Imagine waking up to unending vistas of rolling hills, virgin forests and sparkling azure waters. And sitting with a warm cuppa for hours on end, doing nothing but savoring this view. Or learning how to sow seeds and harvest crops – by hand – as farm animals roam companionably around you. If the thought of spending your vacations in such fashion – enjoying your surrounds in a relaxed manner or deeply connecting with the local people and culture appeal to you, embrace the concept of slow travel! An extension of the Slow Food movement, slow travel is all about traveling mindfully. The focus is on quality rather than quantity – taking your time to see, experience and understand the destination you are in and opening your mind to new ways of thinking – and you also have the freedom to do nothing if you want! We have curated a list of the 10 best relaxing hotels in destinations that will ensure you can truly enjoy such an immersive travel experience. They are homes away from home, allowing you to unwind, relax and connect with yourself all over again!
BAHIA BUSTAMANTE | PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA
One of the best ways to have a truly immersive travel experience is to head far from the hustle and ensconce yourself in the arms of nature. And Bahia Bustamante is the ideal venue for such sojourn. Located in a remote part of wild Patagonia, lose yourself in this sprawling private family sheep farm for unadulterated bliss. Founded in the 1950s as a seaweed settlement, Bahia Bustamante has not lost any of its rustic connect with nature. With only 18 guests allowed at a time in its six sea-facing houses, solitude is yours to savor amid the craggy Atlantic coastline. Celebrate the joy of being one with nature as you go horse riding in the bay, mountain biking across the wild fields or walk in the ancient petrified forest, spotting pink flamingos, penguins, rheas and guanacos.
TITILAKA | PUNO, PERU
Taking time out to understand the local culture enriches your soul. Steeped in highland traditions, the mythical Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the sun (according to Andean beliefs) is the perfect place to do this. Feel time slow down as you watch the local farmers plant and harvest crops by hand. Understand the deep connect the locals have with nature when you step out from your hotel on the banks of Titicaca, and take a leisurely boat ride through many man-made floating islands on the lake. They have been ingeniously made with golden rotora (reeds) by the indigenous Uros people and remain their homes till today.
MALLIN COLORADO ECO LODGE | PUERTO GUADAL, CHILE
Surrender to the spectacular scenic beauty of the serene General Carrera Lake in the idyllic village of Puerto Guadal. Stay on on the banks of one of Patagonia’s most picturesque lakes at the Mallin Colorado Eco Lodge, an oasis of tranquility. One of the best relaxing hotels in the region, the lodge is a celebration of being one with nature – from the rustic flavor of the wooden cabins and rooms to the floor to ceiling windows affording expansive views of the lake. Only 32 guests are allowed at a time, allowing you to revel in solitude!
KANANA CAMP | OKAVANGO DELTA, BOTSWANA
Africa forces you to slow down. Its teeming wildlife across the many swamps, lagoons, islands and meandering waterways move according to their pace. To truly savor nature’s bounty requires you to immerse yourself in the moment. Experience the beauty of the Okavango Delta at Kanana Camp, situated by the Xudum River. With just eight tents on elevated decks, there’s no distraction to take you away from nature. Spend hours silently birdwatching, walking through the bush, or on a relaxed mokoro ride, and let your life run on Africa time, in one of the best relaxing hotels.
LUWI BUSH CAMP | SOUTH LUANGWA, ZAMBIA
To bid adieu to the daily grind is the essence of slow travel. And what better way to do it than at a bush camp in Africa? Luwi Bush Camp in the remote South Luangwa National park is the only camp in the region for miles, allowing you to completely disconnect. There are only five huts, handcrafted from grass with a polished mud floor, making you at one with your rustic surroundings. Take this one step further with some of the best walking safaris in the country, set amid mahogany groves and lagoons.
GREYSTOKE MAHALE | MAHALE, TANZANIA
Slow travel is all about taking time out to appreciate your surroundings. Enjoy such leisurely, uninterrupted contact with nature in the remote region of Mahale Mountains National Park, home to the world’s largest known population of wild chimpanzees. Revel in the magic of tracking and observing these animals – a true communion with nature! And your stay at one of the best relaxing hotels, the Greystoke Mahale enhances this sense of connect – the lodge comprises only six open-fronted bandas, complete with their own raised relaxation decks and bathrooms, located on a serene, soft sandy beach. Truly a barefoot paradise!
UMNGAZI RIVER BUNGALOWS | EASTERN WILD COAST, SOUTH AFRICA
Enjoy nature in all its vibrant diversity at the Eastern Wild Coast – where a rugged coastline of inviting waters meets pristine beaches and indigenous forests. And your stay at Umngazi River Bungalows gives you a first-hand view of the panoramic vistas – the luxurious resort is perched overlooking the mouth of the river, allowing you a spectacular view of the region’s flora and fauna. And if you visit in June or July, you can witness millions of sardines congregating along the shore unwittingly near the waiting jaws of sharks and dolphins – the eternal cycle of life!
RYOKAN KURASHI | KURASHI, JAPAN
Time stops still in the delightful district of Kurashi, with its architecture taking you back to the ancient Edo period: willow-lined streets and tranquil Japanese gardens surrounded by many well-preserved former merchant houses. Maintain this enriching connect with the past during your stay at Ryokan Kurashiki, an old warehouse, artfully renovated into a traditional Japanese inn with its aesthetic traditional details intact – from a rolled tile roof to a traditional onsen (hot spring). Eight minimalist rooms make this one of the best relaxing hotels to unwind in! Immerse yourself in the local culture by partaking in a traditional tea ceremony or sampling local sake with an exotic Kaiseki (a type of Japanese cuisine) meal.
NEELESHWAR HERMITAGE | KERALA, SOUTH INDIA
Imagine an abundance of palm trees and hidden waterways that you can traverse on Kettuvallams (slow-moving, traditional rice barges) – this is what makes Kerala a perfect choice for a slow stay, and the delightful secluded retreat of Neeleshwar Hermitage is one of the best relaxing hotels. Be at one with your surrounds when you stay in any of the 18 cottages, modeled on traditional fisherman’s huts, crafted with local stone and topped with tiled or thatched roofs. Spend hours reading a book, accompanied by the sounds of babbling water, followed by a rejuvenating and authentic Ayurvedic spa treatment.
AHILYA FORT | MAHESHWAR, CENTRAL INDIA
Hark back to the 18th century during your stay at the Ahilya Fort, as you lose yourself in its many walled gardens, turrets, courtyards, fountains and menageries.
Savor an unhurried vacation in any of its 19 guest rooms, each bathed in the splendor of vibrant Indian fabrics, adding to the regal aura. The fortress overlooks the Narmada River – enjoy a relaxed paddle boat down its calm waters, or take a leisurely walk in the nearby village and soak in the rustic atmosphere. Feast like a royal, as you savor the region’s local cuisine during your own private picnics and candlelit dinners.
It’s time to take a break, destress and connect with life that is passing you by.
Explore truly immersive and relaxed travel experiences at some of the best relaxing hotels with Enchanting Travels today!