The phrase ‘ecological tourism’ may seem a good example of an oxymoron given the well-publicized ecological issues arising as a direct result of tourism. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing trend towards ecologically sound tourism. However, to experience the ultimate eco-tourism, one should stay at a genuinely eco-friendly resort located in the eco-friendliest country on earth. One combination that would comply with this criterion would be to stay at the Whitepod Alpine Resort in Switzerland.
Switzerland topped the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2018. The report, produced by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy stated: “Switzerland’s top ranking reflects strong performance across most issues, especially Climate & Energy and Air Pollution. Within Environmental Health, Switzerland also stands out in Water & Sanitation. While Switzerland’s Biodiversity & Habitat score is 84.20, 62nd in the world, its protected areas have the top score on the representativeness index.”
Whitepod, meanwhile, is an ‘eco-luxury’ resort in the Swiss Alps designed to combine ecology and luxury. Guests stay in semi-spherical independent pods with a self-supporting framework to minimise the use of building materials.
To have minimal environmental impact, lighting is kept to a minimum at night, local spring water replaces bottled water, taps and showers are installed with water-saving devices, as well as timers on boilers. In spite of these austerities, the pods are deceptively luxurious. They are designed to be cosy cocoons that isolate the guests from any nuisance while offering breathtaking views of the Alpine landscape.
The resort offers three types of pods and four suites. They all offer a large king-sized bed, bathroom with shower and toilets, a large terrace, free baby cot, additional accommodation on the mezzanine, and breakfast served at Pod. The standard “Cosy” pods are ideal for couples, families with children or for just two single adults. The “Family” pod can accommodate two children on the mezzanine. The “Deluxe” pods are ideal for extended stays offering extra comfort such as satellite TV, Nespresso machine, free WiFi, and massage administered in the pod.
The Swiss Pod Suite is ideal for an authentic Swiss experience featuring old wood, Swiss design furniture, and bells to create a chalet atmosphere. Forest Pod Suite offers “the most luxurious birch forest” interior. The 007 Pod Suite provides the perfect romantic getaway with a sleek and futuristic ambience with high tech equipment. Apart from being larger than the regular pods, the suites have a large bathroom with walk-in shower, extensive mini bar, tea fountain, ecological AC, pellet stove, large terrace, and entertainment.
The Zen Pod Suite debuted this winter. Designed by Montalba Architects to be the most relaxing hideaway of the Swiss Alps, it offers an elegant design inspired by traditional Japanese atmosphere along with an authentic Japanese Furo bath with a panoramic view of the Alps.
The resort offers a wide range of massages including Ayurvedic, spring treatment with fresh floral oil, kids’ massage, sitting down massage, and those designed for pregnant women. These treatments can be administered at the treatment centre or in the pods.
The resort’s mountain guides help guests tailor their outdoor activities to suit their needs. The region offers 25 kilometres of signposted hiking trails with some suitable for family and kids. The trails are open in the summers and winters. Also offered throughout the year is paragliding with a certified pilot and various indoor games.
In the winter, the nearby village has two ski-lifts and 7 kilometres of red and blue slopes for skiing. Other activities include adventures on snow scooters, sledges, dog sledge tour and snowshoe hiking. Summer activities include horse riding, mountain biking, electric mountain bike rental, outdoor tennis, badminton, and table tennis.