Five Best: Hotels for Twitchers

From Himalayan hideaway to island idyll, wake up to hear the sweet sound of birdsong in these stylish retreats

Silky Oaks Lodge, Australia

Overlooking the Mossman River around 80km north of Cairns, Silky Oaks promises true Aussie wilderness with plenty of comfort. The 50 chic rooms - either river houses or tree houses - come with balconies, day-beds and hammocks. There's also a spa. Most visitors want to get even closer to nature, though. The 430 bird species within the surrounding Daintree Rainforest National Park include the rare cassowary and the lodge organises birdwatching cruises.

Silky Oaks Lodge, nr Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia (00 612 8296 8010; Doubles start at AUS$590 (£238), including breakfast and guided walks.

Bird Island Lodge, Seychelles

The only hotel on Bird Island, this lodge has 24 comfortable chalets scattered among what was once a coconut plantation. Set 60 miles from the capital island of Mahé, this coral cay has oodles of soft, white sand and its own barrier reef. It's a barefoot kind of place, without TVs or air-conditioning, but thanks to careful management, it has excellent birdlife (including fairy terns, sooty terns, brown noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters and white-tailed tropicbirds) as well as both green and hawksbill turtles.

Bird Island Lodge, Seychelles (00 248 224925; Chalets start at €375 (£254), full board. Aardvark Safaris (01980 849160; offers three nights' full board at Bird Island, four nights' B&B on Praslin Island and international flights from £2,075 per person.

Kalmatia Sangam, India

The Indian state of Uttaranchal once seemed firmly off the tourist track, but not any more. This spectacular region - at the foothills of the Himalayas - is drawing a growing following among independent, nature-minded travellers. Peppered with small, individual places to stay, one of the best of these is Kalmatia Sangam. A nine-roomed resort with a restaurant that specialises in local, organic produce and smart, understated décor, it also provides easy access to the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, with its pretty villages and cedar-covered mountains.

Kalmatia Sangam, Kalimat Estate, Almora, Uttaranchal, India (00 91 59 62 231 572; Doubles start at €77 (£55), including breakfast.

A Stone's Throw Away, Bahamas

A Stone's Throw Away is a 10-room boutique hotel set at the quieter, west end of New Providence (the country's main island), and offers gingerbread architecture and an atmospheric wrap-around terrace. More importantly for birdwatchers, it's also handy for getting out to the island's best bird-viewing spots. If you're not sure where to start, contact Carolyn Wardle, ( runs excellent birding tours. Species include stripe-headed tanagers, Caribbean doves, Bahama woodstars, Cuban grassquits and Antillean nighthawks.

A Stone's Throw Away, Gambier, near Nassau, New Providence, The Bahamas (001 242 327 7030; start at US$175 (£97), including breakfast.

Cavens Country House Hotel, Scotland

This small hotel sits by the Solway coast, not far from Dumfries. Known for its food (its restaurant makes good use of local produce, including delicious cheeses from Loch Arthur creamery), the hotel also gives guests easy access to birding sites, including Mersehead Nature Reserve, the Caerlaverock Centre and the Galloway Kite Trail. For those who'd like guidance, the hotel organises dedicated bird weekends; the next one runs on 10 and 11 November.

Cavens Country House Hotel, Kirkbean, by Dumfries, Scotland (01387 880234; Doubles start at £125, half board. Two-night bird weekends cost £485 per couple, including breakfast, packed lunch, RSPB-led excursions and dinner with wine.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'