By Samantha Coles and Emma Reynolds
Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, take a break from the fast pace of daily life and embrace a more gentle ebb and flow. These remote hotel suites are as far away from the hustle and bustle as you can get — some are only accessible via helicopter or boat. Expect magnificent scenery, top-notch cuisine, fun activities and lavish amenities in total seclusion.
Luxury Waterfront Ensuite Tent – Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Situated in the Unesco-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, this resort in the remote wilderness of British Columbia is an eco-safari-style tented oasis. It offers gourmet cuisine at its dining spots (the Cookhouse and Ivanhoe Glass Lounge), a restorative wellness spa menu and plenty of adventure.
Rest your head in one of the Luxury Waterfront Ensuite Tents, a Victorian-era-style, one-bedroom tent with an en-suite bathroom, ample closet space and a queen-size daybed for lounging after a day of activities. Every aspect is well thought out, from the antique furnishings and heated wood floors to the torches that light the path to your suite and the vintage oil lamps that illuminate your room by night.
There’s no roughing it here — each suite has plush pillows, soft linens and fluffy cotton towels, plus antique silver and crystal decor that makes the space feel more like a luxurious home than a tent in the wilderness. After a restful night’s sleep, spend your morning sipping coffee from your private deck while you listen to the sounds of nature.
Take to the Bedwell River for river or ocean kayaking, surfing, bear and whale watching, or standup paddleboarding. If land activities are more your style, explore the lush terrain on horseback. Ultimate adventurers can’t miss the DIY aerial adventure, where you design your own helicopter exploits, whether it’s a gourmet dinner atop a mountain, heli fly-fishing, heli-zip-lining or heli-yoga.
Khubilai Ger – Three Camel Lodge, The Gobi, Mongolia
Deep in the middle of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, you will find Three Camel Lodge: a series of traditional Mongolian tents, or gers. The nomads of Mongolia have lived in gers for hundreds of years, and many of the lodge’s staff were raised in the Gobi.
This is a very remote place for those who truly want to disconnect, not only from other people but from technology, too, as traditional life is paramount here (although the hand-painted interior details will have you itching to Instagram).
There are 40 gers to choose from, each with a sumptuous king-sized bed, wood-burning stove and en-suite bathroom. The Khubilai Ger is the largest with two bedrooms and is the best option for families or larger groups. We love the custom furnishings: cozy camel-hair blankets, hand-painted wood-framed beds, wooden-latticed walls and traditional rugs. The Mongolian felt slippers are a lovely touch, too.
There’s a beautiful temple-style main lodge, spa tent and media center. Sustainability is championed here — when the lodge was under construction, every step was taken to protect the desert, and it was built using natural materials. The lodge uses solar energy and utilizes unused water for irrigation; you won’t find a single plastic bottle.
Since 2003, staff have planted over 8,000 native trees and plants, and hunting is prohibited within a 12-mile radius of the camp to ensure wildlife is protected. The area is known for fossils — in 2000, a previously unknown species of dinosaur was unearthed and named Zaraapelta Nomadis after the lodge’s sister company, Nomadic Expeditions.
Three Camel Lodge is also committed to giving back to the local community, and as a guest, you’ll see exactly how: Most of the delicious food is from local farmers who have been trained in-house.
There are evening performances from traditional musicians who share their stories on nomadic life, a library stocked with books on the local history and culture, and a store with handmade crafts and the softest cashmere you’ll ever touch. Much more than a place to stay, Three Camel Lodge is truly an experience and a gateway to another way of life.
The lodge’s sister company, Nomadic Expeditions, has a full menu of excellent excursions. Travel through the desert on horse or camelback; kayak through pristine lakes in the north; see the green valleys in the foothills of the Gobi Altai Mountains or witness the dramatic red sandstone of the Flaming Cliffs. If you visit in the winter, there’s a festival held on the frozen surface of Lake Hovsgol in honor of the Gobi’s Bactrian camel.
Photos: Nomadic Expeditions
Grettir Suite – Deplar Farm, Ólafsfjörður, Iceland
In the mystical land of fire and ice, there’s only one place you should consider staying: Deplar Farm. This 18th-century sheep farm turned über-luxe retreat is situated away from the tourist traps and is completely isolated.
Deep in Northern Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, Deplar Farm is enveloped by soaring peaks (some reaching 3,000ft) covered in snow in winter and lush greenery in summer.
From the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking this unassuming building is still a working farm — when it was transformed into a retreat, the original facade was kept. There’s even traditional Icelandic ‘turf’ roofing (it helps with insulation through the notoriously harsh winters).
Inside is a glorious hideaway with 13 bedrooms; chic dining room with an exposed brick wall, cozy reindeer-skin rugs and large fireplace; delightful library; cool bar (have the bartender rustle up an Artisan — hard Icelandic liquor, lemon juice, simple syrup and cucumber); and games area with a pool table and binoculars, plus a media room.
The interiors are pure Nordic chic; think hygge touches like the aforementioned reindeer-skin rugs (they’re everywhere), hardwood furniture, industrialist sleek lines and floor-to-ceiling windows. The cuisine is just as Nordic and celebrates the sea — freshly caught salmon, Arctic char and cod are highlights.
On the subterranean level, there is a fully equipped gym and modern yoga studio, and an incredible spa with a geothermally heated swimming pool that flows from the indoors out. If you swim outside, head straight to the semi-underground bar built into a small hill. There’s also a sunken outdoor hot tub, which is an utterly sublime spot to unwind in and, if you’re lucky, watch the northern lights glowing green above.
The farm is owned and operated by Eleven Experience, so it is an adventurer’s paradise. There’s a great deal to do: Whale watching, heli-skiing (the farm has two heli pads), snowboarding, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking can all be arranged and led by an expert guide.
Join Eleven Experience’s creative director, Alex Fenlon, for a six-day photography retreat. It’s suited for all levels of experience; you will learn techniques and skills in this magical setting, including night photography — handy if the aurora borealis makes an appearance. You’ll also head on a scenic flight to Lake Mývatn, go whale watching, tour the fjords by boat and enjoy all the outdoor activities you can imagine.
Photos: Selko Photo, Eleven Experience
Alpine Lodge – Minaret Station, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
The wild and beautiful Southern Alps of New Zealand are home to soaring glaciers, snowcapped mountains and startlingly blue, glacier-fed lakes. Minaret Station is located on Minaret Bay and is a 20-minute helicopter flight from Queenstown International Airport. In fact, helicopter is the only way to access this utterly secluded hotel.
It sits 3,000 ft high in a dazzling glacier valley, and you’re unlikely to see another soul in the station’s 50,000 acres, except for deer, sheep and cattle — there’s a working farm on the land. It’s not just the location that’s off-grid — the electricity and water are powered by a nearby waterfall, and beef comes from the Station’s farm. It is family owned and operated, so expect a warm, welcoming reception and a home-away-from-home vibe.
There are just four alpine chalets and only eight guests at any one time, so you can be sure of total and utter privacy, or you could rent the whole place out for yourself. Each chalet is cozy and understated, with a king-sized bed, fluffy sheepskin rugs, en-suite bathroom and a hot tub outside on the deck. Each chalet also comes with its own private guide for hiking on and around the property. The chalets are connected to the Mountain Kitchen by wooden walkways, and it’s here you will gather for fine dining followed by a nightcap next to the roaring fire.
There is a great deal to see and do; tours are operated by helicopter, and you can choose from heli-skiing, mountain biking, fishing, boating or hiking.
Fiordland National Park is an extremely remote, nearly inaccessible Unesco World Heritage Site. Fly by helicopter to land directly onto a private charter vessel, then glide along the crystal waters through this imitable landscape. Try diving or fishing — the on-board chef can prepare your catch of the day.