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:
Caroline Metcalfe – former Director of Photography from Condé Nast Traveller UK (she worked 16 years for CNT and is now a consultant): “I am constantly looking at websites and travel locations and I just love Local Hideaways, you have such great places and now that I have dealt with you I know how good your company really is.”…. “It’s a brilliant idea and so well executed. I think more and more people are looking for curated spaces from trusted sources and looking at your site one can see your eye and sensibilities.” …
Ana Faustino – Hotel Manager of São Lourenço do Barrocal: ” … thank you very much for your amazing words about São Lourenço do Barrocal on the Local Hideaways website! It is beautiful the article. Reading the text, I could really picture myself in here, in our estate, and wandering around beautiful cobblestone narrow streets of Monsaraz. I think this is the best proof that the article is right spot on and able to capture the history, the way of living and the natural pace of this special place that we call home.”
LINDA: this online platform (3,3 million visitors and 25 million pageviews per month) from the major glossy magazine for women in the Netherlands asked me to share some of my favourite Local Hideaways in Essaouira, Morocco and they featured Local Hideaways in their travel section. March 2019. Click for article (in Dutch): LINDA.nl/reizen
LINDA: this online platform (3,3 million visitors and 25 million pageviews per month) from the major glossy magazine for women in the Netherlands asked me to share some of my Local Hideaways in Portugal plus insider tips and they featured Local Hideaways in an extensive item (written by myself) in their travel section. November 2018. Click for article (in Dutch): LINDA.nl/reizen
Flow Magazine (Dutch edition): I was interviewed for their opening story ín the #6 September edition about how to disconnect from mobile devices – Digital Detox – when travelling. September 2017. Circulation 80.000) Click for article: Flow Magazine #6 september 2017 – openingsverhaal
Nouveau Magazine (Dutch glossy): Local Hideaways is mentioned on the travel tips page. (circulation 37.068). April 2017. Click for magazine page: Tips Travels Nouveau editie 5 april 2017
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.
Teresa Roldão de Barros – marketing manager of Sublime Comporta, Portugal: ” The article is fantastic. Thank you! I agree with you 100% Comporta is nothing like Ibiza or St Tropez and saying so is mismanaging expectations….”
Tara Donovan, owner of Casa Fuzetta – Olhao, Portugal: “I think this may be one of my favourite sunset photos yet of #casafuzetta and the tower above the meditation room.
Big thank you again to Esther of @localhideaways for the photo and the courage to come and spend a long weekend with us and twenty people she didn’t know a few weeks ago!! We all fell in love with her and the passion she has for finding charming, unusual properties in interesting parts of the world. If you’re looking for authentic, genuine experiences, you should talk to Esther and check out her 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.”
Henry and Margaret, owners of La Loma Jungle Lodge, Panama: “How wonderful it was to read your fabulous write-up. Thank you! We really look forward to working with you and Local Hideaway users definitely seem exactly like the kind of guests that we hope to attract.”
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”