The World's Most Remote Hotels
The world is filled with fresh new destinations to discover, but sometimes what we really need to recharge is a quiet place away from the crowds. If you're willing to make the journey, there are plenty of hotels and resorts in remote corners of the globe that offer not only solitude, but also a touch of adventure and plenty of luxury. Here are 25 far-flung hotels where you can find some bliss far from the beaten path.
How about a stay at the world's most northerly four-star hotel? That would be the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland, where you can get cozy in your very own aluminum igloo and look out over Disko Bay as icebergs float by. How to get here? Air Greenland, of course. It flies direct to Ilulissat, the third-largest town in Greenland with roughly 4,500 people, from Reykjavik, Iceland.
The Gobi Desert is the stark, serene setting for Three Camel Lodge, where you can experience "a luxurious take on the traditional nomadic lifestyle." You'll stay in a traditional ger, which is a round hut made of layers of canvas and felt. Don't worry: They have private bathrooms and wood stoves for heat. Getting here requires a 90-minute flight from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, and then another 90 minutes in an off-road vehicle.
Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, has long been a source of stunning and mysterious views for travelers who make it out to this isolated Pacific island. More than 2,000 miles from the Chilean coast, it's most famous for its massive Moai statues. If you make the journey, you can stay in comfort at the 30-room Explora Rapa Nui, complete with a pool, spa, restaurant, and bar. The hotel's local guides also lead group activities like hiking, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
It's a four-hour drive to the Sossusvlei Lodge from Windhoek, Namibia's capital, most of which is on gravel roads. But the payoff is well worth it: Many of the rooms here allow visitors to gaze out over one of the world's most remote, otherworldly landscapes: the Namib Desert and its famous towering dunes and salt pans. Guests can go for sunset drives in the desert and even helicopter rides for a bird's eye view.
For many, "Alaska" is synonymous with "remote," but Winterlake Lodge takes it to the extreme. Located on 15 acres along the famous Iditarod Trail, it's almost 200 miles northwest of Anchorage and can only be reached by float plane or, in the winter, ski plane. But you'll have plenty to do, from bear-spotting and glacier trekking to fishing, hiking, and even dog-mushing school. (You can also warm up with complimentary yoga, massages, and cooking classes.)
This luxury desert basecamp in the middle of the Australian outback has quite the enviable view of Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock. You'll stay in a tented pavilion with floor-to-ceiling windows, a king bed, and a private balcony -- the very definition of "glamping." Explore nearby gorges, eat a sumptuous dinner under the stars, get a massage -- all thousands of miles from the cities of the Australian coast.
Fogo Island Inn is off the coast of Newfoundland, and getting here takes some planning: You'll have to fly through Halifax or St. John's to tiny Gander, then drive and take a ferry even farther north. But waiting for you is a futuristic-looking spot for iceberg spotting, snowshoeing, stargazing, whale watching, boating, hiking, berry picking, bonfires, and much more. The inn itself boasts a small cinema, library, sauna, and rooftop hot tub.
On the last leg of your trip, you'll be ferried to this "eco luxury hermitage" in the remote Umbrian countryside by jeep. What awaits is like nothing else: A restored 14th century hideaway where you won't have phones, TV, or Wi-Fi to distract from the gorgeous scenery and locally sourced food. Among the possibilities: icon painting, yoga, Gregorian chanting, fasting, and peaceful walks in the woods.
You'll journey far, far into the southern Utah desert to find Amangiri, an intimate five-star resort located in a valley lined with dusty canyon walls. The suites blend into the landscape with concrete walls and white stone floors, and all have uninterrupted views of the stark desert beyond. If you can tear yourself away, adventures such as rock climbing, hot-air balloon rides, kayaking, and horseback riding await.
Tropical paradise awaits at Le Taha'a, where boardwalks connecting suites with thatched roofs snake into the impossibly blue water. Guests can snorkel, scuba dive, take a jeep safari, and enjoy spa treatments in a lush Polynesian garden. Sound tempting? Getting here will require an eight-hour flight from the West Coast, another short flight to a more far-flung island, then a 35-minute shuttle boat ride to the resort.
If you prefer the company of wild animals to people, look no further than the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, nestled in the center of the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. Spot lions, cheetahs, wildebeest, and more from an infinity pool overlooking the grasslands, or go on a game-spotting drive, offered daily. If you're a high roller, you can take advantage of the airstrip near the lodge; otherwise, it's a 200-mile trek from the regional hub, Arusha.
Get this: You can only reach this historic hotel, high above the Swiss resort town of Interlaken, by alpine railway. Built in 1840, it has a definite time-warp quality with wood-paneled walls, crystal chandeliers, and rooms with toile wallpaper. It also sits at the foot of the Eiger, a 13,015-foot peak that is among the most famous in the Alps. Suffice it to say, it's a popular base for mountain climbers and skiers.
United Arab Emirates
On the edge of the famed Empty Quarter, the world's largest continuous sand desert, the stunning Qasr Al Sarab – "mirage palace" – is a long two-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and not far from the Saudi Arabian border. Guests will be justly rewarded after the trek: They can luxuriate in a stunning palm-lined swimming pool, dine in a restaurant styled after a Bedouin camp, or trek into the desert on a camel.
You'll find Southern Ocean Lodge clinging to the coast of Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia. Whether you fly or take a ferry, you'll still have a 50- to 90-minute drive once you're on the island. Waiting for you is a sanctuary with dramatic cliff-top views of the wild surf and rooms with glass-walled bathrooms and private terraces. Venture outside to spot kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions, and more dazzling flora and fauna.
Accessible only by seaplane or boat, Little Palm Island issues would-be guests a challenge: "Can you live without your iPhone? Come and find out!" One look at the secluded pool, white-sand beaches, and hammocks under the palms might convince you it's possible. But there's also plenty to do, including backcountry fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, kiteboarding, and even skydiving.
Though it's only about 40 miles outside of Marrakesh, Kasbah du Toubkal has an otherworldly setting perched on a hilltop in the High Atlas Mountains. In fact, the lodge is a 15-minute trek up from the reception area (don't worry, there are mules that will take care of your bags). Guests can sleep in rooms styled after traditional Berber salons, hike in the mountains, enjoy yoga on the terraces, or just relax and enjoy the stunning sunsets.
Two hours from Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, Hotel Budir sits in a lava field on the remote Snaefellsnes peninsula. Glacier, sea and mountain views abound, but one of the most picturesque views is of a traditional Icelandic church nearby. Though guests can while away the time in the cozy bar, lounge, or restaurant, the area begs for exploration: Go horseback riding, whale watching, hiking, or snowmobiling in search of the Northern Lights.
To get to Copal Tree Lodge, you'll be ferried by Cessna to an airstrip in southern Belize before bumping along lush jungle roads in an open-air Land Cruiser. Awaiting is a conservation-minded eco-lodge where rooms are nestled high in the treetops with floor-to-ceiling views. An on-site farm produces 70 percent of the food served at the lodge. Outside, a 12,000-acre nature reserve beckons for hiking, biking, kayaking, and more.
Hope you aren't afraid of heights: Perched at 13,000 feet, Hotel Everest View holds the Guinness World Record for the highest-altitude hotel in the world. Its 12 rooms offer stone balconies and views of Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks. To get here, you can splurge on a helicopter ride from Kathmandu or, in true Himalayan fashion, trek in with guides and porters.
Off the coast of western Estonia, Padaste Manor is resplendent in its grand isolation on Muhu Island in the Baltic Sea. Though it was enlarged in the 19th century, the manor includes original walls from the 14th century. Despite its historic roots, Padaste offers some thoroughly modern amenities including a spa with a seawater hot tub and Siberian cold tub, several dining options, and wired rooms with Sonos and Bose audio, iPads, and game consoles.
In the mood for some "luxury gone wild"? You'll catch a seaplane or boat to get to Clayoquot, since there are no roads to this remote hideaway on British Columbia's Victoria Island. Waiting for you are tents with heated floors, private outdoor showers, plush king beds, remote-controlled wood stoves and private decks. Activities include archery, rappelling, rock climbing, horseback riding, kayaking, bear spotting, and much more.
Embarking on the twisting, turning road to Hana is on many travelers' bucket lists, but few people opt to stay in Maui's remote eastern reaches. Travaasa Hana should convince you to linger: Wake up in a bungalow overlooking the Pacific and watch the palms sway in the breeze. Learn to make a top-notch smoothie or fish with a Hawaiian throw net, enjoy a coastal walk, and leave the crowds behind.
Getting to this eye-popping luxury tented camp where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge requires a scenic four-hour drive from Chiang Mai, but once you've arrived, you'll find a camp that's very much grown up: Private tents include elegant safari-style furnishings and outdoor decks with hot tubs. Guests can visit the camp's own elephants, cruise the Mekong River on a longboat, take cooking lessons from a Thai chef, or visit nearby tribal villages.
Madagascar, off the coast of southeastern Africa, is remote enough for most people. But Constance Tsarabanjina takes it one step further: It's on a private island near Madagascar's northern tip, so you'll need to boat -- or helicopter -- in. A "chic Robinson Crusoe" experience awaits, with 25 thatched-roof luxury villas. Scuba dive, snorkel, kayak, or go sailing on a catamaran.
Could this luxury camp with fiberglass sleeping pods be the world's most far-flung hotel? Maybe, but one thing's for certain: You won't be roughing it. There's plush bedding, full bathrooms, a lounge, and a dining room serving up dishes that would be at home in any fine restaurant. Visit emperor penguins, go kite-skiing and ice climbing, explore ice tunnels, and even visit the South Pole. The cost of a weeklong adventure? Around $83,000.