For a certain type of city dweller, the perceived romance of running off to a remote farm to get their hands dirty is somewhat tempered by the reality of, well, getting dirty hands. Luckily there has been a growing trend over the last few years of hotels offering a happy balance: all of the charms of farm life but with luxury lodgings to return to at the end of the day — whether or not you've taken part in any of the hard work.
1. Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Albuquerque
Los Poblanos' eco-conscious ethos — no chemicals or pesticides come anywhere near the property and much of the restaurant's food is grown organically on site — seems to aspire to near utopian ideals. Driving up to this 25-acre on the outskirts of Albuquerque certainly seems like reaching toward a kind of paradise. The property, built in the 1930s, currently offers 22 guest rooms and is fringed with delightful lavender fields, around which peacocks amble at leisure. That lavender is distilled on site and is used in the farm's own range of toiletries, which is sold as far afield as Japan. Seasonal workshops on cultivating lavender and aromatherapy are offer, as well as demonstrations and farm tours, and guests can also volunteer to plant, weed, and harvest the property's produce.
2. Belcampo Belize
A jungle lodge, organic farm — producing over 70 percent of the resort's food — and 12,000-acre nature reserve makes the 16-suite Belcampo Belize the eco-lodge of your dreams. Eco-minded activities on offer include foraging in the surrounding rainforest, farm-to-table cooking classes, bar-to-bean chocolate-making classes, and snorkeling outings with the chef to catch that evening's dinner. Dining here is always fresh and largely organic and sustainable — there's even a dedicated Cocktail Garden on site where the limes, coconut, and pitaya for your evening cocktails are grown.
3. Compton Pool, England
Set on 14 acres of bucolic South Devon countryside, and dating back to the 12th century, Compton Pool Farm is a good pick for those traveling with family. The farm's 12 well kitted-out cottages can sleep up to 10 and younger guests — not to mention over- stressed city dwellers — will enjoy meeting the resident goats, plus pot-bellied and miniature pigs.
4. Rai Saeng Arun, Thailand
Set along the Mekong River, amongst hills and valleys in the lush surroundings of the Golden Triangle, the point where Thailand meets Laos and Myanmar, Rai Saeng Arun is a boutique hotel as well as a working organic farm where almost all of the produce used at the hotel is grown. As well as unwinding amongst the fruit trees and rice paddies in one of the hotel's 14 secluded bungalows, guests have the opportunity to help cultivate the farm through its agriculture programming, learning traditional methods of planting and harvesting.
5. Kamahi Cottage, New Zealand
For those who seek idyllic farm surroundings but are less interested in doing any of the hard work, Kamahi Cottage, New Zealand's only five-star farm stay, offers a secluded cottage near the Waitomo Caves on the North Island. Perfect for romance seekers, you get the cottage to yourselves and a homemade breakfast delivered to your bed.
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