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; www.silkyoakslodge.com.au). 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; www.birdislandseychelles.com). Chalets start at €375 (£254), full board. Aardvark Safaris (01980 849160; www.aardvarksafaris.com) 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; www.kalmatia-sangam.com). 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, (www.bahamasoutdoors.com)who 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; www.astonesthrowaway.com).Doubles 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; www.cavens.com). 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.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star