What’s good for body and soul is not always so promising for the planet – as landfills and oceans groaning with cotton rounds, microbeads and plastic packaging can attest. By-products of the beauty industry aside, a focus on wellness and being conservation-conscious is no longer mutually exclusive, as these new PURE recruits prove. From Morocco to Mozambique, their dedication to nurturing their surroundings ensures guests will leave only the tiniest footprint – protecting not only their inner zen but the environment, too.
LOCATION: Taroudant, Morocco
HOW THEY CHANGE WORLDS: Jungle isn’t a word commonly associated with Morocco; but no other term does Dar el Hossoun’s impossibly lush gardens justice. Designed by landscape architects Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières, they’re a beautiful display of biodiversity, with over 900 species of desert vegetation – from agaves to plump aloes; cacti to vibrant kalanchoes. Nothing is wasted; the hotel’s sunbaked walls are built from earth taken from a disused quarry; and a few moments down the road lies le jardin potager, the riad’s farm, where vegetables grow bountifully under the hot Moroccan sun.
That’s not to say that wellness is secondary. It wouldn’t be an authentic riad experience without a hammam – and the Dar el Hossoun boasts two, complete with homemade honey-and-herbal products, all-day detox rituals and solar-powered showers.
LOCATION: Laikipia, Kenya
HOW THEY CHANGE WORLDS: In their own words, eco-safari retreat Segera “prove that luxury can be sustainable.” Spend a night or two there – sipping local wines; sleeping in a human-sized bird’s nest under a canopy of stars; snapping honey off the comb – and even the staunchest five-star-hotel devotee would struggle to disagree. The brainchild of conservationist Jochen Zeitz – he of Zeitz MOCAA fame – Segera was always going to be special. Founded upon four key principles, conservation, community, culture and commerce, designed to achieve maximum sustainability, the retreat was built on land formerly devastated by poaching.
A decade on, Zeitz has restored the wildlife haven of Laikipia to its former glory, and then some, becoming a refuge for endangered species, migratory mammals – and now humans in search of switching off. With a holistic approach to wellness that encompasses raw food menus, outdoor yoga, a Rasul steam tower and petal-filled, swimming pool-sized baths, Segera has perfected the balance between high-end luxury and a considered approach to eco hospitality.
This beautiful ostrich is distracting our guests from her young chicks… Amazing capture by guide Bashir #picoftheday #photography #adventure #explorer #safari #safaristyle #travel #luxurytravel #ostrich #ostrichegg #bucketlist #photography #photosafari #naturewalk #bushwalk #laikipiasafari #game #segerasafari #segeraretreat
HOW THEY CHANGE WORLDS: Mozambique is an indefinable island, where bustling cities compete for space with some of Africa’s most pristine, untouched coastline. Azura, the country’s first eco-resort, is a similar study in contrasts: its impossibly high-end appearance belies a serious devotion to conservation. To stay at Azura is to experience a resort built entirely from sustainable wood by – and in harmony with – the Benguerra islanders; even the thatched roofs (jekka) are handcrafted by local women. Guests may have their own personal butlers, but they’ll serve locally sourced produce and will have honed their craft on-site, as part of Azura’s community outreach initiative.
Their approach to wellness is equally considered: as soon as guests step outside of their villas (onto a path of crushed oyster shells, no less) myriad delights await. Lie on a raised deck, overlooking the Indian Ocean, and enjoy a massage with organic African shea butter; join the local football team for an impromptu game on the sand; or take to the sea for a guided expedition to see the elusive Dugong, a rare manatee-like mammal who Azura are committed to help protect.