, Valamar Amicor Green Resort immerses guests in limitless opportunities to get in touch with nature and experience the beauty of the great outdoors.

Designed with a deep respect for the natural world, the resort aims to offer holidays in complete harmony with the local environment. Offering a range of elegant villas and suites, the hotel features leafy Mediterranean greenery, easy access to pristine beaches and a rich assortment of entertainment and sports activities for all ages.

Its standout eco offering lies in the magic of its Maro family initiatives and play facilities. Specially designed for children aged 3 to 12, Maro aims to teach young news how to care for the environment through imaginative play and trails of discovering, including its eco garden, vegetable garden, creative workshops and superbly equipped children’s playrooms, as well as its extensive programme of family entertainment.

Further enhancing its wonderful family offering and Maro facilities, Valamar Amicor Green Resort is adding a fantastic new Kids Outdoor Play Area, complete with a zipline, see-saw, slides, swings, springer and jumper to ensure children are spending sufficient time doing outdoor play and connecting with nature.

Education elements are core to the new offering, which includes an Eco Garden, insect hotel and interactive educational panels, helping little ones learn to care for the environment through play.

A special part of the Maro programme for children is ecology workshops in which even the youngest of guests can learn how to take care of the planet through a simple, guided creative approach to topics such as recycling, waste separation or plant cultivation.

Our judges said:

“Valamar Amicor Green Resort puts children at the very centre of its mission to share knowledge and educate with their sustainability focussed programmes and workshops.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

SILVER: Intercontinental Resort Maldives

Sitting on the idyllic Southernmost tip of Raa Atoll, on the edge of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and within its own natural lagoon, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort leads the way for manta ray research and has its own sustainable waste initiatives and recycling programmes. Located in such close proximity to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the resort sees sustainability as a non-negotiable. A big focus is dedicated on the resorts ‘Green Engage’ initiatives to minimise carbon footprint and be as responsible as possible.

Conservation support is year-round at the resort, with Farah Hamdan, the Marine Conservationist for the Manta Trust at the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort, focusing on conserving the delicate reef beyond the shore, and the Manta Rays that inhabit it. Manta Trust delivers inspiring and educational presentations and sustainably run excursions to guests, sharing their expert knowledge.

InterContinental Maldives has held two Manta Retreats, in partnership with the Manta Trust; an opportunity to educate, explore and raise awareness for manta rays in their natural habitat. The continuing partnership highlights the resort’s desire to help protect the pristine island surroundings. Aimed at adventure travellers, nature lovers, young explorers, and those who wish to add more meaning to their holidays, the Manta Retreat programme is the perfect combination of a luxury holiday and an educational experience – and takes place on a bi-annual basis at the Maldivian resort.

The resort has introduced a glass crushing system that helps minimise the particles of glass to recycle and instead can be used as a component in concrete work. Wastage of food is thoroughly monitored and registered, aiming to keep this to a minimum and strict procedures are in place to ensure efficiency and care when it comes to food shipment and preparation. The resort has also installed a total of 1577 heavy-duty solar panels, which cover an area of 2594 sqm – over the roofs of the administrative building. The solar power system produces 952,620 kwh, which is 15% of the resort’s total energy requirement resulting in a reduction of 900 tons of CO2, annually.

Water waste at Maamunagau is also reduced, by re-using it as treated water through a system of Ultrafiltration and Reticulation Plant System. This system helps carry a production capacity of 155,000 litres of water per day. This high-functioning treatment plant can store and distribute the treated water in fields such as the irrigation lines, bathrooms for the colleagues’ accommodations, and cooling towers as well as the air-conditioned chilled water lines. This helps the resort use recycled water and manage water wastage throughout the resort.

Our judges said:

“The delicate ecosystem surrounding Intercontinental Resort Maldives is in safe hands. Lucky guests to be able to learn first-hand from a leading manta ray expert.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

Best Glamping

GOLD: Penhein Glamping

Penhein is a family-run farm in Monmouthshire, South Wales. In the centre of the farm, tucked away in secluded woodland surrounded by countryside, is Penhein Glamping, eight beautiful alachigh (alla-cheeg) tents, each designed with everything needed to feel at home in the great outdoors.

Farm and glampsite are run with sustainability and conservation as the guiding principles. When first planning the glampsite the vision was that it would nestle in the woodland causing little visual impact on the landscape or physical impact on the woodland or its natural inhabitants. This gives guests the opportunity to live alongside nature in all its variety.

When it came to building the glampsite in 2014, the alachighs were sourced and made in the UK, the frames made using wood from sustainable sources and reclaimed wood for the interiors. All tents are updated according to this policy.

A coppicing management plan results in regeneration of the woodland, and each year the team replants at least one hedgerow on the farm – a vital habitat for a range of insects, birds and animals. The woodland corridors between the fields protect the flora and fauna that thrive on the farm, and water is from the farm’s own spring. All wood used on the glampsite comes from the woodland and only from fallen timber or dead trees. New trees are regularly planted with over 100 planted so far this year.

All this while providing a luxury glamping experience is no mean feat. Awaiting all guests is a showerblock with underfloor heating, monsoon showers and Victorian style roll top bath. Three of the tents have a shower immediately outside. There’s a spacious communal tent with electrical sockets, reading lamp, tables, chairs, bean bags and lots of toys and games for children of all ages.
A stunning entertainment space in a wooded grove within the glampsite, with a glorious stretch canvas cover, open sides for that outdoors party feel, tables and seating for all guests and electricity as required. It also has a very large wood burner for guests to gather round.
A large fire pit at the top of the meadow with sensational views and a third firepit overlooking fields & woods at the other end of the site.
A ‘Cheats Kitchen’ for those who don’t want to BBQ or need a quick snack.
Penhein is a proud holder of the Green Tourism Gold Standard, the Welsh Green Key Award for sustainability in the hospitality industry, the AA 5 Gold Pennant standard (for the 4th year in a row) and the Luxury Glamping Experience of the Year 2023 in the Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Our judges said:

“No stone is left unturned by the team at Penhein who have created a luxurious and eco-conscious glampsite where waste is reduced or reused and where the natural environment is cared for with great passion.” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

SILVER: Roarsome

Already an award-winning clothing brand, Roarsome has branched out to events and glamping.

The team have upcycled a fleet of scrapped American School Buses into Adventure Cabins, complete with Alpine-inspired interiors (built from reclaimed pallet wood), which families can rent for unique, glamping holidays.

This summer, they’ll all be situated in a private field with panoramic views of sparkling seas and sunsets, less than one mile from one of the most incredible beaches in Cornwall! By working with local partners we have created an itinerary of outdoor activities that our guests can enjoy during their stay including surf lessons, paddle boarding, dolphin spotting boat trips, treasure hunts, beach activities and castle exploring!

Our judges said:

“We love the imagination and care for the planet that Roarsome has brought to children’s clothing. The thought some Roarsome adding their sparkle to a glamping experience in an American school bus is super exciting!” Victoria Evans, City Kids Magazine Editor

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