Maho Bay Camps and sister resort Harmony Studios are located on a secluded white-sand beach in U.S. Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John. “We’ve always been fully committed to ecotourism and the belief that environmental sensitivity and human comfort are compatible,” says Stanley Selengut, who founded Maho Bay in 1976.
Guests bed down in 114 tent-cottages that shelter them from weather but let them feel the ocean breezes and listen to tree frog lullabies. Not interested in roughing it? Twelve solar-powered Harmony Studios, built from recycled materials, have private bathrooms and kitchenettes.
To minimize environmental damage, the resort’s buildings are raised on platforms and connected by tree-shaded wooden walkways that keep people off the vegetation.
Rainwater is collected for the organic gardens and is also used in the laundry room and the bathhouses. Spring-action faucets prevent waste, and low-flow toilets and waterless urinals save thousands of gallons a year. Wastewater from the laundry irrigates the organic orchard.
Recycling and reusing
“A lot of these buildings come from trash,” Selengut says. The resort is constructed with building materials made from garbage bags, old automobiles, ketchup bottles, and light bulbs. Learn more about Maho’s sustainable building techniques through its Building Materials Sourcebook. At the on-site Maho Bay Glass Studio, visiting artists turn crushed glass bottles into works of art.
Maho’s restaurant serves organic, vegetarian-friendly cuisine, often grown on the property and cooked in a solar oven.
Encouraged by Maho’s success, Selengut built eighteen high-tech, solar-powered eco-tent cottages with baths and luxury studios with kitchens at Concordia, on the more secluded southeast corner of St. John.