I spy, things beginning with B… besides bountiful, beckoning and blissful, all these breathtaking beauties not only share the same letter, but also a uniqueness of character that sets them apart from ordinary holiday accommodation. In Ireland, we visit the gothic and atmospheric Black Castle, where you can step back in time and enjoy exclusive use of an off-grid historic retreat. Over in South Carolina, USA, we indulge in the romance and rustic luxury of a hand-crafted and elaborate treehouse, set in a forest of lofty trees – simply idyllic. Finally we stay in the Americas and retreat to a striking architect designed gem offering privacy, seclusion and a perfect base to explore the natural and wildlife delights of Canada’s stunning Nova Scotia!
In this age of new architecture and technology it is increasingly difficult to imagine life back in the 16th century, but a truly authentic experience awaits you at The Black Castle in North Tipperary, Ireland. Owners Sonja and Kevin have managed to create an experience utterly true to how life would have been through their restoration of this stunning castle, dating back to the 1500s. ‘Overknighters’ to the castle are assured an extraordinary immersion in history, with a stay in the Great Hall of the castle, accessed via a winding stone staircase. A roaring carved open fireplace, shimmering candles, bespoke king-size bed and quality bedding await you, and you will have exclusive use of the castle and your temporary ‘kingdom’ – so switch off your smartphones and prepare to step back in time!
This romantic eco retreat was recently named the number one place to stay in South Carolina, and when you arrive it’s easy to see why. Everything about Bolt Farm Treehouse (above, and main photo) says authenticity, rustic charm and attention to detail. The treehouse itself was carved by Seth Bolt and his father, as a family sanctuary to enjoy within their 40 acres of wooded bliss, but with such an incredible escape it was decided that this was too good a secret to keep to themselves! Now this stilted retreat set amongst towering trees opens its doors to couples looking to relax, re-centre and enjoy. Vintage curios, an indoor fireplace, a unique wall crafted from antique window frames, floor-to-ceiling drapes, hardwood floor and a fairy-lit outdoor shower; these are just some of the rustic-luxe features that make this fairytale escape so beguiling.
Welcome to Nova Scotia, Canada’s wonderland peninsula and offshore islands where whale-watching, stargazing and lobster rolls are order of the day! Here we showcase a stunning retreat in Prospect Bay that dazzles at first sight. The Box House is a dramatic architect-designed retreat, nestled in its own secluded spot on 5 acres of land, with ocean frontage and a private beach. Floor-to-ceiling windows help maximise the idyllic beauty of the surroundings, and you’ll have your own swimming pool, sauna and kayaks to enjoy. Inside, this is loft-style living at its finest, with open-plan living and dining areas, and sleeping zone for up to eight guests in total – ideal for a perfect family getaway in privacy and seclusion. Spot rare wildlife, explore the bustling city of Halifax or simply relax on your own private boardwalk.