SPLENDID ISOLATION Dreaming of a great escape? We’ve found stylish hotels in jaw-dropping locations – and no crowds, guaranteed
THIS PICTURE Tip top views from the Eco Loft. BELOW Pared back industrial luxury.
WORDS • MORAG BRUCE
he United Kingdom is going to be a hectic old place in 2012, so if you’re looking for an antidote, go wild and remote. Fear not, though, this is Livingetc, and getting away from it all doesn’t mean nights under canvas. Our wine country, tropical island and bamboo-clad mountain hideaways are all luxurious. As the latest opening from Grupo Habita (see New York’s Americano and Boca Chica in Acapulco), Endémico in Mexico was always going to be fabulous, but the views over the vineyards of the Valle de Guadaloupe make it extra special. The Cape Verde archipelago off the west coast of Africa has the look and climate of a long-haul hot spot, but is only six hours from Britain. Hike the volcanic plains and windswept, deserted beaches, or just kick back at the Hotel Spinguera. At Naked Stables Reserve, two-and-a-half hours from Shanghai, while away the hours in your tree-top villa, explore the hills on horseback or take a calligraphy lesson. It’s oh so quiet, shhhh.
ENDÉMICO RESGUARDO SILVESTRE Baja California, Mexico The lowdown Eco-chic luxury cabins from Mexico’s coolest hotelier Best for A wine buff and nature lover’s meeting of minds If the 20 luxury cabins that make up Endémico Resguardo Silvestre look as though they are standing on their tippy toes, that’s deliberate. The architects were so intent on minimising environmental impact they designed the rooms to sit above ground on stilts. This is a Grupo Habita hotel, though, so eco credentials come with interiors that are cool, sleek and industrial in mood. You have your own terrace, which is perfect for sampling the wares of the Encuentro winery, with just a clay stove and two million stars for company. Alternatively, there’s an incredible infinity pool worked into the hillside. Endémico’s restaurant is managed by the Culinary Art School of Tijuana, adhering to slow-food principles – nothing moves fast here, thankfully. Book it Cabins from £120 (grupohabita.mx) APRIL 2012
ABOVE Lose yourself in the sound of the sea. LEFT Simply furnished rooms complete the romantic getaway feel. BELOW Dining out, Cape Verde style.
Solitude on a grand scale is nothing new in China. Traditionally, the emperors lived in total isolation from their subjects, and on the rare occasions they left their palaces, roads were cleared so no one could see them.
NAKED STABLES RESERVE China The lowdown Stylish retreat in a secluded bamboo valley Best for Luxe lovers looking to get back to nature
SPINGUERA Boa Vista, Cape Verde islands The lowdown Traditional stone-built hotel in a truly wild landscape Best for Climbing into a hammock, snoozing in a hammock The Cape Verde chain of islands isn’t particularly developed in terms of tourism, and Spinguera is definitely the wildest, most remote of our great getaway options. This is the hotel to head to when the bleeping and pinging of 21st-century life gets too much (don’t expect mobile coverage here). The rooms are pared back and romantic, all pale plaster and rustic accessories, and housed in traditional stone-built fishermen’s cottages with pretty painted shutters. There’s a restaurant serving local seafood and produce, plenty of spots to soak up the sun, opportunities to explore the island, and very little else. If you do have itchy feet, take a walk along the beach to the huge shipwreck lodged in the shallows or, as Boa Vista is the archipelago’s ‘island of dunes’, a trip into the desert on a full moon is a must – a life-enhancing experience for city folks used to light pollution. Book it Double rooms from £65 (spinguera.com) <#A#>
Back in the Twenties, the bamboo-clad hills of Moganshan were the playground of opium gangsters, and you can see why they’d choose these beautiful, mysterious forests as their retreat from Shanghai, less than three hours away. Bad boys long gone, the valley is serene, and the perfect place for a modern hideaway. Hence the Naked Stables Reserve, a very eco-friendly, very luxurious hotel. There are no motorised vehicles allowed, access is by foot or golf buggy, so expect pin-drop peace. There is a variety of accommodation, from poolside to forest, but we’d recommend one of the hillside Earth Huts – nothing beats taking an outdoor shower on your terrace with the mist rolling in below. There’s an extensive programme of activities to de-fuzz your mind – we loved the wild swimming and relaxing calligraphy lesson. Book it Double rooms from £260 (nakedretreats.cn)
TOP Breathtaking vistas from a Tree Top villa. ABOVE Grounded luxury in an Earth Hut. LEFT Find perfect peace at the poolside.