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Unique Lodges - A Traveler's Dream

For all of the positive effects travel has on the world (almost too many to list), it also has some negatives including eroding natural wonders, crowding and polluting cities, disrupting wildlife and hurting native cultures. Trends of going green and living sustainably are picking up momentum throughout the world, and in the travel industry, this trend is no different.

As part of its mission “to inspire people to care about the planet,” National Geographic has created a network of exquisite accommodations for 2015 called Unique Lodges of the World. These properties pride themselves on commitments to the environments they’re located in and the cultures tourists travel so far to explore. Each member of this exclusive network must go through an intense vetting process, as all are evaluated based on elements such as sustainability and authenticity.

We were blown away by each of these lodges and wanted to share a few of our favorites. (We’ll have to wait until after we hit the lotto to visit most of these, as they give meaning to the expression once in a lifetime and cost a pretty penny.)

Southern Ocean Lodge – Kangaroo Island, Australia

Live on the edge, literally, in suites characterized by wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows. Known as Australia’s own Galapagos, Kangaroo Island is a pristine spot away from the hustle and bustle of much of Australia’s mainland. During your stay, learn about the island’s unusual wildlife from lodge naturalists and indulge in local culture and cuisine. Sustainable aspects of this property include a recycled rainwater infrastructure used for landscaping, an innovative waste-water system and a solar farm that provides a large portion of the lodge’s energy.

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa – Atacama Desert, Chile

The backdrop of this lodge is a true a masterpiece; something you would expect to stare at in a Guggenheim museum. This beautiful lodge, built by native workers using local materials wherever possible, is surrounded by breathtaking volcanoes and salt-glazed rock. As tribute to the history and culture of San Pedro de Atacama, much of the furniture and décor used in the resort was made by local craftspeople. This lodge also supports the local community by inviting Chilean students for internships to learn about hospitality. Sustainable aspects of this property include solar panels which deliver about half of the lodge’s electricity, recycled waste water used for irrigation, kitchen gardens to provide locally-grown ingredients for the restaurant and a composting process for leftover meals.

The Brando – Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

North of Tahiti in the pristine South Pacific, this all-inclusive eco-lodge is located on an island once partly owned by Marlon Brando. Accessible by a private, 20-minute plane ride from Tahiti, this tribute to Polynesian culture built with local, recycled materials will have you entranced from the start. Guests stay in villas with private pools and beach areas and enjoy cuisine with ingredients from the property’s own organic garden. Sustainable aspects of this lodge include a sea water air conditioning system, solar photovoltaic panels and a coconut oil generator. The lodge also created a research station to help protect, restore and study the precious ecosystem there.

True to its name, these properties are quite unique, and we hope you enjoy exploring and daydreaming about them as much as we did. Check out the rest of these Unique Lodges of the World.

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