Base Camp or Hide Out? Rock Star Or Naturalist? Green Resort Pioneers
An unlikely bunch set the standard by being true to their nature
slow travel pioneers
“I want guests to feel as if they have been to a country and a community rather than just a resort or a beach.” Chris Blackwell Founder, Island Records, Island Outpost Resorts and visionary responsible for putting U2, Bob Marley and countless other musical legends on the map of the world.
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Me and my late friend Elizabeth with Laurel of Strawberry Hill ilaughing our way through Jamaica
“Good hotels are places where you dream of staying,” Chris Blackwell, Island Outpost owner told me. “Great hotels are where you want to live. This is how a lot of these hotels began, as places I lived."
Golden Eye Island Outpost Resort
Some people are so magnetic and driven they command our attention because of how they use their time and imagine the world. And some of those people have created resorts that are entry points to values, dreams, ideas and adventure using local resources and preserving cultures by simply framing a location and letting it breathe. Pleasure and fun of course are important so there might be some elements like a jet ski, a full bar, the glamour of private pools and a few other indulgences. Ok a lot! Here's a few resorts where their owners backed into this world because of their daring natures, drive and passion about place. These second career resort trendsetters helped start a movement and brought us into their all dimensional world instead of the music or films they created.
Francis Ford Coppola, Eco Resort Pioneer and The Iconic Film Director Became An Amateur Eco Resort Owner And Helped Set An Industry Standard
“After shooting “Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines in the late 1970-’s, I had become used to living in a jungle paradise. When I first visited Belize, I was searching for the same paradise there, and tucked in the Maya Mountains, I found it. Blancaneaux Lodge”
The art of living is such an Italian thing and legendary movie director, Coppola was not afraid toget his hands dirty, rough it and live the good life at the same time. He is used to recreating worlds through his movie sets and the jungle held a particular passion for him. In the early 80’s he went to Belize to set up telecommunications and wound up buying an old jungle lodge as a retreat for his family. In 1993 he opened his jungle paradise to the public. Coppola explains that having a resort in the remote reaches of the jungle didn’t intimidate him at all. “It’s like being a movie on location—you just bring everything with you or build it yourself.” Like running wires through the jungle or planting an organic garden full of tropical fruits and Italian culinary staples like eggplant, basil and tomatoes. He is delighted his laptop is run by the clean free energy that his river-powered hydroelectric plant provides while feasting on caprese al fresco.
Selengut, a Long Island engineer who pioneered sustainable resort development began using low impact building practices and set up a communal, recycling, resort preserve in1976. Maho Bay sits on the north side of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, surrounded on both sides by national park. Its 114 cabins spread unobtrusively among 14 acres, a nearly invisible complex of buildings.
Camp Caribbean (excerpt from Audobon by By Jane Braxton Little)
Wake up in a solar-powered tent, snorkel in an aquamarine underworld, bathe in water collected from the clouds, and turn your beer bottles into art—all while helping preserve St. John’s natural appeal. A pioneering experiment in ecotourism has endured for years. Note to readers, Maho is losing its lease and after forty years, there is some question about what the fate of this cherished ecotopia will be. I really wanted it in here so you can learn more and maybe even help save its current status.
I keep bringing Sundance up but it has so many lives that they are worth mentioning in different offerings here. SO if you read my Slow In The Snow entry here's more fodder about Sundance. Robert Redford started this way of life early and is known for environmental activism as much as his work in film. Again, it was his home that became a resort and an institute and the place where nature and creativity are nurtured. Take the ideas and values of the person and watch them grow and look at how the world gets to learn, play, aspire, enjoy and slowly consider the possibilities of our nature and ideas.
Check out this video on the vision at Sundance and how it evolved from Redford's small parcel in the 60's to the nature and creativity sanctuary is today. Click on the videos and get the story.
The Bedford Post Inn
That's it for now. Yes, there are others but we will talk about that later.