What is it about water that makes it so soothing? Just picture a calm sky with waves gently lapping against the sandy shore, or a little rowboat moored to the pier, swaying in the lake. How about a natural river in the middle of the jungle or a mesmerizing waterfall. There’s just something about bodies of water that quiets our thoughts, slows down our breathing and tells our body it’s time to relax.
That’s why we created this list of 10 accommodations with stunning views of all types of water – oceans, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, natural pools. Start and end your day with unworldly sights right outside your window and surround sounds that can’t be replicated with an app.
Disconnect from the rest of the world and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the South Pacific Ocean in the O'Higgins region of Chile. Wait, that sounds like a marketing slogan. Let’s try that again. If you’re one of those people who can literally spend the whole day at the beach and you always take one last look before turning around and heading home, we’ve got something special for you. In a coastal village of Chile, there is a wooden cabin built on stilts with unbeatable views of the water down below. You’ll feel like you’re floating on the water in this 2-person house with one bedroom and bathroom. Rather than leaving once the sun goes down, let yourself be lulled to sleep with the sound of nothing but ocean waves. Built from resistant and rustic recycled oak, this cosy cabin contains minimal modern furnishings that don’t distract you from the unobstructed views of the water. The beach at Matanzas is known for its grey sand and windy weather – perfect for surfing, boogie boarding, stand up paddling, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Back upstairs, the terrace is actually facing north so the cabin provides shelter against the wind. Architects Croxatto & Opazo really thought of everything with this project to make sure your getaway is unforgettable.
“This has been a truly unique experience right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean! Stay in bed with a pristine view in three directions, watch countless condors fly by, hear the waves of the ocean and feel the breeze. The house offers everything you might need to fully relax. The hosts have created a little paradise and we will gladly come back! ”
Slowhop's review: To reach views like this, you need to climb up and down 3 stories of stairs. The bedroom is also up in the mezzanine which is accessed by a ladder. That being said, this place is not suitable for children and people with physical disabilities.
(Photos: MarAlto - La Tagua)
Ever wish a summer day at the lake would never end? Well, the sun in the Swedish Lapland shines for 24 hours, with no darkness during the night between the months of May and July. It takes a little getting used to – just imagine waking up in the middle of the night and having to shield your eyes from the bright rays of sunlight reflecting off the water – but this is a unique and unforgettable experience on the Arctic Circle. Just 8 km from the centre of Jokkmokk, at a latitude of 66.6 degrees, you’ll find a floating hut. Inside, there’s a comfortable double bed for two people, a tiny kitchenette and a toilet. Added features include room-darkening shades to help you sleep, a water tank, AC/heating and space for your things. Your host, Björn, has been a mountain guide who has been living in the Swedish mountains his whole life, so don’t hesitate to ask him about exploring the true last wilderness of Europe. After a really long day of swimming, fishing, hiking, doing nothing, light up the BBQ to grill your catch of the day and just sit out on the pier until your watch says it’s time for bed. If you decide to take a trip to Scandinavia in the colder months, this is the perfect place for watching the northern lights and stars from your own personal sky observatory.
“A fantastic nature experience that we will never forget! A panoramic boat that had all the amenities we needed, including a morning dip in the Lule River. Björn was easy to communicate with and very service-oriented. Would recommend this to anyone who wants a great experience with a sense of freedom.”
Slowhop's review: You’ll have to walk 10 minutes through a forest without a path to get to the boathouse on the Lule/Pearl River, so we recommend wearing good boots, long trousers and packing a backpack instead of a wheelie suitcase to get there. Not to worry, Björn will lead the way.
(Photos: Midnight sun )
As the morning fog rolls in, eager anglers set up their gear on the private pier while mushroom experts pick up their baskets. In the stillness on the lake, you just might hear the soft singing of the poor fisherman, Jasiek. And if you’re lucky, you just might spot the beautiful Łyna, daughter of the King of a Thousand Lakes, listening to his tunes. At least that’s what the legend says. This 100-year-old brick house with a view of Tumianskie Lake has plenty of well-kept secrets but there’s always room for your adventures and memories. Seven bedrooms are waiting for up to 14 guests in these wooden and brick walls which are a combination of modernity and Warmian traditions. The large oak table in the dining room will fit the whole gang, but good luck trying to get everybody to sit down at the same time. Some will be swimming, others paddling, kids will be fully occupied on the playground while adults sip Chardonnay straight out of the wine fridge. There’s seriously something for everyone – lots of rivers that connect lakes for kayaking enthusiasts, scrambled eggs with freshly picked chanterelles for foodies, bonfire and stargazing for amateur astronomers, and a living room with comfy sofas and a perfect view of the lake for introverts and bookworms. Oh, and before we forget, your host Bogusia invites you to stop over at her restaurant Zapach Drewna for thick Warmian goulash and sturgeon pierogi (dumplings). Homemade apple pie for dessert, of course.
“A well-renovated and equipped house with a beautiful view of the lake would not be such a big attraction without the very nice owner who looked after us in the perfect way. Thanks to this combination, we spent a wonderful week with our friends surrounded by nature, enjoying all the charms of the lake and eating local delicacies.”
Slowhop's review: If you want to enjoy an outdoor feast in the evening, be sure to pack insect repellent, otherwise mosquitoes will be the ones feasting on you. All part of the lake-side charm.
(Photos: Tumiany 3B)
As long as you’re willing to share this land with a herd of dairy cows, you could stay on 150 acres of picturesque oceanfront in Australia’s New South Wales. The simple black-steel clad structure definitely doesn’t blend into the natural landscape of coastal farmland and mountains but it doesn’t disturb it either. Located at Dovecote, a farm that has been operating since 1834, this holiday home that’s nestled into a hill on the western side of the property is perfect for couples, a small family or a few friends. Inside what appears to be a modern barn, you’ll find two bedrooms, a dining room with a Scandinavian-style dining table, a living room with an indoor wood-burning fireplace, a minimalistic kitchen with grey cabinetry and a bathroom with a deep freestanding bathtub. Outside, there’s a living area on two decks and a plunge pool overlooking the ocean. Your host Katie will make sure you have enough fluffy towels, Aesop soaps and balms, and farm-fresh products for breakfast in the morning. Take the kids for a short walk to Werri Beach and lagoon or explore the nearby rock pools and sea cliffs to see if you can spot any sea creatures. You have total privacy at The Range and to get to the nearest township of Kiama, you’ll have to walk along the coastline past rolling hills and rugged clifftops.
“Had an incredible stay! Space is just beyond amazing. Completely spectacular scenery, impeccably designed space and world-class architecture. A true dream to stay somewhere so beautiful. Katie was an incredible host, with so much attention to detail and personal care. Would one thousand percent recommend staying here for a once in a lifetime experience.”
Slowhop's review: At the back of the house, you get views of the ocean in the east where it can get quite windy. If you need added shelter from the gale, move the exterior copper louvres on the walls. Otherwise, we’d leave them open as much as possible.
(Photos: The Range)
Tulum is really for the traveller, not the tourist. Don’t expect to find huge 5-star all-inclusive resorts with 24-hour service that caters to your every whim. If that’s what you’re looking for, avoid Tulum. However, if you need a tropical escape somewhere that’s natural and a little rough around the edges, we know just the place. Be Tulum Hotel is perhaps one of Mexico’s best-kept secrets. If we had to choose just one out of the 64 suites or 7 villas between the tropical jungle, white sand and the sea, we’d go with the Oceanfront Villa for up to 10 guests. It’s surrounded by lush green gardens and has everything you need for a relaxing stay in Mexico: 5 bedrooms, 1 ground floor pool and a rooftop terrace area with 2 additional pools. With furnishings and decor made using rustic native materials, your home away from home blends in perfectly with the world outside your window. The earth tones of the wooden elements, concrete walls and natural fabrics create a cosy, clean atmosphere so that after a long day in the sun, you’ll just want to take a refreshing shower and snuggle up in bed under the crisp sheets. You don’t have to worry about hearing screaming infants next door – all guests must be 13 years of age or older. After a lazy late-afternoon nap, head up to the private rooftop pool for a midnight swim that will convince you to book another stay for next year.
“Fantastic hotel! Prime location near restaurants, bars, and shops. Not your typical resort. Makes you feel like you are in the middle of the forest, but also at the beachfront. Rooms are spacious and up to date. Had an oceanfront room with a private terrace and pool with an amazing view. Definitely worth the price.”
Slowhop's review: Take advantage of the free bike-sharing service on-site to explore the area and check out other beautiful beachfront restaurants, bars and shops. Tulum’s city centre is a bit further away (10 km) so you can always get a cab or go for a leisurely 30-minute bike ride – it’s up to you!
(Photos: Be Tulum Hotel)
The GPS will tell you to turn off the asphalt road onto a gravel path – don’t worry, you’re going in the right direction. Continue on through the thick green landscape of Masuria Garbate until you pass through a tiny village. Once you see a restored stone barn with wide wooden shutters and a bright blue door, you’ve reached Krzywe 3. Let the kids out of the car and watch them run free as they explore the house and its colourful surroundings. Lake Krzywe is just 50 metres away – count the steps if you don’t believe us! The house itself is big enough for two families or a great group of friends (four bedrooms total) but in the summertime, kids can also sprawl out in tents in the orchard for added fun. The kitchen has everything you have at home but once you get a taste of homemade pizza straight out of the outdoor brick oven or juicy burgers on the barbeque, you’ll want to cook all your meals in the garden. When looking for a holiday home away from the city, hosts Ola and Marcin desired a place where they could swim and that’s exactly what they found. Spent your days lazily floating in the lake, or have a go at the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) – only the cows will laugh if you topple into the water. Dry off in the sun on the little pier and jump back in until the sun starts to set. If your water bugs don’t want to come out, just reassure them that they can come back tomorrow.
“Krzywe 3 is a combination of my holidays in Masuria in a tent and my childhood spent at Grandma's in the countryside. Peace and quiet, no people. There’s no cell reception, so you can really relax. Wonderful nature – eagles, hares, frogs that enter the house and happy cows in the meadow next to it. A beautiful old orchard, a tastefully decorated house that has a soul. And the sauna is perfect for rainy days.”
Slowhop's review: Welcome to the real countryside, where mornings are slow and so is the Wifi. If you want to catch up on your Netflix List or listen to podcasts, download everything onto your device before you get here.
(Photos: Krzywe 3)
Surely you’ve experienced this before – you book a place that claims to be located right on the beach but when you get there, the shore is quite far from your front door. Have no fear, you won’t be disappointed with the Beach House situated on the Isle of Sheppey, on the northeast coast of Kent. And trust us, the object is as close as it appears in photos. Watch the impeccable sunrise from under your covers in the master bedroom, with a cup of early grey in the kitchen or on a swing in the lounge. The four-person two-bedroom beach house has a breezy open floor plan with surprising upcycled elements such as park benches in the dining room and weathered wooden furniture. It may be hard to believe, but this holiday home was actually once completely wrecked and unoccupied until hosts Anna and Simon came along and decided to totally rebuild and revive it. Simon’s quite the expert when it comes to using wood, reclaimed and salvaged materials and he was responsible for creating a lot of the elements in the solar-powered house including the structure, kitchen, loo and decor. You’ll probably meet him when he comes to light the wood burner and to show you how to use the gas-heated shower. At high tide, walk the 30 paces from the front gate to the seashore and you’ll find a treasure trove of pebbles and shells in the sand as seabirds and waders squawk overhead. Kids will (finally!) forget about their phones as they swim, fly kites, play beach volleyball or build sandcastles. The house is equipped with basic appliances and drinking water but if you need to restock on anything, head to the Brambledown Farm shop (try the local cheeses and honey). Stop for a pint at one of the pubs before you head back for a night of board games by the log fire and star gazing in a deck chair.
“It's super easy to get to from London but once you're there it feels like you've left the world behind. Some places look like they're right on the beach but this one actually is! And it’s such a wild, quiet beach. The owners designed and built the house themselves and it shows – everything is so well thought out. My kids adored it; we adored it.”
Slowhop's review: You’ll be staying right on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) nature reserve for birds and you might be able to spot Marsh Harriers, owls, waterfowl and even seals offshore if you’re lucky. Just be considerate of your neighbours and natural surroundings by keeping the noise levels down and leaving your loudspeakers at home.
(Photos: The Beach House)
Remember that scene in Mission Impossible 6 when Tom Cruise hung off a cliff in Fjord Norway? Well, you can appreciate the beauty of Lysefjord and the famous Pulpit Rock, 604 meters above sea level from the comfort (and safety) of the Sky Lodges. Built on one single column to minimize the footprint in the landscape, these two-floor cubes contain a kitchen, dining/living room, bathroom and two bedrooms – spacious enough for four people or just a couple looking for an unusual but romantic escape. The interiors perfectly blend in with the natural colours of the surroundings: dark oak ceiling and walls, concrete flooring and dark-toned décor. In 2010, entrepreneur and owner, Tom Norland bought 170 hectares of land among mountains filled with pine trees and boulders which were once placed by glaciers when the ice age ended. How cool! He wanted to give people the best view of the fjords and make them feel like they’re floating in nature. With the help of architect John Birger Grytdal from Norgeshus, they designed these super cool cubes wrapped in Canadian cedar wood balancing on one steel pillar drilled into the ground. There’s no private chef so you’ll have to bring your own food and drinks but luckily there’s a road leading up to the cabin where you can park and unload. There’s no TV but we can’t imagine wanting to watch anything other than this ridiculous unobstructed view in 4K high definition.
“Lovely place with luxurious design and standard. Great for a cosy weekend with your partner. It's pretty small, but the solutions are smart and it all becomes so charming. Beautiful views from both the living room and the master bedroom. We enjoyed sitting in the wooden chairs outside with a glass of wine and taking in the surroundings.”
Slowhop's review: You feel like you’re standing in a glass elevator because the structure is situated on the edge of the sloping mountain. If the description alone makes you uneasy, perhaps something a bit more inland on solid ground would be a better choice!
(Photos: Bolder Skylodges)
In the distance, eager surfers are catching the first waves of the day down at Silveira Beach while a retired couple strolls along the shore watching them wipe out and stand up again. The sun is just coming up over Brazil and the birds are stretching their wings in the lush trees surrounding the casa. This is your home away from home, only with much better views. If you appreciate a good lazy morning like us, you’ll have a fruit-filled breakfast of guava, mango, and whatever else is ripe on the spacious deck overlooking the green hills and blue bay. A place like this is meant to be shared and so there are three bedrooms with queen size beds to comfortably fit up to six guests. Spend all day down at what we hear is the most beautiful beach in Garopaba and once you’re worn out from swimming, surfing, playing beach games or you caught a little too much sun, retreat back to the house for a feast at a long table in the dining room. Debra and Amauri make sure you have everything you need and will recommend which wines to pair with dinner from their in-house wine cellar. On chilly nights, light the fireplace and admire the spectacular view from the large windows. Oh, and you can rest easy knowing that the roof over your head is an ecological green roof and the house has a rainwater collection system and solar heating.
“Casa Alma is a unique experience, it gets tattooed on your soul as a place that you have to return to always. Nature is paradisiacal, there is a fusion of the green hills with the sky and the sea, forming a calm bay, ideal for relaxing deeply.”
Slowhop's review: There’s no public transport in this quiet residential neighbourhood so you’ll need to arrange a car or transfer to get here. But once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave.
(Photos: Casa Alma)
Leave the sound machine at home – the soothing sound of the rushing waterfalls will send you right to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow at this nature resort. Deep in the Belizean jungle of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is a resort perched atop the mystical Five-Sisters Waterfalls. Named after the Greek goddess of Earth and the mother of life and all creation, GAÏA Riverlodge invites lovers of morning walks, bird watching, nocturnal expeditions and mountain biking to nearby caves. There’s something for those who enjoy blissful rest and doing nothing too – there’s a spa located in a cosy thatched cabana in the heart of the rainforest. After a day of wonderful adventures (Mayan ruins, waterfalls, caves) or taking it easy in the natural swimming ponds, head over to the farm-to-table restaurant for a tasty meal with ingredients right from the garden. The menu includes fresh conch fritters, empanadas, blackened local snapper and coconut pie for a sweet finish. At the end of the night, retreat back to your waterfall view cabana tucked into the top and side of the steep gorge overlooking the waterfalls. With a thatched-roof ceiling, tropical hardwood floor, handpicked art and furniture, and a king-sized bed, you should feel right at home, just in the heart of the jungle.
“A magical blend of natural beauty, stylish design and authentic hospitality. Whether your time is spent exploring the archaeological sites, hiking the nature trails or enjoying the serenity of the waterfalls, every experience at Gaia Riverlodge is enhanced by the friendly and engaged staff.”
Slowhop's review: Hold on tight, the hour-long jeep ride from San Ignacio to this remote jungle jewel is BUMPY. Rent a 4WD vehicle or call the hotel before your arrival and request a transfer to make sure you get there safely because a good part of the road is rough and unpaved.
(Photos: Gaia Riverlodge)