Gorgeous Georgia has Instagram-worthy scenery on tap. Here are the very best of the country’s rural hotels, huts and treehouses.
One of the chief reasons to visit Georgia, beyond its cool capital and increasingly trendy cuisine, is its sublime range of landscapes: from dramatic coastline to forest-cloaked mountains and glittering lakes. This selection of welcoming stays puts you right in the middle of it all – some in the form of eco-conscious huts and treehouses, others in wholesome, high-altitude lodges. Whatever the digs, this is the Georgia that few tourists see: the magical, remote and beautiful pockets beyond the tourist trail.
Eco camping La Belle Verte
Courtesy of Eco camping La Belle Verte / Booking.com
If you’re heading out to the Black Sea coast around Batumi, it’s worth venturing inland for a peek at Mtirala National Park – a pixie’s glade of waterfalls, dew-sprinkled ferns and clear jade pools. You can camp out here too, with this eco-glampsite situated in rustic treehouses, stone-built cabins and wooden huts offering all manner of activities from hikes to yoga workshops and pottery-sculpting. Healthy lunch bowls, tai chi sessions and Buddhist wall hangings mean this is proper 21st-century hippie stuff.
A bubble of modern hospitality amid lush pine forests outside the spa town of Borjomi, famous for its naturally fizzy mineral water, this boxy lodge has curious communal spaces with pyramid-shaped ceilings. There’s a huge restaurant, tree-surrounded deck and a ‘wine house’, where you can sample the local vintages. The spa and generous indoor pool are a warming retreat after a mountainside hike, while outdoor play areas and a games room mean there’s plenty to keep kids occupied, too.
Set in a scenic mountain pass outside adventure-base Jut’a, this wholesome, quaint-looking lodge is all about the location. Simple rooms and a cafe will suit true adventurers (picture bunk beds, knobbly floorboards and stone benches furnished with bright cushions), but the real living area is the meadow outside, scattered with bean bags and deckchairs for admiring the view. Encircled by mountains and a lake, you can set off in any direction for a scenic trek, spotting the odd grazing pony along the way.
A simple but super-modern base in mountain-hugged Kazbegi, affordable Porta Caucasia has the buffet breakfasts and inoffensive decor of a mid-range business hotel, but the swoon-worthy surroundings of a romantic, mountain-encircled refuge – enhanced by its rugged, dry stone wall-style exterior cladding. Sit out on the protruding restaurant deck for the best views, then take advantage of the free shuttle service to the dizzying Kobi cable car.
There’s a touch of gingerbread house to this pretty wooden lodge, set in the Gudauri ski resort in Georgia’s far-north Caucasus Mountains. This is one of the area’s highest and most pristine ski spots and the hotel is a stylish number with a modern Georgian restaurant with windows large enough to fill your view with snowy peaks, plus snug, homey rooms with sofas and dining tables. Hunker down in toffee-brown leather armchairs in the lounge for a nightcap.
Design is everything in this style-hunter’s hideaway in ski-mad Gudauri. A jet-black ‘floating’ fireplace is the centre point of a circular lobby lounge, furnished with huge embroidered rugs and potted ferns, while the airy restaurant with long communal tables serves up Georgian fine dining, and the apres-ski terrace has cocktails so potent that the menu has a section devoted to hangover cures. Rooms are simple but given a luxurious twist with teal feature walls, upholstered black bed frames and expensive-feeling rugs.
A spa town with naturally-carbonated water fizzing from its springs, Sairme is an invigorating inland spot on a Georgia tour. Its Best Western has simple but smart rooms in plum and cream, with peaceful balconies looking out to a carpet of forest; even the slightly businessy lounge and restaurant are tasteful and comfy, with a fireplace and plump slate-grey sofas. Head out to zip-line through the forest, or stay in for a swim in its sumptuous mosaic-tiled indoor pool.
With just 21 rooms alongside its spa, restaurant and bar, Quadrum design hotel feels like an intimate, exclusive club, with boxy suites that tumble charmingly down its snowy slopes. Rooms have huge french windows and balconies that let in the light and snowy views; hotel spaces feel retro-chic with raw woods and low, angular furniture. Add a dedicated yoga studio, serene indoor pool and sauna and this place is a real treat for skiers with an eye on wellness.
In the verdant countryside around Kakheti, Georgia’s eastern wine region, this quirky little resort is spread out on the shore of a mirror-like lake, with its own chateau-styled mini winery onsite. Spacious rooms have elegant polished woods, muted decor and ceiling-height windows to make the most of the surrounding mountain views. Laze by the huge outdoor swimming pool in summer months, or cosy up in the cabin-style forest spa in autumn and winter.
With three outposts in Georgia, Rooms Hotels have a hip, homey aesthetic, with raw-wood floors and bed frames in rooms, distressed leather armchairs and white tiling in the bar and wicker loungers by the lantern-lit indoor pool. But this one’s all about the views: the craggy peaks around Mount Kazbek, the turrets of Gergeti Trinity Church set against pure white snow and – at night – a swirl of stars that fills the night sky.