Why Big Berry is the ultimate place to stay in Slovenia
I arrived in Primostek, in the Bela krajina region of Slovenia, right before sunset. I was traveling with my sister, we were tired and hungry after a long day of travel and all we wanted was a hot shower to wash the day away, a comforting meal and a nice bed to rest. We’d be “glamping” at Big Berry, although I must admit that we didn’t really know what “glamping” means (I had read that it would be something like “glamorous camping”). As soon as we walked into bungalow 2 at Big Berry Luxury Landscape Resort, we knew we were in for a treat and that ahead of us laid one of the most relaxing and fun weeks we could remember. We’d be glamping, and we’d be doing that in style!
Luxury with a friendly touch
I thought I’d never really cared about luxury (can’t quite say the same for my sister!). After all, I am the girl that wild camped on an island in San Blas, Panama, after a failed attempt at sailing to Colombia. I am the girl that hiked the Inca Trail, where there are practically zero comforts. But to be completely honest, I don’t see how my backpacker’s background should be an impediment to the full enjoyment of some comforts such as those offered at Big Berry.
And comforts I got: I walked in to find a spotless and fully equipped kitchen with a couch where I could get cozy. A basket full of local goodies was waiting for me: a craft beer from the local brewery Vizir; a delicious jar of local honey; a freshly pressed apple juice; a piece of fresh pogaca, the local bread; and the Big Berry shower gel. As I bit into the fragrant pogaca, I explored the bungalow and the camp.
Incredibly well organized, the bungalow where I stayed has a bedroom with a double bed, and another one with two bunk beds and plenty of closets – it can comfortably sleep up to 6 persons. The bathroom has a huge shower, and the kitchen/living room a big fridge, a large (and nicely hidden) flat screen tv with cable tv (and Netflix: this is where I got addicted to the TV series Narcos, thank you very much!).
Yet, the cherry on the cake is the most wonderful jacuzzi located on the porch, where we enjoyed some extra relaxing time. As if we could ever stress in such an amazing place.
To complete an already perfect scenario, not far from the bungalows there are some beautiful sun beds and swings under some trees, and a fantastic barbecue that guests can use during the summer and which apparently has been the scene of many parties organized by the wonderful stuff.
The personal touch
Luxury hotels and resorts have hardly been my thing because I have always found them a bit pretentious. This was never the case at Big Berry. The staff was always incredibly nice, friendly and helpful but never in an intrusive way. They helped us organize activities, they gave plenty of advice, they were easy going, and the gave Big Berry that special, cozy atmosphere that made me enjoy the place even more.
The glorious breakfast
All bungalows at Big Barry face the river, on the other side of which lays Croatia. On the porch there’s a large table perfect for having breakfast while enjoying some fresh morning air. I actually also ate dinner there with my friends. Sure enough, at Big Berry breakfast is a serious business: every morning, someone from the staff delivered us a basket full of goodies, which was enough to feed a family of 4. Fresh fruits, fresh milk from local producers, top quality locally sourced yogurt, cheese, fragrant pastries, freshly baked pogaca, juice, muesli, coffee and what not for a breakfast in style.
Enjoying some quiet time… and the gorgeous surroundings.
Set in the most tranquil countryside, the only sound we could hear at Big Berry was that of the light breeze sweeping the leaves; of the occasional cow mooing; and of the strong rain that poured during our first night there. It was bliss to someone as exhausted as I was.
You see, growing up I thought I needed to be in a buzzing city to feel alive and find entertainment. But after having spent years between New York, Denver, London and Rome where I could only hope to get some decent rest if I wore ear plugs, I realized that I am actually much happier living in a smaller place, where silence and peace are highly valued, where people are kind to each other, and where the air is clean.
Besides, my interests have changed: I can no longer survive on just 3 hours sleep after a night partying with friends, and I’d much rather have a walk to enjoy nature, a nice dinner with my friends, or a quiet evening watching my favorite series on tv or reading a book and sipping a glass of red wine.
Which is pretty much what I did. During my days at Big Berry, I explored the beautiful surroundings and went further to visit other places in Slovenia (I will talk more about the gorgeous Bela krajina, Ljubljana and Lake Bled in another post). Bikes are available for guests, and even a couple of canoes to paddle up the river and reach a water mill.
To read more about Bela krajina, check my post “Why Bela krajina is the hidden gem of Slovenia.”
Partnering with local businesses
One of the things I like the most about Big Berry Luxury Landscape Resort is that it has partnered with a number of small local businesses. From oil to dairy and honey producers, to local bakeries, vineyards and beer crafters, and even a local gym where guests attend fitness classes, Big Berry has implemented a system that not only provides the camp with local products, but supports the local economy allowing it to grow and thrive and at the same time facilitating the creation of a better infrastructure to accommodate the growing tourism (although part of me still hopes that Bela krajina remains a bit undiscovered, as it is too gorgeous the way it is).
We were curious to learn more about these businesses, so we went to a vineyard in Semic, where the owner Samoel Malnaric talked about the history of the local wines, about their production and the overall wine culture of Slovenia. It was an interesting experience, not only because of the lovely wines, but because Samoel welcomed us in his small vineyard and shared a bit of his life with me.
Similarly, we went to a local brewery, Vizir, and tried all the best local beers (and yes, I got tipsy and giggly, but that is ok, right?). We tasted the sweetest honey as well as the honey liquor in Metlika (and no, I didn’t get drunk that time). I smothered my skin with the fabulous oils produced by Oljarna Pecaric. And I even baked my own pogaca during a workshop, and despite all my fears, I did an excellent job and it was really delicious.
Looking forward to visit again
Big Berry is opening to customers in 2017, and I highly advice anybody who loves nature, peace and quiet to visit. I am already planning to go again, and I have spoken about it enthusiastically with my family and friends. There is no doubt that this is the ultimate place to stay in Slovenia.
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Big Berry during my stay in Primostek. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.