The Big Six: Luxury Forest Retreats
This sylvan retreat at the base of the Carpathian Mountains is set amid what was one of the largest privately owned forests in Transylvania until confiscated by the Communists in 1949. Now restored to the Mikes family, the estate is being rebuilt using funds raised from the guesthouse, restoring more than 60 species of trees and a vast artificial lake. A 16th-century outbuilding now offers simple, elegant lodgings.
Zabola Estate, Mikes Kastély, Zabala, Judetul Covasna, Romania (00 40 724 00 3658; zabola.com/guesthouse). Doubles start at €100, including breakfast.
Das Kranzbach, Germany
The south-facing rooms of the Kranzbach wellness hotel look out onto the mountain pastures and forests of the Bavarian Alps. The Arts and Crafts house contains open fires and snug corners and an interior that was overhauled by Ilse Crawford to include bold colours, mirrored headboards, block-printed wallpapers and velvet sofas. Winter activities at the retreat range from cross-country skiing and Nordic walking to relaxing in front of forest views from the heated pools and glass-walled sauna in the expansive spa.
Das Kranzbach, Hotel & Wellness-Refugium, Kranzbach, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (00 49 882 392 8000; daskranzbach.de). Doubles start at €236, full board.
Castillo Del Bosque La Zoreda, Spain
Just outside Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, this 1930 villa in the middle of La Zoreda forest was rescued from dereliction and opened as a hotel earlier this year. The 25 rooms are beautifully furnished in a mix of classic and contemporary design and come with views of the surrounding oaks, beech and chestnut trees outside. There's a hydrotherapy spa, a restaurant serving local cuisine and a wealth of excursions on the doorstep, including the Picos de Europa mountains.
Castillo del Bosque de La Zoreda, La Manjoya, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain (00 34 985 963 333; castillodel bosquelazoreda.com). Doubles start at €170, including breakfast.
Chateau Hotel Mont Royal Chantilly, France
This 18th-century chateau sits in a clearing in the Chantilly forest outside Paris. The rooms exude opulence, with the former ballroom given over to a gourmet restaurant. Outside, there's enchanting woodland to explore.
Tiara Chateau Hotel Mont Royal Chantilly, La Chapelle-en-Serval, Picardy, France (00 33 3 44 54 50 50; tiara-hotels.com). B&B from €200.
Lime Wood, England
Opening later this month, Lime Wood is a country house hotel in the heart of the New Forest. But don't expect chintz or swags, or indeed modish design – the rooms complement the forest by being spacious and sumptuous.
Lime Wood, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England (023 8028 7177; limewoodhotel.co.uk). Doubles start at £225, room only.
Il Salviatino, Italy
Overlooking Florence from a wooded slope in Fiesole, this villa has undergone huge renovation and opened as a luxury hotel this summer. The interior features frescoes, marble fireplaces and carved stone baths. The restoration continues outside in the gardens, with hundreds of protected trees and restored glass-houses.
Il Salviatino, Via del Salviatino 21, Fiesole, Tuscany (00 39 055 904 1111; salviatino.com). Doubles start at €344, room only.
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