18 Most Exotic Off-the-Grid Hotels in the World
Get away from it all at one of these remote resorts.
There's getting away, and then there's really getting away. We're talking ultra-luxurious, off-the-grid hotels that are located in such picturesque, remote places that you can't help but wonder if they're actually home to a James Bond villain. (You know: treetop villas in Bali, private islands in the Caribbean, and a secluded châteaux in France.) Don't believe us? Read on, because here we've compiled a top tier list of the most exotic, far-flung hotels on the planet.
The Most Exotic Hotels in the World
1. Angama Mara, Kenya
It doesn't get much more remote than the wide-open savannah of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, says Larry Snider, VP of operations of Redwood Vacation Rentals. He recommends the Angama Mara, a luxury lodge perched on the promontory where Out of Africa was filmed and one of the best camps in Africa, with a modern design that dispenses with the usual safari tropes. In addition to game drives, guests can picnic in the bush, do a walking safari with a Maasai guide, and take a hot air balloon ride over the Mara.
"It offers so many activities, including a hot air balloon trip and traditional African safaris through the savannah," says Snider.
2. Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
A 20-minute speedboat ride from bustling Phuket will bring you to this smaller, more remote island in the Andaman Sea. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Cape Kudu Hotel is a beach-chic resort that lets you enjoy the best of the island. We recommend visiting a local coconut farm and doing an island-hopping excursion aboard a traditional long-tail boat.
3. Habitas AIUlA, Saudi Arabia
The desert offers a sense of calm like no other landscape. When combined with a luxurious hotel with stunning architecture and breathtaking views, there may not be a more restorative experience.
"By far, the utmost combination of exoticism and luxury I have come across in my years on the road is Habitas AIUlA Desert Camp hotel in Saudi Arabia," says Katie Caf, the travel blogger behind Katie Caf Travel. "This stunning hotel is nestled within an ancient oasis in a desert valley surrounded by breathtaking sandstone cliffs and palm groves."
With a yoga deck, wellness and fitness centers, a restaurant, and a gorgeous swimming pool, Habitas AIUlA offers an ultra-luxury experience in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert on the country's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. "It is composed of 96 low-rise villas built using natural tones to blend in with the yellow-orange sand oasis surroundings," says Caf. "Each villa is equipped with air conditioning, king-sized beds, private outdoor lounge decks, and indoor and outdoor showers."
4. Mandarin Oriental Canouan, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Not far from famous islands like St. Barth and Mustique, Canouan is their more under-the-radar counterpart. Although it has a reputation as the island where the billionaires go to escape the millionaires, you don't actually have to be a millionaire or a billionaire to stay at the Mandarin Oriental Canouan. There, you can soak up the sun, indulge in a relaxing spa treatment, go swimming and snorkeling, and hang out at the boho beach club L'Anse Guyac.
5. Relais San Maurizio, Piedmont, Italy
This Relais & Châteaux hotel is nestled in the Langhe Hills in Piedmont, a wine region that's lesser known than Tuscany but produces some of Italy's most prized wines. Housed in a 17th-century monastery, the family-run hotel has its own garden that produces fruit, vegetables, and herbs used in the Michelin-starred restaurant. You'll need a car to get around—and you'll want one in order to visit the prestigious vineyards in the region and explore the idyllic countryside.
6. Singita Sasakwa, Tanzania
In the Grumeti Reserve just outside the Serengeti, acclaimed safari operator Singita runs a handful of lodges and tented camps. Sasakwa Lodge is the largest and most comfortable, and is located on a vertiginous cliff that offers sweeping views of the plains below. A benefit of being in Grumeti—a private concession—is that safari vehicles can go off-roading, so you can get up close and personal with the animals.
7. Maison Troisgros, France
You wouldn't expect to find much in the countryside outside of Lyon, but in the tiny village of Ouches lies Maison Troisgros, a family-run Relais & Châteaux inn with a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. It's here that culinary legend Michel Troisgros makes gastronomic magic in a setting that's as beautiful as what's on the plate. He and his family transformed an old farmhouse into a 15-room hotel with the restaurant occupying a modern glass-walled addition that seems to glow from within and will make you forget all about your everyday cares.
8. Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
On the remote island of Sumba, about 250 miles east of Bali, Nihi Sumba will let you live out your fantasies of being a castaway on a deserted island—only you won't have to worry about foraging for food to survive. It has just 33 villas spread out over 567 acres, so you'll feel like you have the whole island to yourself. Activities include surfing, snorkeling, spear fishing, yoga, horseback riding, hiking, or just lounging around on the sand.
Sally Johnson, the owner of Green Light Booking, says that although this hotel has earned the top spot on many lists, you will still find peace and tranquility during your trip. She particularly recommends exploring the local rivers and waterfalls.
9. Copal Tree Lodge, Belize
In the remote rainforest of Belize, this eco-lodge gives you the chance to get in touch with nature. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised to hear monkeys howling outside your wooden bungalow. The resort is located on a 12,000-acre nature reserve and 3,000-acre organic farm that supplies 70 percent of the food served in the restaurant and produces cacao that's turned into chocolate in a small factory on-site.
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10. Bambu Indah, Bali
How would you like to stay in an open-air bamboo suite in the jungle outside of Ubud? Bambu Indah is an eco-friendly complex comprising suites made from restored Javanese bridal huts and standalone cocoon-like suites made almost entirely out of bamboo. Guests can swim in the river and forage for fresh fruit and veggies in the on-site garden in addition to touring local temples and rice terraces.
11. Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Hawaii
Most people who visit Hawaii go to the big island, Maui, or perhaps Kauai. Lanai—Hawaii's smallest island—feels completely different. There are only two luxury hotels on Lanai, and they're both run by Four Seasons. This one has beach access, a restaurant by Nobu, and tropical birds that guests can observe up close. Guests can also do 4×4 excursions to the Mars-like landscape at the Garden of the Gods.
12. Capella Ubud, Bali
Located near Ubud, this new resort by acclaimed designer Bill Bensley features a collection of whimsical tented suites inspired by the heyday of exploration. Guests can enjoy the grounds, which have a tented gym, pool, restaurant, and even a Hindu temple, where you can receive a blessing. The property is a member of Leading Hotels of the World, so you can rest assured that it's going to be top-notch.
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13. The Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge, Brazil
If you're looking for stunning nature, luxury, and adventure all wrapped into one experience, then a trip to the Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil should be on your bucket list. The far-flung locale is only accessible by boat and will truly allow you to disconnect from the modern world.
"What makes this hotel amazing is its immersive jungle experience and its commitment to conservation," says travel expert Atiqa Imran of theplantbible.com. "The hotel offers guided tours of the rainforest, including hikes, canoe trips, and visits to local communities."
Not to mention the dreamy pool overlooking the Rio Negro river, the delicious local cuisine, and the stunning views of the surrounding jungle.
14. El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas
Set in far west Texas near the border of Mexico, Marfa is a three-hour drive from the closest airport, but draws art lovers who make the pilgrimage here to visit the Chinati Foundation established by Donald Judd. The town has a funky, artsy vibe you wouldn't expect to find there, and El Cosmico—a collection of restored airstream trailers, teepees, and yurts—is the funkiest place to stay. Even Beyoncé is a fan.
15. The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia
One of Malaysia's original eco-resorts, this member of Leading Hotels of the World is poised on Datai Bay with direct access to sandy beaches and lush jungle. Guests stay in rooms with views of the treetops, beach villas, or rainforest villas that guarantee wildlife spotting. There are two swimming pools, a relaxing spa, five restaurants and bars, and a golf course.
16. Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica
Inspired by African safari camps, this new luxury camp in Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano National Park has just 29 spacious tents outfitted with plush beds and modern amenities (including air conditioning). Guests can enjoy the amenities at sister properties Nayara Springs and Nayara Gardens, including six restaurants, as well as partake in yoga and meditation above the trees, go on guided nature hikes, and visit a sloth sanctuary.
17. COMO Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
This wellness-focused retreat occupies its own private island in Turks & Caicos, so you definitely won't run into any annoying tourists. Because of its location and exclusivity, the property is a favorite of celebrities like Bruce Willis, Keith Richards, and Donna Karan, who all have homes on the island (some of which can be rented out when they're not in use). If you're a wellness-obsessed yogi who wants to meditate and get Ayurvedic consultations with the doctor in residence, this is the place for you.
18. The Oberoi Sukhvilas, Chandigarh, India
Located in the protected Siswan Forest Range outside of Chandigarh, this resort by award-winning Indian brand Oberoi comprises a collection of tented suites, a luxurious spa, and a main building with a restaurant. Guests are encouraged to explore the natural surroundings on a guided tour and can even arrange a special excursion to a hut in the mountains with spectacular views of the foothills of the Himalayas and the river below.