Whether nestled in the depths of the old-growth forest or near the ocean waves along the shorelines, these ten locations all enjoy exceptional natural surroundings, and many are completely isolated, offering unique stays in cabins, huts and tents – and giving you a new angle on the world.
1— Curl up in a round suite
Chewton Glen, New Milton, UK
Beyond the aristocratic facade of the impressive brick-red stone manor, fourteen treehouses offer a unique opportunity to enjoy the property’s fifty-two hectares. These suites are built like floating pavilions, their large windows with wrap-around balconies are looking out onto the treetops, the western exposure ensures beautiful sunsets as sea breezes signal the presence of the nearby ocean. To help guests ease gently into the day, a breakfast basket is delivered every morning to each terrace. There is also a jacuzzi to relax and unwind in – the only disturbances being the call of a pheasant or wild birds songs.
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2— Live life in the slow lane
Awasi Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile
You could be forgiven for thinking this was the end of the world. Here, glaciers spill into turquoise lakes as trees, disheveled by winds rushing over from the great plains, cast their moving shadows on the volcanic earth. Awasi, with its central lodge and fourteen villas on stilts, evokes the stables of estancias, old Patagonian refuges, and enjoys complete privacy over a natural reserve spanning one hundred hectares. Each villa is equipped with a hot tub, a wood-burning fire and large bay windows offering superb views of the surrounding natural wilderness. The Chilean architect Felipe Assadi chose materials that would reconcile luxury and eco-responsibility: the lodges are built on wooden stilts and keep their environmental impact to a minimum. This is just one of the reasons why Awasi has been awarded carbon neutrality certification.
3— Head in the clouds
Château de Valmer, La Croix-Valmer, France
Where’s the beach? Right here! Simply follow the tall palm trees lining the path. Want to move up in the world? Look no further. Rather than a room or suite, simply choose one of the huts perched high within the vineyards or the property’s organic vegetable gardens, which span several hectares. The Cabane des Écureuils is a cozy nest perfect for couples. It rises eight meters from the ground, atop a century-old oak tree. The Cabane des Lapins is a family suite three meters from the ground with a living room, a master bedroom and a children’s bedroom with bunk beds. The view of the Provençal countryside easily compensates for the absence of a television.
4— Exploring the Maasai territories
Great Plains Mara, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Managed by Great Plains Conservation, Mara Plains Camp and Mara Nyika Camp offer eleven luxury tents and suites in private conservancies. Nestled in lush vegetation, erected on stilts and with suspended wooden terraces, these refined tents come with burnished leather armchairs and old chests. Mara Plains is surrounded by the meander of the Ntiakitiak stream, and fourteen thousand hectares if the Olare Motogori Conservancy. Mara Nyika is surrounded by twenty thousand hectares of the Naboisho Conservancy. Dereck Joubert, president of Great Plains Conservation and the Great Plains Foundation, photographer for National Geographic and creator of these camps, donates some of the profits to support Maasai populations on their land. The safaris give visitors an opportunity to observe some of the most abundant fauna in East Africa, including the "big five": lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo.
5— Walk through the desert steppe
SUJÁN JAWAI, Bisalpur, India
SUJÁN JAWAI Camp shares this pastoral landscape with its guests where shepherds' slender bodies lead their sheep. Its ten tents, constructed using canvas, stainless steel and leather, are a mix of sophistication and ecology and open onto these limitless spaces without leaving so much as a footprint. Walking for a few hours alongside a Rabari and his herd; watching leopards cohabiting peacefully with flamingos; rejoicing each evening at the wondrous fiery colors in the sky: these experiences create memories that last forever, with the backdrop of authentic India, far from the hustle and bustle of crowded cities.
6— Amphibians and their love songs
La Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil, France
In La Madelaine-sous-Montreuil on the Côte d’Opale, where the pearly earth merges with the vast open sky, the word “territoire” dominates, inspires and drives the work of two-starred Michelin chef Alexandre Gauthier. Giving his guests a literal and figurative taste of the surrounding area, he invites them to stay in one of eight huts, which are similar to the blinds in which hunters keep an eye out for waterfowl. From plates made up of produce that has been hunted, gathered or fished locally, to the small houses disturbed only by the songs of frogs and toads, which resonate gloriously during the mating season from April to June, La Grenouillère performs a rural symphony in perfect harmony with its surroundings.
7— At one with nature
Imanta Punta de Mita, Higuera Blanca, Mexico
A smattering of rough stone villas blend into their environment between the Pacific Ocean and the rainforest. With an upscale boutique hotel offering infinity pools, a spa and two restaurants that give pride of place to organic and local produce, Imanta Punta de Mita is above all a sanctuary that respects fauna and flora. The location is a peaceful refuge on the edge of the Sierra de Vallejo biosphere reserve. From December to March visitors can marvel at the spectacle of humpback whales leading their young before heading out to sea. La Casa del Arbol, a three-story pine-wood house nestled in the jungle, has its own private beach.
8— Reading the footprints of a leopard
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala, Sri Lanka
The twenty-eight cocoon-like tents of the Wild Coast Tented Lodge mark the border of Yala National Park and form the shape of a leopard’s paw in tribute to the region’s signature animal. Between unspoiled jungle and pristine sandy beaches along the blue waters of the Indian Ocean, these quirky suites in cream-colored stretched canvas feature vaulted ceilings, four-poster beds and freestanding brass bathtubs, and are decorated in colonial expedition style. The facades and outdoor terraces look out over the landscape and are perfect for early morning birdwatching. Some have a private pool, others include an adjoining tent for children.
9— Wandering around unspoiled Montana
Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, USA
Its wooden cabins with artisanal interiors, nestled among coniferous forests, mountains and rivers, make Triple Creek seem like the perfect location for a Sergio Leone western. The ranch ensures its visitors enjoy a hundred per cent natural stay and has a range of seasonal activities on offer. Starting in the spring, guests can go horseback riding through wild meadows in the company of cowboys and their herds. Fishing enthusiasts can get tips from an expert on tickling trout and salmon in local rivers and streams. During winter, visitors can whizz down the ski slopes of the Rocky Mountains or enjoy a dog-sled ride along frozen roads. Each of its twenty-five unique cottages has large windows looking out onto nature. A wood-burning fireplace creates a warm and cozy atmosphere on winter evenings, giving guests a chance to share stories of the exciting adventures they have had during the day.
Discover our glamping spots in North America.
10— Count the stars from your bed
L’Albereta, Erbusco, Italy
Escape to a country house on Lake Iseo, Italy, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles deliciously with the Mediterranean scents emanating from the kitchens. The estates of major wine-growing families are dotted around the area, most of whom produce their wines biodynamically and organize tastings and visits to their cellars for the residents of L’Albereta. The unique “Cabriolet” suite has a ceiling that opens onto the stars, delivering the night sky to you on a platter, so you can connect with the universe and fall asleep with the Milky Way watching over you.
Discover more Relais & Châteaux properties in communion with nature in the four corners of the globe : www.relaischateaux.com/us/inspire-me/away-from-it-all