Five Best: Coffee Estate Resorts

Exotic plantation retreats provide tranquillity, history – and a perfect brew
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The Independent Travel

Lime Tree Farm, Jamaica

Some of the best coffee beans in the world are grown on the slopes of the Blue Mountains. These jagged peaks on the eastern side of Jamaica are also the setting for Lime Tree Farm, 3,400ft above sea level. There are just three simply furnished guest cottages on the farm, which is run by Charlie and Susie Burbury. Susie cooks all the meals – delicious Jamaican staples like fried plantain, callaloo and jerk chicken – which are served at a communal table. One thing you can be assured of is a rich cup of Jamaican Blue to round off your meal.

Lime Tree Farm, Tower Hill, St Andrew, Jamaica (001 876 881 8788; www.limetreefarm.com). Doubles cost £100 a night full board, including airport transfers.

Ndali Lodge, Uganda

Ndali Lodge teeters on the edge of Lake Nyinambuga, the remains of an extinct volcano in western Uganda's Bunyaruguru crater-lake region. The vast farm cultivates coffee, bananas and tea, which are harvested by hand. Ndali's English connections are strong – the lodge is run by the third generation of the Sturdy/Price family, the descendants of Major Trevor Price, who arrived in Uganda from Cairo in the 1920s. The main lodge has a decidedly British country-house feel, and full English breakfasts are offered alongside glasses of freshly pressed passionfruit juice from the farm's own crop. There are eight thatch-and-stone cottages surrounding the main lodge, all with panoramic views over the romantically named Mountains of the Moon. Ndali is also perfectly placed for exploring the Kibale National Park, one of Uganda's most important rainforests, which is home to 13 different species of primate.

Ndali Lodge, Fort Portal, Uganda (00 256 772 221 309; www.ndalilodge.com). Doubles start from £160 per night full-board. Aardvark Safaris (01980 849 160; www.aardvarksafaris.com) offers itineraries to Uganda, which include a stay at Ndali.

Tak'alik Maya Lodge, Guatemala

Taking its name from the ancient city of Tak-alik Abaj, which lies nearby, this is a venture between local coffee workers, the private sector and the non-profit-making Network of Sustainable Tourism of Guatemala. The hotel is in a section of the original house that forms part of the Montes Eliseos estate, which has been producing coffee for over a century. The project was set up to improve the incomes of both the coffee workers and the villagers of nearby San Antonio Canton Barrios, who were impoverished by the collapse in global coffee prices in the 1990s. Now, 22 families are involved in the Tak'alik project, which opened in 2005. Guests can stay on the farm, visit a 19th-century coffee plantation and meet the workers to learn about their lives.

Tak'alik Maya Lodge, Carretera Pacífico, Retalhuleu, Guatemala (00 502 2366 5341; www.takalik.com). Doubles start from US$130 (£65) a night full-board, including a tour of the coffee plantation.

Losari, Indonesia

In 1922, the Dutchman Gustav Van der Swan leased a 50-acre plot of mist-covered Javanese highland jungle from the government and planted some robusta coffee seedlings. These days, Losari produces 30 tons of beans annually, but it also doubles as a luxurious hotel. Losari's 32 individual villa-style rooms are based on Javanese dwellings. The interiors combine pared-back colonial elegance with Indonesian carved furniture. Guests can start their day with a yoga lesson followed by a tour of the plantation at 10am – it also produces organic vegetables, fruit and spices, which all find their way on to visitors' plates.

Losari Coffee Plantation, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia (00 62 298 596 333; www.slh.com). Doubles start at US$275 (£137) including breakfast, a tour of the plantation, a yoga lesson and airport transfers.

Xandari Resort and Spa, Costa Rica

There are 22 villas in the bird- and butterfly-filled grounds of the Xandari Resort on the outskirts of San José. Some of the coffee plants in this 40-acre plantation have been replaced with native plant species to encourage the wildlife, but there is still more than enough coffee to go round. As well as being served in the hotel's restaurant, some of the beans are crushed and used in the spa's Coffee Scrub treatment. This being Costa Rica, the emphasis is on the natural surroundings, and guests can explore Xandari using a series of walking trails that criss-cross the grounds. They are also encouraged to plant a native tree before they leave.

X andari Resort and Spa, Alajuela, Costa Rica (00 506 443 2020; www.xandari.com). Doubles start at US$192 (£96), including breakfast.

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