Five retreats with local colour
Immerse yourself in native culture at these indigenous abodes.
Saturday 25 July 2009
Santa Teresa, Italy
Peculiar to the Italian island of Pantelleria off the Sicilian coast, dammusi are diminutive cubic houses constructed from lava boulders with domed cupola roofs. Believed to be a legacy of the Moors, these houses are perfectly attuned to the local climate, keeping cool in summer and warm in winter. The Santa Teresa Resort comprises four mini villages of these cute dwellings in two different, but equally tranquil, locations – Siba, and the more remote Monastero Valley.
Santa Teresa Resort, Contrada Monastero Alto, Siba, Scauri Siculo, Pantelleria, Italy (00 39 0923 916 389; santateresa.it). Double rooms start at €186, including breakfast.
Anatolian Houses, Turkey
The Goreme National Park in Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most spectacular natural phenomena; a unique landscape of eroded volcanic stone, ancient landmarks, troglodyte villages and cave dwellings. The Anatolian Houses is one of a clutch of unique places to stay here, with rooms hewn from the rock, decorated according to a different historical theme with antiques and local textiles. There is an ancient wine fountain, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and a hammam.
Anatolian Houses, Gaferli Mah, Goreme, Nevsehir, Turkey (00 90 384 271 2463; anatolianhouses. com.tr). Double rooms start at €250, including breakfast.
Rohet Garh, India
Lavishly decorated tents were a favoured place to spend the night for travelling rulers of India's Mughal Empire. Rohet Garh is a magnificent fort-turned-heritage-hotel. Its slightly more remote offshoot, the Wilderness Camp, consists of six Mughal-inspired tents. Each is luxuriously decorated with teak furniture and jute rugs, while communal dining and lounging areas are made from mud and dung.
Rohet Garh, Rohet, Rajasthan, India (00 91 291 243 1161; rohetgarh.com). Tents start at Rs11,000 (£138), full board.
Dar Ahlam, Morocco
Along what is known as the "Road of 1,000 Kasbahs", set between the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains, is the town of Skoura. And just beyond, tucked amid the date palms, is the imposing Dar Ahlam. This meticulously restored 19th-century kasbah has exotic 1,001 Nights-inspired decor, terraces for stargazing, gardens, and a dreamy pool, too.
Dar Ahlam, Douar Oulad Cheik Ali, Skoura, Ouarzazate, Morocco (00 212 524 852 239; maisonsdesreves.com). Double rooms start at €850, full board.
Inis Meain, Ireland
Dry-stone walls are a defining feature of the rugged landscape of the Aran Islands, three windswept but ravishing spots off Ireland's west coast. Taking its name from its location on the middle island, Inis Meain Restaurant & Suites mimics this vernacular style with hand-made, grey-stone exterior walls to beautiful effect. There are just three utilitarian chic suites, with hardwood floors, whitewashed walls and natural tones. The adjoining restaurant serves freshly landed fish, caught using traditional boats known as currachs.
Inis Meain, Aran Islands, Co Galway, Ireland (00 353 86 826 6026; inismeain.com). Double rooms start at €250, including breakfast.
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