Four hotels for getting lost in the mountains lifestyle
Rural tourism has seen positive growth in recent years and it signals a change in the sector, with proposals linked to well-being, gastronomy and sport.
Rural tourism has gained ground in recent years. The data corroborates this, showing a change in trend in the sector with well-being, sport and gastronomy as the favourite activities.
According to the Rural Tourism Accommodation Occupancy Survey carried out by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE), overnight stays in rural accommodation increased by 2.6% in November 2019, with residents comprising 2% of the total, while non-residents rose to 6.1%. Among the favourite destinations in Spain are the Canary Islands, with 31.3% occupancy, and Castilla y León, with 121,999 overnight stays.
The travellers who tend to opt for this type of tourism are on average between 31 and 50 years old, and they represent 86.89% of holidaymakers, according to the Spanish Rural Tourism Barometer for the first half of 2019.
This report also highlights that women make up the majority of travellers who opt for rural tourism, representing 75.15% of the total while men represent just 24.85%, and that trips to rural destinations are made twice a year (29.43%), with weekends being the most popular time (53.86%).
Connecting with nature through individual or group activities, visiting the natural environment and rural heritage of a city or getting to know its gastronomy through local produce are some of the possibilities offered by ecotourism. This type of tourism has changed the services and facilities offered by the hospitality sector, which has incorporated eco-sustainable spaces where the architecture and exclusive services of hotels are integrated into the landscape itself.
Boutique hotels, spas, old farmhouses and woodland resorts are some of the most notable proposals for escaping the hustle and bustle.
Hotel Viñas del Lárrede (Huesca, Spain): An alpine chalet in the Tena Valley
The snowy mountains of Formigal-Panticosa and the Gállego River form the backdrop to the Hotel Viñas de Lárrade.
With four stars and an apline-inspired interior design based on natural wood and warm colours, the 17 rooms of this charming mountain chalet (each named after a woman) boast some of Porcelanosa’s Premium collections, including the ceramic wall and floor tiles, parquet flooring and bathroom fittings.
“We chose Porcelanosa because it is a prestigious, high quality, secure brand with good taste… and we were seeking the best materials for our project. ‘Quality is our passion’ is one of our defining slogans”, state the hotel’s representatives.
Among the facilities on offer is the spa, swimming pool and a small vegetable garden, which forms the basis of the menu prepared by chef Toni Polca.
The energy consumed in this 1,200-square metre complex is sourced from renewable resources (aerothermal) and its lighting is 100% LED.
Panorama Glass Lodge (Iceland): Sleep beneath the Northern Lights
Hidden away just half an hour’s drive from Reykjavik (Iceland) lies this 23-square metre cabin. Located in the middle of the Hvalfjörður fjord, you can enjoy the Northern Lights from beneath its glass ceiling, as well as the whales and seals that live in the Greenland Sea. Equipped with a state-of-the-art kitchen, electric stoves, a toaster, water heater, large dining table and an outdoor jacuzzi, this natural refuge is the perfect destination to disconnect from the world.
Built from wood and glass, from the Panorama Glass Lodge you can gaze at the Norther Lights or the natural surroundings of the Hvalfjörður fjord.
Hotel Villa Honegg (Switzerland): The world’s most ‘instagrammable’ swimming pool
Built 914 metres above sea level and overlooking Lake Lucerne, this luxurious hotel rises high on Bürgenstock mountain. From here, the famous and much-instagrammed spa swimming pool emerges (the hashtag #villahonegg has more than 20,000 related posts), where guest can swim in its waters heated to 34º while enjoying the snowy landscape of the Swiss Alps.
First opened in 1905, this hotel was refurbished in 2011 when it achieved the five-star rating it boasts today, with 23 suites, a private cinema, a gym with mountain views, a signature restaurant and a spa area.
The hotel swimming pool is 914 metres above sea level and swimmers can enjoy views of the Swiss Alps
Hoshinoya Karuizawa (Japan): A sustainable resort
The Hoshinoya Karuizawa hotel complex in Japan sits on the Asama volcano and takes advantage of the sulphuric heat to generate geothermal energy.
The vegetation within the complex is part of an ancient forest and its rivers and streams come from the ancient thermal spring of Hoshino, the waters of which have rejuvenating properties (or so the legend says).
The 77 houses that comprise this green hideaway are true to the philosophy of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing in Japanese) that upholds a connection with nature by “absorbing the forest with the five senses”. Therefore, all of the houses are designed to look after and converse with the environment through individual gardens, clay walls and hinoki baths with thermal waters.
This onsen (natural hot spring) offers two types of baths: the Tombo no Yu (open-air bath amid nature) or the meditation bath (an indoor bath with changing light and a water temperature of between 39 and 40 degrees).
This dialogue with nature is also maintained in its main restaurant, Kasuke. Its whole menu is made using ingredients from the local area. The restaurant cuisine that uses only local produce is described as “alpine kaiseki” and guests can enjoy dishes of fish from the river, game and seasonal vegetables.
The Hoshinoya Karuizawa hotel complex comprises 77 apartments and its geothermal energy is generated from the underground sulphuric heat from the Asama volcano. Its gardens and vegetation are part of an ancient Japanese forest and its waters come from the thermal spring of Hoshino.
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- 1 Hotel Viñas del Lárrede (Huesca, Spain): An alpine chalet in the Tena Valley
- 2 Panorama Glass Lodge (Iceland): Sleep beneath the Northern Lights
- 3 Hotel Villa Honegg (Switzerland): The world’s most ‘instagrammable’ swimming pool
- 4 Hoshinoya Karuizawa (Japan): A sustainable resort