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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas