To my mind indie travel is about independence rather than budget. While I normally prefer a hostel to a hotel, enjoying the social life while accepting the occasional issue that communal living brings, there are times when a luxury getaway is just what one needs. Whether that’s staying in castles or spa hotels, it can be a nice change from the regular circuit.

Here are some of the things that I look for when planning a few days of relaxing and pampering. I’m sure you look for something different, so leave your thoughts in the comments.

1. A quiet room

Starting and finishing the day in a quiet room is something I relish. I don’t quite know why, since I normally end my days listening to an audiobook or podcast, but this is something that will always stand out for me.

Our room at the Bülow Residenz: warm and spacious.
Our room at the Bülow Residenz: warm and spacious.

2. A large bathroom

Once again this is something quite irrational. A large bathroom is completely unnecessary, so little used, and yet it adds to the whole feeling of luxury for me.

3. Large grounds or a forest nearby

I enjoy hiking, and when the weather is right there is nothing I like better than a good loop walk through a forest. Of course this isn’t always possible, especially when you’re in the city; in that case a large park will do the trick. Wherever I hike, it’s nice to have staff who smile when I walk through the lobby in hiking pants, rather than sneering because they’re not Louis Vuitton.

4. A spot of massage

Booking a massage always makes me feel kind of nervous. There’s just so much variation in the experience that you never know quite what you’re going to get. I’ve been walked all over in Cambodia, luxuriated in Jerez, and enjoyed the occasional sports massage as well. Normally, my booking anxiety is completely baseless and I come away feeling great.

The terrace was a great place for a drink after our spa treatment.
The terrace was a great place for a drink after our spa treatment in Jerez.

5. The big breakfast

My breakfast normally consists of two to five shots of espresso. This gets me through the day until 1 or 2pm, when it is time for lunch. But nothing quite beats the feeling of coming downstairs around 10am and getting stuck into mounds of cold meats, cheeses, fruit, bacon and eggs, and whatever else I can find. By the time I finish breakfast, I’m ready for a nap.

6. The spot with a view

Whether it’s on a balcony, a rooftop bar, or from the room, I’m looking for a spot that’s in the sun, sheltered from wind, and just right for sitting with a book and a coffee or wine. Relaxing in comfort with something pretty to glance up at every now and again always feels just right to me, no matter if it’s a $10-a-night hut or $500-a-night resort.

View from the pousada in Viana.
View from the Pousada in Viana, Portugal.

What about you? What do you look for in a little spot of luxury?

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