Our Travel Expert, Rose Jacobs, shares her three favourite hidden holiday destinations. But sssshhhhhhhh... don't tell anyone!
It goes without saying that some of the best places to holiday can also be some of the least heard of ... and some of the hardest to find. That’s why they remain hidden and so incredibly amazing. I am fortunate enough to have stumbled upon a small handful of these places in the world – and until today, I have sworn an oath to keep them hidden. But for you, I’m going to break my oath. These places really are worth sharing.
1. Verana, Mexico
The first hidden gem is nestled away in a lush mountain jungle on the western cape of Mexico. It’s a child-free destination, partly because it is so exclusive and partly because this boutique resort must ensure total luxury for its clientele that even the most angelic child would spoil.
It’s called Verana. To get there, you fly into the nearby coastal city of Puerto Vallarta and are then transferred by car around 20 minutes south along the coastal drive. From there, you are dropped at a Spanish speaking fishing port in the middle of nowhere, where you will be offered a cold corona and a small speed boat will arrive to whisk you and your belongings across the water towards a James Bond-esque mountain further around the coastal cliff edge. Once you disembark, yourself and your bags are mounted onto the local donkeys (yes, I just said that) and you are then carried up the steep path to the breathtaking top of the mountain where the view leaves you only just slightly less breath-taken than the sight of the hotel itself.
With just nine individually designed bungalows and an infinity pool that has graced the cover of the Taschen best hotels of the world book, this is a hotel has such attention to detail that you will be feasting on the sensations of the spa treatments, the locally sourced seasonal produce in the restaurant, the smooth beats of the most sultry music you’ve ever heard and the purest of linens and cottons to sleep, sun-bake and hammock-snooze in.
Find out more at www.verana.com
2. Tulum, Mexico
If that isn’t enough for you, then how about something a little more energetic and where the kids are welcome. Again, in Mexico, but this time on the eastern coast, you fly in to Cancun and hire a car to drive around 45 minutes down the Caribbean coast to a tiny little region called Tulum. It’s where the hip New York models and fashionistas go to relax, under the radar, in the coolest possible way.
But wait, I have the secret to the region that not even the uber-chic know about! It’s a hotel called Jashita, owned by a charismatic Italian named Tomasso and it happens to sit on the most extraordinary bay of aqua water and white sand you can imagine. If you don’t end up spending the entire week snorkeling out the front of the hotel and sipping Mezcal cocktails in the breeze (as we did) then you may perhaps find the energy to drive five minutes further south into the beach-side hub of Tulum itself and spend a day exploring the beach clubs and funky small hotels dotted along the main stretch of beach. There is an abundance of small trendy restaurants and bars, hidden throughout the coastal jungle and lit up at night by candles and fire flies. It’s a place where shoes are optional, stress is discouraged and attitudes are banned.
Find out more at www.jashitahotel.com
And then there’s Uruguay. As an Aussie, I am pretty certain the vast majority of you reading this have never made it to Uruguay. It’s rather out-of-our-way. But, if for whatever reason – perhaps seeking the coolest place on earth – strikes you, then head here.
Fly into Montevideo and then get the heck out of there! Hire a car and drive down the coast to a tiny little stretch of seaside villages just past the “gold coast” of Punta Del Este and then you will find yourself in the quiet little inlets of La Barra and Jose Ignacio. These are hands down the most stylish places I have ever visited, boasting the most to-die-for architecture and small hotels, along beautiful coastlines, with the trendiest, most welcoming locals, eating at the most extraordinary little hole-in-the-wall beachside bars and restaurants that only fit up to ten people, and have no signs, and take no bookings… only the locals know how to find them (and if I had my way), once you find them, you never leave them!
My top tip, stay at Casa Zinc in La Barra or Hotel Fasano in Jose Ignacio. Dine at La Huella and also at Elmos. If you can find them, that is…
And don’t tell anyone else!!
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