EVEN in the days BC (before coronavirus), Vila Planinka offered the stressed-out city dweller a chance to relax, unwind and appreciate the benefits of clean mountain air.
But after the last few months of Covid chaos and with many of us desperate for a break, there has never been a better time to explore this luxury boutique hideaway set in a remote green valley in the Jezersko region, on the northern tip of Slovenia.
Nestled among mountains, and just six miles from the Austrian border, guests at the 5H hideaway are encouraged to unplug and unwind.
We got there after a 45-minute car journey along winding roads with jaw-dropping views.
And I was left open-mouthed again when on arrival at Vila Planinka we were asked to lock our phones into a safe.
At first, I couldn’t dare to part with my lifeline.
But after checking out the view of the forest and mountains framed in the floor-to-ceiling windows of my room, it became obvious there was more to admire outside than on the phone’s small screen.
Settling in for the night was easy, with the rustic wooden interior complemented by cosy blankets, fluffy throws and deep-pile rugs, as well as a wood-burning fire.
By the following morning I’d so completely settled into the rural vibe that I thought I’d give the digital detox a chance.
This was incredibly liberating. With the phone out of sight, it was also quickly out of mind as I realised just how much there was to keep me busy relaxing.
Guests here are encouraged to recharge using “soothing energy points” dotted around the hotel’s grounds and “breathe in fresh mountain air”.
Drinking fresh water from the stream is also recommended.
I didn’t go quite so hippy dippy, but with rolling hills all around, there are plenty of hikes and head-clearing runs to be enjoyed.
And I did indulge in a bit of forest-bathing — taking in the calm and quiet among the trees.
Climbing on top of mountain peaks and embracing the wild, it was rather refreshing to be so alone.
For the more active — and daring — Austria is just a bike ride away over the mountain tops. The hotel has free pedal bikes, or for a small fee you can upgrade/cheat and hire yourself an electric bike.
After all that exercise, I took myself off to the retreat’s Alpine-style spa and indulged in a back massage.
The rest of the day was spent lounging in my robe, gazing out at the stunning view with wine in hand. Pure bliss.
That’s the thing about Vila Planinka. The staff know how to look after you and nothing was too much trouble.
Not least waiter Marko, who really knows his stuff.
Each meal was locally sourced — from within just a few miles where possible — and every drink including the region’s famous Orange wine chosen to pair perfectly with the food.
For those guests wanting to explore more of the region, beautiful Lake Bled is just under an hour’s drive away.
In peak season it can get busy.
But right now it is a great time to explore the island at the lake’s centre after being rowed over in a traditional wooden pletna boat.
It is also worth exploring Postojna Cave.
This wonder is around two million years old and a real-life Aladdin’s cave — only without a genie.
Visitors can take a small railway train deep into the heart of it, then stand in awe admiring the 15 miles of stalagmites and ancient rock formations.
A few days of relaxing in stunning scenery with amazing food or drink did wonders for me.
Just don’t forget to lock away your phone to really make the most of it.
on on or EMAIL [email protected]