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The official top ten
Secret Gems

If you’re hankering after something a little different, a little special for your next holiday, we have 10 secret gems that are truly lovely yet off the radar of most travellers. We’ve selected a range of quirky options, from Rajakkad Estate, an ancient teak home in the forested hills of Southern India, to Li’An Lodge, a traditional Chinese chalet perched in Longsheng’s terraced rice fields, to The Amara, a beautiful English-style country cottage in Burma.

Habaraduwa House is Sri Lanka’s chicest new beach villa, or for Dutch Colonial splendour, spectacular golf and sweeping views, Clingendael is another of our secret gems – an exclusive 5-bedroom boutique hotel in the ravishing hills near Kandy.

In Japan, The Garden Terrace overlooks the bay in Nagasaki, 'San Francisco of the East.' It's a design afficionado's dream making great use of bamboo in the building and grounds, by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Nearer to Kyoto in central Japan, Ryokan Kurashiki by a scenic old trading canal has just six lovingly furnished traditional rooms with open beams and a fine collection of antiques from Japan, China and Europe. At once homely and luxurious, it served as Sophia Loren's hideaway on her recent visit to Japan.

Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp in Lombok is a place to completely switch off from modern life and enjoy one of the most beautiful white beaches you will ever see; Lakshman Sagar is a candy-coloured heritage fort hidden away​ in the Rajasthani desert; or for the true luxury nomads amongst you, we highly recommend The Ultimate Travelling Camp which pops up in some of India’s most beautiful and remote regions. Secrets are for sharing!

1

Amara Mountain Resort

A quaint colonial cottage which dates from 1909, Amara Mountain Resort is the best hotel in town, and certainly the most charming. Set on a small hill surrounded by evergreen...

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2

Habaraduwa House

Originally built in 2001 but completely re-designed and renovated in 2011 by a leading interior decorator, Habaraduwa House has the pedigree and allure to make it Sri Lanka’s most exceptional...

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3

Li'An Lodge

Struck by the beauty of the Longsheng rice terraces, artist Keren Su returned to the area to open the Li-An Lodge. A unique hotel with spectacular views of the terraces,...

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4

Ryokan Kurashiki

This ryokan is halfway along the idyllic willow-lined canal in Kurashiki, and shares a 300-year history with the converted trading warehouses either side of it.The property and the manager Nakamura-san...

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5

Clingendael

Located on the Victoria Golf and Country Resort, around 40-minutes from Kandy town, The Clingendael is situated on a hill at an elevation of 80 meters, offering sweeping vistas of...

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6

The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Chamba Camp

The first truly mobile luxury camp in India, ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’ offers the opportunity to experience a variety of magnificent locations as it travels across India according to the...

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7

Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp

Situated two hours from the airport in the remote and untouched southeast of Lombok, Jeeva Beloam is one of Indonesia’s most exciting new eco resorts. It launched in 2012 as...

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8

Lakshman Sagar

Opened in 2011, Lakshman Sagar is a hidden gem of a hotel, located in a remote rural setting between Jaipur and Jodhpur. Set up with a 0km concept, everything found...

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9

Rajakkad Estate

Set 1,000 metres above sea level, in the cool foothills of the Wester Ghats, Rajakkad Estate is an intimate garden hotel and an Indian boutique property at its finest.Originally built...

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10

Garden Terrace

By all accounts this is the superlative place to stay in Nagasaki. Designed by Kengo Kuma, it impresses from the start with the contemporary pinewood exterior leading to the sharp...

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We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We have been on expensive and luxurious holidays in the past, but the service and communication Ampersand has provided has far exceeded those offered by other agencies.
- Susan Ford, India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India

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