March 25, 2020

Veganism isn’t just a diet anymore. It’s become an intrinsic way of life. Whether you call it a form of new-age spiritualism or a way to address the chronic dissatisfaction of modern-day living, there is no doubt that the global vegan movement (as controversial as it is), is shifting social habits. For one, going on a vegan holiday has become a thing now. More than kale chips and avocado smoothies, many tour companies are curating special luxury tours to cater to vegan consumers. This includes sustainable accommodation and a wider selection of sumptuous plant-based options that go beyond the stereotypical bland vegetables one might expect.

For those with bottomless wallets, Hilton London Bankside prides itself on having an entirely vegan suite that features plush pillows made with organic buckwheat, bamboo flooring, and room furniture upholstered in Pinatex and a leather substitute made from pineapple leaf fibres. Instead of the usual unhealthy junk, the minibar is stocked with vegan protein powder, energy bars and fruit.

For the ultimate luxury, Como Shambhala Estate, located at the top of the Begawan Giri Mountain, offers unparalleled vistas and ostentatious private villas for vegan lovers to experience a slice of utopia. During your stay, sample a range of delectable vegan  Indonesian dishes, such as gado gado, quinoa, beetroot, and barley salads. Fivelements, another eco-conscious, vegan wellness retreat in Indonesia, is a peaceful sanctuary where you can luxuriate in the healing effects of traditional Balinese therapy and indulge in tasty plant-based dishes.

Further away from Asia, hotels like The Vegan Lodge in Turkey have also changed the game with an entirely vegan menu to reduce carbon footprint without sacrificing an opulent, lavish atmosphere for guests. Over in Italy, Ermitage Bel Air Medical Hotel has launched a line of vegan gourmet cuisine, created by raw food dieticians. To complement the wholesome menu, guests can opt for a thermal relaxation package, which includes the use of salt-bromide-iodine thermal pools and aqua aerobics classes. Other activities include a guided trip to the city of Padua to sample the best vegan gelato shops. Set in a Victorian house, Saorsa 1875 is the first 100 per cent vegan hotel in the UK that doubles as an art museum, with modern, plush rooms that are powered by Vegan Society-approved Ecotricity. The restaurant also serves haggis made with pulses instead of animal offal and has a five-course dinner tasting menu that highlights the seasonal produce.

Aside from hotels catering to the vegan clientele, companies like VeganTravel, VegVoyages and Intrepid Travel are customising luxury vegan tour packages. Intrepid Travel, for example, offers Vegan Food Adventures excursions to countries like Italy and Thailand. At the same time, Responsible Travel, whose business is all about sustainability, meticulously handpicks tour operators, accommodations and itineraries that will satisfy even the pickiest vegan traveller. Even websites like filter the best destinations, hotels and resorts for the ultimate vegan vacation.

Perhaps more than eliminating the single-use of plastics or taking public transport, going vegan on our travels may be the best thing we can do to save the environment. For non-vegans, the sybaritic enjoyment of a vegan holiday could well be a transformative experience, opening up a new level of consciousness.