by: José Berrocoso //
Sometimes we all want to get away for some peace and quiet. No office, no noisy families beside the pool, no boisterous reps trying to sell us excursions. Just a quiet holiday in a peaceful destination. So where should you head?
As people increasingly try to escape the stresses of modern life, some hotels make a special point of offering peace and quiet to their guests.
We’ve hand-picked the best places around the globe, from Southern Europe to the Gulf of Oman, Morocco and the Caribbean shores, where you’re guaranteed peace and quiet. It’s time to join the cult of quiet.
SLOW LIVING IN PORTUGAL
Where: Sublime Comporta, Portugal
Nestled on a stunning 17-hectare estate, surrounded by undulating umbrella pines and cork trees, sand dunes, vineyards, rice fields and over 60km of pristine, white-sand beaches is Sublime Comporta. Here, a breath taking natural environment comes together with the elegance of contemporary architecture and décor and achieves the perfect balance between design, comfort and respect for nature and its surroundings.
Absolutely unique in its offer, this is the place where one is able to experience all that is still authentic and genuine in Portugal – living with the locals and feeling the rhythm of ‘slow living’. Just one hour from Lisbon, the perfect fusion between the beauty of natural surroundings and the simplicity of its architecture, Sublime Comporta pays homage to the best of Portugal.
Here you will rediscover the magic of time as it stands still, lose yourself in all its nuances and revere in the magnificence of simplicity. A seasonal cuisine of communion and respect for nature is practiced. The chef uses regional products, working with local fisherman, giving precedence to fresh, organic produce whenever possible.
Activities in the surrounding areas include horse-back riding on the sand dunes, rice fields and beaches of Comporta, picnics on a deserted beach or on a private lagoon, excursions to one of Europe’s unique artisanal fishing ports where you can go out with a local fisherman or, if you choose, you can just relax and read a book, enjoying the slow rhythm of this beautiful area of Portugal.
STUNNING ECO-LODGE OVERLOOKING THE GULF OF OMAN
Where: Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
The arid island landscape, water, air and wildlife create an awe-inspiring encounter at Kalba on the east coast of Sharjah in the UAE. Set on this piece of heaven enveloped by the Gulf of Oman is Kingfisher Lodge by Mantis. The beauty of the pristine beach is matched perfectly by refined interiors in soft beiges, blues and desert browns. A boutique hotel featuring 20 luxuriously appointed tents, each has its very own private pool encircled by unrivaled tranquil surroundings. Its views overlook the Indian Ocean, whilst the neighboring mangroves are home to a turtle breeding area and many rare species of birds.
Embracing its Arabian heritage and culture, each room has been designed with your every need in mind. Chic and comfortable they feature all modern amenities, with a calming colour palette designed to allow full relaxation. Different to any other hotel in the UAE, you feel like you are on safari ready for your next big adventure.
For those seeking a little bit of adventure, the mangroves are home to a whole host of activities. Kayak or paddle board through the water, looking from the sky to the sea to experience the spirit of Kalba’s vast animal life. Be on the lookout for the many species, in particular, the sea turtles and rare species of birds that include the White Collared Kingfisher and Sykes’s Warbler. Pick up the pace by heading to the surrounding mountains, where you can hike down to the marshes, or even try your hand at archery at the Kalba Absolute Adventure Camp.
DREAM DESTINATION FOR OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS
Where: La Ceiba, Honduras
Pico Bonito National Park is another safeguarded space of high ridges within hiking distance of Caribbean shores. The park lurks in the north of Honduras, reaching a top elevation of 2,480 metres in the ‘beautiful peak’ which gives it its name. Part of its purpose is to protect the rainforest that lies within its boundaries, although it is also open to active tourism. Visitors can go walking, kayaking or rafting within its 217 lush square miles.
It also offers surprising levels of luxury in the form of the Lodge and Spa at Pico Bonito, an eco-retreat where intrepid travellers can escape from the world. The lodge is a boutique hotel with 400 acres of tropical wilderness, set on the edge of Honduras’ second largest National Park, three miles from the city of La Ceiba. The property encompasses eight distinct ecosystems, each with their own resident and migrant bird species. Guests will find two rushing rivers on the grounds, a tiled swimming pool set in verdant gardens filled with old cacao groves, an extensive self-guided interpretive maintained trail system and spectacular waterfalls.
From the towers, tropical birds such as parrots, parakeets, tanagers, the endangered Honduran emerald hummingbird and the prized bright-blue feathered cotinga, favourite of the Mayans, are visible.
OASIS IN THE HEART OF THE MEDINA
Where: Marrakech, Morocco
This palatial riad is in one of the oldest and grandest parts of the medina of Marrakech. Built by a wealthy Moroccan family in the 17th century, the riad has been authentically renovated by Belgian architect Quentin Wilbaux. Warm red and ochre carpets and furnishings contrast beautifully with the riad’s cool whitewashed walls. Traditional architectural elements, from original cedar-beamed ceilings to galleries of archways and fine hanging lamps give a sense of an enchanted palace frozen in time.
Five spacious guest rooms give onto the lush garden, the heart of this traditional Moroccan family home and a highly prized asset in city with little private green space. Light lunches and afternoon tea are served in the shade of luxuriant banana, orange and olive trees, while the small bathing pool at the centre of the courtyard is the perfect spot for a refreshing post-medina dip.
Everything on the menu is produced from scratch in its organic kitchen, from fragrant couscous suppers to abundant breakfasts of crepes, pastries and homemade jam. Both cuisine and décor evoke Morocco at its most authentic, creating an atmosphere redolent of romance, elegance and relaxation.
A SENSORIAL EXPERIENCE IN THE CANARY ISLANDS
Where: Gran Canaria Island, Spain
Everything in Salobre Hotel Resort and Serenity is aimed to provide pleasure, relaxation, calmness and wellbeing; from its exclusive location in a natural environment with privileged views to the Atlantic Ocean and the golf course, to every single detail. Guests enjoy the desert hotel concept, where the power of wild nature merges on the horizon with the blue of the sea. Stone, the tone of ochre from the south of the island’s Ayagaures, is used in the exterior to reflects the area’s volcanic landscape. Potted cacti and wicker furniture give the interiors a tropical feel.
The hotel has 313 rooms and suites, all with a private balcony and views to either the desert or the ocean, perfect to enjoy the calmness and serenity of the environment. In outdoor areas there are seven swimming pools at different levels, as well as a large zone dedicated to gastronomy where guest are able to taste the best local cuisine and other flavours of the world.
Aloe Wellness Centre is another of its attractions. This is an area designed to take care of your body, mind and soul thanks to its exclusive offer of facial and corporal treatments: scented steam baths, oxygen therapy, dry sauna, ice fountain, contrast showers, therapeutic streams, thermal circuits, and massages. Salobre Hotel Resort and Serenity is also the destination of golf enthusiasts as it is the only hotel in the Canary Islands that offers two golf courses that have more than 18 holes each.