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Seas The Day: The World’s Best Hotels That Protect Our Oceans

8 mins

On World Oceans Day, we celebrate the luxury resorts that pioneer sustainable tourism and marine conservation to protect our blue planet

Our oceans are vital for life on Earth. More than three billion people rely on food from them, we harness energy from them and they provide more oxygen than the world’s forests combined. 

The ocean even protects us by stabilising the climate, absorbing more than 90 per cent of excess heat our activities have caused globally along with 25 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions. 

We play in our seas, they form part of our identity and culture and even give us medicine, but we have neglected them. The temperatures are rising because of climate change, we overfish, dump rubbish and chemicals into them and without action the annual amount of plastic into the ocean will triple by 2040 to a staggering 29 million metric tons a year. 

Oceans In Trouble

Coral reefs are dying because of acidification while some countries, such as ones in Africa, are predicted to see an 85 per cent decline of their fish stocks. The oceans are in trouble.  

‘Ocean temperatures have never been higher and marine life is disappearing at an unprecedented pace, putting the world at risk,’ the European Commission’s High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said. ‘Our oceans, functioning as our planet’s greatest carbon sink, cannot wait for the reversal of dramatic developments, and neither can we.’

turtle in the ocean marine conservation

Since signing an historic agreement  on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas, known as the BBNJ Agreement, in June 2023, the EU is making ocean sustainability its priority, pledging €3.5 billion from various EU funds to ensure we have ‘safe, secure, clean, healthy and sustainably managed oceans.’ 

‘Ocean temperatures have never been higher and marine life is disappearing at an unprecedented pace, putting the world at risk’

European Commission’s High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius

The blue planet is good for us, too, boosting our happiness and healing us. Many of us love to travel to tropical and far flung islands for the pure joy of revelling in the crystal clear waters so it makes sense to celebrate the luxury travel brands who understand the importance of and are leading the way in marine conservation. 

With a global commitment to protect 30 per cent of our oceans by 2030, there has never been a more important time for us all to join forces and take action for our one shared ocean.

Fortunately, visionaries in sustainable tourism continue to pioneer ways in enhancing the oceans that we all depend on. Here The Ethicalist highlights the very best guardians of the blue planet. 

Six Senses Laamu, the Maldives 

six senses lama in the maldives who protect our oceans

In the unchartered Laamu Atoll, Six Senses Laamu is an island paradise of stunning natural beauty that is dedicated to preserving the biodiverse reef communities that surround it. 

Since opening in 2011, the tropical resort has minimised any negative impact on the environment, and set a high bar for tourist resorts to make a positive impact and give back. 

That’s why in March 2023, the resort unveiled the Sea Hub for Environmental Learning in Laamu (SHELL), a 5,952 ft square space on Sunset Beach housing the Maldives Underwater Initiative marine conservation collaboration consisting of marine biologists and partner NGOs to work together to protect marine ecosystems and empower its people for generations to come. 

Already they have introduced larval restoration to enhance the rate of recovery of depleted coral populations to benefit the health of coral reefs. Since March 2023 SHELL has released around 12.2 million larvae onto the Six Senses Laamu house reef and recorded species spawn there that they have never witnessed before. 

Beyond its role in research, the SHELL actively engages with the local community, welcoming over 300 members in 2023 alone. Through initiatives like the Hello Hallu program, students across Laamu Atoll are inspired to become stewards of their environment.

Staying There: Rates at Six Senses Laamu start from $1,072 (currently approx. £824) based on two adults sharing a Lagoon Water Villa on a B&B basis. www.sixsenses.com

Nihi Sumba, Indonesia 

Nihi Sumba, Indonesia

Twice the size of Bali, and just an hour’s flight from that popular tourism destination is this remote hideaway that’s still relatively unknown. With pristine beaches, and just 28 villas amid hundreds of acres of jungle and panoramic views of the Indian ocean, this secluded paradise is surrounded by untouched wilderness and beauty. 

The eco-friendly resort encourages guests to connect with the environment through key experiences, including visiting the turtle hatchery and surfing. 

In order to protect the coral reef underneath Nihiwatu Beach, there are a limited number of surf slots for guests to surf Occy’s Left Wave, ensuring Sumba’s unique ecosystem is protected and preserved. 

aerial of horseback riders on beach by ocean

It has a vision to equally protect and preserve the unique Sumbanese culture too and empower local communities. The resort employs 85-90% local Sumbanese people. In partnership with its philanthropic arm, The Sumba Foundation, NIHI has worked to reduce malaria infection rates by more than 93 per cent, with well over 360 students now trained in WHO Malaria Training. To help combat the island’s scarce water supply, The Sumba Foundation has also helped build 60 water wells and a network of 250 water stations, providing water to 25,000 people daily. 

Staying There: Rates at NIHI Sumba start from £1,550 per villa per night on a full board basis. www.nihi.com 

Miavana by Time + Tide, Africa

Miavana by Tide +Time ocean front villas

With a conservation history dating back to 1950, Miavana by Time +Tide is located on Nosy Ankao, off the north-east of Madagascar that has a full-time environmental team trained to protect the island and its wildlife. 

Turtle rangers monitor the nests on the island’s beaches to give hatchlings the best chance at survival, recently taking part in a Sea Turtle tracking seminar to learn the latest – and best – tracking methods. 

The Time +Tide Foundation works closely with the local fishing federation to protect marine life surrounding the island. They constantly meet local communities to teach them how disastrous the effects of illegal fishing are while also sharing their knowledge to protect the oceans and source sustainably. 

Terns play a vital role in marine ecosystems, and the Time + Tide Foundation works hard to ensure that the island of Manampaho, where they nest, is clean and that there are no fishermen or campers on the island as they may deter the terns or even attempt to collect their eggs.

Staying There: Miavana by Time + Tide starts from $3,700 per adult (approx £2,900) per night in a one-bedroom villa on a full board basis. The rate excludes conservation, foundation and access fees which are charged at $300 per person per night. www.timeandtidefoundation.org.

Eden Rock, St Barths

Eden Rock, St Baarts

The luxurious Caribbean hotel has been working hard to breathe new life into the island’s coral reefs since 2019 using a pioneering BioRock technique. 

This involves a three-step process to revitalise existing coral and promote its propagation. The coral frags are first attached to copper reinforcements before an energy source is applied. Then, the restoration team boosts mineralization of the coral and monitors its progress, ensuring the coral reef continues to thrive and grow.

So far 200 coral fragments have shown significant growth meaning a variety of fish have been welcomed back, including a growing population of juveniles of different species, proving the successful revitalisation of the local marine ecosystem. 

Eden Rock

Visitors can keep tabs on the project’s progress during visits to Eden Rock, contributing their personal experience to this collaborative environmental initiative. 

Staying There: Eden Rock – St Barths rates start from €1,100 (currently approx. £938) per night, B&B, + 5 per cent local taxes.  oetkercollection.com/hotels/eden-rock-st-barths

Jumby Bay Island, Antigua & Barbuda

Jumby Bay

Set in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, in the Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuta, Jumby Bay Island is private island of simple but stunning pleasures.  

With just 28 nautical-fresh suites, and a further 12 Ocean View Suites that debuted at the end of 2022, Jumby Bay is surrounded by lush tropical foliage, spanning 300 acres and home to 4.5 miles of pristine shoreline, with the main resort presiding over some of the most spectacular and fiercely protected beaches in the Caribbean.

Jumby bay aerial view of ocean

In an effort to preserve and showcase its natural beauty, Jumby Bay is carrying out several initiatives that preserve the environment and indigenous species including the endangered Hawksbill Turtle, the White Egret and the Persian Black-Headed Sheep. 

From June to November, since 1987, the Hawksbill turtle’s nesting activities are monitored to ensure that the delicate ecosystem remains in balance, an example of wise development practices and marine conservation tools successfully co-existing. 

Staying There: Rates for Jumby Bay Island start from $2,250 per night (currently approx. £1,865) in a Beachside Suite, inclusive of all meals, beverages, all watersports activities and kids club. www.oetkercollection.com/hotels/jumby-bay-island

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