3 Hotels Worldwide That Offer Unforgettable Experiences
CARMEL VALLEY RANCH – Carmel, California: The chicken coop is nearly as popular as the spa at this family-friendly resort in the foothills of California’s Santa Lucia Mountains. Guests are invited to visitthe coop to learn about the resident Rhode Island Red and Barred Plymouth Rock chickens, whose eggs are found on the breakfast table each morning, along with produce grown in the two-acre garden. During weekly tours, resident farmer Mark Marino explains the basics of composting and prepping an organic vegetable bed, and the ranch’s beekeeper helps guests suit up to meet the 60,000 resident Italian honeybees. From $335.
WILD THYME – Palamartsa, Bulgaria: Four years ago, Claire Coulter and Chris Fenton (Irish and English expats, respectively) fell for the sleepy charm of Palamartsa. “All the little old ladies in this rural, traditional village have fantastic gardens,” says Claire. The duo learned the locals’ gardening secrets, layered on organic principles, and then opened an eco-retreat on a working farm with a cottage and a four-room guesthouse. Guests help collect eggs from the hens, take goats to pasture, and feed the pigs. The truly hard core can help slaughter pigs in June, take a butchering workshop, or learn how to make the tasty sausages served at breakfast. From $20.
BABYLONSTOREN – Cape Winelands, South Africa: About an hour outside of Capetown, Babylonstoren is one of South Africa’s oldest werfs, or farmyards. In 2010, Karen Roos, a former editor at South Africa’s File Decoration, reimagined the property as a fantasy farm stay with an eight-acre garden that grows 300 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Guests are welcome to help the head gardener prune and plant and to join the chef in his daily harvest. Some of the 13 laborers’ cottages that have been rebuilt for guests also have kitchens for those who want to pick and prep their own meals. From $240.