The World's Most Remote Hotels
If you're looking for a true escape—a get-me-the-heck-out-of-here-before-I-combust kind of flee—popular travel locales may not be the way to go. Why elbow your way through crowded beaches or busy metropolises when you can revel in the quiet of rural Alaska? Or Mongolia? Or Easter Island? Read on for the best of the remote.
Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia
How to get there: A two-hour jet flight to Ulaanbaatar from Beijing (or 3 hours from Seoul), followed by a 60-minute prop-plane flight to Dalanzadgad, the provincial capital of the South Gobi, and a 90-minute drive along a dirt road.
The experience: Guests stay in one of 45 hand-made felt gers, or traditional nomadic tents inspired by the homes of nomadic herders. The roomy accommodations offer wood-burning stoves, felt carpets, indigenous furnishings, hand-painted wooden beds, and ceilings that open to the stars. Activities include camel trekking, horseback riding, and visiting families of sheep- and goat-herding nomads.
For more info: Three Camel Lodge
Winterlake Lodge in Alaska
How to get there: A scenic one-hour bush-plane ride from Anchorage (the aircraft has floats in the summer, skis in the winter).
The experience: Guests stay in (what else?) a log cabin overlooking the lake, while husband-and-wife owners Carl and Kirsten Dixon offer personalized guiding and gourmet meals. Go hiking, fishing, dog mushing, or take yoga classes, all without anyone around for miles. You can also drop by the kitchen, where Kirsten—who trained at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has written several cookbooks—makes delectable meals paired with fine wines. While some items are flown in from specialty stores like Murray's Cheese in New York City, Kirsten makes her own ice cream and uses fresh ingredients from her garden. "We pride ourselves in our self-sufficiency," she says.
For more info: Winterlake Lodge
Petit St. Vincent in St.Vincent and the Grenadines
How to get there: A one-hour flight from Barbados to Union Island, followed by a 20-minute boat ride.
The experience: This privately-owned Caribbean island features 22 sumptuously decorated cottages made from native stone. Yet the air here is decidedly laid-back: There's no television, telephone service, or Internet access, so guests communicate by raising different colored flags on a bamboo flagpole. Take a walk on the deserted beach, go for a swim, and then head to your cottage, where a breakfast of your choice is delivered. (Hint: Don't miss the local papaya.) Afterwards, cruise around in a catamaran or sea kayak, or head to West End beach and have a picnic lunch with lobster rolls and champagne. To end the day, the resort's registered massage therapist can work out all your kinks on your private terrace overlooking the surf.
For more info: Petit St. Vincent
Voyages Longitude 131° in Australia
How to get there: Fly two to three hours from Sydney, Perth, or Cairns to Ayers Rock Airport, then take a four-wheel-drive transfer to the property, six miles away.
The experience: Near the border of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, this five-star camp on a stretch of red-clay desert has luxurious tents with king-size beds, perfectly positioned for watching the sun set over Ayers Rock. At the resort's alfresco restaurant, Table 131, you can sip Aussie wine and savor Outback cuisine under the stars.
For more info: Voyages Longitude 131°
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge in Namibia
How to get there: A two-hour flight from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Windhoek, followed by a six-hour drive or a 105-minute prop-plane ride.
The experience: The resort is set in the dune highlands of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, surrounded by majestic views of the clay-colored dessert. Accommodations are in chalets with canvas blinds, overlooking grand terraces that pour out onto miles of empty sand. Begin your day watching the sunrise from your bed, take a safari drive or a hot-air balloon ride, and end with a four-course dinner. Want to get even more remote?Head to the Private Camp, two miles away, where your suite is the only man-made creation on the landscape.
For more info: Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
The Beach House at Manafaru, Maldives
How to get there: Fly to Male, where a butler meets you for the scenic 45-minute prop-plane flight to Hanimaadhoo and a 45-minute speedboat ride to the resort.
The experience: Check into one of the 68 villas and suites, including 38 overwater pavilions (which offer glass-paneled floors), and gaze out at miles of unobstructed sea. The beach house is set on its own island, but uses just 11 percent of the land; the rest is preserved to protect nearby sea-turtle nesting areas. If you want to do more than just relax on the beach, there are plenty of options: diving, tennis, swimming pools, and a golf simulator.
For more info: The Beach House at Manafaru
From our article The World's Most Remote Hotels
Mountain Lodges of Peru
How to get there: The first of these four lodges is a 90-mile drive from Cusco; the rest are four to eight miles apart and only reachable via foot, horse, or mule on a mountain trail.
The experience: Stopovers on the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu (staying here is part of the five-day trek to Machu Picchu from Mollepata), these lodges offer a mix of modern design with ancient Inca architectural techniques. The textiles and wall art are traditionally Andean in design; bathrooms are modern, featuring Spanish showerheads and stainless steel fixtures. Some lodges have views of small neighboring villages, while others look over coffee and banana plantations—but all have direct vistas of Salkantay Peak, one of the most important mountains in Inca mythology. Guests also find surprising touches in this remote region, like hot tubs, down bedding, fireplaces, and gourmet meals paired with wines.
For more info: Mountain Lodges of Peru
North Island in Seychelles
How to get there: Fly to Mahé via Johannesburg, Dubai, Paris, Rome, or London, then take a 15-minute helicopter ride to North Island.
The experience: Occupying the largest island in the Seychelles, this resort puts up guests in luxurious but understated 4,890-square-foot villas, right on the beach. Each is fashioned from handcrafted wood and local stone, with outdoor showers and marble bathrooms, and has a dedicated island buggy or electric cart to explore the lush island and its deserted beaches. Go snorkeling or, depending on the time of year, look for hawksbill and green turtles laying their eggs on the beach.
For more info: North Island
How to get there: Fly to Miami, drive 60 minutes to Key Largo, then dive 21 feet down to a five-by-seven-foot opening at the bottom of the cottage-like building.
The experience: Set in protected lagoon, five feet from the bottom of the sea floor, the two-bedroom lodge offers 42-inch round windows to watch angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, oysters, and snappers in their natural habitat. You're fully connected, with phones, TVs, stereo, stocked kitchen, microwave, A/C, and a "mer-chef" who provides a gourmet dinner and breakfast. And your stuff?It's transported in seriously waterproof suitcases.
For more info: Jules' Undersea Lodge
The Hotel Arctic in Greenland
How to get there: First, a five-hour flight from Baltimore to Kangerlussuaq (the country's main airport). From there, it's a one-hour flight (which passes over the Arctic coastline and Greenland ice cap) to Ilulissat, followed by a short drive.
The experience: Some 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the hotel lies on Disko Bay, peppered with thousands of monster-sized icebergs. The accommodations have a modern Danish aesthetic, with large windows looking out over the water. Many rooms feature wood floors, glass bathrooms, Bang & Olufsen TVs and radios, complimentary videos, and paintings by the Greenlandic painter Miki Jakobsen. Or stay in one of the hotel's igloos (available from May through September), which offer unobstructed views of the icebergs. Look for whales, musk ox, reindeer, and seals, or go dog sledding, sailing, or hiking. And in summer, try the Greenlandic barbeques, with naturally fed local lamb, musk ox, and reindeer steak grilled over wood or coals.
For more info: The Hotel Arctic
Hotel Bellevue des Alpes in Switzerland
How to get there: Fly to Zurich, then take a 2.5-hour train ride to Grindelwald, followed by a 30-minute mountain-train ride.
The experience: Set high above Grindelwald at 6,791 feet, the hotel sits on a famous mountain pass surrounded by the soaring north faces of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains—and little else. The historic wood-paneled hotel was built in the 19th century; today, rooms feature décor and furnishings from the 1920s with toile de Jouy prints on the walls and old restored bathtubs. Skiing and hiking are on the agenda here, with trails right outside the hotel's doors.
For more info: Hotel Bellevue des Alpes
Posada de Mike Rapu on Easter Island
How to get there: It's a five-hour flight from Santiago, Chile, or from Papeete Tahiti to Easter Island; the resort is five miles from the airport in Hanga Roa, the only town on the island.
The experience: Opened in December, 2007, this newest of the Explora resorts lies on the southern tip of the island, surrounded by nothing but rocky cliffs and crashing surf. All 30 rooms face the Pacific, and while the theme here is minimalistic, you're not trading away any amenities. Rooms feature hydro-massage bathtubs, furniture made from local Rauli wood, Piedra Pizarra stone bathroom flooring and walls, and Lenga wood paneling.
For more info: Posada de Mike Rapu