For some, the mention of farm stays might bring about childhood memories of roughing it up in the countryside with nothing but basic amenities — so it may come as a surprise that anyone would want to check into a farm while on holiday. Yet, the concept is becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst the jet-setting elite and celebrities. Madonna, for instance, owns a horse farm in the tony Hamptons enclave of Bridgehampton.
While the history of farm stays dates back to the end of World War II, when countries try to encourage tourism in agrarian areas after thousands of Europeans moved from small towns to cities, the concept has evolved and are now back on the radar, making some of the most unique and luxurious holiday accommodations.
This is especially so with the current focus on sustainable produce, as the farm-to-table movement grows in popularity. Instead of just visiting a farmers market in a foreign country, some would prefer staying right at the source to get the full experience.
If you’re still not convinced, these luxury farm stays are going to change your mind, with chic interiors, modern amenities, and jaw-droppingly beautiful surroundings. Here are some of the most unique farm stay experiences in the world.
Castello di Reschio is nestled in the hills of Umbrian Hills in Italy, located in an ancient estate that stretches over thousands of acres of oak forests and olive groves. The series of truly unique farmhouses have been restored by the Bolza family, and is now an artsy retreat attracting travellers in search of secluded luxury.
The retreat’s restaurant, The Osteria, offers traditional Umbrian plates made using fresh local organic products, as well as exceptional Italian wines, including Reschio’s own San Giovese. In summer, the dining area provides spectacular views over the countryside.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers — an award-winning golf and spa resort — is set on a sprawling 6,000-acre sheep and cattle farm in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay wine region on the North Island.
Accommodation here comes in the form of 24 cosy and spacious cottage suites and a four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage, all overlooking breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. In the true spirit of a farm stay in New Zealand, the hotel also has its own vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawke’s Bay, so guests can participate in wine tastings, held regularly at the vineyard.
Many would associate Belize with beautiful Caribbean beaches, but the country in Central America has much more to offer. Copal Tree Lodge, located on a 12,000-acre nature reserve framed by thick tangles of rainforest and the sparkling coast in the Toledo District, is a fine example.
Guests stay in one of the elegant suites, with interiors inspired by its surroundings, and showers boasting floor-to-ceiling views of the jungle. Additionally, the grounds of the lodge is also home to an organic farm with extensive gardens, tropical fruit trees, and livestock, producing more than 70 per cent of the produce used in the in-house restaurant and bar.
Soho Farmhouse, set in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, is a luxury farm stay and private members club combining English countryside style with “upstate New York cabin culture”.
The Soho Farmhouse is made up of a number of 18th-century farm buildings, while the accommodation consists of 40 wooden cabins (with options for one-, two-, and three-bedroom), studio bedrooms and a Farm Cottage. Guests staying at the farmhouse can take advantage of the facilities including a pub, farm shop and deli, cinema, gym, spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants and bars.
Yew Tree Farm, a Grade 2 listed structure once owned by Beatrix Potter in the 1930s, is located in a picturesque setting in the Lake District. Most would recognise the historic farmhouse from the 2006 biopic Miss Potter, a fictionalised account of the author’s life.
The farmhouse was originally a B&B and tea room but now offers self-catering luxury accommodation in the main farmhouse, where guests have the opportunity to experience it as a holiday cottage.