Sustainable tourism: Ibiza’s top eco-friendly hotels
The past two seasons in Ibiza have been quieter than usual. With the clubs shut, the party masses have stayed away. The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic was that the reduced number of tourists to Ibiza over the past two years gave the island’s sensitive ecosystem a much-needed break. With a local population of just 152,000, the island on average welcomes 3 million visitors a year during peak season from May to October. This places the island’s land, water, and ecosystems under serious pressure.
In a similar vein to how the Eavis family - owners of the Glastonbury festival site in Somerset - give the land a breather to recover every four years, Ibiza was able to rejuvenate during the past two years of downtime. According to analysis from local environmental body IbizaPreservation, CO2 emissions on the island dropped a staggering 98% during the first lockdown between March and May 2020. Residents reported that the water was looking cleaner and local wildlife including dolphins, rare birds, and even turtles nesting on the beaches were seen to be flourishing.
But unlike Glastonbury, Ibiza can’t take a breather every few years, and much of the island’s economy depends on the tourist season. As the island prepares to welcome hordes of tourists for this summer when the clubs open again, demand for eco-friendly hotels for sustainably-minded tourists is at an all-time high. Ibiza is a leader in sustainable tourism and favoured for its Agrotourismo – farms with accommodation. Strict planning laws also mean that any new hotel developments must adhere to certain sustainability criteria. Sustainability is seriously important to us at Lick, and so is enjoying a good holiday. So, we’ve rounded up the top five options for an eco-friendly holiday on the White Isle.
Since opening more than twenty years ago, 12-bedroom luxury boutique hotel and organic farm Cas Gasi has dedicated itself to sustainability. Nestled deep in a terracotta-soiled valley near celebrity hangout Santa Gertrudis, the small hotel is based in a cosy 19th-century farmhouse which has been restored by its owners by embracing true Ibiza style, including mismatched upcycled furniture and paintings by local artists. The grounds are home to more than 450 olive trees and the hotel has introduced even more measures to improve their ambitious environmental targets ahead of the summer 2022 season.
Owner Margaret von Korff has recently re-designed the vegetable garden to a ‘no-dig’ system. This is all about feeding the soil, not the plants. It leaves the soil undisturbed so that organisms can work and multiply organically. The organic produce that is grown on the land goes from farm-to-table and is farmed using clean working habits by going back to basics and using simple brooms and pruning methods with scissors. All of the hotel’s vehicles are electric and there are plenty of charging points on site for guests to charge their electric cars – perfect for zipping to one of the island’s nearby beaches.
OKU Ibiza on the Western side of the island - near party-hub San Antonio - is another new addition to Ibiza’s luxe hotel line-up. The 189-bedroom hotel opened last year and offers a laid-back, 70’s bohemian appeal. Designed by the hotel’s in-house design team and with local architecture firm MG&AG Arquitectos, OKU’s rooms use minimal earth tones, embracing the Japanese design philosophy of wabi-sabi, which is all about connecting to the earth with the use of natural materials. There’s plenty of oak, rattan, hessian, and stone featured throughout the property – all classic Ibiza textures that blend easily into the island’s environment.
As a recent hotel development, OKU has had to meet strict sustainability criteria. The hotel tracks its energy usage by using LED technology throughout, as well as motion sensor lights in all public areas. The hotel was designed with a wooden façade which helps to naturally control the climate and keep temperatures cool throughout the property. All of the furniture used in the hotel has been handmade using organic materials and the spa uses local ingredients for all of its holistic treatments.