What happens when you take a staycation in your very own holiday home?
Since our Host Unusual members sadly can’t welcome any guests at the moment, some of them decided to take some welcome time out, and play host to themselves.
(We hope the service was up to scratch!)
There’s something unique about staying somewhere you’ve poured your own heart, soul, and life savings into, so we asked each host to share something they’d learned about the experience of being their own guest.
We loved their answers so much, we thought we’d share them with you. So read on, for a true insider’s view on five fabulous Host Unusual stays!
Oh – and if you like these, #HostsatHome Part One can be found here.
(Note: each property featured is located on the owners’ home site, meaning no unnecessary journeys were made).
Main Image: Craighead Hobbit Howfs | Aberdeenshire
Author: Nina Jervis
Location: Boutique Farm Bothies (Aberdeenshire)
Owners/Guests: Jane and family
Two exquisite, hand-crafted bothies secluded on a picturesque working farm in rural Aberdeenshire.
Each eco-friendly bothy is bursting with loving attention to detail, including cosy furnishings and creative, upcycled accessories.
How was the stay?
Jane discovered that her original mission – for families to make magical memories together – was more than realised at the bothies.
Staying in Barley Bothy, the whole family appreciated taking a much-needed break to slow down, rejuvenating and reconnecting in the Great Outdoors, and splashing around in the wood-fired hot tub…
…though with plenty of breeding ewes to lamb, time to relax was somewhat limited!
What did Jane and her family learn from being their own guests?
“We loved star gazing from the box beds, having a sneaky gin and tonic in the evening sun on the deck, and laughing together as a family.
I think my favourite question was, ‘Mummy, would you rather be trapped in a room with a mouse or a snake?'”
Location: The Hudnalls Hideout (Gloucestershire)
Owners/Guests: Sarah and Ade
A design-led, seriously Insta-worthy treehouse-for-two, privately nestled amongst ancient woodland in the Wye Valley – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – recently featured in The Times’ “The Top 50 UK Hideaways for after lockdown”.
The treehouse is adults-only, which directly translates as: ultra-relaxing and extra-indulgent!
How was the stay?
Sarah and Ade experienced all the magic of springtime in the woods; taking long walks amongst the bluebells and violets, and watching forest ferns unfurl.
Mornings were spent gazing out at the woodpeckers and squirrels in the treetops, right from the mezzanine bedroom’s full height viewing window… what a way to wake up!
The occasional slice of cake and mug of tea may also have been joyfully devoured out on the balcony…
What did Sarah and Ade learn from being their own guests?
“We’d had a gruelling nine months up to our recent launch, only to be forced to shut down just five weeks later.
That was truly heart-breaking, but the best thing about staying there ourselves was finally being able to relax, and fall in love all over again with the wonderful space we have created for our guests. We can’t wait to be able to share our treehouse with even more people.
We very reluctantly wandered back up to our own house after three nights, but are already planning another sneaky stay!”
Location: Craighead Hobbit Howfs (Perthshire)
Owners/Guests: Ian and Heather
Two refreshingly off-grid, bespoke crafted Hobbit Howfs, complete with grassy roofs and colourful round doors, built into the hillside on a friendly family farm.
“Howf” is a Scottish word for a favourite haunt of family and friends, which gives an idea of the warm welcome you can expect.
How was the stay?
Like most holiday property owners, Ian and Heather are always on the go, so they found a leisurely walk to their very own Shire (and a relaxing stay in the Burrow!) was a welcome wee break away from the world.
Though they are steadfast rural dwellers, even they were amazed at the variety of wildlife and birds that call the Shire their home… while getting back to basics couldn’t have been more delicious, with plenty of home baking and wine-supping taking place by sunset.
What did Ian and Heather learn from being their own guests?
“How glad we were to take this mini-break – it was truly delightful! The sounds of nature were stunning; as the sun went down, we could hear our own animals settling for the night, and the birds going to bed.
Amazingly, we were also treated to the ‘pink moon’; combined with dark, wide open skies above the Howfs it was glorious.”
Location: Tor View Shepherd’s Huts (Somerset)
Winner of the VisitEngland Gold Award and featured in The Sunday Times, Tor View comprises Ted and Len, two luxurious hot tub hideaways filled with creature comforts.
Perched high on Somerset’s glorious Mendip Hills, the views are guaranteed to be exceptional.
How was the stay?
Many long days in the sunshine were spent on little improvements here and there, such as grass cutting, and refreshing Ted’s wooden frame with cheery yellow Farrow & Ball paint, so he looks his best for new guests.
During downtime, steaks sizzled on the firepit, hearty breakfasts were enjoyed in the Great Outdoors, and many sunset dips were taken in the hot tubs.
What did Phil learn from being his own guest?
“There’s so much to love about being my own guest – the best thing about it was that I didn’t have a checkout date to worry about, so I could stop obsessively looking at the calendar!”
Location: Rufus’s Roost (Yorkshire)
Owners/Guests: Barney and family
A sumptuous, family-sized treehouse squirrelled away amongst soothing ancient woodland on Baxby Manor.
Eco-friendly and self-contained, Rufus’s Roost occupies prime viewing position on a hillside overlooking The Hideaway, a friendly family-run campsite.
How was the stay?
The kids came up with the idea of ‘moving in’ to Rufus’s Roost for a few days; an idea Barney found hard to argue with!
However, their ‘holiday’ soon turned into a fantastic opportunity to get some maintenance done, so Barney spent most of his time with a cloth in one hand, and a screwdriver in the other.
Two nights later, the family returned home for some much-needed rest!
What did Barney and his family learn from being their own guests?
“Listening to the rain on the roof of the treehouse was wonderful, as was waking up at first light to the sounds of the birds singing, and the squirrels running across the roof.
We enjoyed the sounds of nature so much that my son Felix decided to use the bat monitor in the woods, so he could hear them swooping overhead.”
We hope you enjoyed these wonderful accounts – which one was your favourite?
If you’re feeling inspired to book your own stay, either at these amazing spots or somewhere else, then why not grab a cuppa and while away some time browsing through our categories?
(Let’s face it, we all need something lovely to look forward to!)