This article appears in SUITCASE Vol. 18: The Rhythm Issue.
On the coast of Axim, this understated beach resort stands as a shining example of the type of exciting, boutique tourism that Ghana is beginning to develop along its largely untouched stretches of sand. With thatched-roof villas that are built from mud, wood and terracotta, this hotel is designed to blend into its environment. And why not, when your natural surroundings are 25 acres of lush jungle, tropical forest and a dramatic coastline? Stretching from the mainland to a private islet of luxury villas, Lou Moon is one of the only hotels in Ghana to have its own private beach. Relax in the peace and quiet of a bay sheltered from the roaring waves of The Atlantic.
The hotel was opened in 2007 by Paul Ramlot, whose background in interior design has turned what could have been another brash beach resort into a thoughtful property which gives new meaning to local materials - think lampshades made from fishing traps and bathroom counters carved form single pieces of raw wood. Although it's owned by an expat, the hotel is committed to the community, employing 75 per cent of its staff from the neighbouring village and donating 1 per cent of every bill to the Agyen Community Fund, which helps provide sanitation services.
Who you'll find
The emphasis on privacy at Lou Moon Lodge means it's mostly a retreat for couples.
Rooms on the mainland are located in earthy bungalows with simple, chic furnishings, lots of light and impressive bathrooms sculpted from polished, coloured concrete. For a more secluded experience, cross the sandy ocean path to a small peninsula of luxury villas, which are fashioned in the same natural style but have an extra element of elegance. Island Cape South and Island Cape West villas have become honeymoon staples with their impressive infinity pools, wraparound porches, outdoor showers and standalone baths looking out across the sea.
Food and drink
Ghanaian food with a European twist is the name of the game here. For breakfast you can order eggs any way, while lunch and dinner is more about delectable creations including paw-paw (papaya) and orange salad followed by sautéed shrimp and coconut curry or grilled barracuda. The friendly bar staff also make a mean cocktail - start the night with a mojito in the purple-clad, open-air dining deck, or in the privacy of your room.
What do in the area
Lou Moon Lodge is really a destination in itself and there is a wealth of activities on offer here, including badminton, table-tennis, paddle-boarding, beach volleyball and a guided walk through the jungle to a nearby village. That being said, the retreat is also well positioned for visiting Fort Santo Antonio in Axim as well as Nzulezo, Lake Amansuri's village on stilts which is best reached via canoe.
Things to know
This is the ideal place to kick back and relax, but not the place for those looking for buzz.
How to get there
We recommend renting a car and driver from Accra so you can make a couple of pits-stops en route Located just under two hours from the capital, Cape Coast is home to Elmina, the oldest and largest slave castle in West Africa. You can also make a trip to Busua Beach, which is lined with colourful bars and is a haven for surfers in Ghana.
Rooms from £85