As the weather warms up, the idea of an alfresco dip becomes infinitely more appealing – especially in more tropical climes. Diving into the cool, clear water of a river or showering beneath a hidden waterfall not only offer the chance to reconnect with nature but are known to bring a whole host of health benefits too. Best of all, you’re never too far away from some stylish places to stay. Here are five of our favourites:
La Finestra Sul Fiume, Italy
In the heart of Italy’s lake’s region, with its picturesque towns, vineyards and poppy-filled meadows, this 15th-century mill has an enchanting riverside setting. Lovingly converted into a rustic B&B with just 5 inviting rooms, La Finestra Sul Fiume is an incredibly restful place with the Mincio River running languidly though the blissful gardens. Little islands connected by stone bridges have deckchairs where you can watch the world drift by, while in summer a section of the river becomes a wonderful natural swimming pool complete with swans and geese.
Laguna Lodge, Guatemala
Surrounded by jungle-covered peaks and dotted with colourful villages, legendary Lake Atitlán is a huge volcanic crater formed 85,000 years ago. Nestled in its own private reserve, accessible only by boat, exclusive eco-lodge Laguna Lodge is a peaceful and spectacular place to commune with nature without compromising on comfort. From solar-heated rainwater to organic and foraged food, there’s a strong commitment to sustainability while the Hummingbird Spa and 6 stylish suites ensure you won’t be roughing it. Masks, snorkels and flippers are available to borrow from the hotel, or head out on a kayak to explore further afield.
Casa do Rio Vez, Portugal
With the forested mountains of Peneda-Garês National Park on your doorstep, this gorgeous riverside retreat is in one of Portugal’s most scenic regions: the Minho. Hidden amongst trees on the banks of the pristine River Vez, ancient millhouse Casa do Rio Vez now offers 4 B&B rooms and a stunning loft conversion. The gorgeous contemporary spaces have been stylishly renovated with iconic furnishings and rich tones add a touch of urbane sophistication to the pastoral peacefulness. With 300m of shady river frontage and natural jacuzzis hollowed out of the riverbed, wild swimming doesn’t get much more idyllic than this.
Ahilya Fort, India
Set above the riverside ghats (steps) where streams of pilgrims come to worship, 18th-century Ahilya Fort feels more like a private home than a rural hotel. Dotted around the shaded courtyards, turrets and battlements, the 15 gentrified rooms have balconies overlooking the beautiful kitchen garden or the river, while on the riverbank itself are a couple of luxury tents, one with its own private plunge pool. As a respite from the heat, cool off in the clean water of the river (one of the few waterways in India that’s clean enough to swim in) or glide along on a sunset boat trip.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia
In the forested foothills of the Cardamom Mountains, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a simple yet stylish collection of 12 tents, reached by boat along the jungle-fringed Tatai River. Connected by walkways, each circular tent floats on its own pontoon and comes with elegant rattan bed, bathroom and private sundeck with a ladder down into the glassy calm water. On hot days, the ‘walls’ of the tent can be drawn up to allow a cooling breeze and panoramic views. Spend your days exploring by kayak (don’t miss a ‘natural hydromassage’ at nearby Tatai Waterfall) and your evenings gently swaying in a hammock or sampling fresh Cambodian cuisine.