Your vacation bucket list likely includes exotic far-off destinations. Add one more to your list, one that’s right here in Alabama and now recognized as one of the world’s most exceptional destinations.
Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park recently received National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World” designation. National Geographic selects lodgings that offer guests “intimate encounters with parts of the world not many get to know.”
Eagle Cottages is among only 66 properties worldwide that have presently been chosen, notes Director of Sustainability Robert Stoney of Valor Hospitality, the Atlanta-based company that manages the property. Like the Eagle Cottages, each lodge in the National Geographic “Unique Lodges of the World” collection is rooted in its community and dedicated to protecting surrounding habitats and local culture.
Situated on the shore of Lake Shelby, the 11 newly renovated Eagle Cottages are part of the Gulf State Park Enhancement project and provide an extraordinary ecotourism experience.
The wood-frame cottages date back to the 1970s and were renovated to reflect the Gulf Coast fish camp vernacular, but with modern-day comforts. New furniture in the three-bedroom, three-bathroom cottages is made from recycled and repurposed materials. The cottages retain their original pine floors.
Cottages also include energy-efficient LED lighting and eco-friendly cleaning products. Bathrooms are stocked with natural toiletries by BeeKind, a company that donates a portion of its profits to bee pollination research.
Among the many environmentally friendly practices on the property is the elimination of all single-use plastic water bottles and plastic straws. Guided nature tours are provided along with complimentary guest bicycles and a bike share program to reduce carbon emissions.
The Eagle Cottages are part of Gulf State Park’s mission to be an international benchmark for environmental and economic sustainability, while demonstrating best practices for outdoor recreation, education and hospitable accommodations. Eminent naturalist and Alabama native, E. O. Wilson, called this biodiverse region “America’s Amazon,” and as such the park is committed to the principles and practices of sustainable tourism.
Image 1- While the furniture in the cottages is new, the pine floors date back to when the cottages were built in the 1970s. Sustainable features are found throughout such as energy-efficient LED lighting and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
Image 2- The new furniture in the Eagle Cottages is made from recycled and repurposed materials, which is in keeping with the property’s serious commitment to sustainable practices.
Image 3 -Abundant indoor and outdoor living space is provided in the cottage design, including a screened porch that offers relaxing lakeside views. The design of the newly renovated cottages reflects the historic family fishing camps along the Gulf Coast.
Image 4- Eagle Cottages at Gulf State Park recently received National Geographic’s “Unique Lodges of the World” designation. On the shore of Lake Shelby, the 11 newly renovated Eagle Cottages are an integral part of the Gulf State Park Enhancement project.
*Article By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of Gulf State Park