As many people look to the future and start to plan their next trip, we check out some of the most exclusive locations in Europe which offer a safe and private setting for a relaxing getaway with family and friends.
From a remote Icelandic lodge to a 17th century castle in Italy, these are our top picks for a luxury European escape once travel restrictions have been lifted.
Deplar Farm, Iceland
Escape to one of Eleven Experience’s most unique properties, the remote Icelandic lodge, Deplar Farm. The Nordic-inspired lodge, that can sleep up to 26 guests is located on the stunning Troll Peninsula and come winter is surrounded by 3,000 ft snow-dusted mountains, allowing guests to have unrivalled access to over 1,500 square miles of untouched mountain terrain and to feel completed secluded. This 13-bedroom property may be wonderfully remote but offers a range of world-class facilities for guests looking to relax and unwind after an active day outdoors.
Guests can enjoy the lodge’s extensive wellness area which comprises of a steam room, indoor/outdoor saunas, hot tubs, flotation tanks, 3 treatments rooms and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, heated to 38 degrees from thermal springs, with a built-in sound system and a bar. The Nordic inspired interiors are cosy and stylish, and guests can socialise together in the evening with cocktails mixed by the resident mixologist and feast on local Icelandic delicacies cooked by the private chef.
Deplar Farm also offers a library, entertainment room, conference room, terrace, built in pizza oven and a full band set up for late night jamming sessions as well as two helicopter pads. Deplar Farm is also known for its exhilarating menu of outdoor pursuits, including heli-skiing, sea kayaking, whale watching in the surrounding fjords, astro-touring and fat biking special trails around the valley. Due to limited light-pollution in Iceland, guests can also stargaze out across the clear Icelandic night sky from the lodges impressive geo-thermally heated outdoor pool, and from October to March, even catch a glimpse of the extraordinary Northern Lights dancing across the sky.
Rates during the summer and winter season (1 June – 31 October & 1 November – 14 March) start from £1,370 per person, per night. This includes customised adventure itineraries, all gear necessary for activities, pre-arrival planning with an Experience Manager, all in-house meals, house alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages, daily housekeeping and airport transfers to/from Akureyri.
Castello di Ugento, Italy
Castello di Ugento is a beautiful 17th century castle turned boutique hotel, overlooking the rural and medieval town of Ugento at the south-eastern tip of Salento, Puglia. The Castello is home to nine spacious and individually designed suites, which are available to book exclusively, allowing families or groups of friends to safely create unforgettable memories living la dolce vita. Home to the D’Amore family for 375 years, the castle was lovingly restored by owners Massimo d’Amore, 22nd descendent of the family and his wife Diana. Diana personally oversaw the interior design of the property, managing to carefully place light and contemporary furnishings to complement the Castello’s historical interiors.
Castello is a culinary destination in its own right thanks to the world renowned, state-of-the-art cookery school located within the castle’s storehouses under original vaulted ceilings as well as the spectacular destination restaurant Il Tempo Nuovo, which serves seasonal specialities using 100% local food supply, including fruit and vegetables from their own kitchen garden and all bread and desserts created on site. Guests can reunite with loved ones at Castello and enjoy private cookery classes, picnics in the picturesque historic gardens and Italian feasts at Il Tempo. The expert concierge team can even organise private wine tastings at the local vineyard and chauffeur escorted trips to the coast.
Castello di Ugento is set to re-open in July. Rates to buyout eight rooms at Castello start from €8,500 per night (sleeping 19 guests), on a full board basis and including a complimentary shuttle to local beaches and towns.
Leading experiential travel company 62°NORD offers an interesting collection of boutique accommodation including the much-loved ‘Owner’s Cabin’ in Staurneset, located at the end of a beautiful peninsula on the north-west coast of Norway. Those looking to get away from it all and enjoy “hytte kultur” (cabin lifestyle), the Owner’s Cabin is a small cottage surrounded by untouched land with direct access to the sea. Home to three double bedrooms, one bathroom, a spacious dining room and living room with an open fire and kitchen, the house is perfect for families and promises privacy, solitude and breathtaking beauty.
Just steps away from the Nordic sea, guests will find a white sandy beach on the right and charming rocky tide pools to the left. Guests staying in the cabin can curl up with a good book and enjoy the far-reaching sea views, kayak the North Sea or embark on breathtakingly beautiful hikes.
Rates in the Owner’s Cabin start from NOK 6 000 (currently approx. £460) per night.
Domaine des Etangs, France
Domaine des Etangs offers a truly unique experience in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas of rural France. Set over 1,000 hectares of protected nature-filled countryside comprising forest, grassland and lakes, Domaine des Etangs is a converted private home that has been transformed into a unique hotel. The property comprises an 11th century château, as well as six farmhouse cottages ranging from one to five bedrooms, surrounded by landscaped gardens and lakes. Those looking for a truly secluded escape can opt for a stay in one of these beautifully designed rustic cottages for the utmost privacy, as well as to experience the rural surroundings and fresh air, where the only other being they might see are the resident Limousin cows. The cottages are so generously spaced apart, that they come with their own electric car, enabling guests to drive around the estate.
Each cottage has its own personality and is scattered across the property grounds, hidden in a verdant hollow or sitting in a green meadow stretching out towards the horizon. The traditional stone structures have been refurbished and the cottages are complete with wooden beams and floor to ceiling glass doors, allowing the nature to fill the space. Some are complete with secret wine cellars, filled with the owner’s private collection of French wines, and others with large copper roll-top bathtubs to relax in. Guests of the cottages can enjoy private tastings with the Domaine’s expert sommelier and enjoy delicious farm-to-fork dinners prepared by the chef or cooked over the cottages open fireplace.
Domaine des Etangs is located a 40-minute drive from Limoges and a 2.5h drive from Bordeaux or guests can take a private jet to Angouleme (just 40km away). Rates start from €400 (approx. £350) per night on a B&B basis.
The Newt, England
Enjoy a cosy retreat into the stunning British countryside with a stay at the newly-restored historic country estate near Bruton, The Newt in Somerset. This estate is the perfect place for guests to cuddle up with a hot mulled cyder and a good book after a day of exploring the beautifully cultivated gardens and countryside. Visitors can enjoy the estate’s on-site cyder press, selection of restaurants, the farm, house and garden shops, as well as enjoy a stay in one of the unique 23 rooms within former Hadspen House and its historic outbuildings.
There are plenty of quirky accommodation options, including The Granary, Stable Yard rooms and stunning Garden View rooms in the Main House. The hotel also includes a world-class spa with indoor/outdoor swimming pool and gym. Couples can enjoy warming local dishes at the glass walled Garden Café, with spectacular views across the gardens, or can dine at The Botanical Rooms, inspired by Georgian dining, with small sharing plates and a menu largely sourced from the Estate and its neighbours.
Rates start from £275 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis.
Finca Cortesin, Spain
Located in one of the most sought-after enclaves of the Andalusian coast, independently-owned Finca Cortesin is one of the finest luxury resorts in Europe. While it is extremely well connected and easily accessible from nearby international hubs, the resort is set on a sprawling 215-hectare estate surrounded by undisturbed nature and flanked by the Casares Mountains and has over 23,000m2 of spacious manicured gardens. Ideal for those seeking more space, away from the main resort are the Green 10 villas situated between holes 9 and 10 on Finca’s award-winning golf course.
These five-bedroom, all en-suite residences have been built on spacious individual plots of up to 2,200m2, offering the utmost privacy without compromising access to the hotel extensive facilities. Each one is thoughtfully positioned on the mountainside to offer unsurpassed views of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range and the Mediterranean Sea. The modern and bright Mediterranean-style interiors contrast harmoniously with the sleek white walls and clean exterior lines and are fully equipped with top-of-the-range kitchen gadgets and high-spec sound systems, as well as ample staff accommodation and parking for two cars.
Visitors can relax by their private pool on the expansive terraces and enjoy both indoor and outdoor dining areas, without ever seeing another guest if they wish. Those staying a minimum of five nights also receive complimentary one-way airport transfers from Malaga or Gibraltar, with guests staying seven nights or more receiving return transfers. For the particularly discerning traveller, a private chef, waiting staff and an unpacking service is also available on demand.
Nightly rates in Finca Cortesin’s 5-bedroom Green 10 villas start from €3,467 (currently approx. £3,057). A five-night minimum stay applies during high season (June-August, and public and school holidays), and a two-night minimum stay year-round.