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Top 7 eco-friendly resorts in Hawaii

Reduce your environmental impact by staying at one of these sustainable resorts.

Updated

Luxurious Hawiian 5 star resort with view toward ocean and mountains.

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By booking an eco-resort in Hawaii you'll be staying at a property with a firm mission towards sustainability. You can distinguish these by their initiatives concerning waste management, water usage, energy consumption and conservation.

Keen to do your bit while on holiday but you don't want to sift through each and every hotel? We've put together a list of eco-friendly resorts in Hawaii that are attempting to make each part of their operations as sustainable as possible.

Why we chose these resorts

The properties that we've chosen have many sustainability initiatives in place. When putting together our list, we chose properties that featured several of the following:

  • Awards for overall sustainability or green policies
  • Staff and guest involvement in beach, reef and community clean-ups
  • Conservation programs for sea and land flora and fauna
  • Initiatives to reduce energy and water consumption
  • Waste management systems and goals in place
  • Ingredients and supplies sourced locally and the use of organic produce

Top 7 eco-friendly resorts in Hawaii

hawaii resorts

1. Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu

Hula lessons, underwater encounters, breathtaking views, massages, golf, bars and restaurants can all be found here – and there's not much else you could need for your Hawaiian holiday.

  • This resort created a Green Committee in 2009 to oversee energy efficiency, waste and water management and conservation projects.
  • Turtle Bay Resort was the first in Oahu to install solar roofing. This has reduced its carbon emissions by millions of kilograms.
  • All cups are either reusable or made from materials that easily break down.
  • Plastic cutlery has been replaced by corn-based cutlery. As it is made from corn starch, it breaks down a lot faster in landfill and compost.
  • Staff participate in regular beach clean-ups and planting days and assist other businesses with eco-friendly projects.

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hawaii resorts

2. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Puako

With rooms and suites on a private white sand beach, Mauna Kea has plenty of activities to fill your days.

  • A cross-departmental Green Team is responsible for implementing and maintaining sustainability practices in energy and water conservation, recycling and waste reduction.
  • Staff work with the Nature Conservancy and the University of Hawaii on studies regarding the protection of the coral reefs and keeping the ocean trash free.
  • On-site beehives provide pollination for native plants and local farming.
  • 95% of dairy and fish and 85% of produce is sourced from local suppliers that meet strict criteria.

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hawaii resorts

3. The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Waikiki

10 minutes from the shopping and entertainment hub of Waikiki lies this tropical beach resort with luxurious rooms and suites.

  • Having implemented sustainable practices for over 50 years, this resort is an industry leader among eco-resorts in Hawaii. It received the Hawaii Green Business Program Award from the State of Hawaii in 2019.
  • Free range and organic products are used in the kitchen and local suppliers are prioritised.
    The resort purchases reused products such as construction materials and printer cartridges when possible, and prefers suppliers that use recycled packaging.
  • Environmentally-friendly products such as boric acid-based housekeeping products and eco-friendly paints are used to avoid chemicals being introduced to the ecosystem.
  • Guests are encouraged to join staff in beach cleans, street cleans and other community projects.

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hawaii resorts

4. Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, Wailea

This award-winning luxury resort has over 50 environmental initiatives in place and is committed to responsible tourism practices.

  • Over 1,500 solar panels have been installed to provide sustainable energy.
  • Regular beach and reef clean-up days are organised to remove trash and harmful debris.
  • Unused hygiene products including soap and bottled amenities are donated to the
  • Clean the World Foundation. These materials are provided to people in countries with a high death rate from lack of hygiene products.
  • Compostable corn-based cups have replaced plastic cups, and utensils made from potatoes have replaced plastic utensils. These can decompose within 60 days.

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hawaii resorts

5. The Modern Honolulu

Offering a contemporary luxury experience, this resort is suitable for people who want to be close to the city.

  • Shopping bags are made from post-consumer recycled materials and non-chemical products are used in the spa.
  • Each room has Smart Room Technology to turn off air conditioning units when doors are opened or guests are out to reduce energy.
  • All rooms have single-sort recycling for an efficient waste management system.
  • No plastic straws are used and the check in/check out process is paperless to reduce waste.
  • Food waste is given to a local pig farm and cooking oils are recycled.

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hawaii resorts

6. Maui Coast Hotel

This hotel has rooms and suites, on-site restaurants, bars and a pool for you to enjoy the best of Maui.

  • Solar energy is used, reducing energy costs by 30%.
  • Glass mugs and bottles have replaced plastic waste.
  • Environmentally-friendly cleaning and sanitising products are used throughout the property.
  • Guests are supplied with free bicycles during their stay.

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hawaii resorts

7. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Treat yourself to a speciality suite or villa with ocean views and immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and history.

  • Refillable dispensers are used in bathrooms, eliminating over 100,000 bottles from landfills each year.
  • Sheets are changed every three days, which saves over 2.5 million litres of water each year.
  • Purified water is served in ceramic cups and carafes to avoid 90,000 plastic bottles being thrown out each year.
  • The resort supports a monk seal conservation program and inspires the community to protect this endangered species.

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What to know before you go to Hawaii?

  • Hawaii was the first US state to introduce a sunscreen law, which bans all sunscreens that contain petrolatum, oxybenzone, octinoxate or high levels of titanium dioxide. To comply with this regulation, pack natural mineral, organic or biodegradable sunscreens or wait until you arrive to purchase the correct product.
  • Monk seals and turtles on some of Hawaii's beaches are critically endangered, so if you see them, keep a safe distance.
  • Tap water is generally safe to drink, but make sure to double check with your hotel if you are on a smaller island or in a remote area. Bring a reusable bottle that you can refill.
  • When snorkelling or diving don't touch or stand on the coral reefs or marine life as you may accidentally destroy them or introduce foreign bacteria that could harm them.
  • If you're booking a tour, look for an operator that has Hawaii's sustainable tourism certification for peace of mind that it is ethically responsible.
  • Many eco-friendly resorts have conservation projects. If you have a few days, this can be one way to increase your knowledge and help out the Hawaiian people and wildlife.

Things to avoid when booking eco-accommodation in Hawaii

While there are many eco-resorts in Hawaii, there are some that don't meet the same standards as the resorts listed above.

For example, a property might have "eco" in its name but it might only have a limited number of sustainability initiatives in place. It might state that it's banned plastic water bottles or that it doesn't change sheets daily, and although this is admirable, you want to find accommodation that is more comprehensively eco-friendly.

Here are some other issues to look out for before you book:

  • Not using locally sourced or organic ingredients
  • Disposing of wastewater into the ocean or gardens without treating it appropriately
  • Giving guests plastic water bottles instead of reusable or biodegradable alternatives
  • Not using water-saving faucets, shower heads and toilets
  • Changing bed linen daily
  • No energy-saving initiatives such as LED light bulbs or solar panels
  • Little focus on minimising waste
  • Using toiletries and cleaning products with chemicals

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