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As our Instagram feed overloads with blossom and blue skies, it’s the perfect time to escape to one of these fashionable fincas where you can scavenge for your supper, wander the vineyards and live off the land. Overalls optional.
It’s the classic Ibiza conundrum: hedonist or hippie? We say have both, by following up a fling with the island’s wild side in the arms of this slow-living, ritualistic retreat. Founded in collaboration with Friends of a Farmer, a collective devoted to the cultivation of “art, crops and inner gardens”, La Granja’s stone farmhouse and acres of forest are the setting for “rituals” ranging from talks by visiting thought leaders, through to yoga and daily musical meditations. Chef José Catrimán accompanies his farm-grown dishes with slow-food workshops, after which you can retire to the shade of an old carob tree that doubles up as a mescal bar.
Mornington Peninsula, Australia
Jackalope is turning expectations upside down in the land down under with its surreal, artistic interpretation of the rolling Mornington Peninsula vineyards. The vision of former filmmaking student Louis Li and a crowd of experimental creatives, the hotel crouches darkly against the horizon and boasts a dreamlike assortment of Dali-esque details, including a seven-metre-tall sculpture of its legendary half-rabbit, half-antelope namesake and a 30-metre black infinity pool. It’s also home to two destination restaurants including Rare Hare, where you can feast on Peninsula-produced wines while overlooking the provenance of your plate through a wall of glass.
Cape Town, South Africa
This formidable madam among Cape Town’s colonial-inspired hotels is more widely known for its jaw-dropping afternoon tea – put the pastries down, however, and you’ll discover an altogether more mindful foodie offering. Mount Nelson is one of a handful of Cape Town properties collaborating with Abalimi Bezekhaya, a programme that provides township residents with the tools to grow and sell their own produce. Mount Nelson offers Harvest of Hope tours to the community farm run by Ma Kaba, where guests can hear her story before picking their own fruit and vegetables from her gardens – upon their return, the hotel’s top chefs fashion it into a sumptuous, bespoke salad.
Katamama is a hotel with a cause: to utilise and elevate the talents of local artisans; support crafting communities; and reposition sustainable practices, such as farming, as viable practices for the next generation of Balinese youth. This commitment manifests itself in an astonishing level of detail, from the 25,000 strands of orchid vines woven into hotel amenities by Dayak tribespeople, to the plant dye painstakingly applied to natural fabrics in order to give the property its signature blue. The lobby bar, Akademi, champions a “root-to-flower” approach, serving cocktails made from indigenous ingredients in addition to teaching up-and-coming mixologists.
With this venture into the English countryside, Soho House founder Nick Jones proves that he can do bucolic charm with as much finesse as he does city-based members’ clubs. Cute cabins are dotted around Soho Farmhouse’s 100-acre estate, where creative types come to ride horses, swim outdoors, play five-a-side football and generally live out their aristocratic weekender fantasies. In true farm fashion, this luxe village has its own kitchen garden, beehives, cheese room, pickling room and charcuterie room, in addition to five on-site eateries and a shop where guests can pick up some farm fare to take back to the city.
Mindful travellers seeking to get off the guilt spiral while indulging in rustic-chic design need look no further than La Donaira, a cosy eight-bedroom farmhouse situated amid 250 hectares of verdant pasture, vineyards and gardens, all run according to biodynamic principles. Outside, guests can tread their own path through vegetable patches and beehives; get up close and personal with a stable of 60 Lusitano horses; or take part in a workshop run by global specialists at the on-site soil academy. Inside, you can take a dip in the emerald-green natural pool; relax in the hammam; or snuggle up in a designer den underneath wooden farmhouse beams.
The quaint Uruguayan village of Garzón has become something of an artistic enclave in recent years, thanks in part to the establishment of a destination restaurant and hotel in the old General Store by renowned chef Francis Mallman. Each of its five pleasingly ramshackle rooms feels like it could belong to an artist, with contemporary pieces on the walls, sculptural lighting and a fireplace or wood burner. Meanwhile, the kitchen cuisine uses regional products including herbs from the garden and wines by Bodega Garzón, a local winery that sated foodies can stroll around to sample Uruguay’s homegrown grapes.
There’s a romantic spirit underpinning this Nicaraguan nature reserve, which was born from the dream of husband-and-wife duo Don Alfredo and Doña Theresa. Having originally bought the land as a private enclave, today the property has evolved into an animal sanctuary and is home to more than 12% of the country’s animal species, including lovebirds, howler monkeys and sloths. Nekupe encourages physical and intellectual engagement with the landscape, from watching the sunrise from within the privacy of one of its villas or suites, through to swinging through the ropes course or reading poetry by firelight.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
It would be remiss to talk about farmhouse hotels without mentioning Babylonstoren, located in the sun-dappled wine country outside Cape Town. A meandering eight-acre garden bursting with rows of vegetables, fruit trees and organic structures trailing with flowers, it’s a true beacon for farm-to-table living. Greenhouse restaurant serves picnic-style hampers in a vintage conservatory setting; a short walk away, Babel is an old cowshed-turned-experimental-diner that creates edgy garden fare to make Gwyneth proud. Guests can take part in hands-on workshops ranging from teas and tisanes to indigenous succulents, before retiring to one of the converted, whitewashed farmhouse accommodations.
If the Deep South evokes full-fat fantasies of deep-fried chicken and peach cobbler, this sprawling 4200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains is out to redress the balance. A working farm with a bakery, creamery, beehives and charcuterie on site, Blackberry Farm has a strong focus on reconnecting with both the land and the inner self. Alongside an impressive wellness menu and outdoorsy activities including fly fishing, white-water rafting and Harley riding, guests can also embark on a “deep healing woods” experience involving yoga, hiking and foraging in the forest. Those wishing to fall off the wagon need not fear, however – the Barn Bar boasts over 600 bourbons and bottles from its 180,000-strong wine cellar.
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