Leave the rush of everyday life behind at some of the world’s most remote hotels. Kate Powell shares the extraordinary destinations where the journey – often by air or sea – is more than worth the effort.
Explora Patagonia, Chile
Perched amid the wild mountain terrain of Torres del Paine National Park, Explora Patagonia is bordered by Lake Pehoé, the Salto Chico Falls and the Paine River on the southernmost tip of the world. Its nearest city is Cerro Castillo some 78 kilometres away, though the hotel coordinates ground transfers for guests from Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales airports. Curated to reconnect the adventurous heart with the natural world, the hotel offers an extensive menu of 40 exploration routes of its wild Chilean surrounds, designed and led by a team of outdoor specialists. These include walks through woods of lenga trees, riding horseback through the surrounding grasslands and rivers, and hikes that trail the Paine Massif, all without another soul in sight.
Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize
Concealed within Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Blancaneaux Lodge houses just 20 rooms within an astonishing 196 hectares of protected forest. Guests may arrive by charter flight or helicopter to the lodge’s private airstrip, or ground transfers can be arranged. Thatch-roofed cabanas, natural pools and a waterfall spa (yes, it’s what it sounds like) are ingeniously inscribed into the landscape, inviting guests to the jaw-dropping simplicity of the paradise of our collective imagination. The lodge provides a unique opportunity to explore the ancient civilisation of the Maya, whose hieroglyphic script is the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas.
Minaret Station, New Zealand
Sheltered by the seclusion of the Southern Alps, this intimate family-owned alpine lodge is accessible only by helicopter, where the rugged mountains unique to New Zealand’s wilderness provide the ultimate privacy. Whether searching for adventurous heli-tours or secluded self-reflection, guests are catered for with personalised care as each itinerary is curated to their unique needs. The lodge extends its range of accommodation with the offer of a number of private chalets, each separately positioned in a high alpine meadow and featuring in-deck hot tubs, spacious ensuite bathrooms and sweeping views of nothing save the uninhabited expanse of the surrounding alpine region.
Deplar Farm, Iceland
In a remote valley on Iceland’s northern coastline, this destination is bordered on all sides by mountains, fjords and, in the warmer months, far-reaching fields of deep green. Its two heli-pads welcome guests arriving by chopper, and farewell those venturing out on heli-skiing excursions. From geothermal-heated pools in those cool winter days of limited sunlight, you may be lucky enough to receive unprecedented and uninterrupted views of the Northern Lights. The lodge offers a luxurious, secluded gateway to a range of sea-kayaking and whale-watching adventures, equipped with luxury spa facilities including four treatment rooms and two i-sopod flotation tanks. Housing only 13 bedrooms, the accommodations are designed to be both spacious and cosy featuring steam showers, soaking tubs and warm, open fireplaces.
Fogo Island Inn, Canada
The wild North Atlantic Ocean and the warmth of the 2,395 locals are the only constants on this rugged island in ‘Iceberg Alley’. The closest international airport is on Newfoundland Island, with visitors then needing to take the 45-minute ferry across Hamilton Sound or charter a plane to the Fogo Island’s airstrip. The journey is well worth the effort, however, with the 29-suite stilted Inn serving as your gateway to the wildlife, adventure and legends of the island. The hotel’s Community Host Program matches guests with a local to share with you Fogo’s highlights and the secrets of its seven seasons, from berry-picking and fishing to cross-country skiing and walks through wildflowers. Perched on the island’s northern coast, Fogo Island Inn offers a warm and cosy retreat of floor-to-ceiling ocean views, wood-burning stoves and hand-made touches against a fresh, white palette. Relax into the wood-fired hot tubs on the fourth-floor rooftop deck and savour seasonal cuisine in the Dining Room with a view of icebergs, whales or the might of an Atlantic gale, depending upon the season.
© Fogo Island Inn
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
This lodge is hidden inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, surrounded by more than 8,000 square kilometres of pristine African wilderness. From Arusha airport, guests fly to the Lake Manyara Airstrip to be met by the lodge’s closed game-viewing vehicles which privately escort guests to Ngorongoro Crater, approximately 90 minutes away. Perched on the crater’s rim, even the bathrooms in these luxe suites offer spectacular views of the wild landscape below. The fresh springs on the crater floor are home to a rich variety of wildlife, even welcoming flocks of wild flamingos. The lodge’s Victorian interior features velvet furnishings lit by crystal chandeliers, complementing African art in unexpected harmony.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Canada
Relais & Châteaux finesse meets the rugged beauty of Vancouver Island at this tented safari retreat, a 45-minute seaplane flight from Vancouver or a swift boat ride from the village of Tofino. Open between May and September each year, the resort puts the 242-hectare UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Clayoquot Sound on your doorstep. This outdoors playground, home to bears and whales, is the backdrop for a host of included equestrian, freshwater, saltwater and restorative activities, plus extra ‘à la carte’ heli-adventures (from heli-fishing to heli-yoga) and the ultimate Cloud Day Experience near the top of Ursus Mountain. Back at the camp, there are 25 guest tents, lounge tents and dining on contemporary coastal fare.
Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
On a scenic plateau surrounded by forested mountains, Mashpi Lodge sits 950 metres above sea level. It is accessible only to its guests, who are collected by the lodge’s private airport transfer service from the city of Quito and driven approximately four hours to its discreet location. Protruding from the hillside, a series of floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows allow a feeling of natural immersion even within the lodge. From here, guests may see a staggering 400 species of birds in addition to monkeys that call the reserve home, or they can zip through the forest canopy on The Dragonfly, a two-kilometre-long cable system.
© Mashpi Lodge
Berkeley River Lodge, Australia
Accessible only by air, this remote Western Australian lodge nestles itself between sunrises over the Timor Sea to the east, and to the west, vibrant red sunsets over the Berkeley River. Bathe in pristine freshwater rock pools, or dive under the plummeting waterfalls or, back at the resort, take laps in the pool overlooking Australia’s wild, rugged landscape. Private villas offer an open-air ensuite, whose freestanding bathtubs allow guests to bathe under the moonlight.
Nimmo Bay Resort, Canada
Accessible only via the sky or sea, this small, family-owned lodge seems to float at the water’s edge, surrounded by British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Although Nimmo Bay began as a fishing lodge in the 1980s, today it welcomes all travellers in search of natural connection, seclusion and wilderness adventures. Go whale-watching in the surrounding waters, home to in excess of 50 humpbacks and pods of orcas that are drawn to the bay’s plentiful salmon, or head into the forest for heli-hiking, wildlife viewing or glacier trekking. Guests may choose to stay in one of the six intertidal or three forest cabins, all of which offer two bedrooms, a living area and bathroom and a private outdoor lounging area. After a day of kayaking, heli-fishing or paddleboarding, a couple of cedar hot tubs at the foot of a thundering waterfall are the pinnacle of comfort in this exclusive piece of paradise.
Nimmo Bay Resort © Jeremy Koreski
Amangiri, Utah, USA
This hideaway is tucked into a protected valley in Canyon Point, surrounded by the vivid dunes, plateaus and mountainous ridges of the American Southwest. Its spacious suites are fashioned from natural materials, integrating and framing the surrounding Utah desert with white stone walls, natural timbers and blackened steel fittings. Each of the suites boasts an outdoor lounge with fireplace, with some also offering a private pool or roof terrace. The separate four-bedroom Mesa Home offers complete privacy, located a few minutes from the resort in the untamed beauty of the Grand Circle region. Surrounded by 242 hectares of undeveloped land, the home features a 15-metre infinity pool and terrace with sun loungers outside, while a large fireplace in the living room provides comfort indoors. Discover the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park nearby, experience the Utah desert on horseback or take an early-morning hot air balloon flight over the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
Jalakara Andaman Islands, India
Once an overgrown banana and betel nut plantation, this quiet island hideaway has since been reimagined as the tropical paradise it is today. In the archipelago of the Bay of Bengal, coral reefs support a vast array of diverse marine life, while its white-sand beaches and tropical rainforest make for a lush getaway on land. The resort seeks to combine the privacy and warmth of a villa with the exceptional service a small hotel, offering only three rooms, three suites and one private villa. With a keen focus on holistic healing, the resort offers massage, yoga and sea-kayaking to reconnect its guests with our natural world in a quiet space free from Wi-Fi or television. All its rooms offer an abundance of natural light, thanks to glass-panelled walls that look out onto the surrounding rainforest and ocean. The exclusive villa offers an infinity plunge pool, private yoga deck and dry sand garden.
© Ed Reeve
Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, Manitoba, Canada
There are no lions or tigers, but bears? Oh, my. This resort welcomes an abundance of polar bears – more than you are likely to encounter anywhere else in the world. Two hundred and fifty kilometres from Churchill, Manitoba, the lodge’s remote fly-in location allows access to some of the most pristine landscapes and incredible wildlife sightings possible, including views of the Northern Lights. Inside, it features a cosy fireplace lounge, large picture windows and fine dining prepared from its own northern cookbook series, Blueberries and Polar Bears. Housing only eight guests, private ensuite bathrooms and an inclusive, personalised experience are highlights of the experience, but beyond the lodge’s doors a range of Polar Bear Safari itineraries promises a unique opportunity to walk with the bears and photograph them at close-range with no other human presence for over 150 kilometres.
Travaasa Hana, Maui, USA
Located on the easternmost tip of Maui, this resort is the island’s best place to say ‘Aloha’ to the rising sun. Lovingly referred to as the “real Hawaii”, the resort is grateful to be almost untouched by the buzz of Hawaii’s popular tourist appeal at the grace of its enclosure, provided by vast tropical wilderness. The resort is perched above Hana Bay, offering panoramic Pacific Ocean views dotted by swaying palms and the occasional free-roaming stallion. The drive here winds along the countryside, passing ravines, waterfalls and rainforest toward the bay and its pristine natural pools. In either a private suite or a resort cottage, guests are treated to floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, while the Preserve Kitchen and Bar offers fine open-air dining overlooking the water. Experience traditional healing, bamboo pole fishing and an authentic insight to Hawaiian culture.
Eagle Brae Log Cabins, Inverness-shire, Scotland
This collection of luxury log cabins is hidden away in the heart of the Scottish Highlands across more than 3,000 hectares of towering Munros and pristine glens. Each one is handmade from cedar wood logs, the balconies intricately carved and hand-woven textiles garnishing the interiors with an authentic Himalayan charm. Guests arrive by making their way to the nearest airport or train station (Inverness or Beuly, respectively), from which wilderness-surrounded mountain roads approach Eagle Brae’s steep driveway (guests are advised that should snow prevent you from climbing it, there is parking available from which an all-terrain vehicle will collect you). Walking, cycling or dog-sledding through the Highland wilderness are among activities on offer here, or guests may instead prefer to spend days canoeing or kayaking along the aptly named Glass River.
Ocean House, Haida Gwaii, Canada
This First Nations-owned eco-cultural lodge is located in Canada’s remote Haida Gwaii Archipelago, otherwise as the ‘Galapagos of the North’. A 70-minute chartered jet from Vancouver, followed by a private helicopter, will bring you to its shores in a sheltered bay, where 12 guest rooms, a library and a resident artist’s studio feature intricate cedar wood detailing and lush furnishing. An on-site sauna and a range of spa treatments – accompanied by ocean views – provide the perfect wind-down, while an in-house chef brings an ethos of wellbeing and conservation to the lodge’s exceptional fresh seafood. The lodge is the result of a vision to preserve, promote and protect the natural wonders of the region, flowing seamlessly from the ideology of the Haida people.