Travel is transforming. People are tired of over-tourism and no longer want to follow the crowds. Thanks to self-isolation, travellers are now searching for lesser-known, tranquil destinations to spend some quiet time. All this extra space and privacy we’ve been awarded has made people more likely to favour remote, wilderness areas over busy city streets.
So, if isolation has given you a taste for the quiet life, these are a few of the world’s remote retreats, hotels and self-catering cottages.
Corocora Camp, Los Llanos, Colombia
Colombia’s Pacific coast is famous for its birds and marine mammals, but one of the country’s highest concentrations of wildlife can be found inland in the wetland savannas of Los Llanos, a big sky region commandeered by capybaras, anteaters and camera-shy pumas. This idyllic four-tent camp is in the thick of the action on a remote, private 9000-hectare reserve, reached in a two-hour drive from Yopal. Track animals on horseback with llanero cowboys, crossing plains, following rivers and swimming through lakes. Doubles from $450pp.
If you do feel like socialising, there is also a social tent complete with a cocktail bar, board games, hammocks and a collection of books.
The Treehouses at Lanrick, Perthshire, Scotland
City dwellers craving nature can get their fix at this eco-friendly site on the banks of the River Teith, launching in September. Five secluded, one-bedroom, self-catering treehouses with log-burning stoves occupy their own woodland plots, with two linked by a bridge for families. And once a welcome hamper of local products has been delivered, only birds and squirrels are likely to drop by. Trossachs National Park is four miles away, perfect for mountain climbing, wild swimming and boat trips on Loch Lomond. From $400 per night (lanricktreehouses.co.uk).
Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia
Being cast at sea has similarities with the pandemic: drifting endlessly, alone, it seems there’s no horizon in sight. But this luxurious beached vessel strikes a beautiful balance between serenity and solitude, in a landscape of dry riverbeds and dunes veiled in ocean mist. Sleeping 24 people in spread apart cabins, this architectural masterpiece is the only accommodation option in the 6504sq-mile Skeleton Coast National Park, in a country with one of the world’s lowest population densities. From $1160pp per night.
Bacchus House, Antipaxos, Greece
With only 30 residents and three tavernas, crowds are never an issue on this unspoilt Ionian island. In the absence of any shops, food and amenities are delivered by boat; few cars mean soundscapes are dominated by lapping waves. Spend days exploring nature trails or walking barefoot along empty white beaches. Suitable for couples, this self-catering hilltop retreat is even further away from it all. From $324 per night.
Owner’s Cabin, Staurneset, Norway
We may all be suffering cabin fever, but ‘hytte culture’ (or cabin lifestyle) could be the ideal antidote. Outside space is the main drawcard for this isolated cottage: perched on a peninsula overlooking the North Sea, it’s surrounded by a sprawl of nature. Three double bedrooms make it suitable for families, with multiple options for hikes and direct access to a white sandy beach and rocky tidal pools, providing enough activities to keep children educated and entertained. From $903 per night.
Khwai Leadwood Camp, Botswana
Safari holidays revolve around wilderness; the only large gatherings are herds of antelope, elephants or zebra. Part of the Okavango Delta on the edge of Moremi Game Reserve, home to a high predator density of leopards, lions and wild dogs, the community-run Khwai concession shares the same excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. African Bush Camps have a new six-tent camp, opening 1 August 2020. Rates start at $876 pp per night.
Mallín Colorado Ecolodge, Aysén Province, Chile
Distances are vast in Patagonia, on the edge of the world, where the closest neighbour can be many miles away. A five-hour scenic drive from the nearest airport, this family-run lodge is not an overnight visit, but the rewards are worth your journey time. Set amidst meadows, native forest, and the vast Lake General Carrera, the location offers guests a chance to trek glaciers, hike woodland trails or sit back and revel in people-free views. Rooms from $175 (mallincolorado.com).
Domaine Des Etangs, France
A private home converted into a hotel, this rural property features an 11th century chateau and six stone farmhouse cottages, surrounded by gardens and lakes. There’s so much space, each cottage comes with its own electric car, encouraging guests to discover the countryside at their own pace. Domaine’s sommelier can set up private tastings, while chefs prepare farm-to-fork dinners on site, delivering luxury hotel living without encroaching on personal space. From $620 per night (domainedesetangs.com).
Torfhus Retreat, Iceland
Icelanders are experts in social distancing; for them, it’s a way of life. Designed in the style of traditional grass-roofed turf houses, lodges at this off-grid retreat are part of the popular Golden Circle loop – although tucked away and hidden from crowds. Each house has its own private hot tub, and chef Thorarinn Eggertsson can cook intimate dinners ‘at home’. Powered exclusively by geo-thermal and hydro-electric energy and with vegetables grown on site, there’s no need to rely on anyone else. Three nights from $1689pp (torfhus.is).
Closer to home
Naiko Retreat, Australia
The roar of the Southern Ocean can drown out all the troubles we’re currently living through. A two-hour drive from Adelaide, this low-rise, environmentally sensitive three-bedroom property is within splashing distance of waves, surrounded by 200 acres of farmland with not a soul in sight. Swim and fish from the private beach in a sheltered cove, or watch whales, kangaroos and echidnas from the deck. There’s also an iconic Finnish 1960s Futuro home in the grounds. One of only 60 in the world, the flying saucer-shaped building is being restored as a wellness space. From AUD$990 per night (naikoretreat.com.au).
Unyoked eco-friendly cabins
Australian start-up Unyoked has created the perfect experience for those lusting after a change of scenery after self-isolation. They have designed and built four solar-powered sustainable tiny houses in New South Wales, each sitting in a secret patch of wilderness on private property. They are all miles from any sign of human interference but still an easy drive from Sydney. The cabins boast features like cosy beds, hot showers, composting toilets and there’s no wifi to distract you from the beautiful view. Prices start from $225 per night.
Which of these would be your dream destination? Or are you more of a city explorer?
– With PA
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