Three luxurious “eco-chic” stays

Janeiro hotel
“Eco-chic” is the hot new hotel theme

From Brazil to India, stylish hotels are going green, says Chris Carter.

Janeiro, an “eco-chic” boutique hotel, opened in Rio de Janeiro last month, says Alison Cohn in Harper’s Bazaar. A mere ten-minute drive from Fasano – the Philippe Starck-designed, Ipanema beach watering hole that, with its rooftop infinity pool, has become synonymous with the extravagantly rich – it nevertheless feels a world away. “All minimalist blond freijó wood and Travertine marble with breathtaking views of the white-cliffed Ilhas Cagarras from each of its 53 rooms, Janeiro feels a bit like a Tulum eco-resort beamed down in the midst of Brazil’s seaside megacity.” The suites are open-plan and boast double rainforest showers and swing chairs help to complete the “indoor-outdoor vibe”.

Owner-designer Oskar Metsavaht is a long-time proponent of “sustainable luxury”. So expect to find all-natural toiletries from Brazilian beauty label Granado in the bathrooms, locally sourced organic cotton laundry bags, and blown-glass lamps hand-crafted in the south of the country from recycled glass bottles in the rooms. Up a thoroughly modernist floating staircase, you’ll find the Little Pool Bar, a perfectly intimate space to sip a caipirinha, cool your heels in the plunge pool, and watch the sun set through a circular window over the majestic Two Brothers mountain. “This,” says Metsavaht, “is what I call healthy hedonism.”

A south Indian pearl

Kerala fishermenXandari Pearl, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is on Marari Beach in the fishing village of Mararikulam, says Hanna Fillingham in Hello. With a laid-back vibe and sandy beaches, not to mention the incredible weather, there isn’t a lot not to like. No wonder it’s popular with Bollywood stars.

Five of the 27 villas have their own plunge pool and each comes with a private garden, hammock and outside shower. In its pursuit of all things green, the resort uses straws made from leaves, while everything from mangoes to tomatoes and cashews to coconuts are grown on site. You can even make your mark at the resort by planting your own tree. As for the fish, local fishermen supply the kitchen every day, so it couldn’t be fresher and helps to support the local community, too. 

Sundowners in Zanzibar

Set in sprawling grounds, White Sand Luxury Villas and Spa overlooks pristine Paje beach in Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean, says Nick Curtis in the Independent. The resort is a fascinating architectural blend of European concrete modernism and traditional African techniques, with its handrails and canopies made from whole, irregular tree trunks and branches.

“The central complex is built around a cavernous dining room with a champagne bar on the roof and a terrace overlooking two oval swimming pools separated by a bridge that looks like it was inspired by a Japanese woodcut.” The beach is popular with kitesurfers, and the watersports centre offers an all-action package of fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Start the evening with an African-accented cocktail – a passion fruit daiquiri or a ginger mojito – on the roof of the Champagne bar, and watch the sun set. Then head to the pool for a “sprawling” buffet of fish and “lush” barbecued Tanzanian beef. Or instead, go for lobster and Thai chicken curry on the terrace, or even Curtis’s “personal favourite” – simple grilled fish en brochette washed down with Tusker beer at the beach bar.


A private members’ club in trendy Shoreditch

Curtain hotel

Guests at the new 120-room Curtain hotel in trendy Shoreditch, east London, were treated to a surprise concert from Chance the Rapper in the hotel’s private members’ club recently, says Jay Cheshes in the Wall Street Journal. The club, a “home for creative entrepreneurs”, boasts co-working space, a screening room, a rooftop bar and pool, and an outpost of chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Manhattan restaurant, Red Rooster. It is part of a growing global movement away from mediocre “club floors” offered at big chain hotels towards venues and networking of a much higher calibre. Each hotel caters to its own section of the market – the Curtain, for example, has nightlife as its focus: call it “the Soho House effect”. The Curtain has an opening members’ rate of £1,000 a year, with a £250 joining fee. See TheCurtain.com.