16 of the most remote hotels on Earth
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials say the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel guides because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures.
If all this time spent self-isolating at home has caused your mind to drift off to faraway lands and remote retreats, you're not alone. Now may not be the time to book unnecessary trips, but you can dream -- of social distancing in a sprawling desertscape in the American Southwest or on a rocky promontory on an island in the North Atlantic.
We scoured the planet looking for intimate properties (most of the hotels on this list have far fewer than 40 rooms and all are under 100) surrounded by spectacular landscapes, not by big cities or, well, other people.
Most of these properties are admittedly in hard-to-reach corners of the globe and may require multipart journeys before you can drop your bags and unwind. But that's part of the allure.
Just know these stays won't come cheap. Though some of these properties can be booked with points, many are independent inns, private family-run chalets and exclusive resorts. So, be sure to pay for your stay on a card that will maximize your purchase, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x) the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x) and, if you prefer Membership Rewards points, the American Express® Green Card (3x).
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
You may also be able to book some of these properties through a luxury travel portfolio, such as the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program. If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can book a paid stay through that portal and enjoy perks like free daily breakfast for two, a space-available room upgrade, late checkout and early check-in (when available) as well as an up to $100 property credit. It won't make the stay less pricey, but it will offset the ancillary expenses and help you get more value out of your reservation.
Whether you want to avoid the crowds or are just hoping to be transported far, far from home, these are 16 of the most exclusive hotels and resorts on the planet.
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Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland
Travelers preoccupied with the appeal of a truly secluded escape may have conjured up images of a stilted hotel perched on a wind-worn island off the coast of another island. Since it opened in 2013, Fogo Island Inn has been one of the most coveted remote hotel stays on Earth, with just 29 rooms and suites on an austere spit of land that juts out into so-called Iceberg Alley.
Located in Canada’s easternmost province, off the island of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn overlooks a rocky headland in the North Atlantic. And getting here is part of the experience. Travelers will likely fly first to the closest international airport in Gander (YQX). From Gander, you can charter a private helicopter or drive to Farewell to catch the ferry to Fogo Island (a drive of a little over an hour). The ferry will add another hour to your trip, and the drive to the inn will take another 30 minutes. Rates start at 1,975 Canadian dollars (about $1,400). Be sure to request a room with a wood-burning stove.
Kachi Lodge in Bolivia
One hour from La Paz, Bolivia (LAP), by air, Kachi Lodge offers an unforgettable experience at Bolivia's amazing Salar de Uyuni — the world's largest salt flat. Located at an altitude of almost 12,000 feet, this sustainable but luxurious hotel is a unique escape from the stresses of daily life. Surrounded by 4,000 square miles of gleaming salt, the incredibly flat, often barren landscape can have a surreal, perspective-bending effect. During the rainy season, when the salt flats are covered in a thin sheet of water, you can lose all sense of where the sky begins and the earth ends.
Each 300-square-foot domed tent (there are only six) features "bohemian chic" décor and a pellet stove for warmth and a private, ensuite bathroom. A large window in the front gives guests unparalleled views of the white expanse outside -- and the infinite sky at night. Bolivian solitude and isolation aren't inexpensive: The Lodge requires a minimum two-night stay, and rates start at around $2,300 per night for double occupancy.
Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Uganda
At nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, the highest lodge in Uganda is just a short walk from the Nkuringo trailhead for gorilla tracking — but you’ll feel far from everything else. The closest major airport is in Kigali, Rwanda, about six hours away. If you fly into Kisoro (HUKI) you’ll still have a two-hour drive to the lodge.
Guests stay in private volcanic stone cottages, complete with a double-sided fireplace and a veranda, from which you can admire the sweeping views of the Virunga volcanoes and the ancient Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Even with every cottage filled to capacity, you shouldn’t expect to share this sacred space with more than 18 guests. Double rates for Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge start at $489 per person, per night during the low season and include full board and nonpremium drinks.
Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia
Near the village of Dalanzadgad, in Mongolia's South Gobi Province, this luxury ecolodge is the result of a collaboration between developers, the local community and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Not only will you experience luxury and adventure, but you'll be immersed in cultural learning.
At Three Camel Lodge, you can spend the day exploring the magnificent expanse of the Gobi Desert and end it with an indulgent meal or a massage -- or both. Many of the lodge's employees grew up in the area, lending a local perspective to any stay. Guests stay in individual gers, or "traditional felt and canvas dwellings" that are appointed with ensuite bathrooms, custom wood furnishings and wood stoves for heat. Outside your ger, you'll have panoramic views of the desert and Gobi-Atlai Mountain range.
There's a two-night minimum stay, and the lodge is closed from Nov. 1 to May 1 annually. Rates are based on single or double occupancy and vary depending on the time of year, though the lowest single-occupancy rate is $1,000 per night. All rates include activities at the lodge, scheduled excursions, round-trip transfers between the lodge and Dalanzadgad Airport (DLZ), all food and beverages (excluding alcohol), entrance fees to national parks and a predeparture travel guide and reading list.
Explora Rapa Nui on Easter Island
Though Explora Rapa Nui is just five miles from town – with its population of roughly 3,500 people — it seems to exist in a completely different space and time. That’s because it’s on Easter Island, one of the world’s most isolated, inhabited destinations, more than 2,100 miles from continental Chile. And its enduring culture and history are unlike anywhere else in the world.
You’ll only have to share the incredible solitude with a few other guests — there are just 30 rooms and suites on the property — and the nearly 1,000 towering moai statues that guard the isle. And it’s blissfully easy to disconnect. Rooms have no televisions and no Wi-Fi, making it easy to indulge in the island’s almost hallowed sense of secrecy. This kind of exclusivity won’t come cheap, of course. Expect a three-night stay during the “quiet season” to start at $2,230 per person, based on double occupancy.
andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia
One of the oldest and largest deserts on Earth, the Namib extends for more than 1,000 miles along the southwestern coast of Africa. Within it is the 31,419-acre private reserve belonging to andBeyond's recently refreshed Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Guests can retreat to one of the least densely populated countries for hot air balloon flights and stargazing (the property borders an International Dark Sky Reserve). In the early morning hours, you can walk along the spine of the wind-sculpted star dunes.
There are just 10 one-bedroom glass-and-stone suites and one two-bedroom suite, all of which curve outward, away from one another and toward the expansive desert beyond. Suites feature a private veranda with a plunge pool, a fireplace in the living room, a retractable skylight in the bedroom and a glass rainfall shower with 180-degree views. Rates start at approximately 9,265 Namibian dollars ($622) per person, per night and include three daily meals, beverages (including house wines and local spirits) and many excursions.
Saletoga Sands Resort in Samoa
Samoa, a nation of two main islands in the South Pacific, is one of the world's most far-flung destinations. Accessible to the U.S. only via Honolulu (HNL) with Fiji Airways, it's a land of unspoiled nature, filled with soaring volcanic peaks, deserted beaches, vibrant marine life and pristine rainforests.
While you're there, stay at the Saletoga Sands Resort and Spa for a taste of that resplendent nature. Book a beachfront villa from $395 per night as your home base for exploring all the islands have to offer. Don't expect Maldives-level luxury, but when you travel to this part of the world, the luxury comes in the form of getting far, far away from civilization and into one of the most natural places on the planet.
Sheldon Chalet in Alaska
Just 10 miles from the summit of the continent's highest mountain, Sheldon Chalet is an improbable five-room lodge serving Champagne and fresh king crab in a five-star setting. Visiting Denali National Park is always a notoriously difficult venture, and the chalet's seemingly impossible perch — a basin of ancient snowpack framed by glacier-capped spires — ensures you'll never have to compete with crowds during your stay in the Alaskan wilderness.
Your helicopter will meet you in either Anchorage (ANC) or Talkeetna — a historic gold rush town at the base of Denali. It's located along the Alaska Railroad, so many travelers opt for the scenic route aboard the Aurora Winter Train or the Denali Star Train. Of course, if it's expeditious seclusion you're after, you might just want to fly to Anchorage and wait for your ride.
As you can imagine, a stay that includes a helicopter ride (and de facto flightseeing tour) comes with a large price tag. There's a three-night minimum, and stays start around $2,300 per person, per night. Though you'll never share the small lodge with more than nine other people, you can also book the entire property.
North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort in the Seychelles
Thousands of small islands speckle the Indian Ocean, including a smattering of 115 granite and coralline isles off the coast of East Africa that comprise the Seychelles. Compared to the Maldives, which frequently welcomes new luxury properties and has become a popular destination on the luxury tourism route, the Seychelles remains much more exclusive. But nothing compares to a stay at North Island.
Located on its own island, this private paradise has just 11 villas and is truly away from it all. Even if there are other travelers here during your stay, you'll probably never see them. Your two-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot villa has direct beach access, a private plunge pool and strategic landscaping that confers complete privacy and discretion.
North Island recently joined the Marriott family as a Luxury Collection property, which means you can use your points (at least 365,000 per night) for a stay. With rooms going for at least $5,500 per night, though, using those hard-earned Bonvoy points is definitely the way to go.
The Ritz-Carlton, Jiuzhaigou in China
Situated in China’s Sichuan province, Ritz-Carlton's first-ever all-villa resort is one of our most-anticipated hotels of this year and located just 20 minutes from the UNESCO World Heritage Jiuzhaigou National Park. From your private villa, you can look out over Tibet and the forested Zhongcha Valley.
The local area is known for its dramatic karst formations, colorful alpine pools, impressive waterfalls and old-growth forests. You won't be lacking for relaxation and pampering at this property -- basic villas have walk-in bathtubs, heated floors and oversized rainforest showers, as well as terraces and private gardens. Rates are not yet published.
Deplar Farm in Iceland
Fewer than 370,000 people live in the entire island nation of Iceland, and most are concentrated in the capital city Reykjavík — far from the remote northern Troll Peninsula. This is where you'll find Deplar Farm, an all-inclusive lodge nestled in a hollow in the Flijót Valley. There are only 13 rooms here, attracting an elite set of guests seeking an exclusive spa experience.
The property has sauna and steam rooms, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a spa with flotation tanks and private treatment rooms, and an indoor and outdoor geothermal swimming pool — perfect for watching the aurora borealis at night. Unless you charter a transfer from Keflavík International Airport (KEF) to Siglufjörður (SIJ) or arrange for a private helicopter to bring you to the twin helipads at Deplar Farm, you'll need to drive roughly five hours from the nation's main airport, or transfer to Reykjavík Domestic Airport (RKV) and fly to Akureyri Airport (AEY) in the north. Still, you'll have a 90-minute drive to the property. Rates start around 328,000 Icelandic króna ($2,240) per room — or you can buy out the entire property.
Amangiri in Utah
Located in Canyon Point in southern Utah just north of the Arizona border, the 35-room Amangiri is one of just two Aman hotels in the United States and is a portrait of desert solitude. We were sold at the sight of the infinity pool that appears like a glimmering mirage in the arid desert, but the entire 660-acre property is a feast for the senses.
It features all the luxury trappings that you'd expect at an Aman resort, such as a 25,000 square-foot spa, upscale cuisine inspired by the American Southwest, carefully designed activities and more. And, with the opening of the Camp Sarika "tented pavilions" slated for this year, the resort is about to get an extra dose of serenity. As it's an Aman property, you'll have to pay for all that desert bliss -- anywhere from $1,800 to a staggering $10,000 per night, depending on the time of year.
Tierra Chiloé in Chile
Part of the isolated Chiloé Archipelago off Chile’s western coast, the namesake main island is a picturesque destination rich with natural beauty and culture. Colorful stilted houses, called palafitos, rise out of the water and, in a rare convergence, both Magellanic and Humboldt penguins can be seen at Chiloé National Park.
Chile's family-run Tierra Hotels has one of its three properties here, the 24-room Tierra Chiloé Adventure and Spa Hotel. The wood-paneled rooms and suites are designed to honor the traditional aesthetic of the local fishing communities, and from oversized windows, you can look out across the coastline, wetlands and primordial forests.
To get here, travelers must fly to Puerto Montt (PMC) from Santiago (SCL), where Tierra will arrange a three-hour transfer to the property, including a 45-minute ferry across the Chacao Channel. A two-night stay starts at $1,550 per person, based on double occupancy. The all-inclusive rate includes three daily meals, an open bar and two half-day excursions with other guests.
The Lindis in New Zealand
For this remote escape, you’ll need to journey to New Zealand’s vast South Island. This architecturally stunning luxury lodge seems to emerge almost organically from the Ahuriri Valley, its undulating roof like the final gesture of a signature. The Lindis is located on a 6,000-acre stretch of wilderness, and framed on three sides by protected parkland.
There are only five suites at the lodge, making it easy to slip in and out without encountering another traveler. But for the ultimate remote stay, book one of the three new mirrored-glass pods, which will make you feel invisible. The Noel Martin-designed pods feature an outdoor heated soaking tub, an ensuite bathroom with a black-marble sink and uninterrupted views of the untamed landscape and unpolluted night sky. Rates start around $1,200 (or $2,000 New Zealand dollars) and include daily breakfast, a multicourse dinner, minibar, predinner drinks and appetizers, and self-guided activities.
Bhutan is a nation high in the Himalayas that's become known over the years for its people's preservation of their rich heritage, culture and spirituality. It's become a haven for travelers looking to make deeper connections with themselves and the natural world around them.
And there's no better place to aid travelers on that journey than the Six Senses Bhutan, which is a collection of five separate lodges, each nestled within its own valley and designed to reflect its distinct surroundings — but all will help you connect you with the isolated beauty of this special country. Six Senses was recently acquired by International Hotels Group (IHG), though award nights are not yet available at this property. Cash rates start from $1,500 per night.
Camp Island Lodge in the Whitsunday Islands, Australia
If you love marine life, look no further than the Camp Island Lodge located in Australia's Whitsunday Islands. Far away from it all and located on its own island, this property has just four villas with a maximum capacity of two people each, meaning the whole island has a maximum guest count of just eight. Each of the villas is equipped with a kitchen, encouraging you to cook meals with exquisite seafood and fresh produce from the area.
According to the property's website, you'll either have a two- or five-night minimum stay, and rates start from $1,300 Australian dollars (about $850) per night during the week for the entire island and transfers. If you want to hire your own private chef for your stay, expect to pay around $3,600 Australian dollars (about $2,350) per night during the week, including transfers.