The last two posts about new eco-lodges in Sri Lanka has got me thinking about the abundance of this sort of place in Asia now, coming under the somewhat subjective heading of an ‘Eco Lodge’.
It’s a very fluid concept, but I suppose it means a place built and run in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible within the local environment. I think it ought to show and demonstrate a commitment to conservation and ecological sustainability. In my definition, it would need to show some kind of commitment to the local community too in terms of employing, involving and benefiting local people financially or otherwise. People might think of a pretty rustic and basic style of accommodation, but I don’t think that’s necessary at all and some of these places can be pretty luxurious. Nonetheless, I would draw the line at including a place in this category if they had televisions in the room! It’s got to be about getting back to nature in some way for me. I am not at all sure AC would work for me either.
This is a highly subjective list and totally unfair really, based it is, solely on the region that we cover – Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Maldives. Worst of all, we’ve got The Mudhouse in there, and in all honesty, I have got very close ties to the owners there and was there at the conception of the place so cannot possibly be objective. At least I’m declaring my interest now… It would be great to hear about other places though – anywhere at all in the world.
In this list, I am concentrating on what makes them great places to stay – rather than on their ‘responsible’ credentials.
1: Lanija Lodge – Incredible food, miles from anywhere, lovely people, superb views and did I mention the fantastic food?? Totally locally managed and run which gives you a real two-way interaction with these lovely people.
2: Samamkanda – An extraordinary experiment in environmental sustainability which is a privilege to feel part of – quite incredibly beautiful site and great organic food grown on site. Inspiring.
3: The Mudhouse – There are no better places to relax and do nothing, than beside the lake here, birds of all hues fluttering about, enjoying laid back banter with the wonderful staff. Glorious mounds of superb village cuisine too and an evening beer (cooled courtesy of the solar power – not enough for too much light but enough for this – priorities you understand ).
4: Topas Eco Lodge – The treks organised from here are second to none; informative and fun. Great views again and very pleasant to get into the natural rhythms of life…
5: Muang La Resort– Proper posh in the far north of Laos – a surprise to say the least, but eco-lodge is very luxurious, has great local excursions and brilliant Lao food. Special mention must go to the deeply luxurious rain shows and natural spring baths!
There seems to be a food theme here. Not sure how that crept in