Just because a hotel is luxurious doesn't mean it has to compromise the environment. Some top-notch resorts are experimenting with innovative ecological programs that aim to keep the planet's—and their own—best interests at heart. The guests like them, too. The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town is one of South Africa's finest, boasting rejuvenating spa treatments, afternoon tea and stunning views of Table Mountain. It is also home to more than 120,000 earthworms that, through Mount Nelson's Vermiculture Project, aid in transforming organic waste into fertilizer for the grounds' gardens ($504 per night; www.mountnelson.co.za).
Animal lovers will appreciate a stay at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa in the French Polynesian islands. The grounds feature a sea-turtle rehabilitation center, which serves as a temporary hospital for injured turtles, as well as a permanent home for turtles not healthy enough to return to their natural habitats. The resort's lagoon is home to the Moorea Dolphin Center, where a trained staff cares for bottlenose dolphins, which are allowed protected contact with people as part of an interactive educational program ($416 per night; moorea .intercontinental.com).
The Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda was designed to be organic without skimping on the staples of a luxury holiday: great food and drink, spectacular beaches and indulgent spa treatments. The Bitter End uses solar power and generates its own electricity. It even takes the extra step of recycling waste shower water to irrigate the surrounding gardens ($650 per night; beyc.com). Going green doesn't have to mean giving up the gold.