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Boutique hotel and hip hideaway specialist www.i-escape.com has added the landmark 1,500th property - chic Indian lodge Jawai Leopard Camp - to its collection of stylish accommodation options across the globe.
Opening just last year and combining near-guaranteed big-cat sightings with more than a dash of luxury, this stylish safari escape in rural Rajasthan epitomises the kind of unique place to stay that lies at the core of i-escape. Its 10 tents, which sit upon grey slate and look out over the bush, have seriously sleek interiors - think angular chrome fittings, black leather furniture, plush kingsize beds with triple banks of cushions, and swish ensuites with huge rain showers. Add 5-star service, excellent food and a wealth of wildlife, and you have a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prices start from £514 per tent per night, based on two people sharing on an all-inclusive basis.
The 1,500 milestone shows just how far i-escape has come since launching in 2001 - then with a portfolio of 100 hotels, painstakingly visited by the team. The site is the brainchild of university friends Nikki Tinto and Laila Ram, who came up with the idea whilst planning a trip to South Africa. After trawling through a barrage of uninspiring websites, they thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if someone could do all the research for us and tell us the best places to stay?”. Thus the concept for i-escape was born.
Since then, i-escape’s expert team has been scouring the globe in search of inspiring, unusual and beautiful accommodation options, picking up a few industry awards along the way. The site now boasts stylish properties in over 50 countries, including chic B&Bs, funky city apartments, boutique hotels and luxurious villas - all still hand-picked and personally reviewed. Destinations as diverse as Argentina, Zanzibar, Malaysia and Montenegro have been added, and a dedicated Kids Collection was created three years ago. This year, an inaugural Ski Collection has also joined the impressive variety of offerings.
Some 50-100 properties apply to join i-escape every week, but the website’s motto of ‘quality not quantity’ means just one or two make the cut. Each place featured is revisited on a regular basis to ensure that reviews remain trustworthy, and anywhere with falling standards is quickly weeded out. What’s more, a close relationship is maintained with property owners - something that larger websites of 10,000 or 100,000 places find impossible to do.
Nikki Tinto, Co-Founder of i-escape, said: “We’ve had our eye on the 1,500 milestone for a while now, as it’s the optimum portfolio size for us - big enough to offer something for everyone, yet small enough for us to maintain our high standards. Our guiding principle has always been the same: if we wouldn’t want to stay somewhere ourselves, we won’t offer it to our users. We’re incredibly proud to have reached this size, and what better property to mark the occasion than Jawai Leopard Camp? Style, luxury, wildlife and a stunning location... this place has it all.”