Hotels That Give Back to Communities

As you start planning your summer vacation and look for hotel deals online, be an informed traveler and select properties that are sustainable. Many hotels and resorts take pride in investing their profits in the local community by training and employing the native population, building schools, organic farms and other socially responsible projects. Check out these hotels where you can not only have a luxurious stay but feel good about it too!

The Good Hotel, Guatemala

Photo: Sucheta Rawal

The Good Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala strives on a socially responsible business model where 100% of the profits are invested into the local community. The Good Group trains unemployed and single women to work in the hospitality sector and hires them to work at their hotels. They also provide education to low-income families.

Located on a quaint residential street in Old Town Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site, the colonial home turned into a Scandinavian-style upscale hostel is decorated with locally sourced products. The café, set in a tropical garden, offers fresh, organic, and homemade breakfast and fair-trade coffee. The Good Group also has a hotel in London and is opening soon in Amsterdam, Madrid, New York, and Rio.

eXtreme Hotel, Dominican Republic

Photo: eXtreme Hotel

The eXtreme Hotel Cabarete is extreme both in its adventure offerings, as well as its commitment to social and ecological responsibility. The solar-powered hotel employs locals and minimizes its carbon footprint by hanging laundry, taking advantage of natural cooling and ventilation, using low-wattage light bulbs and low-flow water taps in the bathrooms, and planting 2000 trees on its organic farm. More than 70 percent of the hotel staff is Dominican and they partner with a Dominican-owned kite school and farm-to-table restaurant. Located on Kite Beach in the town of Cabarete, eXtreme is known for kite surfing, SUP boarding, yoga, horseback riding and beautiful beaches.

Hyatt, Jamaica

Photo: Kari Herer

Playa Hotels & Resorts’ all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica — Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and Hyatt Ziva — run the Granville 404 Project, a local children’s school located near Montego Bay, with 404 kids. Some of the initiatives include turning a dirt field into a soccer field, creating a garden to show the children how to grow their own food, a farm-to-table program, Spanish language studies, and a sick bay.

Hyatt Zilara is an all-inclusive adult resort in historic Rose Hall overlooking turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and the lush peaks of the Blue Mountains.

Hyatt Ziva is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort with swim-up pools, beach access, spa, golf, and 13 restaurants and bars including a Moroccan teamed rooftop lounge. Guests can bring donations, purchase items at the gift shop such as chocolate bars made on the property where the proceeds go to the project or volunteer while vacationing.

Hotel El Ganzo, Mexico

Hotel El Ganzo in Los Cabos is an arts-inspired sustainable boutique hotel featuring its own underground recording studio and artist in-residence-program. Guests can enjoy live musical performances and curated visual art exhibitions with a backdrop of the Sea of Cortez.

The El Ganzo Community Center, which stands across from the hotel, offers a free arts program giving children of the local village an opportunity to engage with the creative arts and the world-class artists who visit El Ganzo. Additionally, El Ganzo is a partner of Kind Traveler, a booking platform where guests get exclusive hotel rates by donating to their choice of top-rated charities. At check-out, guests can donate to the El Ganzo Community Center.

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Sucheta is an award-winning food and travel writer who has traveled to 70+ countries and is on a mission to see the entire world. She is also the founder of the nonprofit organization, Go Eat Give and the author of a series of children's books on travel, "Beato Goes To" that teach kids about different countries and cultures. To learn more, visit suchetarawal.com.