The World’s Most Remote Hotel Gets a Luxury Makeover
White Desert’s Whichaway Camp, a boutique hotel with six specialized pods in the Dronning Maud Land region in Antarctica, sits tucked away in a remote terrain hosting a stunning scenery of ice waves and frozen lakes.
The hotel, which only operates during the months of November, December, and January, due to Antarctica’s harsh weather conditions, revamped its space last year and will open its door to guests this November.
Each of the hotel’s six pods got new wallpaper, plush furs, and radiant heaters above the bed to offer a cozy and opulent atmosphere.
The pods are just over 20 feet in diameter, and feature a writing desk, wash area, and double bed.
The hotel’s previous lounge and dining room, which consisted of two tents, were converted into deluxe spaces with windows overlooking a 200-foot icefall across the area’s frozen lake. There are leather finishes, and a grand central table in the dining room.
“It looks like something out of Game of Thrones,” White Desert CEO Patrick Woodhead said of the new dining space.
Guests also have access to a shared shower pod—since the property utilizes pumped water from the area’s frozen lake for almost all of its water supply—and a kitchen pod, where British Formula One racing driver, Lewis Hamilton’s, private chef prepared meals for guests last year.
Running a hotel as remote as this has its challenges. According to Woodhead, the company had to fly in all of the materials for the refurbishment via a specialized cargo plane.
To ensure the hotel remains conscious of the area's delicate environment, the pods utilize solar energy for electric charging and heating, and the company built the hotel without a concrete foundation so it is completely removable.
The inspiration to build the camp came from Woodhead’s own expeditions in Antarctica, which have included breaking the world record for the youngest and fastest team to ski to the South Pole.
“I realized that no one was really getting to see the interior of Antarctica, and we wanted to make that interior accessible to anyone, not just explorers,” Woodhead told Travel + Leisure.
For the 12 guests who get to stay at the camp, transportation begins with a five-and-a-half-hour flight from Cape Town International aboard an Illuyshin 76 intercontinental jet, which will land on an ice runway about 7 kilometers from the property.
Guests are then taken to their luxury pods via specialized 4x4 vehicles.
Options include a one-day trip at a price of $11,000, which includes activities that range from traveling to the edge of the continent to marveling at groups of Adélie penguins and exploring ice grottos.
They also offer an eight-to-ten day trip starting at 64,000 euros (about US$72,070), which includes a journey to the South Pole, viewing a colony of 6,000 emperor penguins, and a host of adrenaline-packed activities to choose from.
Reservations are first come, first serve, with six slots still available from November 18-29 of this year.
Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.