10 luxury hotels in the middle of nowhere
By Josh Lew, Mother Nature Network, 30 September 2015.
By Josh Lew, Mother Nature Network, 30 September 2015.
Every four- and five-star hotel should have upscale amenities and a sense of style, but not every guest agrees about what constitutes a five-star location. For some, "luxury" means getting away from the crowd of tourists that may populate beachfront or downtown hotel options.
Some of the world's most interesting hotels are located in out-of-the-way locations, like Hotel Arctic in Greenland which has "igloo cottages" in addition to luxurious rooms. These places have solitude and uninterrupted views. For people who want a dose of nature along with their pampering, these 10 remote hotels are more than ideal.
1. Fogo Island Inn
Fogo Island is a 45-minute ferry ride from the coast of Newfoundland. You could easily describe this windswept isle in the Atlantic as the most remote corner of one of Canada's most remote provinces. Before the ultra-modern five-star Fogo Island Inn was built here, tourists would come to see the icebergs float by in the springtime, or they would come just to say that they visited one of the most far-flung places in the world.
The inn's architecture was actually inspired by the fishing villages where most of Fogo's residents live. The US$25 million hotel, which has 29 rooms in all, is the centrepiece of an effort to bring sustainable tourism to the island. Some of the buildings here have been converted into art galleries and studios. Frigid winters and limited ferry service can prove challenging for travellers, but the hotel is extremely popular, not only for guests, but for day-trippers, who come in droves during the summer to tour the property.
2. Longitude 131°
Longitude 131° combines two seemingly incomparable things: luxury vacations and tent camping. Located within eyeshot of Australia's Uluru (formerly known as Ayer's Rock), this resort is named for its east-west map coordinate. The tented suites are positioned in such a way that many of the guests can see the famous rock formation from their beds.
The tents are draped in canvas, but they are more like luxury cabins with minibars, modern furnishings and even docking stations for music players and tablet computers. 131° has a swimming pool and a lounge with entertainment options, drinks and telescopes that are pointed at Uluru. Transfers are provided from nearby Ayers Rock Airport. The camp was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the Black Saturday Wildfires, which swept through the entire region in 2003.
3. Hotel Arctic
Photo: Hotel Arctic/Flickr
Greenland's Hotel Arctic calls itself "the northernmost four-star hotel in the world." It sits on the edge of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The hotel is owned by the national air carrier, Air Greenland. The airline built the hotel in the 1980s to accommodate its passengers. Hotel Arctic is surprisingly large given its location. It has 85 rooms and five additional "igloo" cottages that are located right on the shoreline. "Igloo" is just a kitschy name for these buildings; they are made from aluminium, not ice and snow.
In addition to the comfortable rooms, the highlight here is the food. Meals at the hotel's Restaurant Ulo are made with local ingredients like musk ox, reindeer, sea urchin, halibut and arctic hare. Many of the people from the village of Ilulissat work in the hotel. Some have been trained in hospitality from a very young age. Also, the hotel recently announced that it had become carbon neutral.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr
In Sanskrit, Amangiri means "Mountain of Peace." This unusual retreat is located in the high desert of Utah next to an imposing rock formation. This resort feels remote, and it is to a certain extent. Las Vegas is about five hours away by car, but the hotel is less than 30 minutes from the popular Lake Powell.
Amangiri is a modern hotel, but it has a subtle New Age ambiance thanks to its clean lines, brushed concrete walls and atmospheric lighting. The pool, which is designed to curve around the existing rock formations, is a highlight. Though it is located in the "middle of nowhere," this resort is actually part of a chain. Aman is a Singapore-based company that specializes in creating luxury resorts in out-of-the-way places.
5. Singita Boulders Lodge
Photo: Adriaan Louw/Imagine Communications/Flickr
The Singita Boulders Lodge is next to South Africa's most famous safari destination, Kruger National Park. Guests can venture into Kruger, but they can also spend time on safari inside the exclusive Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. If they'd rather stay in the hotel, guests here can see wildlife while they lounge on their private decks. Boulders has an open design and mixture of modern and traditional African décor.
This place is not short on luxury. Each room has its own individual plunge pool, and fireplaces are found in each suite. The resort, like other Singita properties in Africa, is heavily involved in conservation. In this particular area, rhino poaching is a problem, and the lodge and reserve sponsor their own anti-poaching unit to safeguard the rhinos.
6. Tierra Atacama
Photo: Jenn Dyer/Flickr
Tierra Atacama sits in the small town of San Pedro de Atacama in northeastern Chile. This is the middle of the arid, high-altitude Atacama Desert. Tierra is only about 30 minutes from the centre of the San Pedro on foot. Yes, the hotel is near a population centre, but it looks out over the desert and mountains, giving guests a tangible feeling of isolation. The minimalist and modern architecture of the resort fits very well with the austere landscapes of this part of South America.
Tierra's pools and decks look out at the Licancabur Volcano. The pool seems almost like a decorative pond, but people often swim in it (just not at night, when the temperatures can drop to near freezing at any time of year). Tierra Atacama has a spa and restaurant as well.
7. North Island, Seychelles
Photo: North Island
When most people think of remote, they picture a private island somewhere in the tropics where they can sip a coconut on white sand beaches. North Island, a resort in the Seychelles, is exactly what most people dream about. This is a private island with only 11 villas. It is extremely popular with honeymooners. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their honeymoon here.
The huge thatched-roof villas have indoor and outdoor seating areas, and they offer easy access to the island's four beaches. This mixture of Robinson Crusoe fantasy and five-star luxury does cost quite a bit, but the island was not completely destroyed when the resort was built. In fact, the owners have tried to return it to its natural state. Invasive rats and feral pigs were eradicated and replaced with native flora and fauna, including giant tortoises and rare sea coconut trees.
8. The Serai
The Serai is a luxury safari camp outside of Jaisalmer, India. It sits in the Thar Desert. A thoroughly modern resort, the Serai was inspired by the caravan camps of Rajasthan's famous kings. There are 21 canvas tents on the property. Like the other "camping" hotels on this list, the Serai's accommodations are not so much tents as canvas-topped luxury suites. They are even air-conditioned.
The Serai has a spa created by award-winning firm Raison d’Etre. There is also a huge swimming pool. Some of the tented suites have their own private plunge pool and garden. Guests can take camel or horseback safaris out into the desert.
9. The Southern Ocean Lodge
Photo: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr
Kangaroo Island is the name of a place that could only be found in Australia. This island, just off the mainland near Adelaide, is known for its abundant wildlife. Aside from the marsupials for which the island is named, visitors get to see stunning rock formations, seals and sea birds.
The Southern Ocean Lodge is a five-star hotel that is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It has floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. In-room climate controls, sunken seating areas and twice-daily maid service elevate this place from hotel to over-the-top accommodation. Despite the luxury, there is a local focus here. The artwork and furnishings used in the rooms were made by native islanders.
10. Cape Kidnappers
Photo: Ralph Bestic/Flickr
Cape Kidnappers is on the coast of Hawke's Bay on New Zealand's North Island. This is a huge property as it sits on 6,000 acres of farmland. All the elements are here: a spa, a championship golf course, an infinity pool and hot tub, and a fully-equipped gym.
Guests can navigate the trails along the sea cliff on foot, bike or horseback. The hotel will supply stocked picnic baskets for guests to take out on their hike. The suites at Kidnappers have farmhouse-like décor and windows that overlook the Pacific and the area's limestone rock formations.
Top image: Hotel Arctic. Credit: Greenland Travel/Flickr.
[Source: Mother Nature Network. Edited.]