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The term ‘Eco-luxury’ refers to the production process of economic activities that simultaneously promote a sustainable economy and high quality standards. The term ‘eco-luxury’ is used to distinguish authentically high-quality products from those based on obsolete and non-sustainable models.

‘luxury’ is not used to communicate ‘superfluous’ or merely expensive commodity but used more in the sense of the original Latin word luxus, once used to indicate an object that was more beautiful or precious than others and would stimulate admiration and appreciation. Many people do not approve of using the word ‘luxury’ in matters relating to the environment, ecology and sustainability. They prefer the word ‘quality’, but the quality inherent in a product or service relates more to the standardization and procedural transformation required to create it.

In the tourism sector there has been a growth of experimental enterprises in recent years by a small group of entrepreneurs and these new activities are introducing innovative methods and approaches.

They are mainly developing in those countries where nature is the main tourist attraction as in Africa, where a number of companies are also exporting new models of development to other continents such as Asia and Oceania.

Companies are concentrating efforts on the fundamental aspects of environmental sustainability. These organizations consider the following prerequisites as fundamental:

1) To be ‘small’ from the structural point of view and thus avoid massive ‘invasions’ of host environments.
2) To offer luxury products with the highest quality standards.
3) To develop environmental and social sustainability.
4) To be partners in the management of reserves and parks and local communities or promoters of tourism and environmental sustainability
5) To inform guests about sustainable activities and allow them to observe the results of efforts made in this direction.
6) To ‘export’ similar projects to other areas of their region or to other countries in cooperation with governments, agencies, park commissions, natural reserves or business partners.
7) To promote sustainability in collaboration with schools, universities, etc.

It is foreseen that governments and local authorities will place increasing importance on sustainable development, and not only in relation to tourism. Moreover, this will occur as a result of a growing awareness of and interest in environmental issues. However, an increase in the number of protected areas will entail an increased need for economical resources. For this reason we shall have to balance the appropriation of public funds with investment by private enterprises and partnerships which can guarantee the continuity and existence of such projects.

Eco-Luxury Establishments

Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa, Hong Kong

The Crosswaters Ecolodge & Spa is tasked by the Chinese Central Government to become a model of sustainable design. It features 49 feng-shui’d villas and suites—each constructed out of locally grown bamboo and appointed with organic local textiles. Just 2 ½ hours northeast from Hong Kong the Crosswaters Ecolodge lays in the Nankun Mountain Reserve, right next to a river. Guest can receive their treatments in open-air spa suites and are invited to visit tribal villages, to practice tai chi in a forest studio and to experience regional wine-making techniques. more

Bespoke Experience, Mozambique

Bespoke Experience owns and operates exclusive eco lodges, developed and ran using fair trade principles. The objective is to create high-end tourism lodges, which enable communities to work their way out extreme poverty. Guludo Beach Lodge in Mozambique was the first of these lodges to open. The Mipande Bush Lodge is scheduled to open in December 2007. Bespoke Experience is also involved in a variety of projects supporting the surrounding area. [1]

Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco, Ca

The Orchard Garden is San Francisco’s ‘greenest’ hotel. It is first urban hotel in the US to earn the US Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certificate. The rooms features include high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi access, high definition LCD television with DVD and CD player, iPod docking station, and Aveda organic bath products. Some of the ‘green’ features are in-room recycling system, chemical-free cleaning products, compact fluorescent light bulbs and a 100% tobacco-free environment. [2]

Warapuru, Brazil

Warapuru is a luxury resort and spa in Brazil, which will open in the spring of 2007. Nestled in between the beach and the rain forest, it features a design hotel, private pavilions and villas. For treatments only locally sourced materials and native plants are used. [3]

Moss Wellness Spa, Scottsdale, AZ

Moss Wellness Spa is a resort-style spa located in the Scottsdale Waterfront. Moss is eco-luxury spa that is working towards LEED certification by the Spring of 2009. This 10,000 sq. ft. facility hosts multiple relaxation lounges, 9 treatment rooms, separate yoga and pilates studios, a spa suite, and an outdoor co-ed lounge. Moss is partnered with Naturopathica, Eminence Organics, Anakiri, Luzern Laboratories, John Master's Organic's, Simply Organic, and Ormedics by Image Skincare. The first eco-luxury spa to open in Arizona, was introduced on April 2, 2008. [4]

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