Ecotourism is more than a buzzword, it’s a way of life. Whether you’re looking for trips, hotels, or even whole cities that subscribe to clean travel that helps the environment and surrounding communities, there’s a ton of options to uncover.
We often forget that where we stay while travelling has just as much impact as what we do. So to help you find the best ecotourism hotels that protect the environment and give back to the community, we’ve created the following list. In no particular order, here are the top ecotourism hotels in Canada:
Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
Stuie, British Columbia
There is a time and place for skyscrapers and there is a time and place for big sky, big mountains, and long rivers that stretch into the horizon. When you visit Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, prepare for afternoons where the only thing keeping time is the sound of your fishing lure plopping into the river. The lodge itself does its part to keep the environment as healthy as possible. They compost leftover food, use water that comes from an untreated mountain well, give guests reusable water bottles, buy local products, incorporate eco-friendly cleaning solutions, and use non-motorized boats. They’re also members of the Save Our Salmon Foundation and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
Algonquin Park, Ontario
When you’re ready to say goodbye to your daily commute, pack your bags for Algonquin Eco-Lodge. Located in Algonquin Park, it takes roughly 2.3 km-worth of hiking, skiing, or biking to even get to the entrance of the hotel. Proudly off the grid, the hotel’s energy is created from a nearby waterfall and they’re pleased to note that there isn’t a telephone pole in sight. When you’re canoeing on the private lake and snowshoeing on what’s the longest single trail system in Southern Ontario, you can really connect back to nature. Simply put, it’s easy to understand why Algonquin Eco-Lodge is an award-winning hotel via the Ontario Tourism Sustainable Tourism Award group.
Ruby Lake Resort
Madeira Park, British Columbia
You might not seek out making people jealous of your holidays, but if it happens, what better place to do it than the Ruby Lake Resort? Located between Ruby Lake and the Caren Range Mountains, this resort offers safari tents, cottage suites, and easy access to a lagoon, beach, and wildlife sanctuary. Postcards don’t have anything on how beautiful it is over here. Plus, the resort and its restaurant aim for sustainability. At the beautiful La Trattoria Italiana, almost all of the vegetables and herbs are organic and grown on-site, the meat comes from free-range suppliers, and the wild game is purchased from approved farms.
Trout Point Lodge
East Kemptville, Nova Scotia
Luxurious ecotourism does not have be an oxymoron, as you’ll see when you visit Trout Point Lodge. This 5-star resort is located inside a densely forested 100-acre estate, close to the Tusket and Napier Rivers and proudly declares that there isn’t cell phone service in the wild area. Instead, it’s about remembering the best parts of life: locally grown food, elegant views, and wood-fired hot tubs. The lodge uses renewable resources, 100-percent solar power, and serves sustainable seafood and local produce at their award-wining restaurant. For these reasons and others, the lodge received the prestigious 5 Green Key rating from the Green Key Global program.
Marble Inn Resort
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Look out, world, Marble Inn Resort is here to change how business is run. For co-owner Joe Dicks, going green isn’t always the most financially savvy way of doing things, but it’s the right thing to do. That’s why the resort has solar power, an eco-air system, heat-pump technology, and on-site greenhouse. Their thinking: the less impact they have on the environment, the better. When you’re kayaking around the Humber River or skiing down Marble Mountain, you’ll know why the hotel finds this land too precious to tamper with.
Nipika Mountain Resort
Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
There are some trips that require heels and loafers, and then there are trips that require thick boots. If you prefer the latter category, make a date with the Nipika Mountain Resort. Known for its setting in the wild woods of Kootenay National Park, this resort hotel is meant for those who like dirt under their shoes and sunscreen on their nose. The hotel itself promotes sustainable practices by being off the grid. They get their power from the sun, heat from dead wood, and the majority of the furniture from trees killed by the local Mountain Pine Beetle. Trust us, you’ll feel a million miles away from big city life when you take their wetlands paddling tours, mountain bike lessons, and guided canoe tours down the Kootenay River.
Le Baluchon Eco Resort
Le Baluchon Eco Resort knows the importance of options—this is why you can sign up for packages that range from relaxation, to farming, to gastronomy, to adventure. Where else can you spend the day learning how to be a cowboy just as easily as indulging in a yoga session? It’s all about healthy living here, and it’s easy to understand that Le Baluchon Eco Resort truly treats eco-responsibility as a mission statement. The resort has its own recycling center on property, takes part in reforestation of the land it’s on, processes cooking oil into biodiesel, and offers locally made goat milk soap to guests.
“Stay in Wonder” isn’t just a slogan for Boreale Ranch; it’s a way of life. Situated in the thick woods of the Yukon, the plush hotel rooms look out to thick trails waiting to be explored. The hotel is known for its proximity to bike paths, and offers mountain biking tours from members of the local community. Plus, when you’re done working out for the day, you can grab a locally sourced dinner right at the ranch. Great views, great trails, great food? Yes, it’s a winning vacation, indeed.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Not all eco-hotels are located in the woods. In fact, the Westin Grand on Robson Street is in the heart of Vancouver, one of Canada’s greenest cities, and adheres to a strict eco-conscious mindset. The hotel uses a salt water extraction system to keep the pool bacteria-free without using chemicals, the restaurant oil is reused as bio-diesel, they use CFL and LED lighting to cut down on electricity, and they make an effort go with local suppliers for all produce. City life meets ecolife? It’s a winning combination.
When you’re staring at a castle, ecotourism might not be at the top of your list of things you’re thinking. However, the Delta Bessborough knows how to balance elegant travel with sustainable practices. This 10-story hotel is modeled after chateau architecture and is surrounded by Elizabethan gardens and views of the river. And, as a member of the Marriott group, it creates a royal atmosphere while also aiming to reduce water and energy use by 20% by 2020, educate its workforce on sustainable methods, and invest in conservation efforts.
Parkside Hotel and Spa
Victoria, British Columbia
Here’s a problem most hotels forget to solve: offering charging stations for electric vehicles. Parkside Hotel and Spa, however, remembered this detail and was one of the first ecohotels to do so. On top of that, most of the hotel was constructed with sustainability in mind, including the rooftop garden, which was built to keep in the heat in winter. Unsurprisingly, it’s a 5 Green Key Hotel, and a two-time American Resort Development Association (ARDA) Convention and Exposition Award winner. Plus, the hotel is located only a few blocks from Inner Harbour and the Victoria Conference Centre, so you know there’s a world of wonder just outside of the hotel, too.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
Quebec City, Quebec
It’s one of the most famous hotels in the world and it happens to be a leader in sustainability. The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (as well as the rest of the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts), set high goals for reducing water waste, food waste, and electricity consumption. They also incorporate eco-conscious initiatives into business decisions and educate stakeholders in environmental issues. As you walk around Quebec City, admiring the sights of old, you can’t help but thank the Fairmont for respecting the past while protecting the future.
Banff Aspen Lodge
In a breathtaking place like Banff, it helps to stay at a hotel that cares about air quality (and water quality, and everything else). Banff Aspen Lodge is a hotel that gets it. They incorporate low-flow toilets, motion sensor lighting in the hallways, biodegradable amenity containers, and 100-percent vegetable soaps. When you’re hiking through the Banff forest or kayaking on the blue waters, know that your hotel is doing its part to keep nature healthy.
White Point Beach Resort
White Point, Nova Scotia
What do you get when you combine surfing, golfing, and a strong eco-conscious philosophy? A stay at White Point Beach Resort. Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, the resort knows the importance of preserving the landscape. That’s why they do business with eco-conscious partners, promote recycling and non-biodegradable products, and make a whole company-level effort to reduce electricity and water use. For their efforts, they were rewarded the 4 Green Key rating from the Hotel Association of Canada.
There are eco-hotels and then there’s Brookstreet Hotel. They use 100 percent low-impact renewable electricity, work with PressReader to offer guests access to online newspapers instead of physical copies that will be thrown away, incorporate an automated climate control system to reduce A/C and heat in unused rooms, participate in Earth Hour, and offer discounts to guests who bring their own cups to the on-site Brookstreet Café. After a day of golfing or night of listening to live jazz at the hotel, you can rest easy that you’re doing your part to travel in an eco-friendly way.
Rodd Crowbush Golf and Beach Resort
Morell, Prince Edward Island
Steps from the roaring sea and peaceful golf greens, the Rodd Crowbush Golf and Beach Resort offers a respite from everyday cares. And while you’re out in nature, you can rest assured that the hotel is doing what it can to preserve it. The resort uses water-efficient showerheads, encourages managers to attend workshops at the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism, and is a member of Waste Watch, which aims to cut down waste by 65%.
Inn at the Forks
The city lights might be bright in Winnipeg, but your resort is making sure all that electricity is used in an eco-safe manner. When you stay at the Inn at the Forks, you can count on a hotel that composts all food scraps, hands out gift cards made of recycled material, donates unused amenities, and incorporates motion sensor lights to reduce electricity use. Not surprisingly, the resort has a Five Green Key rating for its eco-conscious policies.
Le Grand Lodge
Whether you’re at the spa or at the bar, you deserve to relax on your holiday. Plus, you deserve a fine view of the landscape when you wake up. Le Grand Lodge has exactly that. The hotel is a leader in ecotourism and top-notch service. They buy locally, replace electric light bulbs with eco-friendly ones, and use green products throughout the hotel. Plus, the lodge makes an effort to give back to the community, like donating proceeds of their annual golf tournament to a children’s ice skating fund.
It’s the largest hotel in the country, yet it still makes an effort to go green-friendly. We’re talking about the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, of course. There’s the Green Wall in the lobby, which has living plants to filter out pollutants, then there are the hallways lit by LED lighting, plus business practices that include non-toxic cleaning chemicals, paperless receipts, low-flow showerheads, and a partnership with local suppliers. If the biggest hotel in the country can move ecotourism forward, it’s easy to feel inspired to do the same.
Auberge de Montagne des Chic-Chocs-SEPAQ
A sunrise witnessed through the pines is unlike anything else. And when you want to see it up close and personal, you have to make a date at Auberge de Montagne des Chic-Chocs-SEPAQ. Not only is the hotel surrounded by lush nature, it does everything it can to follow its Sustainable Development Action plan. This means incorporating electric cars on the grounds, replacing older snowmobiles with new, cleaner models, and reducing the amount of non-recyclable goods.
When you’re travelling around the country, remember that you can do your part simply by staying at an eco-hotel. And by checking into any of these places on the list, you can feel comfortable you’re reducing your carbon footprint as you travel the landscape.