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Instagram has given new importance to finding unique, picturesque places to explore and stay while we travel.
Holiday makers, adventurers and explorers have always valued the ability to record special moments in photography or film to be shared with people they care about. Companies like Kodak made their entire advertising campaign talking about capturing those special “Kodak Moments” and the tourism industry would not be able to run without the aspirational quality that DIY travel journalism can produce.
Instagram has brought a real-time element to sharing and given every single user the opportunity to make their image flawless. Along with this, geotagging has opened up locations to fresh tourism and hashtagging has created free marketing opportunities for destinations both big and small. If nothing else, #InstaTravel” has really pushed the boundaries on what destinations do to make the most of their surroundings.
Below we have gathered ten of the best locations to capture that perfect Instagram Shot.
1. URSULINO VALLETTA. VALLETTA MALTA.
One of the most prestigious boutique hotels in Valletta and now boasting a brand new website, Ursulino Valletta has a most enviable view of the capital city and The Grand Harbour. All from the comfort of a gorgeous rooftop terrace.
Andrew Sultana purchased what was a dilapidated and rundown building many years ago and transformed it into what it is now. In doing so he has played an important role in developing the tourist industry in the area to something that has a massive draw-in of sight seers, Instagram influencers, history buffs and travellers.
Inside, thanks to the baroque architecture, boutique artwork and wonderful décor there are many opportunities for stylish social media posts. With eleven rooms the hotel is also small enough to ensure that you will be able to find time and privacy to make the most of it all.
Communal areas are dazzling and well-planned, balanced perfectly between minimalism and Jay Gatsby levels of bohemianism. Noticeably there is superb use of space in this hotel which gives it the impression of being much larger than it is. The rooms are lavish and unique, making brilliant use of the architectural specifications on the building to create space and natural light.
THE ROOFTOP TERRACE.
It is, however, the rooftop terrace overlooking the city itself and the Grand Harbour that is really something to see. The whole city is a UNESCO site and the buildings in Valletta are protected, so seeing them is seeing into the past of the island’s history.
Without a doubt, the view of the sparkling expanse of the Grand Harbour, populated by drifting sail boats, luxury yachts and ocean liners are easily one of the most Instagram Worthy pictures of Malta. From Ursulino Valletta you can see all the way across to Fort St. Angelo and the Gardjola Gardens and have the chance to marvel at some of the biggest boats you’ll ever see gliding across the dark Mediterranean waters.
2. SAMSARA DESERT CAMP & RESORT. INDIA.
Founded in 2010 in Dechu a town within the district of Jodhpur of the princely state of Rajasthan India, the Samsara Desert Camp and Resort is something you have to experience to believe.
The Resort has all the architecture, design and stylings of an Indian Haveli including a pool, spa, villa-bedrooms all with private backyard garden seating., but it is the Desert Camp a 15 minute drive away that will really capture the imagination.
THE DESERT CAMP
Under a sky that seems too big and a horizon too far away, the camp sits serenely on 100 acres of privately owned, sprawling desert. Accessible only by Samsara’s fleet of four wheel drive jeeps, the tents and tented suites along with the amenities offered are of international standards. With plenty of Unique Dining Areas, “top of the dune” high-tea, bush dinners and farm lunches available to guests.
Here, there is a different kind of serenity to be found. It is a peaceful place, away from city noise and traffic.
EXPERIENCE THE DESERT.
The jeep safari is suitable for all age groups. Led by their sand-skilled drivers, these take guests through the wilderness of the several dunes of eastern “Thar” desert. The guests can visit “Dhani” village houses and see first-hand how the Bishnoi and other clans live in this area of the world.
Far from being just a sandy desert, you’ll discover that it is home to a vast range of animals including the blue-bull, chinkara, wild rabbits, desert fox, owls, eagles, peacocks and partridges.
THE DESERT AT NIGHT.
It is one of the most fantastically photogenic locations and certainly one of the most glamorous desert camps in the country. At night, the skies come alive and sunset and sunrise shots are available to capture those shareable Instas. Also, the opulent, royal luxury found in the tents will surely grab many likes and comments.
For something different, supervised camel rides are available as well which will give influencers a definite edge. Just make sure your phone is charged beforehand, camel humps don’t come with power points.
3. B.Glamp. Philippines.
The coolest ideas come out of innovation. In November 2016 B.Glamp officially kicked off on the rooftop of a family home in the heart of the Philippines. What could be simpler than a rooftop glamping bed and breakfast in the city? What could be even cooler?
ONE OF A KIND.
B.Glamp is the first and only rooftop glamping bed and breakfast in the City of Baguio Philippines. Offering a totally unique experience even for seasoned glampers. Additionally, Baguio City is the Summer Capital of the Philippines and Home to the annual Flower Festival called “Panagbenga”.
The rooftop has a 24 person capacity with tent sizes ranging from one to six persons. Each tent is complete with airbeds, pillows and blankets. Breakfast is served in the morning in a communal fashion. Harriette explains that most of their friends, colleagues and acquaintances always ask for recommendations on places to stay when in the city. But there are limited places where you can still enjoy nature with a view, have an outside space and a bonfire. B.Glamp offers all of these and the opportunity to meet new people and enjoy a different pace of hospitality.
ROOFTOP MOUNTAIN VIEWS.
The mountain view is incredible, the pine trees give the whole place a gorgeous pine smell and the mist in the afternoon gives it a mystical ambience to enjoy. The changing scenes from sunrise to sunset that is just right in front of the guests is something to watch for. There is a bonfire at night, the stars are incredibly bright and the birds chirping create the morning alarm. It is a chance for guests to not only reconnect with nature and themselves but meet and form a long lasting friendships.
“Be ready for the ramps and stairs though,” Harriette says, “It’s on the fifth level.”
www.bglamphq.wixsite.com/bglamp (temporary website)
4. REFUGIO LA ROCA. COLOMBIA.
Here are the makings of Instagram Legends. Refugio la Roca was founded in 2012 by Ricardo Cancelado, a local climber who grew up with a deep love of climbing and the area. The story goes that years after he moved to Bogota to study cooking he met his wife who was an industrial designer and just as passionate about climbing and the outdoors as he. When he took her for the first time to show the land he had grown up on, she felt a magical energy that immediately connected her to this marvellous place. At that point they decided to start this life-time project together and Refugio la Roca was born.
LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION.
Everything at Refugio la Roca is built in an eco-sustainable way. Making use of natural materials and a deep respect for the various lives that live there in the Chicamocha canyon. Under the shadow of the deep mountains, the whole enterprise is in harmony with the amazing energy that abounds there.
The Refugio la Roca is an ecological refuge, where visitors are guests into the natural world that they have seeded and created. Here, unlike a hotel, the eco-system and the animals that live there are more important than the people visiting. There are no televisions, no safes and no air-conditioning. The rooms are rustic and comfortable and adapted to the natural space with eco-sustainable construction materials and methods that have created a calming aesthetic making the most of the environment without changing it.
The fundamental principles here are the tolerance for diversity and respect for the fauna and flora, the mission to preserve it, maintain it and take care of it. Each frog, spider, lizard, scorpion, snake, each bird and each species that inhabits their Refuge is valuable, unique and irreplaceable.
Refugio la Roca is always growing and offering more for their community of fans which includes over 40k people on their Facebook page. Almost every month there is something different and this sort of activity has kept guests returning year after year and recommending this refuge to everyone they know.
5. ATHINA LUXURY SUITES. GREECE.
Perched on the cliffs of a caldera in Santorini is the most sought-after location in Fira. Immersed in tranquility, surrounded by breathtaking views, supplying world-class service and exquisite accommodation, Athina Luxury Suites have been defining relaxation and luxury since 2014 when the new owners Artemis Argyrou and Panagiotis Iglesis took over the hotel.
With nineteen suites all blessed with the most stunning views of the ocean, the volcano and the magnificent sunset Athina creates a modern and comfortable setting for guests, like their luxury home away from home.
The styling and the decoration of the suites is a unique combination of minimalism and modernised traditionalism. The buildings themselves are constructed using local volcanic rocks and ecological materials from the very island.
All of the rooms come equipped with showers and bathtubs and many of the suites also offer heated plunge pools and balcony hottubs. So, guests can enjoy a wonderful soak while soaking in the scenery.
Discerning guests will no doubt notice the high quality amenities that have been sourced, such as the Guy Laroche linens, towels and bathrobes and the Hermes and Guerlain products that turn every suite into a private spa.
WHAT GUESTS CAN EXPECT.
Feedback from guests is very important to Panagiotis as he aims to provide a personalised boutique level of service. It also helps to further inspire and guide the twenty-eight members of staff to always do better. Already considered by many guests to be the best hotel on the island of Santorini, the aim is always to further impress and inspire.
In early 2019 the hotel was fully renovated. This saw the addition of five totally new rooms, a brand-new restaurant (Esperisma Bar/Restaurant), a new upper bar and a private candlelight dinner area, a totally new heated infinity pool with a pool-bar and a brand new Aphrodite Spa.
6. VOYAGERS TRAVEL. ECUADOR.
Yolanda Ceron founded Voyagers Travel in 2002. Born in Ecuador, South America she comes from a family of travellers as her parents are explorers who taught her to love her country and the importance of getting to know it well. As such, she has always been fascinated with tourism and the idea of sharing the heritage of her country with visitors from all over the world. Offering them a unique, native perspective that they may not get anywhere else.
Today Voyagers Travel is a specialised, South American Tour Operator with over fifteen years of experience in arranging the top tours for discerning travellers who value quality destinations and unparalleled personalised service. With a reputation for making holidays memorable their tours can span across several of the regions bio-diverse and culture-rich countries.
The main Ecuador office is in Quito, with branch offices in Cuenca, Guayaquil and of course the Galapagos Islands.
There are over ten locally employed and trained staff working with Voyagers Travel and the tours cover a great deal of area including a wealth of both natural and cultural beauty. Yolanda believes that to get a complete idea of what a place has to offer, it is important to experience both.
Visiting areas such as the Galapagos islands, the Amazon Jungle and regions of Peru and Ecuador, there is really a lot of both culture and nature to be seen. Managing all of the potentials and curating the perfect trip for the individual is where Voyagers Travel really shines.
Some of the most popular destinations that Voyagers Travel works with include Galapagos, Amazon Jungle, Quito, Andes, Lima, Machu Picchu and Iquitos. Clients can expect to have access to the latest and most up to date water, land and cultural tours as Yolanda and Voyagers Travel promote any new tour and service in Ecuador and Peru with a focus on customer satisfaction. According to him, clients generally travel between five to fifteen days and enjoy the best accommodation in hotels, lodges or water cruises.
The various itineraries are updated on a weekly basis and a new client can expect a brand new tailored and complete bespoke trip to be prepared for them within 48hours maximum.
7. Aldea Bamboo Glamping Retreat
Designed by Jaime Sánchez Mohar, an architect, artist and healer, Aldea Bamboo in San Pancho is an epic location to grab a perfect “eco-tourism” instatravel pic.
The lodge is located in the jungle of San Pancho. An area filled with trees, big palms and an endless flow of birds. The ocean is close enough that from the cabins guests can hear the sound of the waves and the beach is only a two-minute walk away.
Guests aren’t completely cut off though and the main town is only 15 minutes away by foot or 5 minutes by car. San Pancho is a beautiful town with restaurants, stores and a range of its own historic attractions.
There are three units, styled in an eco-chic fashion to establish a better connection with nature and all of them are made from natural materials like bamboo, wood and palm. The cabins are on stilts to avoid ground damage and to allow animals to pass underneath, hence the feelings of being in a treehouse and part of the jungle itself.
The site is designed in an octagon, taken from sacred geometry patterns that create a peaceful and healing environment. The design of the cabins, which includes a big terrace with Acapulco chairs and an outdoor table, have been thoughtfully arranged for the contemplation of the surroundings i.e. the trees, the palms and the different birds that live in the jungle. The result is a natural, romantic and cosy cabin.
To get the most out of staying at Aldea Bamboo guests need to feel as comfortable as possible so that they can completely relax. To achieve this the relationship between staff and guest has to be looked after. During their stay staff are attentive to their guest’s needs and always ready to help but the personable approach extends well beyond that. Preferably, the guests arrive with a friendship already created.
This year, they will be opening a jacuzzi that will be placed beneath the trees and palms. Adding an additional touch of luxury for their guests and couples. What could be cooler than a hot tub in a jungle?
8. TREEHOTEL. SWEDEN.
Founded by Kent Lindvall and Britta Jonsson-Lindvall, the Treehotel offers a wonderfully unique and awe-inspiring accommodation which has enjoyed royalty as guests and been the focus of breakout documentaries.
Harads, in Northern Sweden is a striking location with magnificent surroundings. The village has a population of about 600 and is roughly 100 km from the Luleå airport. Possessing of a sublime peacefulness it also has a wondrous view of the Lule River valley, including miles of forest and the river itself.
If you weren’t expecting it, the setting of the Treehotel, set in the tall pine forest trees, could be a bit of a surprise. To see a giant Mirrored Cube that could almost disappear into the branches, or a UFO or the Birdsnest might bring to mind that you’ve stumbled into an artist’s outdoor studio, and in a way you would be correct.
These are the amazing designs of the accommodations of the Treehotel which have accommodated members of the international press and designer aficionados from all over the world. Appearing on many bucketlists the Treehotel has attracted everyone, from international celebrities, designers and fashion magazines, to ordinary people wanting to experience something even more unusual than staying in a treehouse. A childhood dream with a touch of luxury and flair.
The treerooms combine wonderful creativity and style while still supporting the natural feel of the location. There is the Mirrorcube, The Birdsnest, The 7th Room, the Cabin, The UFO, Dragonfly, The Blue Cone and the Guest House.
Each room has its own unique style and design, each one a marvellous work of art that merges with the aesthetic of the forest. It achieves this with such ease that wildlife occasionally wanders around and under the Treerooms without hesitation.
THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.
Treehotel is also the perfect place to experience the captivating northern lights phenomenon. Guests can see them from the rooms, especially from the 7th Room, with its panoramic view of the night sky. It can also be witnessed from the ice dining room, the jacuzzi and whilst out on a snowmobile. The best time to see these magical cosmic lights are on clear evenings and nights from September to March.
Treehotel offer guided northern lights tours. Once guests are well fed at the restaurant, they travel by snowmobile through the fairy-tale, snow-covered woods. Then, while snacking on Swedish fika and drinking hot beverages they wait for the epic, cosmic show to begin.
Photography focused tours are also available.
9. MANDRARE RIVER CAMP. MADAGASCAR.
In 2007, Mandrare River Camp welcomed its first guests to the luxury tented camp set upon the banks of the Mandrare River in Madagascar. One of the first locations of the spectacular Madagascar Classic Collection founded by Edward Tucker Brown, it was built in an effort to bring something unique to one of the last unexplored regions of the world. Something unique and gorgeous.
As such, Mandrare River Camp provides luxurious tented accommodation in an environment characterised by thick jungle, clear rivers and authentic fishing villages. It also provides an important function in the local community where 90% of the staff are recruited locally with everyone receiving training to take on future management positions.
Mandrare River Camp has six en suite tents that are generously spread out beneath the shade of tamarind trees. Each one benefits from breath-taking views of the sacred mountains across the tranquil waters while offering complete privacy to guests.
The six tents are fully en suite with a private terrace overlooking the river and during the year the whole camp is regularly upgraded to ensure a fresh and sophisticated feel.
Such as, in 2012 the thatched river terrace was added with a swimming pool for guests to cool off in during the warmer days. And in the tents the artistic wooden furniture has been individually hand-carved to represent a different local wildlife theme of south eastern Madagascar. Guests will find plenty of these little touches spread across the camp which have been added purely for the pleasure of visitors.
Unless otherwise stated, all activities at Mandrare River Camp are included at the stay at no extra cost and guests can fully benefit from their expertise and knowledge of the local area.
The area benefits from two different forest types that hold five species of lemur and countless birds and reptiles of incredible colour and variety. And this particular location is in the heart of the Antandroy tribal area. A cultural experience of singular quality is available thanks to the camp fostering excellent relationships with the local community. This means that guests are treated as ‘Vahiny’, translated as “Welcome guests” and not as tourists.
10. VALLEY VIEWS GLAMPING. NEW ZEALAND.
Valley Views opened in Waitaki Valley, North Otago, New Zealand on the 3rd February 2017 and was founded by Amber and Patrick Tyrrell. Patrick is originally from South Africa and has a background in Civil Engineering while Amber grew up on a farm in the Waitaki Valley. The pair of them met in Israel while backpacking around the world in 1992. Fifteen years later, after a stay at a glamping site in a private game reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa they decided to share their beautiful spot in the Waitaki Valley with others.
Valley Views has three geodesic dome tents, two lotus belle tents and one cabin. Each dome tent can sleep a maximum of four adults (or two adults and two children), the Lotus Belle Tents can sleep two adults and one child, while the cabin can fit a maximum of a couple with a child (or 2 adults).
What is really special about the place is the Expansive South Island mountain and stunning Waitaki Valley views. Located in a typical New Zealand South Island farming location it benefits from very quiet surroundings, combined with fabulous stargazing opportunities, couples massage in the domes and best of all, outdoor baths in the forest!