The breakfast setup at Stedsans, a retreat set deep in the woods of Hyltebruk, Sweden, isn’t like other hotel breakfasts you might be familiar with. In the mornings, guests drift into the main barn where they help themselves to homemade breads, jams and yogurt, as well as pungent herbal teas and fresh coffee, all laid out on a long wooden table. Once they’ve finished eating, they remove their dishes and wash them in the soapy tubs of water outside the barn. Washing your own breakfast dishes might sound like an absurd thing to do while staying at a hotel, but Stedsans isn’t your average hotel. The dreamy retreat takes a back-to-basics approach; accommodations are simple, meals are served communal-style and guests are encouraged to make themselves at home. And if that means washing a breakfast plate or two, then so be it.
Stedsans is one of the destinations offering guests a more hands-on approach, inviting them to get their hands a little dirty in. Ever prepared your own dinner in your hotel suite? Or milked a cow so you can put cream in your morning coffee?
At Hacienda de San Antonio, a regal pink hotel set on a monumental estate in Colima, Mexico, guests can wake with the roosters and head out to the neighboring Jabali Ranch to milk cows and goats. The ranch, which belongs to the hotel and provides it with fresh produce, also has a coffee roastery and cheesery where each process can be observed.
Collecting eggs from chickens is one of the optional pre-breakfast activities at Monkey Island Estate, a new property in England’s small town of Bray. The estate has a vegetable garden and chicken coop, where guests can gather eggs ahead of breakfast. The chefs at the restaurant will transform the fresh eggs into a fluffy omelette, eggs Benedict or a scramble with house-smoked salmon.
The sprawling eight-acre garden at Babylonstoren (pictured at the top of the article) makes you want to lose yourself in it. Located on a working wine farm in South Africa’s Cape Winelands, the edible garden is bursting with over 300 local plants, herbs and vegetables. Guests can gather fresh produce from the garden—like lemons, arugula, prickly pears and plums—and then carry their bounty back to their cottage and prepare dinner in the slick wood kitchen. The contemporary farmhouse cottages have long wooden dining tables that peer onto the estate and garden, so spending extra time in the room won’t be a drag.
Hero image courtesy of Babylonstoren/Facebook.