Travel & Living

5 Perfect Rustic Retreats from Around the World

Modern luxury with a retro aesthetic is all the rage among hoteliers
Reading time 6 minutes

Are you a fan of tastefully time-worn chic and glorious antiques? You’re not alone. The travel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith have a soft spot for stays bursting with vintage charm, too. From boutique boltholes in Japan, India and Malaysia to a further-flung European escapes, here’s their pick of the hotels making an immersive experience of opulence and artistry.

BORGO SANTO PIETRO - Florence, Italy

There’s something special about spending summers in Italy. It’s a feeling that’s hard to put into words, albeit one that’s been captured quite perfectly by Borgo Santo Pietro, a restored 13th-century villa in Florence. An architectural marvel, the villa’s essence has been kept intact without sacrificing modern luxuries. Rooms feature hand-picked antiques, open fireplaces, bespoke hand-carved beds and glorious views. As for outdoors, expect genteel furnishings, tranquil grounds punctuated by cypress trees and stone fountains, and fabulous food and wine at Meo Modo.

Smith Extra: A bottle of spumante classic method from a vineyard in Trentino; and guests' choice of an assortment of hand-made chocolates made by the in-house pastry chef Diego Poli, or a selection of canapés by celebrated chef Andrea Mattei, in your room on arrival.

CLOVE HALL HOTEL – Penang, Malaysia

Surrounded by a sultry tropical garden, Clove Hall is a romantic, restored Edwardian plantation home in Penang’s Unesco-listed Georgetown. The main hall is furnished with colonial and Peranakan-inspired décor, with white-tiled floors, inlaid glass windows and etched glass light shades. The hotel provides a guide for almost every occasion: heritage walking tours, visits to local artisans, antique hunting, even dinner guides to restaurants off the eaten track. Sophisticated service and a sleek pool round out its contemporary creature comforts, making this the perfect retreat for heritage-hungry travellers.

Smith Extra: A free departure transfer to the airport.

ARANWA CUSCO – Cusco, Peru

A converted 16th century colonial mansion, the Aranwa Cusco is filled with structural details from the period and artworks from the Cuzco School, which reflect the city’s strong Roman Catholic influences. With rooms boasting traditional frescoes, patios overlooking the hotel’s courtyard and wonderful views of the city, the Aranwa is conveniently situated a stone’s throw from Cusco’s main square, a boon for eager walkers plagued by altitude sickness.

L’HOTEL - Paris, France

Located on Paris’ arty Left Bank, L’Hotel features a glamorous underground pool, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a bar beloved of the French capital’s style set. Every one of the 20 theatrically-fitted rooms oozes quintessential Parisian charm, and each was decorated by renowned designer Jacques Garcia with famous visitors from the past in mind. After all, L’Hotel was Oscar Wilde’s last home, and the epicentre of Paris society during the swinging sixties.

Smith extra: Either a glass of champagne each or, if you choose to eat in the restaurant, a bottle of wine selected by the maître d'.

RAWLA NARLAI – Rajasthan, India

Hidden at the foot of a mammoth granite rock in Rajasthan’s Aravalli Hills, this revamped 17th-century hunting lodge is an idyllic escape from India’s bustling tourist trail. Revel in the splendour of this beautifully maintained hotel, which occupies two wings: one historic, the other contemporary with individually decorated rooms. The vintage rooms showcase each space’s ornate frescoes and archways, while the modern wing is awash with marble and fine filigree in local designs; all are furnished with the owners’ antiques. The best of Rajasthan is easily explored from here, including world-heritage temples and forts, lazing leopards, villages and hiking trails.

Smith Extra: A free 15-minute massage for two.

DUNTON HOT SPRINGS RESORT – Colorado, United States

Set in a valley of the secluded Colorado Rockies, on the site of a once vibrant mining town, the understated Dunton Hot Springs Resort is a peaceful retreat from civilisation featuring hand-built log cabins, an old-timey saloon cum restaurant, breathtaking trails through the San Juan Mountains and, as the name suggests, hot springs.

SUIRAN HOTEL KYOTO – Kyoto, Japan

Set in Kyoto’s bamboo-shaded Arashiyama district, the Suiran Hotel offers an intimate getaway on the banks of the Hozugawa River. Once the private summerhouse of 19th-century industrialist Shōzō Kawasaki, the Meiji-era architecture and surrounding temples form an oasis of tradition the City of 10,000 Shrines. The Gyokuto Garden Terrace rooms have tranquil little gardens and private onsen baths, as well as gold-accented artwork splashed across the walls. The décor is best described as ryokan-lite: tatami flooring, black-lacquer furniture and cedar wood-clad walls are enhanced by 21st century comforts like flat-screen TVs and lightning-fast WiFi.

Smith Extra: One set of Hisui rice-jelly balls each at Café Hassui

 

MADEWOOD PLANTATION HOUSE – Louisiana, United States

Built in the 1840s, this hotel was once the manor of a sugarcane plantation that occupied 10,000-acres of Louisiana’s Bayou Lafourche. Designed by architect Henry Howard, Madewood has been noted as an exemplar of the Greek Revival style. The Beyhive may recognise it from endlessly rewatching Lemonade, where parts of the visual album were filmed.

related posts

Recommended posts for you