Top 10 Hideaways
There are times when you want to be right in the heart of it all, close to all the attractions and places of interest.
On other occasions, you just want to get away from it all and forget everyday life. In our Top 10 Hideaways, we list some of our most secluded – and often most romantic – hotels and self-catering properties.
Abbazia di San Pietro in Valle, Umbria, Italy
It’s not every hotel that can boast of having been converted from a beautiful Romanesque abbey, and many of those who have experienced our Umbria walk
have spoken of feeling privileged to stay at such a special place. The abbey’s origins date back to the 8th century, when a group of Benedictine monks decided to establish a small community on the broad flank of Monte Solenne, and there are superb 12th and 13th-century frescoes, as well as a two-storey cloister.
Douar Samra, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco
This mountain hotel on our Beneath Djebel Toubkal walk
offers as authentic a taste of Berber life as you will ever get. Like the other village houses, the main hotel and the four standard rooms have no electricity – the rooms are warmed by open fires and lit by candles which create a cosy glow – yet the cuisine, prepared by one of the village women, is some of the best you could wish to sample in Morocco. So remote is the village that you often have to travel by mule for the last kilometre. A very unique place to stay!
Berghotel Zirmerhof, Südtirol, Italy
If you are looking to escape to the mountains, this is a great choice, with the option, if you want to spend time out of doors, of some marvellous walking (the hotel features on our Towards the Dolomites walk
). If you prefer to stay at the hotel, though, there is plenty of space to relax, with a cosy library, steam room, sauna and delightful stube (parlour). You won’t miss out on the breathtaking views, either – the frescoed restaurant affords a splendid panorama of the western Dolomites to admire as you savour excellent regional dishes.
Alojamento Senhora da Ribeira, Douro Valley, Portugal
Situated on the banks of the Douro, cut off from other villages and towns by the river on one side and steep hills on the other, this simple rural inn on our Valley of Gold walk
features in our Top 10 Hideaways because it occupies an amazingly secluded spot. You can admire the strikingly beautiful views and watch the river glide lazily past the hotel from the small balcony of your bedroom – you even access the inn by means of a small river ferry which collects you from the railway station on the opposite bank.
I Due Roccoli, Lake Iseo, Italy
Midway between the larger – and much better known – lakes of Garda and Como, Lake Iseo
is a secret jewel, with rugged landscapes to the north and vineyard-covered slopes to the south. I Due Roccoli, one of the highest quality hotels in our Top 10 Hideaways, is a real oasis of tranquillity immersed in its own attractive parkland with a superb panorama over the lake. The focal point is the elegant restaurant, the setting for refined interpretations of traditional Lombard cuisine which you can accompany with a locally produced Franciacorta wine.
Hotel Meisser, Engadine, Switzerland
With its timeless, fairytale villages surrounded by flower-filled meadows, the Engadine
is Switzerland’s best-kept secret, making it a great destination for a week away from it all. The Hotel Meisser is in the best preserved of all the Engadine’s villages, Guarda, where the cobbled streets are dotted with fountains and lined with solid stone houses decorated with intricate pastel murals. The charming Meisser family has created an intimate, relaxed atmosphere, and the use of light wood throughout the hotel is at once stylish and cosy.
Les Vents Bleus, Aveyron, France
Set in a sleepy hamlet between the Tarn and Aveyron rivers, Les Vents Bleus has been exquisitely converted from a beautiful old stone house. Although the interior is fit to be included in a stylish homes magazine, there is a very relaxed feel to the place, and guests are made to feel very much at home by hosts Monsieur and Madame Gropallo, whose warm hospitality is regularly praised by customers on our Land of the Crusades walk
Hotel Castle, Goms Valley, Switzerland
There are two main reasons for including this secluded 4-star hotel which perches on the slopes above the village of Blitzingen
in our Top 10 Hideaways. Firstly, the welcome is among the warmest you could hope to encounter in Switzerland (the hotel has in fact won awards for the outstanding level of service). Secondly, the food is superb – owner Peter Gschwendtner is a great chef, creating delicious mountain dishes with a lightness of touch. The icing on the cake is the view across the delightful yet little-discovered Goms Valley from the restaurant.
Molino del Canto, Burgos, Spain
If you know any Spanish, the name of this delightful small hotel on our Three Faces of Green Spain
walking holiday may give you some idea of its secluded location. ‘Canto’ is Spanish for ‘song‘, meaning its name translates as ‘Mill of Song’ – in this steep-sided valley in northern Spain, the only sounds are the water and the birds. Indeed, hosts Javier and Valvanera couldn’t have chosen a better spot to live a life more in tune with nature. Javier is a keen birdwatcher and organises outings on which he’ll help you identify the birds you spot along the way.
Les collines rouges, Dordogne valley, france
Lush green rolling hills lead down to the confluence of two of France’s best-loved rivers, the Dordogne and the Vézère, an area which was occupied by prehistoric man for millennia. It is in this fertile region, nestling in the countryside between the historic city of Périgueux and the renowned ‘capital of pre-history’, Les Eyzies, that you will find the tranquil and secluded Les Collines Rouges
, a beautifully renovated gîte. This quiet location is the perfect place for couples who want to get away from it all, while still offering plenty to see and do.!
If our Top 10 Hideaways has inspired you, please contact our friendly reservations team for more information.