Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on December 24, 2008
Swimsuit season is almost upon us. And if — like Cliff Richard — you’re a Brit, you’ll be starting to think about where to spend your “Summer Holiday”. With the mighty pound and the short hop, skip and a jump to Europe (ahhh, I remember those days), it’s natural and realistic to start fantasizing about a vacay in Spain, Greece or Morocco. I mean what are the other options? Stay at home? Go to an over-priced, busy (and busy-body) B&B? Errr, no thanks. That option used to be as attractive as a cold English muffin. But now there’s something better.
Established in 2006, Natural Retreats is a network of sustainable yet super luxurious accommodations situated within close proximity of the UK’s 14 national parks. Founder Matt Spence said the idea came after a lifetime of working in luxury developments around the globe and having grown up on a farm. Currently, socially-conscious travelers can opt to escape to eco-retreats in Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia, the Lake District and the North York Moors to experience English nature at its finest. And if none of these spots work for you, there are plans to acquire ten more sites by 2011.
The luxury retreats incorporate the latest green building techniques: the infrastructure of the raised residences consists of sustainable timber with sedem (grass) roofing, recycled glass insulation and solar glazing; sympathetic landscaping uses indigenous trees and plants with water pumped in from nearby springs; and there’s recycling and composting stations to encourage guests to do the right thing.
The stylish and contemporary exteriors are matched by the airy, open plan interiors which “blur the boundaries between the living area and the luxury provided by nature”. Best of all, holidaying domestically allows you to do away with the excess stress and carbon of airports all together. Now, THAT is a summer holiday worth singing about.