Situated in the NE of South Africa in Limpopo Province near the town of Hoedspruit, Pezulu Tree House Game Lodge can be described as an ecologically friendly escape from urban life in the heart of the African bush.
As the name suggests, seven raised tree house units accommodating up to 16 people have been built around local marula trees (the marula berry is used to make Amarula liqueur) providing excellent panoramas of unspoilt natural surroundings.
Consideration for nature has been paramount. Live tree branches pass through these minimal impact wood, reed and thatch structures which are equipped with modern luxuries including en-suite facilities and private balconies for views of the Drakensberg mountains and early morning wildlife.
Hot air Ballooning and game drives are available as is outdoor outdoor dining in a traditional boma, around an African camp fire. There is a rock swimming pool as well as treetop bar and this retreat is ideal for people wishing to experience Africa without compromising luxury.
The Blyde River Canyon as well as Kruger National Park are nearby as well as Moholoholo rehabilitation centre, an endangered species centre and the opportunity to see the big five.
A really happy bed and breakfast find in a quiet, atmospheric corner of Mala Strana. Only five minutes from the Charles Street Bridge, but well hidden from the tourist bustle. It has it all – great rooms with lots of local character, authentic and friendly Prague landlord and family, great tips for further sights and dining out, good breakfast. It doesn’t have TV or doorways sympathetic to 6ft plus teenagers – provided great material for a piece of A Level travel writing coursework though.
Simple lodge set in pristine terre firme rain forest, built by the Huarani people in whose territory it lies. Approached by dirt road and located 77 kms east of Tena on the south side of the mighty Napo river. The four double cabins which sleep 16 in twin bedded rooms, and the open sided dining area, are made from rough sawn timber, thatched rooves and do have insect screens but the running water is cold, not that it matters too much in such hot steamy conditions. There's no electricity but candles and tilley lamps prove adequate. The buildings are all on stilts allowing close contact with the abundant wildlife with squirrel monkeys very prominent. River swimming is available but the main activity is walking the forest trails with native guides to see the spectacular birdlife which includes such sought-after species as Harpy Eagle and Rufous Potoo. A world away from some of the more up-market lodges, Gareno offers a true low-impact experience of amazonian rain forest.
No direct web site but try www.guaponi.com/aboutgareno.htm
The only way to reach Costa Rica’s Jungle Lodge in the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast is by river launch, which takes you on a two hour journey right into the heart of dense rainforest. We were warned not to dangle our hands in the water - crocodiles are lurking. Howler monkeys serenade your arrival at the lodge, a charming and comfortable one storey wooden affair with long trellised veranda. The purpose of the overhanging roof was explained when a hammering tropical downpour woke us at 5am. Doors opened and one by one we guests abandoned sleep and enjoyed the warm rain together in the swimming pool. My daughter will always remember the jungle walk where two people’s shoes squelched off in the mud (they do lend you wellies), tiny green frogs that sat on her hand, and the boa constrictor in a tree. My favourite was the 'just after dawn' silent boat rides where our guide pointed out iguanas on the bank, spider monkeys and toucans high overhead in the jungle canopy. The richness of the exuberant foliage around the lodge itself was overwhelming, and just sitting around the pool or watching butterflies from the veranda was enough to experience the jungle and its creatures, barely restrained on all sides.
Tortuguero, 26-1017, Costa Rica - 223 1200
Google map: tinyurl.com/ycg2zlr
La Sombra is an eco lodge up in the Bosawas, three hours drive north of Matagalpa. It is a three storey wooden lodge with views from the hammock on the balcony over the mist covered forest. $30 per person per day gives three home cooked meals, twice daily guided hikes over the property's beautiful coffee plantation and forest and waterfalls. The lodge produces its own coffee which we were given a bag of as we left. The people who run it are lovely (no English spoken) and the place is relaxed with no phone, no TV and just a few board games to play - fantastic. The drive up goes along potholed roads through fantastic forests up to La Dalia from Matagalpa for three hours and then the drive then gets really gets hard going. Wonderful place
A 177 km de Managua, Tuma - La Dalia, Matagalpa, Nicaragua
This secluded eco-lodge is located in the heart of the Amazon Basin, a short boat ride down the Rio Tambopata river. It's an incredible place to go to get in touch with nature, with expert staff, they even cater for ecology academics. Each lodge has a completely open wall facing the dense tropical jungle. Great for spotting wildlife from the comfort of your hammock. For more energetic folk, there are plenty of activities Including a medicinal plant walk with the local Shaman. You can also pretend you're a native and take part in the spiritual Ayahuasca Ceremony. Truly a magical place to escape.
+511 241 4880
Beautiful family-run loft apartments. It was done in a gorgeous minimalist design with huge windows, heated floors - everything you needed for a comfortable stay was provided, including a homemade guidebook with insider tips. Great location in Mitte near public transport, galleries and restaurants. The owner/architect couple also live in the building.
Romance lies not in overpriced long-stemmed red roses or intrusive gypsy violins. Better to let it find you at an endearingly quirky location like Heythrop Park Hotel near Chipping Norton, which doesn’t tout itself as a romantic destination but has all the ingredients of intimacy, a dash of intrigue and lashings of comfort. We were there for three days and forgot the car, tv and internet. It’s so remote we thought we were lost after several minutes on the endless drive. Yes, we had sparkling wine in a bucket of ice in our enormous room, chocolates, flowers, and yes, the obligatory white fluffy bathrobes and claw-footed bath. Heythrop is a mini Blenheim Palace, built in 1716 from honey coloured limestone by the handsome Duke of Shrewsbury, appropriately known as “The King of Hearts.” Set in 440 acres of sweeping parkland, it has Italian gardens, a secret garden, fern strewn grotto - which used to house the skeleton of a whale - and, tucked away by the golf course, a tranquil Jesuit cemetery from a later period. We had the entire grounds to ourselves, and discovered hidden statues amongst the undergrowth, tempting doors in garden walls and deer running through giant conifers. Inside, there are huge carved wooden ceilings and chimney pieces, a billiard room, ballroom, and huge galleried landings with stained glass windows. After making the most of the health club in the grounds, we were almost too relaxed to leave our room, Eldon (a hotel room must have a name to be romantic) to sweep down the huge staircase for dinner - though I did sweep several times in fact, for the camera. It’s not every day one plays Lady of the Manor in such a setting. There are some foibles in the hotel - a mediocre breakfast loses Romance points, we wanted a tray in our room to sustain the illusion of being country weekend house guests - but we overlooked everything for the sake of such an unusual, and yes, impossibly romantic, experience.
Victoria is a French owned four-star aiming for five-star hotel. The setting is good - end of development and quiet. Bungalows well spaced out. Food quite expensive so if you don't want to pay, jump in a taxi for a £1 and go down to the large choice off the main strip. Go now before it becomes over developed
This is a local tour operator which organised a fantastic 24 hour tour of the Mekong Delta on a sampan which had two double beds.
A good quality locally owned hotel, about 10 mins walk from the centre of Hoi An. Good clean pool is a bonus and the staff are very helpful. Great value.
Searching for a precious place to rekindle romance? Then slowly drive your loved one along the shores of the deep blue Loch Voil to reach this enchanting place. The great thing is that apart from the wonderful mealtimes, and taking in a few lungfuls of clear fresh Highland air, there are few distractions from indulging in the warmth of your room. If romance is your goal you’ll always want to stay another night together. And if you have money to burn you could always choose to arrive by the seaplane that lands on the loch in front.
Tel: 01877 - 384 622
Balquhidder village is off the A84 north of Callender. Then travel a few miles up the glen along the shores of Loch Voil, to the hotel.
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybtjnk7
The famous romantic castles in France are not as distant and prohibitive as they may seem: only 40 minutes by train from Paris and you reach the Château of Villiers-le-Mahieu in the middle of the beautiful French countryside. This place can make anyone feel romantic: walking in the castle gardens, over small bridges and along the ducks and beavers swimming in the moat, sitting under the moon lit statues in the courtyard. The castle has a superb spa with a heated swimming pool with a jacuzzi, a sauna and a Turkish bath, a solarium with plenty of free tea and dried fruit, and a gym. There are also massages available, but the prices are pretty high. And just to make it even more romantic, don’t forget to book the dinner table by the fire place.
One night for two people cost 179 Euros, including breakfast and entrance to the spa.
After a journey by coach to Clifden, where as you turn each corner the landscape changes to another beautiful vista, the Abbeyglen Castle is a perfect location to relax and unwind. On arriving in early Spring, we first warmed ourselves in the reception next to an open fire, before being accompanied to our spacious, amply furnished room, with doors from the living area leading to a delightful bedroom with four poster bed. The hotel's grounds are picturesque, and it is situated a stone's throw from the 'Sky Road,' from which more breathtaking scenery can be seen. A lovely place to while away a few days.
There our some hot contenders for 'most romantic hotel' in Sri Lanka - the other half would go for the Queens in Kandy, or the Oriental in Colombo (something about those old colonial buildings), but I think it's hard to beat the location and the rooms in the Garden Beach. It's just a short walk down the beach to the turtle sanctuary, and holding a day old turtle makes you feel squishy and sentimental anyway. Then there's the amazing view west across the Indian Ocean as the sun sets in a red-gold sky behind the palm trees. The staff will set up a candle-lit table for dinner in the garden. And if you're lucky enough to be in the two-storey suite with the four-poster bed, the setting for a romantic interlude is complete. Complete the experience by travelling by train either to stations about 8 miles north or south of Kosgoda (the Colombo - Galle train doesn't actually stop at Kosgoda station) and get a tuk-tuk to the hotel. Oh yes, and you can choose full board - and the food is good too - for a very competititive price - but that's not romantic - just practical.
Talgahapitiya Rd Kosgoda
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once stayed at this Tudor castle, now a romantic hotel set in historic gardens and with its own vineyard. It offers a luxurious experience, with four poster beds, log fires, tapestries, and even a bedroom with (perfect for Cupid) arrow-slit windows. The crowning glory, reached by a stone spiral staircase, is the Tower Bedchamber, with far-reaching views and a ten foot wide bed that Anne Boleyn would have died for. At our recent visit the snow made everything even more enchanting. Magic.
In a quiet corner of the Caribbean are The Caves, a boutique hotel nestled on the limestone cliffs of Negril on the west coast of Jamaica. This hedonistic hideaway consists of twelve cottages and suites, each one with a character of its own. This multi-layered tropical paradise is connected by winding cliff paths that give the feeling of complete privacy and seclusion as you make your way to your room.
The lucid blue sea below is perfect for snorkelling and swimming, as well as a great way to explore some of the more out-of-the-way caves. Also, if you were to swim around the headland from this romantic retreat, you would find yourself on Negril’s superb seven mile stretch of white sand beach.
The Caves cater almost exclusively to couples (no children allowed!), offering massages and spa treatments, dining in private candlelit caves strewn with flower petals, and a private ocean-view jacuzzi that can be reserved for sunset. All of this is sound-tracked by the gently lapping waves of the Caribbean Sea. Now really, is there anything more romantic than that?
Stilt chalets and comfortable longhouses made from natural and recycled materials are set along the perimeter of a hill top, offering panoramic views of lush jungle. The veranda of the longhouses and chalets are almost eye-level with the canopy of the forest. Great for watching birds and sunset/rise. The wooden doors and panels of the chalets slide back so you really can be part of the jungle. More spaces with hammocks and swinging chairs are located within the grounds to create your ‘own’ space to experience nature. An open air pavilion with three levels serves as a basic restaurant, bar and chill zone where one can read, connect wifi or converse with the resident owl. This place is designer rustic but comfortable with wonderful helpful hosts and staff.
This unique tranquil haven is well away from the rather shabby city of Sandakan and the well flogged tourist trails of Sabah. Simply the best place to stay in Borneo.
Locanda palazone near Orvieto is a great place to stay.
The owners have done a great job at restoring the place and are excellent hosts. You must stay for dinner as they serve excellent Italian cuisine served by the charming owners. A pre dinner drink of wine produced by them before dinner to meet the other guests is a must.
We had a great time there and would recommend it for anyone staying in the area.
The Blackhouse village is situated on the Western Coast of Isle of Lewis in Scotland and consists of a few refurbished houses. You can rent one of the houses equipped in a wood burner stove, shower and bedrooms with old wooden bunk beds. The house is soaked with a rustic and traditional atmosphere. The village melts with the beautiful and wild Atlantic Ocean coast landscape. Built from local stones, grass and wood, Blackhouse village is an amazing example of sustainable touristim accommodation. Everyone who loves natural wilderness, the wind smelling of salt and misty pure mornings will fall in love with the place.
Scotland, Outer Hebrides, Isle of Lewis. Take a ferry from the mainland to Stornoway, then drive West to Gearrannan. Stornoway TIC: 01851704500
Stornoway car hire: 01851702658
Google map: tinyurl.com/ybtmnow
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