31 May 2007

Thailand - Koh Samui - The Villa

This extraordinairy villa is the perfect location to enjoy all this remarkable island has to offer. This spacious beautifully appointed villa in the Santi Thani development commands spectacular views across the island, northward to Koh Phangan and southwest to the National Marine Park.

Just a few minutes drive to the beach, five minutes drive to the new international golf course, local restaurants, supermarkets and internet shops, this villa was built for the owners as a second home rather than for rental purposes. Unlike many rented villas in the area the owners have left everything in place in the villa rendering it even more welcoming and personalized.

The villa is self catering and if you prefer to dine at home, a private maid or cook can be provided on request.

Renting this private villa is great value and in most ways turns out to be very cost effective. When calculated on a per bedroom or per person basis and considering all of the “extras” you would have to pay in an hotel, this villa vacation is a lot cheaper than staying at one of Koh Samui’s best hotels or resorts. Finally, the individual and personal services and facilities offered by this villa are simply incomparable.

The villa, situated on the hills of Santi Thani in the northwest area of Koh Samui, has been thoughtfully and uniquely designed to take full advantage of the magnificent views, to capture the cooling sea breezes and to maximize outside living. This has been achieved by constructing the front of the villa completely in glass opening onto large terraces on tree different levels. Each terrace has been furnished to provide comfortable, relaxing lounge areas surrounded by beautiful plants and orchids. From each of these areas, you will be able to gaze across a forest of coconut palms towards the ever changing colours of the waters of the Gulf and many distant surrounding islands.

Through huge doors to the reception hall you will immediately be impressed by the spacious feel of this villa. On the lower level you will find the utility area (washer and dryer), a guest-toilet, a fully equipped kitchen, a diningroom, a lounge-room, a study and two double bedrooms with ensuite bathroom (both in seperated buildings from the mainhouse, so your privacy guaranteed!) and the u-shaped terrace overlooking the private, freeform, swimming pool!

The upper floor has a large living area / (satellite) TV room with doors leading to a balcony where you can experience the most spectacular view you have ever seen! A "great" little area to read a book or to enjoy a refreshing cocktail and......eachother! Can you see the waterfall on your left site??

The rates of this little paradise on earth are including a maid! She will clean the whole villa every other day so you need not to worry about domestic chores! If you need some more privacy other schedules can be arranged.

Rates from 275 - 350 USD per night, a minimum of 7 days is required!

Check In Time is 3:00pm; Check Out time is 10:30am (Early arrival and late departure upon availability of the house. Late Departure can only be confirmed on the day of check-out).

A non-refundable deposit of 20% is required to secure your reservation (Deposit to be transfered to Dutch bank account.)
The balance of total rental amount is due a minimum of 2 weeks before the check in date.

At the entrance of the house you will find a shaded parking area for 1 car or for a few rental motorbikes. Please be aware that the road to the villa could be steep at certain parts. The villa is situated on a big hill so if you do not feel secure enough to drive we suggest a private driver or a pick up from the entrance of Santi Thani on your first arrival, this way the more difficult parts of the road can be pointed out to you!

30 May 2007

France - The Lotus Tree - General Information

The Lotus Tree gay bed and breakfast in the South of France is set on a hillside overlooking the village of Montclus, about a mile away. This gay hotel has large secluded (and clothing-optional) grounds and very comfortable and stylish rooms and self-catering studios - all in traditional stone buildings that have been refurbished to a very high standard.

The guesthouse is in eight acres (four hectares) of its own grounds. The guest rooms are in three separate buildings housing four studios and two double rooms. The guesthouse has an off road car park to keep your vehicle secure.

The oldest of the buildings dates from the French revolution. The newest, the garden studio and adjoining summer kitchen installed in 2006, uses the same traditional local stone that helps keep all our rooms cool.

Unlike a lot of places you may see advertised, this is an exclusively gay hotel in the South of France. The guests are gay men of all ages and all nationalities, although the owners are very happy to welcome lesbian couples too. People have a habit of making good friends from all over the world while staying with here. But it is not a gay ghetto. There’s nothing particularly ‘gay’ about the rooms or anything else. The guesthouse offers style and simplicity totally in keeping with the traditional stone buildings of the South of France and that’s what the guests seem to prefer.

This gay bed and breakfast in the South of France is the perfect place to escape to - whether you just want to lounge by the pool or explore the sights nearby.

The swimming pool is large for a guesthouse of this size. Twelve metres long, six metres wide and three metres deep at the diving end. There are solid teak sun loungers, hammocks, and plenty of parasols for when the sun gets really hot.

The daytime air temperature in summer is generally in the low 30s centigrade, so the pool is one of the most popular features of this gay bed and breakfast in the South of France.

The summer kitchen area is where the English owners serve breakfast and other light meals. There’s free tea and coffee all day and fridge with cold drinks, wines and beers. The owners hold regular evening meals up here too.

What's unusual: this 'gay hotel' offers both bed and breakfast accommodation AND self-contained studios. A few home cooked meals can make a nice change however tempting the local restaurants may be. The owners provide a generous spread for breakfast including fresh fruit, yoghurts, croissants and pastries. You can breakfast late – it’s a holiday after all – and it’s always a sociable way to start the day. The owners offer light lunches on request and when there’s the demand they hold regular evening meals that are like a big dinner party under the stars. The chances are you’ll know most people by then and as nobody has to drive these are usually very popular, fun nights. Skinny dipping after coffee is not unheard of!

Overlooking the pool is a ‘chill out’ area with comfortable chairs and loungers in the shade. There’s a good selection of books and magazines to borrow as well as a video collection.

Around the grounds of this gay bed and breakfast are other tables and chairs under the trees where the only thing to disturb you is the sounds of the crickets and the singing of the birds.

At night the garden areas are lit by solar lamps and candles.

In spring the gardens are full of wild flowers, including orchids. By June the lavender is coming into flower. The wild herbs give off an aroma at all times of the year and there’s an olive grove and some young truffle oaks among the huge variety of trees.


France - The Lotus Tree - The Rooms


If you're looking for luxurious gay accommodation in the south of France, then you've come to the right place. The rooms have been designed with style and simplicity in mind. The really important things – a good quality bed, 100% cotton sheets, large towels – are all standard. Each room also has a TV with a range of French and English-language channels including the BBC. The bathrooms all have powerful modern showers and plenty of hot water.

You'll find this gay accommodation in the south of France very flexible. The two standard rooms share a bathroom, making them a good economical option for single guys or couples. Both have double beds and a TV. They can also be rented together with the studio below (there’s a connecting door) to form a two-floor apartment with three beds, two bathrooms and a kitchen.

The four studio rooms have king-size beds, kitchen areas, and tables for dining both inside and outside. As well as the TV, there’s a DVD player (there is a good selection of films etc available to borrow) and a CD/radio. The kitchens have fridges, electric hobs and a microwave. All cooking utensils and crockery etc are provided.

The owners aim to offer the best exclusively gay accommodation in the South of France. For the convenience of all their guests the rooms are non-smoking, but smoking is permitted outside.

It is a courtesy to others not to smoke during breakfast.

Room RATES: prices per room, accommodation only. 5% discount for seven nights or more.

Double room with shared bathroom : €55,00 (low season) ~ €70,00 (high season), Single occupancy €55,00 all season.

Standard studios: €90,00 (low season) ~ €110,00 (high season)

Premium and Garden studios: €105,00 (low season) ~ €125,00 (high season)

High season: July 1 - September 15).

Please contact us for the full Rate Card and to check availability and booking conditions.


or call: +31 6 48591112 (Mobile phone)

France - The Lotus Tree - Activities

This gay resort in the South of France offers great canoeing on two nearby rivers. The closest, the Cèze, is very sedate and you’re more likely to run aground in summer when the water levels drop than to capsize. Just north of us is the Ardèche, which is used by a lot of adventure holiday companies. There’s white water in places although nothing too difficult even for beginners. There are small gay beaches on both rivers too!

Horse riding is popular in the South of France. It can be arranged at a farm fifteen minutes from the resort. It’s run by a Dutch guy who speaks perfect English and he will cater for all levels of ability. If you want to travel farther afield you can ride the famous white horses of the Camargue.

The hills around The Lotus Tree are full of marked walking trails. They go from fairly gentle walks to some serious hiking. The resort management can provide maps and advice.

Some of the most impressive caves in the South of France are fifteen minutes away at Orgnac. This is a ‘site de France’ and they have spent a lot of money making it a very special place to visit. Take warm clothes.

Fifteen minutes in the other direction from the gay resort takes you to a beautiful little hilltop village, La Roque-sur-Cèze. Below it are an impressive run of waterfalls.

The resort can provide for mats for yoga by the pool before breakfast and some free weights for those who can’t leave the gym habit at home.


France - The Lotus Tree - The area

The Lotus Tree is in the middle of all that the South of France has to offer. It's easy to find too. It's situated in the old geographical region of Provence – so you will find Montclus in the Michelin Guide to Provence.

These days the village is in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon and the department of the Gard.

If you're looking into gay holidays in the South of France, then The Lotus Tree is the perfect launch pad. In fact, this gay guesthouse is ideally located to visit some of the most popular regions in the South of France – Provence, the Camargue and the Ardèche – as well as historic cities and fabulous beaches.

From the large private grounds you can look across to the thirteenth century village of Montclus. Its ruined chateau is spotlit at night. From The Lotus Tree it’s a pleasant stroll past vineyards and lavender fields to the village, where you can get a drink and something to eat close to the river.

The region's cities make gay holidays in the South of France extremely interesting. The Lotus Tree is 45 minutes from the historic city of Avignon, where you'll find the nearest gay bars and clubs. Every July Avignon hosts one of Europe's biggest arts festivals.

The coastal city of Montpellier is also near - with its relaxed cafes and big student population. And Nîmes is also close - with its roman ruins and modern architecture.

The Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, is about an hour away. It is the biggest and best surviving example of a roman aqueduct in the world - and is absolutely enormous.

It wouldn't be a gay holiday in the South of France without gay beaches. L'Espiguette is the best of these - with mile after mile of sand and crystal-clear water, it's very popular with naturists and gay men. It's also close to the Camargue, with its flamingos and famous white horses, and the beautiful walled town of Aigues Mortes.

Even the famous naturist village of Cap d’Agde, popular with gay holidaymakers, is close enough to visit on a day trip.



Does the guesthouse provide meals? Yes, they offer breakfast everyday at €7,50 per person. Light lunches are available on request. They do not offer evening meals on a regular basis although the owners do organise dinner nights for all the guests from time to time.

Is there a bar? They have an honesty bar where you can help yourself to wine, beer and soft drinks and sign for what you take. You will be charged at the end of your stay.

Are there many restaurants nearby? There are lots of restaurants within a short drive of The Lotus Tree. They are at all prices from the very economical to haute cuisine. The owners will give you a full list when you arrive. Only one or two places are accessible by foot, however.

Are there gay bars and clubs close to The Lotus Tree? No. The nearest bars, clubs and saunas are in Avignon and Nimes , 45 minutes and one hour away by car. If you need regular clubs etc to enjoy your holiday then the lotus tree probably is not the place for you.

Do we need to have a car? The owners always recommend that their guests hire a car if they do not bring their own. They are in a rural location and you will need a car to see the area properly and to get to most of the restaurants etc. They have a car park away from the road for security. Cars can be hired at all the airports close to us and at Avignon TGV station. It is possible to get to there by bus but there are only one or two buses in each direction every day.

If we want to come by public transport how do we do it? There is a bus from Avignon TGV station. There is also a shuttle bus from Avignon Centre station to the TGV station. In July and August the bus leaves Avignon TGV at about 12.50. There is a second bus at 19.05 but this one does not run on Sundays. The journey takes just over an hour and the bus stops close to our house. Outside July and August there is only one bus Monday – Friday that leaves Avignon TGV at 14.25. There is no bus at weekends during these times.

Can you provide pick-ups from the airport or station? We can usually organise a pick-up if required. From Avignon TGV station (45 minutes away) it costs €60,00 each way. From Nimes Airport (an hour) it cost €70,00. You can expect to pay at least half as much again for a regular taxi. For other airports please ask.

Are the rooms air-conditioned? No. The rooms have thick stone walls that keep them cool in summer. All rooms have fans. Heat is never usually a problem in the rooms unless there is a severe heat-wave.

Are any of the rooms wheelchair-accessible? One of our studios in wheelchair accessible, but you should bear in mind that The Lotus Tree is on a hillside and there paths and steps around the buildings that are not suitable for wheel-chairs.

What is your smoking policy? All the rooms are non-smoking but you are free to smoke outside if you wish. Please don't leave cigarette butts on the ground and be careful as the grass can be very dry in summer. It is polite not to smoke at breakfast.

Is there internet access? If you have your own lap-top with a wireless connection you should be able to get connected, although this may depend on your computer and settings so it can't be guaranteed. In rural France broadband connections can be lost and will not be as fast as you are used to. There is, however, an internet café in Barjac, ten minutes away.

Are dogs welcome? Yes, so long as they are friendly and won't trouble the other guests. They are not allowed in or on the beds and you must clear up any dog mess immediately. There is a supplement of €5,00 per night for dogs.

Do you have a gym? There is a small weights area with a bench press, free weights etc. And, of course, a large pool. There is a public gym at Bagnols-sur-Cèze, twenty-five minutes down the road. Bikes can be hired in the vicinity.

What do we need to bring? In summer the weather is generally very warm so you will not need more than a light jumper or jacket in the evenings at most. Bring plenty of sun-cream and a towel for the pool or the beach. There are very few, if any mosquitoes but you might want some repellent just in case. They are more likely to be encountered in parts of the Camargue although not usually on the beaches.

Are the guests all gay men? The vast majority of the guests are gay men. Lesbian couples are very welcome also. Straight friends are welcome with gay guests but they should bear in mind that The Lotus Tree is very much a gay guest-house.

What is the average age of your guests? It is impossible to say what the average will be at any particular time. Over the years the guests have been from the age of 18 to 80! However, the majority are generally in their 30s and 40s.

Are single guys welcome? Yes, single guys are very welcome and there is a special single rate of €55,00 euro a night all season. There are usually more couples than single guys, but there is generally a mixture and single people are always made very welcome.

Is there any ‘action'? The Lotus Tree is a very laid-back, relaxed environment. It's not Ibiza or Sitges, which is why people come here. Of course sex isn't banned but you shouldn't expect a high sexual temperature. There is a gay naturist area down by the river which can be quite cruisy and a place to meet local guys and other tourists.

What does it mean that The Lotus Tree is ‘clothing optional'? It means that you can be naked if you want to but you don't have to. Most guys sunbathe by the pool naked but equally many prefer to keep shorts or trunks on. Nobody is made to feel uncomfortable either way. The grounds are very secluded. If you prefer to stay naked most of the time you may need to put something round your waist occasionally as some of the paths to the rooms can be seen from the road, but otherwise you are free to do what you like.