Stay at a Sustainable Boutique Resort in Aruba

If you are turned off by mega all-inclusive beach resorts, where thousands of people in their swimsuits wander from the breakfast buffet to the pool bar and back like vacationing zombies, you have come to the right blog site! When I travel, I look for places to stay that offer a peaceful atmosphere without sacrificing luxury. Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa is a gem I recently discovered on the island of Aruba, which is often brushed off as being too commercial.

Located away from the row of chain resorts, Manchebo is one of the oldest hotels in Aruba on the picturesque Eagle Beach, only 2.5 miles from downtown Oranjestad.

It was created by Dutch entrepreneur, Izaak “Ike” Cohen 50+ years ago, but looks almost brand new!

Balinese style spa

Wellness Focus

The oceanfront oasis promotes wellbeing through its daily offering of yoga and Pilates classes (by the beach) that are free for hotel guests. There is a beautifully designed spa constructed with teakwood imported from Bali. You can get a massage in one of the private cabanas overlooking the ocean and feel the sea breeze in your hair (it gets quite windy in Aruba).

Manchebo is one of the few resorts I have been to that offers carefully designed vegan menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I tried several vegan dishes during my stay and loved how flavorful, fresh and well incorporated they were. Vegan food here is not an afterthought to accommodate special dietary requests, rather a culinary lifestyle.

Vegan ceviche made with fresh lychee

Instead of cocktails on the beach, you can enjoy fresh fruit smoothies throughout the day. Made with local fruits like aloe, pineapple, papaya and mango, the blended drinks will keep you hydrated and healthy through your vacation.

Environment Consciousness

From the hotel’s electric cars (you can request airport transfers and drop offs in town), to using local products and Green Natura bathroom amenities, Manchebo is committed to operating in an eco-friendly manner and recipient of Green Globe’s Platinum Award. They also employ locals and track environmental impact as their sustainable tourism practice.

Relaxed atmosphere & perfect sunset viewing

The resort’s Green Team continues to support the environment and the community through means of sponsorship, supporting of local musical scholarships (there’s live music at the hotel almost every night), charitable fundraising, local school support, contributions to the Aruba Reef Care Project and Annual Coastal Clean-ups. Don’t be surprised to find nesting sea turtles on the hotel’s beach!

Manchebo Resort & Spa Aruba

Boutique Structure

There are only 72 rooms across 2-stories at Manchebo, which offers more privacy and great views of the Caribbean from practically everywhere. The rooms are modern and comfortable, yet also practical. Each room comes equipped with a microwave, mini refrigerator, beach towels and a picnic cooler so you can enjoy time on your balcony or the beach. Did I mention its pooch friendly too?

As if there weren’t enough reasons to book a stay at Manchebo, it also boasts the broadest beach in Aruba! Dushi, ha?

Make better choices when you travel. Stay at family-owner, sustainable and eco friendly resorts such as Manchebo Aruba.

Sleep Well, Do Good at This Sustainable Hotel in Antigua

When I first learned about The Good Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala, I thought, what a neat idea! This socially responsible business thrives on reinvesting 100% of their profits into the local community. Started by Amsterdam born, Marten Dresen, The Good Hotel came about from a personal backpacking trip through Guatemala which led to opening schools for low income children in the country. Now the Good Group trains unemployed and single women to work in the hospitality sector, and hires them to run their properties. Also, they invest in the education of kids from low income families, and source local products for use by guests.

The Good Hotel is located on a relatively quiet residential street in Old Town Antigua. The city is a charming colonial UNESCO World Heritage site with cobblestone streets and colorful bohemian buildings. One can walk along the streets lined with bougevvilla trees to get to the Parque Central (main square) in about 10 minutes.

As soon as I arrive at The Good Hotel, I can see the Scandinavian influences in the construction and decor. Though the building was a colonial private home, it has been renovated to look like a modern log cabin with high ceilings, farm style wooden sliding doors, white walls and contemporary chandeliers. The rooms are located along a long hallway surrounded by a garden with tropical foliage. They are minimalistic, yet functional. I stay at the Patio Room, which is the second highest category. Being in a corner, it has more privacy and a private patio with an outdoor shower. The Pila Rooms are about half the size and open up to the corridor, which gives a hostel like feel. These can get noisy as you can hear people passing through. There were no fans or air conditioners in the rooms so you have to keep the windows open.

On my pillow is a worry doll, a traditional handmade doll that according to local legend, takes away your sorrows, fears and worries. It is generally used to help kids overcome their problems and help them sleep through the night.

The common spaces at the hotel are inviting to grab a drink, catch up on emails and chat with other travelers. At the entrance, you can read about all the hotel’s projects and how your stay leaves a positive footprint in the community. The Living Room is modern with sofas, kitchen counters, a TV and garden tables. Each morning, I grab breakfast of freshly baked croissants and locally sourced cappuccino coffee. At night, I return for a glass of wine or a scoop of gelato. All the produce is locally sourced, fresh, organic and home-made by their team.

The friendly staff is always there to give advice on the best restaurants, attractions and how to get around. Because they are young and sustainable, I tend to take their recommendation and eat at Cactus Taco Bar (the best taco I’ve ever had),  in Antigua. There is also free WiFi throughout the hotel which works rather well, so you can stream movies or research your next destination.

The Good Group also has hotels in Guatemala and London, and plans to open in Amsterdam, Madrid, New York, Guatemala City and Rio over the next three years.