As I soaked in our steaming private hot tub listening to nothing but the trickle of a nearby stream, I couldn’t help but think I’d just found one of Europe’s best kept secrets.
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Just a stone’s throw away from famous Lake Bled in stunning Slovenia, a quiet pathway leads to Garden Village, a resort that just so happens to now be one of my favourite places on earth. The eco-resort opened in summer 2014, and it is clear that nothing was overlooked when it came to the vision.
Boasting four different kinds of unique accommodations, Garden Village is a true escape from the real world and a perfect hybrid of luxury and nature: think two-storey tree houses tucked into leafy branches, overlooking an infinity pool and gourmet restaurant.
Sleeping options include:
- Glamping tents: Two bedrooms (one on the main floor, one loft), dining table, fridge, bathroom, couch (probably the comfiest I’ve EVER pried myself off of), private hot tub and backyard.
- Tree houses: Two bedrooms (one on the main floor, one loft), dining table, fridge, bathroom, couch, private hot tub and hammock.
- Pier tents: One queen bed and private outdoor space overlooking the stream.
- Apartments: Two bedrooms (one on the main floor, one loft), dining table, kitchenette, bathroom, jacuzzi in main room.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Garden Village is how much effort has been put in to make it environmentally friendly. Everywhere you look there are overflowing vegetable gardens (which you can be sure will be included in your dinner later), recycling areas, natural building materials and even grass on the tables.
The dining is an experience in itself, and you can eat at the restaurant even if you’re not a guest at Garden Village. Featuring a well-priced menu (by European standards, anyway), diners can enjoy local specialties such as calf carpaccio and Piran sea bass, or order a multi-course chef’s tasting menu. Mine included the Slovenian dish ajdov krap, which is made of buckwheat, tomato cream and spices similar to ravioli—delicious!
While most visitors explore the surrounding areas of Lake Bled or perhaps Triglav National Park, there is more than enough occupy those content to laze around the resort. On-site activities include access to a therapeutic Finnish sauna, ping-pong, darts, board games, swimming and a playground. Car and bike rentals are also available.
All in all, Garden Village is a true escape that feels more like something out of Robinson Crusoe than a European hotel, but is a truly unforgettable, relaxing place that you will likely never want to leave.
Currency: The euro
Prices: €80 per day and up, depending on date of stay and accommodation choice.
Bonuses: High speed Wi-fi is included, and resort guests also get 20% off at the restaurant. Don’t miss the tasting corner at the resort’s Green Shop, where you can try local products such as wild jam, Kostel brandy, honey and Slovenian whiskey for free.
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