WITH everything going on in the world, particularly in my world which is travel, I thought that everyone could use a little inspiration and escapism. And what better way than to lose yourself in some of the world’s most wonderful locations than by making the most of some of their most unique and unusual stays. So, here are a selection of my favourite, dreamy destinations and their different digs.
Tempting travel to the treetops
Soneva Kiri, Thailand, offers luxury of the highest standard in a remote setting that nurtures an indigenous feel in design, architecture and service. Koh Kood is the fourth-largest island in Thailand, but one of the least developed. The tropical rainforests, breathtaking waterfalls and traditional village life, combined with emerald waters and white sandy beaches, take you back to the remote and untouched Thailand of time past.
Soneva Kiri has been developed with the principles of ecologically sustainable design and material selection, and with construction methods adapted to protect the environment – all causes that are so close to my heart. Personal electric buggies and bicycles, are the modes of transport within the resort. It’s everything I want in a resort.
But what truly sets this resort apart from the rest are the experiences. Treepod dinning, mushroom cave lunches and an eco den housed in a giant bamboo manta ray suspended in the treetops. The den is essentially dedicated to children from one to five with age-specific activities and qualified childcare experts. Now that’s the kind of kids’ club I’m talking about!
Caves in Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a beautiful region in central Turkey famous for its fairytale scenery, cave dwellings, remarkable rock formations and, of course, the hundreds of hot-air balloons that soar in the sky during sunrise each day.
But have you ever wondered what it’s like to stay in a cave suite with a heated indoor pool just metres from your bed? Maybe not. Perhaps you’re thinking more along the lines of cold, dark, dingy and damp? No, oh no, not at the Kayakapi Premium caves. With accolades such as the best luxury hotel in the world and the ninth best hotel in the world from TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2019, there is nothing dingy about these caves. An award-winning cave hotel located in a historic Unesco world heritage centre, this had to be on the list.
Finland and nature’s own fairy lights
When I say unique and unusual accommodation most people say, ‘Oh I’d love to stay in one of those glass igloos and watch the northern lights.’
I would love to have said ‘Igloos in Iceland’ but, sadly, there are none. And so, I present Finland, seminomas for glass igloos, aurora domes, snow castles, lighthouses, tree tents, fishing cabins – even an old prison turned into a hotel. Finland really has it all.
Experiencing the natural phenomena of aurora borealis or northern lights as we commonly call it, is a firm favourite on the ‘bucket list’. And, really, there’s only one way to experience the magic… Staying in a world-famous glass igloo at Kakslauttanen. Here they have been offering amazing glass igloos and log cabins since the 1970s when Jussi (the owner) happened upon this place on a drive back to central Finland when he ran out of fuel. This year they have brilliantly combined the cosy comfort of their cabins with the sensational views of their glass igloos. Genius. All feature a sauna, fireplace and bedroom with stunning glass roof. Surely that’s the dream, taking in the enchanting beauty of the northern lights and Finnish wilderness from the comfort of your bed.
An unexpected marvel on the outskirts of Nairobi
Giraffe Manor has been on my wish list for the longest time. With bookings made many months and sometimes years in advance, I have yet to have the pleasure of a stay. But for those who know me, the saying ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ is very apt.
A hunting lodge in the 1930s, today this manor is home to a resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes. And when I say home, I mean these curious creatures are quite often found poking their heads through an open window or door, joining you for a treat while you dine on your yummy breakfast. The manor itself is set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi.
I could go on about the elegant rooms, the stunning food and many marvellous activities on offer, but what I want to tell you about is more important. Did you know that giraffes are becoming highly endangered? Giraffe Manor works closely with the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife to support the conservation and breeding of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. The success of the programme has seen wild Rothschild’s giraffes recover from the brink of extinction. They also back the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and support their efforts to protect wild giraffes across the whole African continent. Just staying at Giraffe Manor means you are helping a worthy cause.
Horsing around in Wyoming
Wyoming is quite possibly my most favourite state in the US. Not only is it home to awesome Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole, but it is the home of rodeos and the real American cowboy.
They say it is where the untamed spirit of the West and majestic natural beauty open your mind and invigorate your senses to release your own inner freedom and sense of adventure. It certainly had a profound impact on me and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
While I travelled through the state, I was fortunate enough to stay at and visit a number of dude ranches. My top pick for an authentic dude-ranch experience is Paradise Guest Ranch were the tagline is ‘arrive as a guest, leave as a friend’. That might sound cheesy, but their hospitality warms the soul.
Rustic elegant log cabins offering one, two, three, and four bedrooms have all been recently renovated or newly built. You’ll find all the facilities you need but forget looking for the TV, as you won’t find one. But why would you need one when each cabin has an outdoor deck where you can relax and read, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the majesty of the evening while the shadows of the sunset dance up Fan Rock?
I have a list as long as my arm of amazing places all over the globe. These are a few that stand out to me for different reasons. I also wanted to vary the pick to keep your interest and give you food for thought. If you would like more information on these, or any other weird and wonderful places you would like to visit and stay in, please feel free to get in touch.
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