Tag - accommodation

Green Hotel Bookings Made Easy

Sunshine falling on tropical green palm leaves

How to find a green hotel?

What do you do if you prefer to stay at a hotel that cares about its employees, the community it operates in, and the natural surroundings? You may have stayed at such a hotel before, you may have friends who can recommend hotels to you, but there are only so many places you can cover by first or second hand experiences.

There are plenty of results if you make a generic search for sustainable hotels on google, and there are plenty of national and international organizations that certify hotels that care. But how do the hotels and certification organizations define being sustainable? The criteria applied vary greatly. And they should, because the relevance of sustainable practices vary according to the type of hotel and the natural and societal environment it operates in.

To help you through the jungle of green hotels, luckily there are great resources that help you find the accommodation you want and inform you on their sustainable practices. The green hotel search engines will quickly help you to locate sustainable hotels in your desired area.

Sustainable hotel search engines

Here is a list of online and worldwide sustainable hotel databases to get you quickly started:

Eco Hotels of the World 

A worldwide database of eco-hotels that are given a score from 1-5 Eco-Stars. The stars are given based on a rating form submitted by the hotel. The focus is mainly on environmental sustainability. For each hotel, you can see their green ratings and practices on five different criteria: Energy, water, disposal, eco-active, and protection.

Update: Eco Hotels of the World is now shut down.

Environmentally Friendly Hotels 

A worldwide database and guide to sustainable hotels. 1-7 green leaves are given based on how many of 30 “green attributes” the hotel fulfills. The checklist of the green attributes is submitted by the accommodation supplier. The focus is primarily on environmental sustainability.
Environmentally Friendly Hotels


A hotel booking database which shows the carbon footprint of hotels and indicates whether they are certified by one of the major sustainability certification schemes. The carbon footprint is calculated according to a formula developed by Breda University of Applied Sciences (NHTV), BookDifferent, and partners from the Dutch tourism sector. The formula considers emission heavy facilities such as air-condition, swimming pools, and saunas. BookDifferent has both green and “ordinary” hotels. Their database is based on that of, and they give a price guarantee on their hotels. About half of BookDifferent’s profit goes to a charity chosen by you.


TripAdvisor's GreenLeadersYes, you read right. Tripadvisor has launched its “Green Leaders” programme. Hotels receive bronze, silver, gold or platinum according to their efforts. Hotels have to apply themselves and make data available on their efforts on sustainability. Tripadvisor may receive feedback from users who have stayed at Green Leader hotels, and external audits will be made at properties also.

It is unclear whether all properties will be audited before being given a badge. Once you have searched for a destination on TripAdvisor, you will see a filter where one of the categories is “Style”. If you click “See all”, you may find that there is a “Green” option you can tick (only if there are green options at the selected destination).

It’s a Green Green World 

Also known as GGW, this website invites hotel properties to list their own green initiatives by filling out a form. GGW will then feature the hotel along with the information provided on the website. There is no rating given and no auditing. The GGW includes hotels from all over the world. The focus is on environmental sustainability.

Update: It’s a Green Green World is now shut down.


This website focuses on the Indonesian island of Bali. BGreener suggests green hotels, travel tips and consultancy on sustainable travel. The featured hotels promise to deliver the most enriching travel experiences, focusing on a select group of hotels that truly care about their travelers, their staff, and the environmental and social surroundings they work in. BGreener has each partner fill out a questionnaire on what makes their accommodation experience unique as a result of their sustainability benefits, efforts, and awards. In this way, travelers will know what to expect in terms of green experiences and practices.

BGreener has developed a sustainability section for hotels and suppliers in the hospitality industry, a peer-to-peer sharing platform for simple tips and best practices on social and environmental sustainability in tourism. Here you can find amazing (and free!) webinars and podcasts with international industry leaders sharing their insights and tips on sustainable tourism management.


GreenHotelWorldGreenHotelWorld is an online booking platform for green hotels worldwide. When you make a hotel search on the website, you can see which sustainable practices each hotel carries out. It is possible to filter the hotels according to their “green practices” such as environmental protection, social responsibility, local resources, cultural heritage, and third party certification status. If your chosen hotel has not been green certified by one of the many eco-certification labels GHW works with, the company has teamed up with myclimate to offset the carbon footprint of your stay. The search results are based on the Expedia hotel search engine, and GreenHotelWorld offers a price guarantee for a vast number of the hotels on offer.

There is no excuse not to book a green hotel!

Find more eco-hotel platforms and tips on how to be a green traveler on The Dharma Trails’ Where to find Eco Accommodation.

Now that we have walked you through these online tools for finding sustainable hotels, there is no excuse not to use one of them. These green hotel platforms will enable you to find your responsible accommodation providers from small family owned lodges to large luxury hotels. Remember to give feedback to the hotels and the booking platforms on your experience, so they can keep their databases up to date and help other travelers find high quality green hotels that care about their social and natural surroundings.

Did we forget a green booking engine? Please let us know and we will update our list.

How to Find the Ideal Beach Hotel?

Simple hotel accommodation in wooden bungalow

So you decided the destination for your beach holiday, and now you want to move on with selecting a nice beach hotel that fits your preferences. There are a number of ways that can help you select your hotel, and combining them will most likely give you the best chances of a successful result.

 Personal experiences

The easiest way to know whether a hotel will meet your needs, is obviously if you have first hand experience of the hotel yourself. Overall, you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect, you know the location, the surroundings, the room sizes, the facilities, and you might even know some of the staff and repeat customers from your last visit.


  • Some features like hotel decor, management, and maintenance change over time
  • Your memory may deceive you, and you could have been blindly in love last time around
  • Surroundings change over time – favorite hang-outs disappear, prices explode, atmospheres change, visitor profiles develop etc.
  • Your previous hotel is not what you want now – now you can remove 1 hotel from the 100s of choices
 Reccommendations from family and friends

It is great to get advice from friends and family who know the destination you are heading for, and which hotel you should stay at. Their experiences will help you in many ways, other than choosing the hotel. They will teach you the “do’s and dont’s” of a destination, which activities to try, where to get a good meal, and which beach to chill at.


  •  Your Uncle Carlos’ idea of what a good hotel is might not be the same as yours, and you probably don’t share the same passions
  • Your Uncle Carlos might also not know you and your preferences as well, as he thinks he does
  • Things changed since Uncle Carlos’ visit
  • Personal encounters, incidents, and a bunch of more or less random events affect the overall perception – it only takes one rude comment by a stressed waiter or a nice gesture from a receptionist to determine whether a hotel will be recommended or not
 Customer reviews

Reviews on any bought service or item can now be found online. Who better to advise you than fellow tourists who have tried and tested the product? This is great way to find up to date, user-generated information about a hotel and get a quick overview of its perceived value. All major online booking sites like Agoda, Hotels, Booking, Expedia etc. feature customer reviews of offered hotels. Tripadvisor is perhaps the best known and most trusted hotel review site, and the importance of good customer reviews for hoteliers cannot be underestimated.


  •  Many customers only leave reviews of services or products where they have had an experience out of the ordinary. This means that many reviews are either very good or very bad, and thus not necessarily representative of the common experience. Actually, reading through the reviews will often leave you perplexed if the reviews are too polarized. Our suggestion is to look at the overall scores, and take the single reviews with a grain of sand.
  • There has always been trust issues related to reviews. Are the reviewers really customers or could they be affiliated with the hotel in some way? Have the reviewers been bribed somehow? Could malicious competitors skew the review scores by posting bad reviews? The less reviews, the higher the risk of the overall scores being skewed.
  • Reviewers might have entirely different standards, understandings of services, and expectations compared to your own. What one reviewers sees as extraordinary service, another reviewer interprets as overly intruding staff.
 Expert recommendations

A good travel agency or advisor will be able to understand your needs and point you in the right direction. They will most likely have feedback from previous clients going to the destination in question, and can seek extra information directly from the accommodation suppliers. If the travel expert is specialized in the region you wish to visit, they can likewise give you tips beyond the choice of accommodation.


  • If you are an experienced traveler, chances are you know more about the destination than your travel agent.
  • Would travel agents try to satisfy their accommodation suppliers or reach sales targets by sending you to a specific hotel rather than help you find the ideal hotel for you?
  • Travel agencies tend to feature and book the same hotels at a given destination, so whether this is your preference or not, you might end up in a “national bubble” of fellow country-men and women.
We’re here, now what? – not selecting beforehand

Now this option suits some and definitely doesn’s suit others. You can simply choose to go to your selected destination, and see what you can find once you are there. This saves you the time of looking for a hotel beforehand, and you can actually check out the hotel yourself on-site before you commit to staying anywhere. There is a good chance you will be able to find small quirky hotels that are not available for online bookings. We recommend that you know which area you want to stay in, perhaps aided by a guidebook. Go to that area, leave your bags at a restaurant and walk around to find your hotel. Simple – if you are flexible.


  • Be careful if it’s high season – everything could be fully booked, and you might end up either having to spend the night at an overpriced room or in whatever is left from the most basic dorm room to the luxury suite. Plan B, buy a tent. Plan C, find a friendly local resident. Plan D, find a friendly bench. Plan E, don’t sleep – jetlag will mess with your sleep anyway.
  • If this is your once in a lifetime overseas 2-week travel holiday with your spouse and kids or (even worse) your honeymoon trip, you might not want to leave too many things to chance for the sake of keeping your marital status.
  • If you are the kind of tourist that travels to relax and rejuvenate, then save yourself a dose of anxiousness by having your trip well-organized.