The Best Truly Remote Hotels Where You Can Get Away from It All
More than seven billion people live on Earth, a number that is expected to grow to 10.9 billion by the year 2050. With each day urbanization sweeps the globe, the isolated areas—the middle-of-nowheres —are becoming scarce. Fortunately, for those who want to revel in secluded corners, there are still places to hide without forsaking comforts. From the northernmost Arctic wilderness to the remotest tropical islands, here are some of the best places to enjoy the loneliest locations we have left—roughing it not required.
With walls covered in sealskin, maps, and driftwood, the Basecamp Hotel of the Svalbard Islands was once known as the “Trapper’s Hotel.” In Longyearbyen, northernmost town in the world, visitors can take isolation to a new level by exploring the mysterious glacial terrain of Svalbard on one of the hotel’s overnight or day trips. These expeditions start by dogsled, snowmobile, or open boat safari, and end in modern comfort back at the hotel.
South of Myanmar, in the Andaman Sea, the Mergui Archipelago comprises more than 800 islands, one of which is Macleod Island, home of the secluded tropical getaway Myanmar Andaman Resort. Although it calls itself a resort, it isn't the typical luxury experience. As the only man-made construction on the island, it offers an experience that might be thought of as a trip back in time--the only people visitors will encounter on this undeveloped tropical paradise, other than hotel staff and fellow guests, are Moken fishermen; boats full of snorkelers are nonexistent here. To make this tropical time warp, visitors can reach the island by speedboat from hotel-arranged meeting points in Phuket, Yangon, or Bangkok—because of its air connections, most guests choose Bangkok.
Alaska’s Kantishna Roadhouse Lodge sits 90 miles into Denali National Park, site of the tallest peak in North America and Chris McCandless’ last destination on his journey, made famous by Jon Krakauer in Into the Wild. Although the Alaskan wilderness is at times cruel to those who brave its depths, Kantishna Roadhouse eases the journey. A sojourn at this lodge includes cabin accommodations, bus transportation, meals, and of course, ready access to the backcountry of Denali with a guarantee of a safe, good night’s sleep afterward.
The Desert Camp of Sossusvlei, tucked away in the Southern Namib Desert, one of the least-populated areas of Africa, is worlds away from any noticeable trace of modern civilization. Its housing units are akin to tents, with adobe-style plaster walls, canvas rooftops, and no central heating, but they are equipped with beds, en-suite bathrooms, kitchenettes and sweeping views of the Southern Namib Desert. Brangelina avoided the paparazzi in Namibia during the birth of Shiloh, so travelers like you will have no trouble experiencing undisturbed desert solitude in this Namibian "glamping" paradise.
The Mountain Seas Arts and Wilderness Reserve is surrounded by 40,000 miles of empty Tasmanian coastal wilderness and, interestingly, also has a well-equipped Arts Center. Artists and non-artists alike come for long stays dedicated to practice—or learn—artistic expression while surrounded by the rocky green mountains and empty white beaches of Flinders Island. To get to this inspiring place, where the largest settlement has a population of a whopping 140, book a flight with Sharp Airlines from Launceston or Melbourne to Flinders Island.
Tucked away on a U.S. Forest Road in Pinedale, Wyoming, the Lakeside Lodge is a lesser-known destination spot in the least-populous state in the U.S. On the shores of Fremont Lake, one of the 1,300 lakes in the Pinedale area—you'll find world-class opportunities in outdoor recreation, from fly fishing and rock climbing to snowmobiling and downhill skiing. The lodge is within driving distance of more famous Wyoming destinations such as the Wind River Mountains and Yellowstone National Park, but visitors might not feel the need to travel any further.
Described by travelers as an oasis in the Sahara, this classic desert outpost is the perfect place to explore the nearby Erg Chebbi, a vast sea of vegetation-free, wind-blown sand dunes. The hotel’s veranda commands 360-degree views of these nearly extra-terrestrial sandscapes, and an immersive experience of the Sahara awaits any traveler keen on a Lawrence of Arabia-esque camel journey to the hotel’s desert bivouac. Since overnight desert trips are not for everyone, the Hotel Kasbah Mohayut also offers one-day desert safaris for those who want follow their forays into the world’s largest hot desert with a cool dip in a hotel swimming pool.
The Baikal View Hotel on Olkhon Island offers a remote Siberian getaway on the biggest island on Lake Baikal, largest body of freshwater in the world. Located near Olkhon’s main settlement of Khuzhir, the hotel offers views of Lake Baikal’s crystal waters and dramatic rocky terrain, uninterrupted by modern construction. The nearby Shaman Rock, one of the nine most sacred sites in Asia, has spiritual importance to the local Buryat people. According to religious legend, the rock’s cave houses the deity Burkhan, a solitary old man and symbol of good fortune. Travelers can take a bus, boat, or car to Olkhon from the city of Irkutsk.