Sometimes all you need is a little respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but you’re probably not going to get that on a package-deal beach holiday where sweaty bucket-and-spaders slide up against one another or on a three-day city break where snap-happy Chinese tourists flash away.
When you truly want to relax, you need to get away to an isolated retreat. We’re talking about hotels zillions of miles away from civilization, with stunning vistas, access to the great outdoors, and only a few fellow guests and staff members to keep you company.
In your search for the best isolated retreat, we’ve unearthed the world’s top 10 isolated retreats to help you get the peace of body, mind and soul that you deserve.
No.10 – Hotel de Larache, Chile
Set in the middle of the same Chilean landscape the Incas used to call home, Hotel de Larache in San Pedro de Atacama is the perfect isolated retreat to stop at in the desert if you’re not up for staying at the type of rundown motels usually seen in slasher flicks. Quite possibly the driest place on Earth, ensuring no cities, towns or other dwellings are remotely interested in forming close by, San Pedro de Atacama is the ideal site for this long-forgotten gem.
With 50 luxury rooms, open courtyards and sweeping archways made from wood, slate and stone, it’s no wonder Hotel de Larache was named one of the 100 best hotels in the world shortly after its opening. With a soaring sun overhead, seven volcanoes and a 700-mile-long stretch of desert just outside the door, you’ll never want to return to civilization again.
Resort reward: Food at Hotel de Larache is important; not only is the Michelin-worthy restaurant to die for, but the hotel staff ensures the same quality of food is supplied on excursions (no sweaty cheese and tomato sandwiches here!), and regular get-togethers are organized round the al fresco barbecue area.
No.9 – Tu Tu Tun Lodge, USA
Hidden from view seven miles inland on the banks of the Rogue River in Oregon, Tu Tu Tun Lodge is a country inn offering city hospitality. Offering 16 rooms, two suites and two houses, many with open fireplaces and dining rooms that overlook the river, this isolated retreat is the perfect place to come for sleep, solitude and not much else.
If you don’t want to mingle with the other guests, you can enjoy your meals in the privacy of your own room, sheltered from others’ mundane conversations about the real world.
We recommend the Hawkins Riffle room, which comes with a king-size bed, a crackling fireplace, an outdoor soaking tub, and a private wooden balcony. If that doesn’t help you switch off from the stocks and shares, nothing will. When you’re tired of being indoors, head outside and indulge in a spot of fly-fishing, hiking, walking, golf or a number of water sport activities.
Resort reward: With so many things included in the nightly rate of this isolated retreat, such as outdoor activities, morning coffee and juice, afternoon tea with fresh-out-the-oven cookies, evening hors d’oeuvres, and white chocolate fudge at turndown, you might never want to leave.
No.8 – Les Vents Bleus, France
With interiors fit to grace the pages of a high-end magazine, Les Vents Bleus may not be the largest isolated retreat out there, but it’s certainly one of the best and most underrated. Converted into a hotel from a beautiful old stone house, owners Monsieur and Madame Gropallo do their best to ensure every guest feels at home the moment they step in from the cold.
Situated in a sleepy hamlet between the Tarn and Aveyron rivers, the 18th-century hotel is surrounded by fig trees and features five cozy bedrooms and three Hansel and Gretel-style cottages. While there may not be much of an itinerary this far form Toulouse, guests come here mainly for a little R&R and to escape the daily grind.
Resort reward: A number of isolated white-sand beaches are just 10 minutes away from this quaint hideaway, which make you feel like you’re stranded on your very own desolate island.
No.7 – I Due Roccoli, Italy
Midway between Lakes Garda and Como, I Due Roccoli in Lake Iseo is a hidden jewel in the rugged Italian countryside. You’ve no chance of bumping into George Clooney and his holidaying crew here either, but that’s not to say it’s any less luxurious than Clooney’s Como pad. In fact, the Hollywood set probably don’t know what they’re missing, as this isolated retreat is situated in its own parkland with unparalleled views over the lake and vineyard-covered valleys.
Set 500-meters above sea level, and free from the tourists and the hefty prices that plague other Italian resorts, it really is paradise found. Naturally, you’ll be able to dine on the best Italian food at the in-house restaurant, and wash it all down with locally produced Franciacorta wine. Afterward, take a stroll with your dearly beloved across the surrounding hills and show her what an Italian stallion you can be — you won’t bump into anybody else, we promise.
Retreat reward: Most of the rooms have sweeping balconies or terraces, from which you’ll be able to paint or simply enjoy a glass of wine while overlooking the picturesque region.
No.6 – Esalen, USA
Set in 120 acres against a backdrop of mountains, natural hot springs and the ocean, it’s hard to believe that Esalen is actually in California. Thankfully, the fame-crazed wannabes of Hollywood haven’t discovered this slice of sanctuary yet and there’s nothing but peace and tranquility to be found here. An educational institute, Esalen was built to explore human potential with over 400 personal growth workshops per year to help heal that wounded soul of yours.
Whether you’re sitting in a field writing music or perched atop of a cliff painting, you’re sure to find Esalen the isolated retreat you’ve been searching high and low for. In fact, you’d be lucky to find it at all — even with directions.
Retreat reward: Visitors to Esalen can take a dip in the natural hot springs on the cliff side near the retreat and allow the healing properties of the water to suck out all the impurities.
To see the top 5 isolated retreats, visit Top 10: Isolated Retreats at AskMen.com