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!


Amara Mountain Resort

  Amara Mountain Resort is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems.  A quaint colonial cottage which dates from 1909, Amara Mountain Resort is the best hotel in town, and...


Habaraduwa House

  Habaraduwa House is one of our Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems, Top 10 Private Villas in Asia and Top 10 Venues for a Wedding or Party Originally built in 2001 but completely re-designed and renovated in 2011...


Li'An Lodge

  Li'An Lodge is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems.  Struck by the beauty of the Longsheng rice terraces, artist Keren Su returned to the area to open the Li-An...


Ryokan Kurashiki

  Ryokan Kurashiki is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems and Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. This ryokan is halfway along the idyllic willow-lined canal in Kurashiki, and shares a 300-year history with the converted...



  Clingendael is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. Located on the Victoria Golf and Country Resort, around 40-minutes from Kandy town, The Clingendael is situated on a hill at...


The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Chamba Camp

  The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Chamba Camp is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. The first truly mobile luxury camp in India, ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’ offers the opportunity to...


Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp

  Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems and Top 10 Beach Hotels. Situated two hours from the airport in the remote and untouched southeast of Lombok,...


Lakshman Sagar

  Lakshman Sagar is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. Opened in 2011, Lakshman Sagar is a hidden gem of a hotel, located in a remote rural setting between Jaipur...


Rajakkad Estate

  Rajakkad Estate is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. Set 1,000 metres above sea level, in the cool foothills of the Wester Ghats, Rajakkad Estate is an intimate garden...


Garden Terrace

  Garden Terrace is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems. By all accounts this is the superlative place to stay in Nagasaki. Designed by Kengo Kuma, it impresses from the...


Client Testimonials

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
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
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
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
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, 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
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India

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