Find fresh inspiration for your next couple trip with these experiences curated by Relais & Châteaux properties. From soaking up the culture in Japan to a visit to Dracula’s castle, combine a relaxing stay with an adventure for two and make your next vacation a little less ordinary.
Wild about food
Food helps you connect to a new culture, and Wild Coast Tented Lodge, serves up a number of interactive delicious moments. Join a cookery class and blend fragrant spices to create classic Sri Lankan dishes from scratch. Or how about a picnic in the wilderness, midway through an exhilarating game drive with a chance to spot elephants and leopards? Unwind with cocktails by the sea afterwards and, later, a candlelit dinner on the beach, accompanied by the sound of lapping waves.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala, Sri Lanka
Romance on the river
Sitting pretty on the Loire riverfront in Blois, in France’s central Loir-et-cher region, discover the imposing frame of Fleur de Loire, a spa hotel transformed from a royal residence dating back to the 17th century. Make the most of this atmospheric location by boarding a traditional barge, and letting the river carry you through the historic town, past grand châteaux, as the sun sets. Kick it up a notch with a hot air balloon ride: the iconic castles of Chambord, Chenonceau, and Chaumont are even more impressive from the air. End your day at the Restaurant Christophe HAY double starred in the Michelin guide.
Fleur de Loire, Blois, France
Wonders of Reunion
After chaos comes beauty. The 2004 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise has created a breathtaking landscape with lava tunnels under the volcanic island. With expert guides on hand, explore this curious network of underground trails and marvel at their fantastical shapes. Overlooking the vast Indian Ocean, Blue Margouillat Seaview Hotel is also a prime whale-watching spot between June and September. At night, don’t forget to look up – with near-zero light pollution, the constellations shine particularly brightly after dark.
Blue Margouillat Seaview Hotel, Saint-Leu, Reunion
A Romanian road trip
With lush green forests, winding mountain passes, unique delta and a lively seaside, Romania is a dream for road trips. But if you don't fancy driving, Epoque Hotel proposes several itineraries that will satisfy your wanderlust. Visit two legendary castles in Transylvania: Bran Castle, best known as Dracula's castle and the magnificent royal Peles Castle. Alternatively, stroll through the vineyards of Dealu Mare wine region, tasting some of the most spectacular Romanian wines. The hotel also offers private tours of Bucharest by bike if you prefer to soak up the city sights and vibes.
Epoque Hotel, Bucharest, Romania
Bounty of the sea
Learn about sustainability in the Algarve with a visit to Ria Formosa by boat. A dreamy network of islets has created a serene lagoon in this constantly changing natural park where flamingos, seahorses and rare birds thrive among the diverse flora and fauna. You get a taste of the sea too, with a visit to a traditional oyster farm. Before you return to the Grand House, head to Castro Marim where the mineral-rich clay from its open-air, salt pan spa will nourish you with the goodness of the ocean.
Grand House, Vila Real de St. Antonio, Portugal
Home to 170 hectares of grassy plains and leafy forests, all flanked by dramatic mountain views, the landscape at El Colibri is truly captivating. And to help you see it all is a team of gauchos who’ll take you to hidden corners of the estate on horseback. After a morning’s gentle canter, a picnic showcasing produce from the land is waiting by the banks of the meandering Santa Catalina River. And back at the estancia, you can enjoy a traditional asado where everything is slow cooked over an open fire.
El Colibri, Santa Catalina, Argentina
Crystal clear waters, powder-soft sandy beaches and waving palms providing cooling shade – it would be too easy to fly-and-flop with a cocktail in hand at Tiamo Resort in the Bahamas. But if you’re so inclined, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Above the water, there’s sailing, paddle boarding and canoeing. Jump on in to snorkel or dive among vibrant coral reefs – dolphins, turtles and sharks can all be spotted. And, of course, a visit to those famous swimming pigs on nearby Exuma is essential.
Tiamo Resort, Driggs Hill, Bahamas
Back to basics
Set in a majestic 15th century estate in the Spanish countryside, La Torre del Visco offers unrivalled rural luxury that will feed your body and nourish your soul. With its own organic kitchen garden, olive groves and orchard, the gastronomic restaurant embodies the farm-to-table ethos that helped win a Michelin Green Star. Anything not grown on the estate is sourced from local suppliers including beef reared according to the ancestral Transhumance tradition. Join the herdsmen as they move their livestock from coastal to mountain pastures, walking through unspoilt meadows.
La Torre del Visco, Fuentespalda, Spain
Not many hotels can claim to have their own ski runs, but that’s exactly what’s on offer at Twin Farms in Vermont: it has six of them in fact. For those who don’t ski or snowboard, 9 miles of hiking trails throughout 300 acres should provide ample room for exploration, whether that’s on foot or on fat bikes. Completing its marvellous winter lineup is a natural ice rink where hot toddies are always at the ready. And if you really need to warm up, there’s a Japanese-style bathhouse in the forest where the water is always a balmy 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont, USA
Culture and traditions
Asaba is a heady introduction to Japanese culture and traditions. As a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, it offers the quintessential trio of onsen (hot spring) baths, rooms with tatami floors and kaiseki dinners featuring multiple small courses. But unique to this property is a theater on the water that’s over 100 years old. Regular performances take place here during the summer, focusing exclusively on traditional art forms such as noh (classical Japanese dance-drama) and kyogen (traditional Japanese comic theatre).
Asaba, Shuzenji, Izu, Japan