These converted farmhouses and country estates bring a breath of fresh air and buckets of rustic, rambling charm
Whitewashed finca wrapped in citrus-scented countryside, once crumbling castles brought back to life beneath the shade of cypress trees, former barns and stable blocks with exposed beams and enchanting views – our handpicked selection of rural retreats promises rustic yet refined relaxation. Time seems to stand still at these out-of-town havens, where you can slip into a more leisurely pace of life amidst rolling hills, fragrant forests, and sun-drenched vineyards.
Susafa, Sicily – Italy
Get an authentic taste of Sicily from Susafa, a 200-year-old family-run farmhouse which harvests and presses its own olives, and where chefs pick herbs and vegetables from the gardens, ready for dinner. Bucolic beauty abounds here – take a stroll around the idyllic grounds of fragrant orchards, before settling down to a picnic of homemade jams, organic oils, freshly baked breads and just-picked herbs and vegetables beneath the cherry trees.
Time your visit for June to experience cherry season, or July if you’d like to lend a hand with the wheat harvest, when you’ll learn the ancient agricultural secrets surrounded by a sea of golden fields. After working up a sweat amongst the crops and kneading fresh bread in a cooking class, sink into the sun loungers beside the lagoon-like pool for a well-earned cocktail.
Dormy House Hotel, Cotswolds – England
A honey-hued farmhouse dating back to the 17th-century, Dormy House Hotel is a delightful retreat which defines country house cool, an easy ramble from the postcard-perfect Cotswold-stone village of Broadway. There is a ‘kick your shoes off’ atmosphere here, where guests are encouraged to make themselves at home. A cosy feel runs throughout the individually styled rooms and suites, decorated in dusky blues, garden greens, and rosy apple pinks with a sprinkling of Scandi-chic touches here and there. Spend a heavenly afternoon in the spa, a light and uplifting rural outside-in space with a terrace hot tub, before sitting down to a laid-back supper in The Shed beside the fire.
Villa La Madonna, Piedmont – Italy
Verdant hills, vineyards, and terracotta roofs – the Bormida Valley in Piedmont is a timeless spot where life slows down. And overlooking this sleepy valley is Villa La Madonna. Each aspect of the hotel makes the most of its oil painting-worthy location, from the market-fresh ingredients in the kitchen to the swimming pool, fringed by vines. The 18 restful rooms are flooded with natural light and brimming with hand-picked furniture infused with the owners’ Scandinavian background.
Here, truffles are on tap and Barolo wine flows freely from the hotel’s cellar which plays host to sommelier-led tasting evenings – you can even dine between the vines after lending a hand with the grape harvest, or ask the staff to point out the perfect picnic spot so you can tuck into the world-famous Robiola cheese from the little town Roccaverano, just a few kilometres away from the hotel.
Domaine de Manville, Les Baux de Provence – France
Originally a working farm and home to the Saut family’s bee-keeping grandfather, Domaine de Manville sits within a vast 100-acre estate of olive trees, scented wild herbs and lush green fields. Hints of the Domaine’s agricultural heritage can be found throughout the charmingly decorated rooms, suites and private villas, from rolltop bathtubs to traditional wooden shutters. Head to the pretty interior courtyard and have a light lunch under the shade of the trees, accompanied by a glass of delightful Rosé de Provence. Although you could happily fill your time just wandering the wildly beautiful grounds, there are crumbling castle ruins and artisan stalls selling pastel-coloured soaps and honey nougat just down the road in Les Baux, one of the loveliest hilltop medieval villages in France.
Castello di Reschio, Umbria – Italy
Huddled amidst an undulating landscape of green hills lined with cypress trees, Castello di Reschio is a one-thousand-year-old castle which has been meticulously restored and stylishly reimagined by architect Count Benedikt Bolza and his B.B. for Reschio team into a heavenly hotel plus several bespoke farmhouses, dotted across a staggeringly beautiful 1,500-hectare landscape. Renaissance artist-approved views filter through shuttered windows providing plenty of natural inspiration for creatives, while sun seekers can lie beside a rustic outdoor pool overlooked by Il Torrino, the castle’s original watchtower turned trendy pool bar.
The Roundtree, Amagansett – USA
Tucked between the wild Atlantic Ocean and patchwork farmland, The Roundtree puts the very best of the Hamptons on your doorstep. Two acres of idyllic grounds and sweeping lawns set the scene for lazy days on sun loungers and roasting s’mores around the firepit. Housed in a centuries-old barn, the beautifully renovated rooms and suites have an easy, breezy feel with natural wooden floors and crisp white linens – while the standalone cottages make perfect getaways for larger groups (with pet-friendly options if canine companions are in tow).
For a special way to spend a summer’s evening Out East, ask the hotel team to set up a bonfire dinner on the nearby local favourite Indian Wells beach, complete with a quintessential clambake. Or time your visit for autumn to join the locals for pumpkin and apple picking.
Lupaia, Tuscany – Italy
Formerly a working farm, Lupaia is a swoon-worthy, sustainably-focused agriturismo in the heart of Tuscany. The country estate dates back to 1622 and has 12 unique rooms and suites spread over five rural farmhouse buildings. Rustic yet luxurious, they feature cloud-like beds and modern walk-in showers paired with traditional tiles, exposed brick, bleached wood, and ornate antique furnishings. The open, tile-backed kitchen has a ‘whatever you want, whenever you want’ serving style, where guests are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and cook Italian classics alongside the chefs – with no set meal times or menus. Relaxation is the order of the day, where splendid views of medieval villages, vineyards and olive groves of Montepulciano can be enjoyed at every turn.
Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire – Wales
Wonderfully rustic and wholesome in style, the Grove of Narberth began life in the 15th century as a traditional Welsh longhouse set within 26 acres backed by the Preseli Hills. The 25 heritage-inspired rooms and suites (six of which are dog-friendly) are spread across the main house and three charming cottages nestled within the hotel’s grounds, each individually designed with an artisan feel. Showcasing local craftsmanship and period features at every turn, expect Welsh lovespoons delicately hanging from the walls, antique blankets thrown over impossibly comfortable sofas, and agricultural tools adorning the bathrooms – all curated by Martin Hulbert Design.
Torralbenc, Menorca – Spain
In prime position between rolling farmland and vineyards, and the island’s sandy beaches with Mediterranean Sea views, Torralbenc boasts the best of both worlds when it comes to experiencing the natural beauty of Menorca. A traditional finca with fuschia flowers covering whitewashed walls, threshing floors, and a stable yard, the 27 rooms and cottages are decorated in a soothing, creamy palette. Trot along in tranquillity through the 77-hectares of the estate on horseback to make the most of the surrounding agricultural landscape, sprinkled with wild olive forests, fragrant orchards, and Mediterranean underwood.
Il Melograno, Puglia – Italy
A converted 17th century masseria set amidst ancient olive trees and rustic stone courtyards, Il Melograno immerses guests in its farmhouse heritage whilst being a short shuttle ride away from Tamerici Beach Club. With its outdoor pool, serene spa, and antique tables laden with local delicacies made using ingredients grown in the hotel’s own kitchen garden, you’d be forgiven for never wanting to leave this country estate. Aspiring artists can learn to sketch and paint with the hotel’s expert tutor – choose a shaded corner within the masseria to capture the bougainvillea tracing the original white cocciopesto walls, or spend an afternoon under the branches of a tamerici tree at Il Melograno beach club, painting a soothing seascape.
Domaine des Etangs, Massignac – France
With its elegant turrets, sweeping grounds and magical setting between forest and lake, Domaine des Etangs has a ‘straight from the pages of a storybook’ feel. Outdoors, you’ll find yourself in a fairytale landscape of waterways and woodland. As you stroll, look out for wildlife – from herons and otters to deer and Limousin cows. Paddle a rowing boat on the water, cycle through the estate or simply sit back and savour the tranquil surrounds. Set within the main château, a traditional Longère (French farmhouse), and quaint cottages, rooms and suites are filled with period features from exposed stone walls to wooden beams.
Cascioni Eco Retreat, Sardinia – Italy
Huddled in the embrace of a private natural park with the sparkling Sardinian coastline in the distance and jagged mountain peaks behind, Cascioni Eco Retreat is a vision of slow luxury. Once a family farming estate, the intimate property has been reinvented as an understated back-to-nature escape, where the healing power of the landscape meets delicious homegrown food and gentle relaxation.
Nature lovers can take part in ‘garden to pot’ cooking classes making use of the on-site aromatic herb garden, stroll around the specially created wildlife walking trail, and discover the Saloni wetlands on complimentary kayaks.
Gangtey Lodge, Phobjikha Valley – Bhutan
A world away from the everyday, Gangtey Lodge is an all-suite outpost which takes farmhouse living to new levels of luxury. Log fires, exposed beams, and slate underfloor heating greet adventure-weary guests, who can look forward to traditional hot stone baths and slow afternoons on the sun-soaked terrace overlooking the pristine Phobjikha Valley. This untouched corner of the eastern Himalayas lends itself to some of the world’s most spectacular outdoor activities, which means nature is the real heart-stealer here. Hike up ancient trails through blue pine forests and blossoming woodland, or meander past the crane roosting grounds.
Naturalis Bio Resort & Spa, Puglia – Italy
Once an ancient farming hamlet, Naturalis Bio Resort & Spa has been transformed into a bucolic retreat nuzzled into the countryside of southern Italy. True to its roots, the estate’s fields are still tended organically, bathing the masseria in uplifting scents of the Mediterranean scrub, including lavender, lemon, rosemary and thyme.
Natural beauty abounds here, and the Naturalis experience is all about encouraging guests to slow down and savour the moment – whether you’re taking a holistic walk among the crops of Tenuta Naturalis, discovering the healing powers of plants on a guided tour of the resort’s aloe vera greenhouses and plantation, or hopping on an e-bicycle to explore nearby Martano.