Romantic meals by the water’s edge, swimming, and snorkeling in the warm blue sea from our hotel’s private beach, exploring the island and wandering around the capital of Palma, all without leaving a huge carbon footprint, our eco-friendly honeymoon in Mallorca was all that we had hoped for.
Here are my top tips for planning a great honeymoon, including how to avoid having a negative impact on the planet. You’ll also find a summary of my 12 top tips for a sustainable and responsible holiday at the end of this post.
Don’t start your honeymoon exhausted
Getting married is a very tiring business! It is said to be one of the most stressful things in life, together with moving house and getting divorced.
I know many people who have planned the perfect wedding and the very next day after the ceremony boarded a long-haul flight and started their honeymoon feeling exhausted. When Neill and I got married last month we wanted to do things differently.
Our wedding at Amberley Castle was more than we ever could have dreamed of and I really did feel like a princess for the entire day. With just 18 guests it was easy to spend time with everyone but on cue, at 5.30pm, the guests left. We both felt extremely happy but exhausted and were content to be alone. That evening, we ordered room service for an intimate meal for two. Later that night we took a romantic walk beneath the stars, around the castle grounds.
A couple of days later we held a humdinger of a party for all our family and friends. We both agreed it was a great idea to split the day into two events like that. Not only did it spread out the celebrations but it gave us the chance to catch our breath and really enjoy the wedding, our night at the castle and the party without being run ragged.
Where and when to go on honeymoon?
When selecting a honeymoon location, we decided against a long-haul destination and instead opted to have our honeymoon somewhere closer to home, meaning our flights would have a smaller carbon footprint and we’d avoid jetlag.
And so, a couple of days after the celebrations, we headed to my favourite spa hotel, Bonsol Hotel Resort and Spa, on the lovely Mediterranean island of Mallorca. I had visited Mallorca a couple of times before and loved the people, food, wine and scenery.
Of course, you can only go so far when planning for the weather here in the UK. We had chosen to get married in early September so we had as good a chance as any of good weather on the big day. On honeymoon, we wanted to avoid the extreme heat and crowds found in the Med at the height of summer. In September, the weather in southern Europe would be just right. It did mean we ran some risk of rain and for one day it came down in bucket loads but it didn’t dampen our enjoyment of Palma Cathedral, the art galleries and the fabulous food market, Olivar Market.
Finding an eco-friendly hotel
With all the greenwashing that goes on these days, where hotels wish to appear responsible and eco-friendly but really aren’t anything of the sort, how do you find a truly eco-friendly hotel?
Many aspects of our wedding were eco-friendly, including our wedding rings. These were made from the same piece of recycled silver by Kate Pearse from Glasswing Jewellery, who makes ethically sourced, recycled and fair trade handmade jewellery. And the flowers were by Wild and Green who only use flowers from British suppliers. And an eco-friendly honeymoon was a must.
Handily, I already knew that the Bonsol Hotel Resort and Spa would fit the bill but it isn’t always that easy to tell the greenwashing from the reality.
To help you out, NOW, an organisation that is striving to advance sustainability in the hospitality industry, have made a list of 10 question you should ask. These include:
Q. Is your hotel sustainable? Does your hotel have a certified sustainability programme with independent audits?
A. The Bonsol Hotel is certified by the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) whose third-party verification guarantees the external and independent nature of the EMAS certification.
Q. What is your hotel’s carbon footprint? Is your hotel carbon neutral?
A. The Bonsol Hotel has a neutral carbon footprint. Having calculated how much CO2 the hotel produces, including the flights their guests take to get there, they purchased land in Costa Rica and worked out how many trees they would need to plant to offset it. They now own the equivalent of over 500 football pitches of land with some 230,000 trees and employ 30 local families who plant and maintain the new forest.
And you can see all the questions you should ask in NOW’s article, 10 tough ‘best for people and planet’ questions to ask a hotel before booking.
Bonsol Hotel Resort & Spa, Mallorca
My first choice when it comes to holiday accommodation is usually a small, family run, stylish hotel with a certain something that raises it above the norm, be that the location, its uniqueness or the warmth and helpfulness of the staff (hopefully all three). The Bonsol Hotel has all the charm of just such an establishment but with the facilities of a much larger hotel, most notably (to me) two swimming pools, one of which is heated all year round, and a superb spa. Add to this its outstanding green credentials – Neill and I agreed it was the perfect choice.
And if you are wondering how a year-round heated swimming pool fits into a sustainability policy, the water is kept warm by the heat generated from the hotel’s refrigerators.
You can read more about Bonsol Hotel Resort and Spa and its sustainability policy in my article Finding my Nirvana in Mallorca. Read what other travellers are saying about Bonsol Hotel.
Thank you to everyone at the Bonsol Hotel for looking after us so well and making us feel so welcome. And thanks to their excellent sustainability practices, we could relax and enjoy ourselves knowing that our honeymoon was not having a negative impact on our planet.
For more information and to book visit Classic Collection Holidays’ website or call 0800 047 1064.
12 Top Tips for a Sustainable and Responsible Holiday
1. Before you book your hotel ask them the 10 tough ‘best for people and planet’ questions to ask a hotel before booking.
2. Leave packaging behind before you travel.
Not all countries have recycling facilities so if you buy new items, recycle (or if you can’t recycle bin) the packaging before you travel.
3. Buy local.
Be sure to get out of your hotel and spend some money in local restaurants and markets, thereby helping the local economy.
4. Never buy any products made from endangered animals or vulnerable ecosystems.
Coral, for example, takes many years to grow and once damaged takes many more years to recover, yet coral is still being taken from our reefs to make jewellery.
5. Never feed wild animals.
Among many other reasons, feeding wildlife results in them seeing humans as a food source, which can cause problems for the local community.
6. Don’t take selfies with wild animals.
From sloths to lions there are a lot of incidents of animals being taken from the wild and mistreated while the ’owners’ make money from tourists who want to have their photos taken with them. Find out more here and sign-up to the Wildlife Selfie Code here.
Image credit: Nando Machado
7. Never leave any litter behind.
8. Don’t drink bottled water.
Assuming it is safe to drink the tap water, use a refillable water bottle rather than endless plastic bottles (far fewer get recycled than you think).
9. Save energy.
Turn off electrical items such as lights and air-conditioning when not in use.
10. Save water.
In many holiday destinations, water is a scarcer resource than it is here in the UK. Always keep that in mind.
11. Get to know the local culture.
From joining in local festivals to eating local food and learning a few phrases in the local language, there are many ways we can embrace the local culture.
12. Be respectful of other cultures.
And remember, when we travel we are ambassadors for our own country.
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Disclaimer: Thanks to the Bonsol Hotel for our complimentary stay. As always, I will only share with you my own honest opinions.
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Sounds like a blissful honeymoon – and wedding! And so much better to know that it was done without any negative environmental impact too. The 12 questions are such a good starting point and so important to really dig into a place’s ethos rather than just accepting how it looks.
They’re tough questions and I doubt many hotels will be able to answer them all positively.
You’ve made some excellent points in this post and given some good advice too. I’m going to print off those 12 tough questions and ask next time I’m thinking about booking a hotel stay.
Hope it was useful and if you do ask the questions, I’d be very interested to hear how hotels respond.
The hotel looks just amazing. Can I plan a honeymoon without having a wedding….or a partner? Great pictures and looks like a lovely trip.
Haha! Of course you can, Fern. It would be the perfect hotel for a girls’ getaway too.
It is eye-watering to think just how unsustainable a hotel could be. The 10 tips is an excellent set of things to think about, it hasn’t crossed my mind enough before. Your closing line though, my pet hate and embarrassment abroad when people don’t
Seeing as there’s no wedding (and therefore, no honeymoon) for me on the horizon, I’m so glad the advice in this post can be applied more generally! We should all memorise those 12 tough questions for sure…