At Prestige Holidays we don’t believe that getting back to nature to experience the grandeur and scope of the world’s most beautiful destinations should have to mean a trade-off for luxury. Just because you don’t mind getting your feet a little dusty during the day doesn’t mean you want to compromise on the finer things that make a holiday so special. We understand that rejuvenation of your mind, body and spirit doesn’t just come from nature, it also comes from nurture.
If you’re looking for an authentic escape and the opportunity to experience a gentle but meaningful encounter with nature, I’ve selected a few of my favourite luxury hotels from the Prestige Holidays collection that will help you do just that. Turn off the clocks, put away the everyday, relax and reconnect…
Spa Villalba, Tenerife
Surrounded by verdant pine forest, Vilaflor, on Tenerife, offers the kind of painterly bucolic scene that instantly sets your heart at ease. In my opinion, for those who find peace and pleasure in walking or hiking, you’d be hard-pressed finding a natural setting that’s lovelier.
Set within the embrace of the Corona Forestal Natural Park, Spa Villalba is a welcoming oasis of calm. The ethos of its hospitality is based around the three aspects of Nature, Spa and Sport – and you can take as little or as much from each of those as you want.
The tranquillity of the setting is the perfect complement to the extensive health and wellness facilities. Guests are encouraged to experiment with new sensations to make the most of the pristine environment, so you can experience the essence of nature in its purest form with the hotel’s Ayurvedic and Bio-organic treatments.
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If you stay at Spa Villalba you simply can’t help but be inspired by the number of hiking trails right on the doorstep. Whether you’re an experienced rambler, a cyclist or just enjoy a gentle stroll, one or all of these routes will give you much pleasure.
- Lunar Landscape Route: my personal favourite for the truly spectacular landscape you’ll pass through. Allow about half a day.
- Wine Route: the perfect way to deserve that wine! Starts at the hotel and ends at a wine cellar. Allow about two hours – just enough to work up a thirst.
- Las Lajas Route: only for the fit as it takes around seven hours. If you’re up for it, though, your reward will be some breathtaking scenery.
- The Teide Routes: Spa Villalba is just 15 miles from Teide National Park, which has a range of walks for all abilities.
La Sultana Oualidia, Morocco
Morocco is a world unto itself and I’ve always thought that, for those who allow it, this staggeringly diverse country will place its heart in your hands. From the vast, splendid isolation of the deserts to the awe-inspiring largesse of its mountain ranges, it’s one of the most fascinating and exotic countries in the world.
Situated in a unique position on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean facing a wildlife-rich salt water lagoon, the magnificent La Sultana Oualidia offers a sanctuary of luxury and serenity from which you can enjoy the rare opportunity to connect not just with nature, but with the local culture as well.
Even the décor of the hotel pays homage to its natural surroundings, with raw, natural finishes complementing the luxury appointments. La Sultana offers immersive cultural experiences like a picnic excursion through the oyster beds at the nearby oyster farm, a bird watching safari (see below), and the thoroughly indulgent Natural Moroccan Detox, which uses local ingredients and combines gentle yoga and Pilates with deep relaxation therapies. A seafood dinner and Champagne overlooking the lagoon at sunset goes down quite well too…
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I’ve had several clients tell me that the highlight of their stay at La Sultana was the chance to go out into the amazing ecosystem of the lagoon and salt marshes on the hotel’s Bird Watching Safari. Depending on the weather, you’ll head out with an experienced guide by kayak or boat to encounter the prolific avian life of this hugely important ecological site. Among the species you’ll see in dizzying numbers are the delightful pink flamingos (everybody’s favourite), herons, cormorants, storks and limicoles.
Sandos San Blas Nature Resort & Golf
The Sandos San Blas Nature Resort & Spa takes its cue from its magnificent surrounds and matches the island’s 5-star natural beauty with 5-star luxury accommodation, service and hospitality. Set on the edge of the ocean within the embrace of the Sandos San Blas Environmental Reserve, the resort delivers a truly relaxing and holistic experience in sophisticated style.
You can be as active or Zen as you like, and the resort’s facilities are designed to allow you to immerse yourself in nature at every turn. There’s a boating lake, pools, the beach on the doorstep, not one but two world-class golf courses, and a host of nearby cycling and walking trails. If you’re looking to nourish your mind, body and spirit, the onsite wellness centre promises to help you “achieve equilibrium, physical health, a relaxed mind and enhanced beauty“, with their range of tantalising restorative treatments.
Nature and nurture; no compromises here.
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As a die-hard nature lover, my top “must-do” at this wonderful resort has to be their Environmental Reserve Tour. Accompanied by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, this extremely well-designed tour sets off from right outside the resort and encompasses ancient ceremonial caves, sci-fi lava formations, an interactive multi-sensory historical tour and a visit to a museum. It’s an excellent way to get a comprehensive understanding of the fascinating volcanic landscape of Tenerife.