Whether it's the stress of work, Christmas or just juggling everyday life, sometimes a quick holiday isn't enough - for real relaxation, nothing less than escaping completely will do.
Thankfully you needn't settle for travelling to a hut in the wilderness any more... retreating has gone luxe. We've tracked down some of the best ways to get away from it all in style.
The Perfect 10: Ultimate escapes
It's the eternal dilemma – get away from it all or indulge in some pampering TLC. Thankfully for all of us who would like both please, the 90ft high Canopy Tree House at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica in Peru comes with its own butler (contactable by walkie talkie) to serve dinner and cocktails so you needn't slum it while you're getting to experience the solitude of the Amazon throughout the night.
There's also 35 private thatched roof cottages and a spa, offering its own Amazon-inspired treatment using local ingredients, as well as Tambopata national park on your doorstep. A minimum two night stay costs around £380 per person, including meals, while rates for the canopy tree house, usually booked as an add-on experience, cost around £190 per night, based on two sharing.
Over a million tourists visit the Great Barrier Reef every year – but only a handful get to stay there after dark. 40 nautical miles from the mainland, Fantasea Reefworld is a specially designed floating pontoon which transforms itself into a private hotel at night. With an underwater viewing chamber and semi-submersible tours, it's tricky to get closer to the sea life without jumping in – and tougher to get further away from it all without sacrificing the chance to have your personal deck steward cook dinner under the stars and bring you champagne as the sun sets.
There's a king size bed as well as a room sleeping four, both with private ensuite bathrooms – and other visitors to the pontoon leave at 2.30pm and can't return until 10.30am the following day. So it's yours, all yours! The Reefsleep package includes two nights on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and one on Reefworld, priced from around £600. Or Travelbag is offering a package including three nights on Hamilton Island, a two day Reefsleep trip and four nights in Brisbane, plus return flights, from £1,879 per person if you book by November 31, for travel between April 16 and June 20, 2011.
Out in the Brecon Beacons, on the edge of the Black Mountains, you're already away from the chaos of everyday life. And tucked away in the woods at the end of a two-mile long dirt track, Lletty cottage, part of the Sheepskin collection, is far from the nearest street lamp and has limited mobile reception so you can switch off completely.
But wilderness needn't mean basic – there's underfloor heating, a B&W iPod docking station, two log burners, and king size bed in the master bedroom, as well as two other bedrooms if you want to take a few friends with you. Prices start from £576 for three nights before December 19.
When you've got 96 square miles of water all to yourself, it's easy to go for hours, if not days, without seeing another person – bar the occasional friendly fisherman. And even complete novices can handle the boats for hire on the Grande Lago in Portugal's Alentejo region.
After a quick training briefing at Amieira Marina, and a check by one of the instructors, you're let loose to enjoy the stunning scenery, with GPS, sonar, maps and some helpful marker buoys to make sure you don't get lost. The artificial lake, Europe's largest, is fringed with tiny fortified villages as well as tiny islands – actually the tops of submerged hills. And while the bedrooms and bathrooms might be more practical than princess, the five-star view makes up for it all.
The boats sleep between 2 and 12 people but you can hire kayaks and paddle off to escape your shipmates and explore alone as well. Rates start from around £140 per night for a boat sleeping two and Amieira Marina can arrange car hire with Guerin so you won't be charged while you're onboard.
There's only eight thatched suites at Kosi Forest Lodge, the only private lodge in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. Set in the beautiful sand forest on the banks of the Kosi Lake in South Africa, it's part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, which has been named a World Heritage Site.
The romantic open-air bathrooms have full size baths, the bedrooms look out onto the surrounding forest and there's even separate dressing rooms – hardly slumming it. Built around a huge Zulu Podberry tree, overshadowing the dining room and bar, the swimming pool looks out onto another lake or you can canoe and take boat trips out onto the lake. The lodge costs from around £160 per person per night, fully inclusive, or Bridge & Wickers offers a six night package from £1,850 including flights, car rental and five nights at Kosi Forest Lodge.
Think escaping equals long haul? You needn't even leave the country if you're looking to hole up on a remote island. The Isle of Skye is one of the most northerly points of the British isles to boast a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as heather-covered moorlands, tranquil lochs and hills rising into the distance.