The glamorous jet-set lifestyles of celebrities are often reported to be contributing to environmental concerns, but some famous faces are opting for guilt-free, green getaways in a bid to reduce the impact of climate change and do their bit for the planet. Angela West checks out the eco-friendly hotels of Portugal favoured by the big names.
The whole world is talking about it: global warming… climate control… carbon emissions… conservation… preservation… With a growing trend for going that much further to help protect the planet, being more environmentally-aware is becoming an important factor in people’s lives. Travel and tourism account for up to one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and when it comes to recharging your batteries, many are opting to holiday greener with guilt-free getaways offering all of the luxuries, but not at the expense of
Eco-friendly travel is something that everyone can contribute to on many different levels… whether it’s opting for eco-mindful accommodation or travelling sustainably and offsetting your carbon emissions, being kind to Mother Nature during your trips is easier than you may think. Simply turning your lights and TV off as you leave your room goes towards being as conserving on the road as you are at home: one small step for the traveller, one big stride for the planet!
Hotels Flying The Green Flag
Embracing eco-tourism, Portugal’s hotels are beginning to vie for ‘green’ and ‘carbon neutral’ status in a big way, with many going to great lengths to cut the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global climate change. Eco-aware, energy-conscious establishments are adopting a ‘waste not’, energy-efficient attitude and are setting new standards when it comes to taking care of the environment. Green practices include anything from recycling newspapers, using energy-saving light bulbs, ‘green’ detergents
for linens and soaps, local sustainable and reclaimed materials and natural resources, automatic current cut-off in rooms and discharge limits on shower heads to switching to energy-saving solar power for air-con systems, using windpower and UV purification in pools. Along with reducing water consumption, even rainwater is put to good use. Some eco-friendly hotels also offer free parking to guests who drive efficient ‘hybrid’ vehicles to their eco-paradise.
So where do eco-concious celebs choose to stay? A firm favourite for famous faces, Lisbon’s beautiful, 5-star multi-award-winning Lapa Palace (affectionally-known as the Lap’a luxury) ticks numerous green boxes and is frequented by international aristocracy. The Palace’s suites have hosted not only Kings, Queens and Presidents, but Tina Turner, Cher, Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Bryan Adams, Seal and Heidi Klum, Lenny Kravitz, Bon Jovi, REM and Barbara Streisand, too.
Some of the bathroom materials in the opulent, individually-decorated/themed rooms are manufactured from organic materials, ecofriendly products are routinely used for laundry and guests are encouraged to re-use towels by hanging them up, rather than leaving them in the bath for washing after just one use. No frozen products are used in the award-winning Cipriani restaurant, voted the best in Lisbon and a beacon for the city’s ‘cafe society’. Only the best and freshest products are used to create a wide range of dishes and menus change every season to ensure guests enjoy the very best produce available.
Topping up the tan? Sumptuous suncreams and aftersun lotions containing only natural ingredients such as walnuts and carrots are provided in bathrooms and beside the outdoor pool. Citrus soaps combine milk and honey while shampoos contain Holly Hock and conditioners are made from Propolis. Those after some star spa treatment should indulge in La Prairie spa, where natural products are reused, paper is recycled and bottles and glass products are cleaned and sterilised, rather than finding themselves destined for the bin. For a back-to-nature open-air experience, sweet almond oil, rather than mineral oil, is used for massages in secret spots in the tropical gardens, rejuvenating the body and spirit whilst surrounded by natural fabulous fragrances.
Other hot hotels flying the green flag and favoured by big names include the exclusive 15th-century palace, Palácio Belmonte, which is a member of the DaST (Design a Sustainable Tomorrow) Collection and the most acclaimed and historic hotel in Old Lisbon. Surrounded by winding, cobblestone streets, Palácio Belmonte sits majestically atop one of the city’s renowned seven hills, adjacent to the picturesque Castelo de São Jorge, St. George’s Castle, overlooking the Alfama district’s medieval churches and the Tagus River, affording breathtaking views of the red-roofed valley and lush gardens below.
Christian Louboutin raved about it in Vogue, naming it as one of his favorite hotels in the world and it regularly welcomes the most famous of faces, who frequently rent the whole Palácio. The Palácio is the leading example of responsible ecological and environmental management of its type in Portugal and has been honoured with numerous accolades including an Award for Urban Regeneration from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), assigned to the Belmonte by HRH Charles, Prince of Wales.