Thursday, September 18, 2014

G R E E C E

executive summary by darmansjah

MILIA MOUNTAIN RETREAT  In the 1980s, when many Greeks left their villages to ride the wave of tourism developemtn along the coast, two local friends took to the mountains of Crete instead. Their vision: restore an abandoned medieval village and turn it into a retreat based on living in harmony with nature. “The ancient Greeks called this autarkeia, which means self-sustaining,” says manager Tassos Gourgouras. Today, travelers the world over flock to this off the-grid stone village to hike on wild mountain trails, sleep in rustic cottages, and savor authentic Cretan dishes like roasted rabbit with mizithra goat chees and spearmint, washed down with Milia’s own organic wine. 15 rooms; from $100, including breakfast.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

B E L I Z E

executive summary by darmansjah

TURTEL INN  “When I was making Apocalypse Now, I became infatuated with the jungle,” says Francis For Coppola about what first led him to Belize. On the beach here he built an eco-complex of 25 thatched cottages where the famous filmmaker comes to chill out. Steady ocean breezes replace artificial air conditioning, stainless steel water bottles take priority over plastic, and an expansive organic garden and fresh seafood delivered by local fishermen supply the menu, along with a stash of choice wines from Coppola’s own vineyards. The inn partners with SEA Belize and Rainforest Alliance for marine conservation. Popular outings include jaunts to nearby Placencia village or the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef just offshore.. 25 cottages; from $299, including continental breakfast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

M E X I C O

executive summary by darmansjah

HACIENDA SANTA ROSA  This meticulously restored family-owned plantation house is located 44 miles south of the colonial city of Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. Santa Rosa combines environmental stewardship with community projects such as directly supporting small-business development for local Maya women. Guests can spend time with village artisans; savor Maya recipes like chicken pibil, handed down through generations; swim in hidden cenotes; and sniff around an on-site botanic garden. In a nod to the hacienda’s former life as a center for the production of sisal, hand-woven hammocks encourage a long afternoon siesta. 11rooms; from $240.