#HostsatHome: Host Unusual Members Take Their Own Staycations

13 April 2020

These are difficult times for everybody.  

Not least if you’ve put your heart, soul, and savings into creating the perfect retreat… only for a near-global lockdown to come along and spoil everything.

But instead of rushing about here, there, and everywhere, staying at home can spark gentle moments of pause and reflection, helping many of us to better appreciate all that we have.  Family, friends, a fulfilling job or hobby… or even, perhaps, an unusual retreat that you’ve never been able to experience properly for yourself.

So, since they (sadly) can’t welcome any guests, these fabulous five Host Unusual hosts decided to take advantage of the situation, and play host to themselves instead!

Curious about how they got on? We were, too… so we asked each of them to share something they’d learned about the experience of being their own guest.  

To find out more, simply grab yourself a cuppa and read on!

(Note: each property featured is located on the owners’ home site, meaning no unnecessary journeys were made).

Main Image: Lydcott Glamping | Cornwall
Author: Nina Jervis


Location: Cuevas Helena (Granada, Spain)
Owners/Guests: Shirley and Mark

The setting
Surrounded by Andalusia’s magnificent rolling hills and mountains, Cuevas Helena is a unique, ancient-yet-modern cave house, with its high-ceilinged rooms beautifully carved into the cave itself.  

Featuring a glistening pool and a hot tub, the retreat was featured on the Channel Five show ‘Our Dream Hotel’, on which Shirley and Mark’s Spanish vision was recorded by the renowned hotelier Alex Polizzi herself.

How was the stay?

Reporting that they’d been extremely well looked after (a chilled bottle of Cava was provided for their arrival…what a lovely surprise!), Shirley and Mark also took the opportunity to refresh their beloved cave house for future guests, carefully repainting the furniture, and even washing all the lampshade tassels.


What did Shirley and Mark learn from being their own guests?

“We thought we’d covered everything, but found we could improve on a few things (such as adding some extra, rustic shelving in the kitchen and bathroom) that will improve our guests’ experience when we’re able to welcome them again.

We loved the whole experience.  To relax and enjoy the cave just as our guests do was such a treat, plus the hot tub really is wonderful… we never get to use it ourselves!”


Location: Lydcott Glamping (Cornwall)
Owners/Guests: Emma, Rich, and the kids!

The setting
Perfect for exploring all the delights of Cornwall, you can choose from three luxurious, expertly crafted Nordic-style glamping cabins with glorious sea views.

The site is privately nestled next to a working farm in a rural village, so you’ll feel blissfully far away from the noisy tourist bustle.

How was the stay?
The whole family agreed that staying in their own cabins was just like a real, idyllic holiday away, even though they were already lucky enough to enjoy the amazing views every day.  

During their stay, new baby chicks were welcomed, fun family board games were played, and a refreshing woodland walk was indulged in (though sadly, without the usual pub stops along the way).


What did Emma and Rich learn from being their own guests?

“The sea view at our feet in the morning was amazing to wake up to!  The bed is huge and super comfy, and the cabins are more comfortable and spacious than we thought.

We’ve also put a list together of some little things to make staying here even more comfortable for future guests.  For example, we’re going to install more USB sockets, a draining mat for washing up, and a hook for the tea towel!”

Location: Hobbit Hideaway (Moray, Scotland)
Owners/Guests: Kim, Mark, and their friendly pets

The setting
An award-winning, lovingly crafted eco home that combines the ‘wow-factor’ elements of an architect-designed masterpiece with the breathable beauty of nature.

Boasting a fairytale garden with a gently babbling stream and a fairy glen, the hideaway is beautifully positioned at the foot of Ben Rinnes, a popular hiking mountain from which you can view eight Scottish counties.

How was the stay?
Kim and Mark found that their stay was mostly about appreciating the new-found time to relax, as well as getting some fruit and vegetable growing underway – everything from beetroot and peppers, to sweet summer berries.  

They were joined by the cat on their refreshing morning walks, while their little dog preferred conserving energy by lazing in front of the log fire, instead!

What did Kim and Mark learn from being their own guests?
“Our favourite thing about being our own guests was the ability to simply enjoy and appreciate the unique and beautiful space that we have created. We absolutely love our hideaway, but the only time we’re usually in it is to clean, or welcome guests.  So, it’s nice to know that it really is as amazing as our guests tell us it is!”

Location: Ravendere Retreats (Devon)
Owners/Guests: Kieran and Helen

The setting
An outrageously luxurious adults-and-dogs-only treehouse, nestled within twelve acres of ancient woodland in a North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There are magical woodland walks aplenty to enjoy, while the coast (including the popular surfing beach at Woolacombe) is achingly close.

How was the stay?
After working so hard on their dream of building a luxury treehouse, Kieran and Helen found that they were booked up so often, it was a rare treat to actually stay there themselves.  

So, they set their hearts on making the most of their time ‘away’, watching films by the fire, soaking in the valley-view rolltop bath, and cooking mouth-watering pizzas in the wood-fired, open air oven.  

(Oh, and they’ve also come up with ideas for a delicious new variety of hampers for future guests to enjoy).

What did Kieran and Helen learn from being their own guests?
“We were devastated to have to close our doors to our guests in April, because it’s a wonderful time of year to stay… the woodland is about to erupt in a sea of violet bluebells.  

But we’ve absolutely loved being surrounded by so much wildlife, and hearing nothing but birds chirping, the wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves – we’ve even watched a family of deer chase each-other around the woodland!”  

Being up in the canopy gives you a sense of calm, and allows you to reconnect with nature.”

Location: The Dragon Cruck (Powys)
Owners/Guests: ‘Man of the Woods’ Mike, Rachel, and their daughter Rosie

The setting
A unique haven that was lovingly crafted by owner and professional tree surgeon Mike, with outstanding views all the way down the soothing Meifod valley.

Lit by lanterns and solar lights, and featuring comforts including a wood-burner, a bespoke wooden sink, and even a pizza oven, you’ll feel ridiculously snug and secluded in the Welsh countryside.

How was the stay?
The family found that rediscovering the natural beauty of the valley was the perfect antidote to the world’s current craziness, as they holed themselves blissfully up in their beloved cabin.  Cue blazing sunsets, delicious outdoor cooking, and relaxing in the hammock.


What did Mike, Rachel, and Rosie learn from being their own guests?

“We particularly loved the feeling of being outside, cooking in the camp kitchen whilst still feeling protected from the elements.  Rosie made naan bread and sage… divine with grilled chicken and roast veggies cooked in the pizza oven, what bliss!

Later, we suddenly noticed a tiny wren fly up to roost above the doorway of the cabin, which was so lovely to see.  

But ultimately, lying in the hammock, toasting our feet next to the fire and watching the sun set down the beautiful Meifod valley, has become one of our newfound pleasures.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed these wondrous accounts as much as we did! If they’ve inspired you to book your own stay, why not browse through our categories and plan your very own Great Escape for when the craziness is over (because one day, it will be)?


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