We all talk about saving the planet but how many of us really do something? We occasionally recycle. Only because our councils imposes such a huge fines that we have to. We still curse supermarkets for such a waste of wrapping and packaging on food but we still drive to the supermarkets to get the same food. We still fly out of convenience and pay for our “sins” by signing away a certain amount of money on the booking form to ‘offset’ our flight. And still feeling guilty we try hard to get an ‘eco-friendly’ five star hotel in the middle of nowhere.
My last holiday, just in between the BA strikes and the volcano eruption, was spent in a National Park in Serbia. Yes, they do have national parks. We looked for ‘eco’, comfort, nature, history, a spa and we came across “Ranch Platan” which is located on one hectare of the Fruska Gora National Park at 280 m above sea level. We booked our apartments by email as the option of taking payment over the internet in Serbia is not possible yet. The very friendly email “voice” was happy for us to pay on arrival. Now how many of you booked a hotel without paying at least a deposit not to mention the full amount four weeks before arrival ? Here at Ranch Platan they go to basic hospitality rule – trust!
The friendly voice behind the whole idea of an ‘eco ranch’ in Serbia belongs to a lady called Vesna who greeted us personally on arrival and even then she wasn’t bothered about money as her first and utmost motivation is her guest! Nothing exists on that ranch except YOU and YOUR HOLIDAY!
She took us to our well-decorated cottage, one of six, each with its own entrance, balcony, fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, and loft with double bed. But something they don’t advertise and it is included as free of charge is fresh air, peace, tranquillity, views. Yes you do have WiFi as well if you are that desperate on your holiday.
The ranch doesn’t include breakfast but your cottage does have cooking facilities. You do get basic ingredients like coffee, tea, sugar, salt, oil, sweets and a bottle of local wine. You can bring a bag of pasta and some eggs. You don’t need more as most days you spend sightseeing around the 17 nearby monasteries, and there are big maps of the region on display at the Ranch. The owners, very friendly city couple who decided to change way of life and bought a land few years ago, are on standby in the house which is located at the Ranch itself for any information regarding area.
If you are tired and just want to chill out go and see Vesna’s husband, a pleasant, quiet man with a huge movie collection. Once you are in the lodge you can light a fire in the kamin and enjoy tranquillity of the place. Or just walk above your lodge to nearby view point for amazing country side views and ozone saturated fresh air. Also there is a spa in the village of Vrdnik and the treatments are cheap – a basic massage is around £15 per person and the spa is only 600m from Ranch Platan. You can also play basketball, volleyball, table tennis or badminton on a little court on the edge of the ranch, or simply walk to the Tower of Vrdnik, a Roman castle about 4km away – the doctors at the Spa recommend it!
After few days in this amazing place you will come back invigorated and wishing you could stay longer.
Please check their website at http://rancplatan.com/smestajen.htm even you are not planning to go there. This is a new breed of hotels, new “Eco” Serbia which you need to learn about.