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There’s little wonder why the Maldives and its inhabitants have ramped up sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives: Environmental issues such as rising sea levels, climate change and coral reef damage are threatening the nation’s nearly 1,200 islands.
Now, several resorts are hard at work to keep carbon emissions low and sacrificing frills and superfluous luxury for sustainability. These five properties are leading the pack.
Baros MaldivesIt might be hard to look past Baros Maldives’ cozy over-the-water villas and blissful spa, but this beautiful property on Baros island is more than just a pretty facade. It engages in a hefty number of eco-friendly practices that go beyond preserving the islands’ tropical woodlands and pristine beaches.
The property’s environmental initiatives include recycling and purifying water for garden irrigation; installing LED lights with lower energy consumption; the utilization of CFC-free air conditioning; the employment of a heat-exchange system to heat bath water; and the use of biodegradable cleaning products.
Additionally, to promote the understanding of environmental issues, Baros offers awareness programs, including tours to local villages and uninhabited islands as well as diving and fishing expeditions. www.baros.comCoco Palm Dhuni KolhuSet in the Baa Atoll, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu is a gorgeous resort with overwater bungalows arranged to form a leaf; a lagoon that boasts a magnificent view of the sunset; and a glorious spa nestled in a canopy of green. It’s also one of the Maldives’ most eco-friendly resorts, with a focus on endangered sea turtles.
Through its partnership with the Olive Ridley Project, Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu provides a safe and monitored nesting site for green sea turtles and holds turtle-release programs to increase the babies’ survival. The property also has an on-site veterinarian to help rescue and rehabilitate injured turtles.
Additionally, the resort features an on- property drinkable water production, a glass-bottling plant and a complex waste management and recycling program. A local herb garden provides on-site chefs with a selection of fresh, local ingredients.www.cococollection.com
Reethi Beach Resort Tropical island simplicity is what Reethi Beach Resort strives for with its unassuming facilities and modest, wood-trimmed villas, some of which are right on the white-sand beach and others of which are over the water. There aren’t a lot of frills here, allowing the beautiful island Reethi sits on to take center stage.
The property teems with eco-friendly efforts, allowing it to find that sweet spot to make technology and sustainability work together for fewer carbon emissions.
Reethi’s many green initiatives include an energy-recovery system at its own desalination plant; rainwater harvesting; the recycling of treated water for irrigation; the utilization of reusable glass water bottles; a ban on single-use plastic straws and bags; coral propagation and reef monitoring; and more.www.reethibeach.com
Soneva FushiBehind Soneva Fushi’s go-slow, barefoot lifestyle are incredible projects for social and environmental sustainability. (Though we do love its pool villas tucked in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.)
The resort uses energy-management tactics such as drawing energy from an on-property solar photovoltaic power plant. It also recycles most of its solid waste and practices composting for better waste management. Additionally, Soneva Fushi’s water reservoir allows rainwater to be recycled and reused.www.soneva.comTaj Exotica Resort & Spa MaldivesA stay at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives doesn’t only involve indulging in fruity cocktails, feasting on luscious food and getting spoiled by your own butler. At this resort set on Three Coconut Isle, luxury is imbued with local influences and eco-friendly practices so that vacationers can enjoy pampering services while also reducing their carbon footprint.
Through Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris’ EARTH (Environment Awareness and Renewal at Taj Hotels) program, the EarthCheck-certified resort has employed several eco-conscious efforts. It has its own rainwater catchment system and water-heating system, as well as a program to minimize waste. In addition, its Reef Recharge program, a coral conservation effort formed in partnership with the hotel and Ocean Dive Maldives, is in place to protect the delicate reef system and give guests a chance to sponsor and build their own coral reef.www.taj.tajhotels.com