Do you have a clear conscience now? I already asked myself this question when I was a child, but in a smaller version: Can I eat this piece of chocolate now? Can I go play without signing off? Stuff like that. When you grow up, it’s not just your responsibility that increases, but also the extent of your good conscience. Okay, the chocolate thing is still relevant, but when we think about what we spend our money on, where we travel, it’s an important thought. I’ve noticed that I’m more aware of where the products and luxury foods in our everyday lives come from. I have more fun, taste and even a conscience when the ingredients I cook with don’t have to jet around the world five times or have grown up in an uncool chicken hood. You know? I’ve never been a fan of cold concrete castles when traveling anyway. But there are locations out there that not only leave a lasting impression when you’re on vacation, but are also genuinely sustainable and designed with a green eye. A cool selection of such spots has, for example, the association of the Bio-Hotels under their own label. All members stand for the same organic philosophy and uniform standards. For example, organic food, natural cosmetics and green electricity. Or also the page greenpearls, which has really nice hotels and vacation homes with green traffic lights in the team. I’m still learning, I’ll be honest, but I keep stumbling across great, really curious spots while researching. And a slew of these green hotels, which are freshly landed on my bucket list and to which I’m already dreaming, I present to you here.
La Casa di Melo, Sicily, Italy
Vacation-wise really ready for the island? No problem, because here too there are destinations where the nerves can relax in the green zone. Except for the taste buds, which must or may work – but more on that in a moment. Pack up all the parts of your body that need some time off, and off you go on the plane to Sicily. The destination of the dream trip in mind is La Casa di Melo, an old farmhouse in the east of the island that has recently been converted into a beautiful agriturismo. The property is located in the middle of an organic citrus plantation and is the green lung of the in-house farm, which has been growing organic produce for 20 years. And which the hosts now want to share with guests. La Casa di Melo is located just 12 km from Syracuse, very close to the beaches of Fontane Bianche and only 15 minutes from Noto. A perfect starting point, then, to discover nature and cuisine in southeastern Sicily. Keyword green harmony: there you could write the swimming pool with nature cinema view in the dictionary right behind.
Clean and without airs and graces: the interior at La Casa di Melo.
The interior design is modern without losing the historic charm.
Already sending flirt signals: the wine bar in the restaurant of La Case di Melo.
Switch off without switching off: The highlight is clearly the pool with nature cinema view.
Work up an appetite? Of course, it will also be fed by the kitchen as it should be. The culinary offer provides a buffet restaurant service and is aimed exclusively at guests. Typical dishes of the Sicilian cuisine are served, prepared with products from the own garden and organic farm. For this reason, most of the dishes are vegetarian, and are prepared daily according to the seasonal availability of products. That’s quite a statement. And it is also possible without meat, if the origin is clear and a creative spirit is at work in the kitchen.
La Casa di Melo, stays starting at 130 Euro person / nigth, more via lacasadimelo.com
Biohotel Pausnhof, Germany
This charming hotel with a green vibe has been on my personal bucket list for a long time, and if you check the pictures, you can quickly guess why. Charming architecture meets an extremely inviting pool – and all that embedded in the landscape of the Bavarian Forest National Park. Because there lies the Biohotel Pausnhof, as you can guess from the first name, also a member of the Biohotels Association. One hundred percent – true to the motto of the former footballer Oliver Kahn – one has committed oneself to 100 percent organic quality in the wellness hotel in Bavaria.
Clear look in the rooms, clear design language, clear focus on sustainable materials.
Rooms organic cuisine in all facets on the plate: the culinary team in the Pausnhof.
I like this look, which brings the traditional courtyard into the modern age in terms of design, lots of green, whether by the pool, the flower beds or in the forest around it. Green hotels can have real swag, too. Back to the 100 percent organic focus – this applies to the rooms furnished with high-quality natural materials, for the farm’s own agriculture to the organic kitchen. The approximately 40-hectare area around the Pausnhof is the pantry of the hotel’s kitchen. Smarter Move. The Pausnhof has been farmed for 600 years, today as in the past. In other words, Pinzgau cattle and forest sheep graze there, in the entertaining company of organic laying hens, ducks and geese. Apple, pear, quince and medlar trees adorn the meadow orchard behind the guesthouse. The farm offers almost everything the kitchen team needs for its culinary creations. A colorful variety is grown in the vegetable garden, including actual basics like potatoes – and garden-fresh herbs add finesse to the dishes. I get an appetite just writing this. The closeness to nature and attention to detail is also evident in the accommodations. The high-quality rooms are made of local woods and hand-crafted furniture. The furnishings come from manufactories in the region, including the Hafner joinery, the Moser hand weaving mill, the Eisch and Poschinger glassworks and the Zwiesel glass school. In 2016, the hotel and its sustainable concept were even nominated for the Bavarian “artouro” architecture prize. Nevertheless, the Pausnhof has a pleasingly down-to-earth feel, and therefore even more inviting.
I’d love to sit by the pool with a glass of wine right now and kick back, knowing that a solid, regional dinner awaits me in a good half hour. Well, the creation of these travel inspiration articles always tempts to dream.
Biohotel Pausnhof, nights starting at 125 Euros, more via biohotels.info//biohotel-pausnhof
Gutshaus Parin, Germany
From Bavaria it goes up towards the Baltic Sea. A region that is still white on my map and therefore makes me all the more curious – especially if you can check in as in the following location in so historically leaning as charming ambience. And, of course, also a bathing opportunity in fine optics is at the start. Bonjour, then, to the next bucket list candidate for green hotels, Gutshaus Parin.
The estate has been home to the Bio- und Gesundheitshotel since 2009 and is thus the little sister of the Stellshagen Manor House. At Gutshaus Parin are located down-to-earth guest rooms with great views from the window of vast landscapes. The adjacent stone pine house accommodates further guest rooms. Swiss stone pine beds and natural clay plaster on the walls create a pleasant sleeping environment. Sleep is supposed to be quite beneficial, I always hear. The ecological profile of the house is reflected at all levels: the rooms have been designed with building biology in mind, the energy supply takes sustainability into account and, of course, all food and drinks are of 100 percent organic quality.
Beautiful coastal colors create a pleasant and cozy vibe in the rooms.
The art lies in the detail: Swiss stone pine makes you sleep better.
Since the opening of the Biohotel Gutshaus Stellshagen in 1996, the hotel’s own farm has belonged to the Bioland association. Bioland is the largest organic farming association in Germany. It vouches for the certified origin of agricultural products. The hosts in Stellshagen cultivate fruit, herbs and vegetables on 8 hectares. The associated fields are located behind the manor house. Other areas are located in the village. Greenhouses for weather-sensitive species are also located behind the manor house pond and in the village. The products produced are used in the manor house kitchens of Stellshagen and Parin and sold in the organic store “Altes Feuerwehrhaus” in Damshagen and in the organic store “Stellshagen & Meer” in Tarnewitz. Round thing, or? And there is even a small wine bar – so they have definitely made me curious.
The rest is done by the charming swimming pond on the west side of the house. The swimming area is 25 meters long, so whoever wants to can let off steam or just cool off. You can let off steam at the wine bar. But back to the text. If you’ve had enough swimming, you’ll find green areas, wooden decks and a small sandy beach with beach chairs to relax on the edge of the pond.
Gutshaus Parin, stays starting at 76 Euros, more via www.biohotels.info
Naturhotel Leitlhof, Alto Adige
I have to make an exception for this green hotel in the context of this story. Because while collecting hotels for this bucket list, I was lucky enough to visit this hotel for one day during a trip for BMW magazine. So the impressions here are my real experience – nonetheless, at the top of my list is to visit the Nature Hotel again privately and with more days to spare. Like a cuddly, in the best sense wooden flirt, the wood-clad Naturhotel Leitlhof lies nestled in the surrounding forest. Since 1998/99, there have been a total of 19 renovation phases at the Naturhotel Leitlhof. And it goes on lively. This is also what makes it so charming, because you can feel the different stages in the house and even if it seems a bit convoluted at the beginning, you’ll get the hang of it after the first night.
Conscious travel and enjoyment are on the agenda here, because: electricity and heat are produced independently and climate-neutrally at the Leitlhof. This makes the Leitlhof one of the few energy self-sufficient hotel operations in Europe. In addition, the nature hotel is GSTC-certified and thus meets the strict criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The mastermind behind it is junior manager Stephan Mühlmann. The resourceful and down-to-earth South Tyrolean thinks of the big picture and relies on small, effective cycles. The green heart of the green hotel is the power plant at the foot of the hotel hill. Through the power plant, they can generate their own energy and supply and heat the entire hotel in a CO2-neutral manner – such as the rather swaggy outdoor pool with panoramic views of the Dolomites. It’s well known that I have a thing for cool pools, and if you can not only relax in nice water temperature, but also enjoy the view twice as consciously, then it has a heightened appeal. Especially because you can look forward to being able to do something good for your taste buds afterwards. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to switch off, but they are obligingly caressed by the kitchen.
Green hotel with green views – but don’t worry, there’s plenty of red wine on offer.
Lots of wood, lots of views: the interior design at Leitlhof is contemporary and cozy.
But Mühlmann, who is creative and never at a loss for an idea, relies on local sources not only for the energy supply. After refueling in the Alpin Spa, which is also furnished with lots of wood – there are two wall boxes in the hotel garage for electric vehicles – the sustainable philosophy can be experienced in the restaurant. The cuisine at the Leitlhof is based on a desire for innovation, respect for food and products from our own cultivation. For example, the hotel’s own lambs are slaughtered and nose-to-tail at the Innichner Schlachthof and the meat is served to guests. Keyword green hotels: Just a few minutes away from the Leitlhof is the Mühlhof. It is home to the Angus cattle that are bred here and served in the restaurant. And: The Mühlhof is also a supplier of fresh vegetables and herbs that are used in the Leitlhof kitchen. It goes without saying that a wine cabinet has also been established in the green hotel, which also sets the patronage traffic light to green.
Naturhotel Leitlhof, stay with half board starts at 151 Euros, more via www.leitlhof.com
Der Pennhof, Alto Adige
Smart move, and bang: wanderlust at the push of a button: With this location and view to build a pool, and then still so charming as here in the Pennhof, it was clear that I fell in love directly. I mean: Look at this!
Green hotels are not just a phrase: at the Pennhof, nature plays the leading role.
Natural beds, lots of wood and even more views can be found in the rooms and chalets of the Pennhof.
The 3-star superior hotel in Barbiano near Bressanone is located in the midst of nature in the heart of South Tyrol, is also member of the Biohotels and thanks to its location thus an ideal starting point for (pleasure) hikes and excursions in all directions of the country. Just imagine a Brotzeitbrettl and a bottle of South Tyrolean wine, your legs hanging in the pool and you enjoy the panoramic view of the Eisacktal and the Schlern area. For me, magic sometimes just lies in small things. Keyword small. Small and fine is also the accommodation – and no one has to be afraid to get lost in hectic or to reserve the place at the pool already early. There are only 12 rooms and 5 chalets in total at the BIO HOTEL Pennhof. And exactly this cordial manageability, where you also have a chance to get to know the hosts and their idea of vacation. And also in culinary terms, the green hotel would be a great starting point for explorers and curious foodies like me. Organic hotelier Elmar Braun allows only the finest products into his organic kitchen. Vegetables, fruits and herbs from his own cultivation or from South Tyrolean farmers. In addition, a wide selection of dishes and meals for vegans is on offer. Nice, isn’t it? All within the framework of the really comprehensive Pennhof 3/4 Geniesser-Verwöhnpension, where you then only have to worry about the right drink.
Quick question: Did I already mention the awesome pool? Organic is of course not only in the kitchen, but also in the wellness – among other things in the Finnish organic sauna. My favorite place to stay would be the chalet with hot tub. Relaxing in bubbles with a glass of South Tyrolean wine – I notice that wanderlust is calling again.
Der Pennhof, stays starting at 106 Euros, more via biohotels.info
St. Daniel, Slowenia
Slovenia has been on my must-visit list for a long time, because they grow incredibly exciting wines and the culinary scene is really taking off. Of course, I immediately imagine a wine tasting with pool, and I really found a location with green glasses that combines it all.
When two lateral entrants come to the hotel industry, it always means a portion of risk. But it can also work out very well, as the Hotel St. Daniel proves. The formula: Miran is a restorer trained in Vienna, Nina : nutritionist and naturopath. It took four years of joint work to finally turn the former farmhouse into an organic hotel in Slovenia. The charming accommodation in the Karst is one of the few that has undergone the sustainability certification of the Europe-wide association „Bio Hotels“ underwent. The stay here is under the motto of the individual health concept “Vita Nova”: healthy food and natural atmosphere. Green hotels meet green thumbs.
Down-to-earth interior meets sustainable materials.
The kitchen relies on local ingredients. Wouldn’t you like to get this locality on your plate right away?
The goal of the hosts was to create a holistic center and a place to feel good, eat and drink well, sleep well, move well and be loaded with positive thoughts. So I could load up there with wine and local delicacies with a clear conscience, but think their idea does not reflect that now in the first place. First of all a relaxing round at the pool, right? I could well imagine a Slovenian white wine tasting with small local snacks, but I’m dreaming again. Back to the topic.
The rooms, suites and apartments at Hotel St. Daniel have private bathrooms and are furnished with natural materials. The antique looking furniture made of recycled wood and the bed linen made of linen create a connection between the guests, the local people and the traditional Slovenian bed linen. The essence of the cuisine is based on organically grown and naturally ripened local foods, which are constantly adapted to also meet the conditions and harvests that nature grants in every season. Green hotels oblige. In short, only seasonal ingredients make it into the kitchen. These become dishes whose recipes have been passed down in the family for generations.
Bio-Hotel St.Daniel, stay with breakfast starting at 65 Euros, more via www.biohotels.info/st-daniel
Naturhotel Chesa Valisa, Austria
Mountains, architecture that mixes local tradition with a new zeitgeist, a sustainable concept and the view of a classy pool – well, and once again my bucket list has eaten a new appetizer. This time the wanderlust journey of green hotels goes to Austria to the Naturhotel Chesa Valisa.
A lot of wood. Lots of light. Lots of space, and plenty of perspectives with views of the surrounding two-thousand-meter peaks in Kleinwalsertal await in this refuge with an architecturally attractive dress code. Why the spot is an exciting destination for conscious travelers: At the climate-neutral Naturhotel Chesa Valisa, sustainability is lived down to the last detail. The rooms with solid wood furniture made by carpenters, natural clay plaster walls, floor-to-ceiling window fronts, W-LAN-free and electrosmog-reduced guarantee restful sleep. Switching off means switching off, doesn’t it?
Clean forms, clear idea: In the well thought-out rooms, switching off is guaranteed.
Green hotels show themselves tastefully: Wouldn’t you like to set off immediately for a pleasure hike with the view?
But I want to turn on my taste buds every time I travel. After all, traveling consciously also means perceiving consciously. It’s good that convenience products are banned from the hotel’s gourmet menu. Vegan, vegetarian and allergy-friendly dishes are a matter of course at the nature hotel. The meat of this green hotel comes exclusively from the Genussregion Kleinwalsertal and the neighboring Allgäu, vegetables and herbs from their own garden and the water from their own spring. This is the way you like to go.
From the exciting culinary to the relaxing part of the hotel. The large AlpinSPA with spring water pool, three saunas, steam bath, indoor and outdoor Kneipp pools, light-flooded relaxation rooms and 20,000m² garden should help to switch the traffic light in the head to relaxation. I have in mind a date with Austrian white wine at the outdoor pool – that would at least remain in my memory.