Sustainability is a topic at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now – from flight shaming becoming a thing and airlines introducing carbon offsetting, to activist groups like extinction rebellion lobbying for change and David Attenborough finally getting fed up and telling us that ‘the moment of crisis has come’.
Thursday also marks the start of Plastic Free July®, an entire month dedicated to raising awareness about the amount of single-use plastic we use in our lives, and encouraging people to make the swap for more environmentally-friendly, waste-free alternatives.
As a company, we’re working towards becoming more sustainable – namely, aiming to carbon offset our emissions and become a carbon-neutral company. We know we’re not perfect and that we work in an industry that contributes a vast amount of CO2 emissions, but we also believe that travelling is something that can greatly impact the world and the people in it – from putting money back into local economies to supporting communities that really need it, enriching the minds of travellers and encouraging cultural exchanges. Our focus in the sustainability area is around being more aware of our (and our customers’) energy consumption and how to travel smarter, whether that be choosing eco-friendly villas, making sure you’re spending money in local areas and not in chain shops/restaurants, and consciously making an effort to live a little greener, get your self an aeroplane seat cover, this will ensure you a clean journey.
We’ve been speaking to our owner’s to find out what efforts they’re making in the world of sustainability, and have pulled together a list of the top 10 eco-friendly villas that stand out to us.
Price from: £60pppn | $83pppn
What makes them green: Kick-off Plastic Free July with a stay at this adorable pod, which is made entirely from sustainable materials! The Bee Barn has also been designed with low-impact living in mind, with a living green roof, smart air quality sensors, and infrared underfloor heating too.
Other things we love: This unique structure sells itself. Grab your friends/family head to the Kent countryside for an unforgettable trip.
Price from: £45pppn | $60pppn
What makes them green: The owners of this Grade II property are dedicated to supporting local businesses in the community and their sustainable gardening is green-fingered in more ways than one – all tree work is chipped for flowerbeds, plants are home propagated and they even make their own mulch.
Other things we love: Alfresco dining in the charmingly rural gardens and using homegrown herbs for your delicious dinners.
Price from: £49pppn | $60pppn
What makes them green: This property has a certified organic farm where they produce their own olive oil. They also use solar heating for their water and have switched to a renewable energy provider.
Other things we love: The secluded, tranquil location, the rustic feel and the panoramic terrace views.
Price from: £26pppn | $31pppn
What makes them green: A gold award winner with Green Tourism UK, the owners of this cottage are really committed to their sustainable efforts and have been offsetting their carbon emissions for the last year.
Other things we love: The homely interiors, gorgeous countryside setting and original beamed ceilings.
Price from: £43pppn | $52pppn
What makes them green: Energy consumption reduction measures such as reversible air conditioning, insulation, dual flow flushes for water, double glazing and LED lighting. Plus, they’ve adopted an easy and simple-to-use recycling system and sustainable procurement policy for items such as cleaning products.
Other things we love: The fact that it’s a renovated wine press and winemaker’s house, its charming outdoor courtyard and its proximity to famous Burgundy wineries.
Price from: £41pppn | $50pppn
What makes them green: Through the use of solar panels this property not only generates enough power to cover all the electricity demands of the villa, but they create enough to sell power back to the grid. Meaning it boasts a very low carbon footprint.
Other things we love: The olive grove and small vineyard in the gardens, the infinity-style outdoor pool and the loggia terrace, which is the perfect setting for alfresco dining.
Price from: £32pppn | $38pppn
What makes them green: By building a local community of like-minded people they have begun to reduce reliance on single-use plastic (shout out Plastic Free July!) and have increased recycling rates. On top of this, they have also started to try and educate people on litter and recycling to help alleviate the problem in a growing population by working closely with local schools and charities, which in turn promote gender equality in the region.
Other things we love: Its magnificent Atlas Mountains setting, stylish roof terrace and the friendly on-hand driver who’s available to take guests on local excursions!
Price from: £96pppn | $133pppn
What makes them green: The owners of Casa Bona Vent are committed to sustainability, and there is actually some organic farming that takes place on the property. In the gardens, you’ll find vineyards, olive trees, and even lavender too. For the keen chefs among your group, there’s a vegetable garden and organic orchard that you are welcome to use.
Other things we love: Go all out during your villa holiday in Menorca and hire the private charter boat that the property also offers!
Price from: £61pppn | $75pppn
What makes them green: The 45 acres of woodland and 95 acres of low input pastures are managed using regenerative farming techniques – this vastly increases the carbon dioxide stored in the soil. As such they are balancing out some of the negative thermal inefficiencies of the old listed property. Their goal is to change to solar and are planting more trees, creating new hedgerows, and species-rich traditional hay meadows and wildflower meadows. The aim is to increase wildlife corridors, and habitat connectivity in the local ecosystem.
Other things we love: Its many outdoor wonders (tennis court, private lakes, tree swing, courtyard, Gruffalo trail and table tennis), its characterful interiors and the fact pets are welcome!
Price from: £56pppn | $68pppn
What makes them green: The villa has banned single-use plastic bottles for their toiletries, replacing them with bamboo containers filled with organic REN products, the perfect example of a property embracing Plastic Free July all year round. The bed linen is all organic, as are their beach towels. Plus, no toxic chemicals are used in the cleaning of the homes.
Other things we love: The location – on the sparkling water’s edge, the luxurious outdoor hot tub, and the views from the dining terrace!
Price from: £70pppn | $97pppn
What makes them green: Ditch the car when staying at Villa Giardiniera – the property is easily accessible by bus, making your carbon footprint when travelling around the area even lower. Join the villa owners in supporting local businesses, and spend some time exploring the nearby towns and villages on foot, too.
Other things we love: While the old-style pool may be smaller than what you’re used to, we love the authentic feel it gives the garden.
Price: £128pppn | $156pppn
What makes them green: The owners of this chateau are committed to growing their own produce, with an estimated 70% of every meal served coming from the land. Thus, serving and celebrating local, fresh food and hugely reducing the carbon footprint of food eaten.
Other things we love: The classic fairytale vibes, the on-site wine-tasting and the history of this listed 18th-century chateau!
Price from: £103pppn | $142pppn
What makes them green: With a pool like that, there’s only one thing that could make Villa Orea Thea even more appealing – their commitment to monitoring and reducing their water waste. The property uses solar energy, and the tubs are all designed to waste less water. The same goes for the garden, where the automatic watering system also uses a smaller amount of water. Added bonus: there’s a herb garden too!
Other things we love: The cliffside location makes for insane views and enviable Instagram snaps!
Price from: £58pppn | $77pppn
What makes them green: The air conditioning system uses a heat pump for energy efficiency and the efficient condensation boiler saves energy when heating the house and water. It’s also within walking distance to shops, restaurants and attractions so there’s no need for a car.
Other things we love: The picturesque 5,600-acre private grounds including a pretty river, fragrant Provencal lavender, hammocks, pool terrace and ping pong table!
We’ve pulled together a sustainable villas collection as part of our #LiveALittleGreener initiative.
We’ve also been pulling together a list of villas you can easily get to by train, for those who want to cut down on their flights.