Five Hotels That Let You Give Back

Virtuoso travelers can save the Belize Barrier Reef...
... provide sustenance in South Africa ...
... and adopt an elephant in Thailand.

Journey To Global Citizenship

In South Africa, Belize, and even northern California, you can give back through your hotel stay. Here's how.


By Joel Centano, Virtuoso Traveler Editor
Originally appeared in April 2015 Virtuoso Traveler

Can your hotel stay help change the world? Yes, according to Atlanta-based travel advisor Betty Jo Currie. “Giving is better than receiving, and when you’re being spoiled at luxury hotels, it’s easy to see the value in doing good for others,” says Currie, who’s seen a steep rise in the number of clients seeking ways to volunteer on their vacations.

“Good travelers strive to educate themselves on the destinations they visit, and know they win when they contribute and engage in meaningful ways with local communities,” she adds. “Better yet, local populations win when the process of giving back is done carefully and thoughtfully.”

Here are some of our favorite stays where what you give is as good as what you get. Use the arrows to navigate.

Up First: South Africa

Make Schoolkids Smile
South Africa

Le Quartier Fran├žais’ Isabelo program provides meals to nearly 1,300 disadvantaged children daily. Guests of the 21-room boutique hotel can deliver the meals and, when staying five nights or longer, help teach and care for preschoolers.

Next: Belize

Hunt Invasive Species

To save the Caribbean’s largest barrier reef, the 25-cottage Turtle Inn equips guests with scuba gear and a trident to spear invasive – and voracious – red lionfish. Guests can then dine on their catch, which are as delicious as they are destructive.

Next: Thailand

Adopt an Asian Elephant

Your sponsorship and stay at the 15-luxury-tent Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle mean food and shelter for rescued pachyderms and their mahout (caretaker) partners.

Next: Northern California

Help Families in Need
Northern California

The 261-room Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay sponsors volunteer shifts on the third Thursday of each month at the nearby Coastside Hope center, which provides emergency food, clothing, and shelter to local residents.

Finally: Mexico

Fight Global Warming

For each night of their stay during the first week of June, guests of the 117-villa Banyan Tree Mayakoba can help plant two trees in local Mayan communities to commemorate World Environment Day.

Global Citizenship
Virtuoso advisors are passionate about the idea of "a journey to global citizenship." Learn more here.

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