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Looking down on the beach at the Tongsai Bay hotel

Hot hotels: sustainable stays

Holidays can have a positive impact on people and places as well as our state of mind, whether by supporting local employment or creating marine protected areas. Sustainable travel expert Holly Tuppen celebrates green hotel heroes

01/04/2022Updated 22/02/2023
Infinity pool with a view of mountains at the Grand Forest Metsovo hotel

Grand Forest Metsovo, Greece

Often overlooked in favour of the sun, sea and sand further south, Greece’s emerald spine rewards those who stretch their legs inland with the epic gorges and vast forests of Pindus National Park. Eurasian brown bears, wild cats and the Balkan chamois roam among black pine forests and beech woodlands. Wood smoke billows from grey-stone villages, while Vlach traditions, produce and culture are proudly celebrated. Perched on a forested mountainside overlooking the lively town of Metsovo, Grand Forest Metsovo is a small, locally owned hotel that’s sensitive to place and planet.

Recognising that the national park is a globally significant hotspot for alpine biodiversity, Grand Forest’s sensitive design and build was 20 years in the making. The eight chalet-style buildings and two pools take up minimal space, while reflecting the traditional colours and contours of the village below and the mountain above. Proud of their Metsovo roots, the owners, the Barmpagianni family, infuse local produce and heritage throughout. Beyond low-impact outdoor adventures, including hiking and snowshoeing, guest experiences include behind-the-scenes tours of the local Folklore Art Museum and wild truffle foraging. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Metsovo 1350m, celebrates regional produce and wines, and most employees come from the Epirus region.

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s Considerate Collection, the hotel is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council framework, widely considered the most robust in the travel industry.

Pindus National Park is a year-round destination offering skiing and snowshoeing in winter and hiking and wildlife watching in summer. This means the hotel can provide local employment throughout the year, rather than relying on seasonal workers who often come from further afield.

The hotel organises Champagne picnics at nearby beauty spot Lake Verliga – celebrated throughout Greek history all the way back to literary great Herodotus – which is cradled by snowy peaks and awash with wildflower meadows in spring.  

Offering off-the-beaten-track beauty and adventure, whatever the season, Grand Forest Metsovo encapsulates a side of Greece reserved for a lucky few.

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