I can still depict vividly the places that I visited during my childhood years. I remember a beautiful old French Mansion with a big glass tank in the restaurant and gravel on the driveway, where we were allowed to walk the domestic dogs…. but also a German vacation rental, with the damp smell in the dark bedrooms situated in the basement – at least it was cool during summertime.
Once grown up, I started travelling myself and my curiosity of neat vacation destinations developed into a hobby. To me, it is so fulfilling to discover that one special place among all the standard offerings. I became the odd guest who would ask at the hotel reception whether I could have a peak in the other rooms. And now that the husband and children have come into my life, they have also happily become part of my research team.
Friends consider me crazy for the amount of time I spend searching the ultimate vacation spot. Simultaneously, they always seem to find me once contemplating their own vacation with the request “do you know by any chance…?”After visiting Lakaz Chamarel in Mauritius a few years ago, I was convinced: it was time to move forward with my idea for Local Hideaways. Their slogan “Keep it secret, only tell your good friends” hit the core of what I was trying to achieve. The pieces of a puzzle started falling into place.
Local Hideaways stands for authentic, small, unique and unusual places to stay, worldwide. Special places which you actually want to keep for yourself, so as not to have it overrun with guests. Then again, how often do you return to the same spot? So I have decided to share my favourite addresses…with you.
The collection is growing and if you have any recommendations, please let me know at email@example.com. It is always good to have some new travel buddies. There is one friend in particular whom I would like to thank for his efforts in helping me build this website: Harald.
For all of you out there, happy travelling and just for this once… please spread the word!
July 2013 – Esther van Onna, owner Local Hideaways
Some testimonials and publications:
Flow Magazine (Dutch edition): I am featured in a three page spread in the Dutch edition of Flow Magazine (circulation 82.766) – March 2016. Click for article: Flow Magazine Maart 2016.
National Geographic Traveler (Dutch/Belgium edition) asked me to reveal some of my Local Hideaways for a publication on their website.
Nick Hartwright, founder of Green Rooms – London, UK: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be part of the Local Hideaways network. It’s already paying dividends for us business wise. We also feel very privileged to be on its roster. Esther is incredibly discerning and only the most interesting and arresting hotels and retreats make it. The fact that we have means a lot. Working with Esther has been fantastic. She’s been incredibly supportive of Green Rooms and we’ve tried to reciprocate that. It’s not a transactional relationship, more a partnership. We’re really looking forward to working with her over the coming months and years.”
Oscar Górriz, owner Hostal Sa Rascassa – Spain: “The combination of “Personal approach” (it’s Esther van Onna who is behind the site and who personally lets you in on some special, secret places…) and “Psst, don’t spread the word!” is not only very strong but it also conveys a very interesting, differentiated positioning.”
Tassos Gourgouras, Managing Director Mila Mountain Retreat – Crete (listed by National Geographic as one of the top 25 best Eco Lodges in the world): “Local hideaways is a small gem inside the huge information on the internet.”
Tom Michelberger, founder of Michelberger Hotel – Berlin: “Local Hideaways’ approach is great, authentic and personal”. “We are very glad to be part of such an authentic website.”
Valérie Janczewski, founder of Riad Anata – Fez: “Esther, you are such an excellent writer! Finding the magic combination of words that reflects your passion for writing and makes it feel as if most of those words were meant to be spoken aloud!”
Thierry Pic, owner of la Vie de Cocagne – Normandy: “We love your story…you are the first to have fully understood it! bravo!”
Zeynep Öziş, founder and owner of Taş Otel – Alaçati, Turkey: “Wow! What a wonderful review you have written dear Esther, we feel very flattered, thank you so much!”
Robin Palmer, owner Desert Pearl Inn – USA: “what a great idea that will help fill a void in the travel industry”