Top 5 Group Getaways
I recently spent a wonderful weekend with friends in the Flinders Ranges at a self-contained lodge on a working sheep station. We did some sightseeing, cooked, drank some great wines, talked, relaxed, listened to music and enjoyed each other’s company. While holidays in hotels and resorts have their place, it made me think about how special it is to take over an entire property … maybe even catch up with far-flung friends and family at some exotic halfway point … to have the space to cook, eat, drink and hang out together as well as find some alone time. Here are five of my favourite group getaways around the world where gorgeous scenery completes the picture.
Gum Creek Station Lodge Blinman, Australia
The Flinders Ranges has some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. And this well-appointed 4-bedroom lodge is perfectly located for hikes, 4WDs or just sunset and star gazing from the deck. Wood-fired oven, barbecue, large kitchen and comfortable living area make cooking fun – and Blinman Pub is just 10 minutes up the road.
Lavender House Bray, UK
Literally between The Hinds Head and The Fat Duck, a couple of minutes stroll from The Waterside Inn and The Crown, this luxurious 3-bedroom house is ideal for enjoying Bray’s culinary delights. Modern kitchen, sunny living areas and home-theatre make staying put a treat too. And there are charming smaller cottages nearby.
Mas La Monaque Provence, France
This beautifully-restored 17th century farmhouse in the less-explored part of Provence has 5-bedrooms, sunny dining room with bright Provençal linen and a garden full of roses, lavender and rosemary. Nearby historic villages (like fortified Les Baux-de Provence), wineries, great markets and local restaurants abound.
Whare Kea Lodge Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
The floor-to-ceiling windows of this 6-bedroom lodge create the impression that you’re floating over the lake with brooding snow-capped mountains behind. Cook up a feast with wonderful local produce or have James Stapley from nearby Bistro Gentil do it for you. Ski, hike, drive, visit galleries and wineries or just relax.
Fischbachboden Emmental, Switzerland
The 3-room apartment on this dairy farm in the Alpine foothills has one of the most breathtaking locations I’ve ever seen. Hike, cycle, visit ancient villages and historic towns or just enjoy nature’s beauty. Ideal for a family, accommodation is basic but comfortable, with small eat-in kitchen or full or half-board farmhouse meals.