A Greek resort was named the World’s Leading Eco-Lodge at the World Travel Awards Grand Final in Lisbon last week.
Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas received the distinction for a second year in a row, drawing attention to the country’s efforts in the area of sustainable development.
Built in the highlands of Greece’s northwestern region of Zagori, the Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas blends in with its natural, verdant surroundings and reflects the architectural aesthetics of the surrounding villages – a gray and brown stone exterior with natural slate and wood roofing. Yet despite its modest exterior, the resort is forward-thinking and remains focused on becoming even more sustainable.
A high-tech system cleans waste water, minimizing its harmful impact on the environment, heat pumps cut down on the need for heating oil, and the resort is now striving to reduce both waste and its use of plastic by purchasing products with little-to-no plastic or other frivolous packaging. The resort also plans to eliminate all single-use plastic water bottles and plastic straws on the property and during guest excursions by mid-2019.
Rooms and villas are decorated with modern furniture and working fireplaces. The restaurant serves local Epirote dishes, made from produce grown in the resort’s garden and greenhouse. It also has spa facilities and offers a number of unique excursions, as a result of its cooperation with several alternative tourism companies. The resort considers itself a starting point for hikers, nature lovers and anyone interested in visiting the Zagorohoria villages.
The resort’s owner, Vasilis Iosifidis, is also the co-founder of ZEN (the Zagori Excellence Network), an institution that promotes tourism in Zagori while preserving the region’s environment and biodiversity through green practices. At last year’s ceremony, Iosifidis said he was “proud to represent the Greek mountains,” an aspect of Greece that is often overshadowed by the country’s better-known seascapes and sites of ancient ruins.
Earlier this year, during the European leg of the World Travel Awards, Greece garnered 15 titles – six more than last year.
This article first appeared on Greece Is (www.greece-is.com), an English-language publishing initiative by Kathimerini.