It doesn’t matter how nice your suite or how perfect the sunset views, for those who follow a plant-led lifestyle, finding a veggie-friendly kitchen can really make your vacation
The top retreats for vegetarians and vegans
For vegetarians and vegans, going on holiday often meant putting up with the same limited dinner options for days on end. With more millennials embracing the plant-led lifestyle faster than any other subset of society, many hotels and resorts are beginning to hone their food and beverage offerings to cater to this growing demographic. The Vegan Society recently described veganism as “the fastest growing lifestyle movement in the world”, and these travellers aren’t people who are keen on packing up their beliefs every time they go on holiday.
We take a look at 10 of the world’s best hotels getting in on the plant-focused act.
Berlin’s sleekest bites
Germany’s capital is already one of the world’s most vegan-friendly cities, so it’s no surprise that hotels here are going down the plant path. In the heart of the city’s fashionable Friedrichshain district, the Almodovar Hotel offers an eco-friendly boutique stay with first-rate vegan fare. Expect a distinct boho vibe and stylish rooms with solid wood furniture, original artworks, yoga mats and organic toiletries. Onsite, Bardot’s Bio Deli offers delicious vegan and vegetarian versions of popular dishes – try its Berlin curried sausage. Check out the spa on the top floor of the hotel for a massage or steam in the sauna, then watch the Sun disappear behind Berlin’s rooftops from the outdoor terrace.
Rooms start from €132 (Dh571), visit www.almodovarhotel.de
Italian eco-friendly eats
Nestled among vineyards and olive groves, I Pini is in the medieval hill town of San Gimignano, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Tuscany. Housed in a listed 16th-century building, the views are unmatched. Rooms have been modernised, while many of the original walls have been rebuilt using a form of “architectural biology” that fuses tuff – light volcanic rock – and lime-rice chaff to produce a sustainable structure. All 11 rooms have biodegradable mattresses and hand-woven linen, and you can expect perfectly considered service. The kitchen is vegan-friendly, and the owners even produce their own olive oil and bio-organic beverages. Enjoy a tasting session on the panoramic terrace with its saltwater pool and stunning views of the rolling Tuscany hills.
Rooms start from €85 (Dh368), visit www.greenpearls.com/hotels/i-pini
Danish hygee vibes
Nimb Hotel in Scandi-cool Copenhagen looks like something straight from a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, and while the entire hotel isn’t wholly vegetarian, the menu at signature eatery Gemyse is entirely meat-free, with plenty of vegan choices. Making use of organic, fresh local vegetables, the chefs here use seasonal produce to create tempting menus. Book a spot on one of the twist bread-making classes and you’ll learn how to sculpt your own Nordic classic over a roaring fire pan in the garden. Elsewhere, the 38 rooms are designed with impeccable attention to detail and distinct hygee (in the moment) vibes. Just steps from Tivoli Gardens, guests can gain free access to the theme park, which is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. Dog-lovers will be impressed with the pet-friendly facilities that include dog-walking, treats and a comfy sleep basket for four-legged friends.
Rooms start from DKK2,800 (Dh1,625), while the dog check-in fee is Dh600 per animal. Visit www.nimb.dk/en
Balinese social harmony
This dream-inducing retreat in Ubud, Bali, has been created to resemble an Indonesian village, and everything has been constructed in keeping with the Balinese philosophy of Tri Kaya Parisudha, which promotes harmonious living. Dwellings are made of bamboo and plotted in circles for amazing energy flow. The award-winning spa offers every conceivable energy-healing, aura-cleansing or chakra-balancing treatment you can think of. Nestled on the banks of the Ayung river, sustenance is found at Sakti restaurant, where the menu is 80 per cent raw and pairs fine dining with an eco-luxurious setting.
Double rooms start from IDR3,714,119 (Dh980) including breakfast, shuttle service to Ubud, signature teas and use of mountain bikes. Visit www.fivelements.org
Trendsetting in South Tyrol
La Vimea in Naturno was Italy’s first entirely vegan hotel. Open to adults only, this place has everything needed for a relaxing break with memorable plant-led culinary delights. Surrounded by the Val Venosta Valley, this boutique property uses fresh, organic and local ingredients and everything is sustainably sourced. Rooms are spacious and minimalist, but have huge beds dressed in 100 per cent fair trade organic linen. Tuck into homemade breakfasts on your private patio and enjoy creative dinners with a strong farm-to-table concept. Days are spent exploring – one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities is just over a kilometre away. A wander through the hills clears the mind and a swim in the natural pond or saltwater pools makes for the perfect wind-down.
Double rooms start from €85 (Dh363), including breakfast, but prices fluctuate with the season. Visit www.lavimea.com
Winchester’s home comforts
For a taste of English country living, visit Hannah’s tiny guesthouse in the county of Hampshire. Named after the proprietor – who lives on-site – this tiny bed and breakfast was originally a livery, then an old dance hall, and now its huge arched doors and lofty ceilings welcome overnight guests. An antique piano and wood-burning stove set the scene, and the all-vegetarian menu means you can expect delicious eating. Taken in a space that used to be a garage, breakfast involves seeded toasts, homemade granola, tomato tarts, smashed avocado and organic scrambled eggs. Afternoon tea is served daily, and includes lashings of tea, coffee and freshly baked cakes, pastries and scones. There are only three guest rooms in this tiny abode, and each has its own persona. Go for industrial chic in Room 41; enjoy florals and a freestanding tub in Room 98; or simply unwind on the cosy window seat in Room 19.
Rooms start from £155 (Dh754) including breakfast. Visit www.hannahsbedandbreakfast.co.uk
Holistic Thai vibes
Certified by VeggieHotels – the world’s largest hotel association for purely vegetarian hotels – Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort in northern Thailand is a serene escape found within the moat-surrounded walls of the northern capital’s old city. Dark wooden floors and white balustrade balconies give off something of a colonial vibe with a nod to traditional Thai roots – book a pool suite for direct access to the water. The Moreganic restaurant offers both western and Thai dishes packed with fresh, organic vegetables and served in a beautiful space. Get involved in picking ingredients for the daily dishes, which change according to the season, or enjoy garland making, fruit carving and fan painting classes. Drawing on the resort’s Buddhist values, the holistic dishes are meant to calm your mind, soothe your body and delight your taste buds.
Rooms start from 3,212 Thai baht (Dh368) per night. Visit www.awayresorts.com
Jungle eats in the Philippines
Less than two hours’ drive from Manila amid lush green jungle and stunning mountain views, The Farm at San Benito is a holistic retreat with a vegan kitchen – one of the first in the country. Signature restaurant Alive! makes hearty dishes with a focus on nutrition using freshly picked ingredients from the organic garden. Healthy cooking techniques such as low temperature steaming, blanching and poaching, and a selection of raw dishes feature on the menu. Visiting chefs often take over the preparation when they’re in town. Sulu rooms offer a treehouse vibe and are spacious villas with a side of luxury. There are also daily yoga classes, Tai Chi and guided walks through the leafy surrounds.
Rooms start from US$171 (Dh627) including breakfast. Visit www.thefarmatsanbenito.com
Australia’s first all-vegan abode
Australia’s first all-vegan B&B is set in more than 60 acres of Victoria state bushland at Elphinstone, Bed and Broccoli offers hand-delivered vegan eats to those staying in its spacious barn dwellings. The owners came up with the concept to help fund the homing of unwanted farm animals, so you’ll be sharing the resort with former factory farm hens, male calves from nearby dairy farms, and other locals of the rescued animal variety. A strictly vegan establishment, there are no woollen underlays on the beds, no feather down quilts or duvets and definitely not a patch of leather in sight. Wake up to the sound of rooster calls, wind down with an evening game of Veganopoly, or just enjoy the open bushland.
Double rooms start from AU$150 (Dh418) including breakfast. Visit www.bedandbroccoli.com.au
India’s healing Earth
Meaning true to your voice, SwaSara is located on the aptly named Om beach near Donibhail in the Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka state in south-west India. Part ashram, part hotel and part spa, this place focuses on reconstructing body, mind and spirit. There’s a strong focus on working with the local community and respecting the ecosystem. In keeping with this philosophy, both Anamaya Beach and Cocoon restaurant offer wholesome menus that make use of naturally ripened ingredients from an on-site farm and there’s no meat, hard liquor or refined sugar in sight. Settle into your Konkani-style villa where you’ll be surrounded by earth-coloured fixtures and pure white finishings. Inner courtyards and partially open bathrooms allow you to appreciate the nature surrounding you, and free yoga attire is provided so that you can make use of your second-level terrace space. Enjoy the sounds of rolling waves in this tranquil place, about as far removed from the hustle and bustle that India is famous for as you can imagine.
Double rooms from 29,015 Indian rupees (Dh1,578) including breakfast, yoga, guided activities and classes. Visit www.cghearth.com/swaswara