Think you’re ready for check-in? You might need to add scuba gear or hiking boots to your packing list before heading to the front desk. Embrace exhilarating outdoor pursuits and spectacular scenery in these rugged getaways. These accommodations blend adventure, comfort, and a one-of-a-kind experience into a stay you'll remember for the rest of your life.
Bhutan is one of the least visited and highest altitude countries in the world, completely unique and naturally beautiful. Como, an Asian-based hotel operator has two sister UMA properties in Bhutan. The lodges are five hours apart in the Paro and Punakha Valleys, with 5, 7 and 10-day Himalayan Explorer packages split between them. They offer a wide variety of guided hiking, biking and trekking, including visits to the famous high-altitude monasteries clinging precipitously to Bhutan’s cliff faces.
The Atacama Desert is the driest place on earth, a high rock plateau and amazing landscape of lava fields, rock and salt lakes. The Tierra Atacama is a luxury, architect designed hotel. It would be easy to relax here, except for the huge variety of included, guided half and full day excursions, from short hikes and mountain bike tours to very high-altitude volcano treks. There is also horseback riding and night trekking, and the area is one of the top places on earth for stargazing.
Famous as one of the world’s best boutique golf resorts, and justly so, with a stunning and little used cliff top course ranked in the World’s Top 100. With an amazing 6,000-acre property overlooking a National Park, all for just 22 rooms, set in large and very well appointed cottages. The resort is so big it has three beaches and many adventure activities. Nearby, the Bay of Island National Park and world-class Scuba diving, including the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior, the famed Greenpeace ship sunk by French commandos.
Set at the foot of a towering volcano and surrounded by hot springs, the ION was specifically designed in very green and award winning architectural fashion to showcase Iceland’s natural wonders and great outdoors. The ION have partnered with several topnotch local companies to offer guided horseback tours, rafting, kayaking, and glacier tours with ice climbing instruction. Inside, the very contemporary design hotel features sleek, well-appointed rooms, an excellent restaurant focused on ultra-fresh and local ingredients, and a bar designed to showcase the Northern Lights.
Modern architecture meets a remote 18th century fishing village on the rocky shores of Newfoundland’s Joe Batt’s Arm at this 29-room all-suite escapist fantasy. Fogo Island is remote and rugged and activities vary dramatically by time and weather, but the main focus is on hikes and walks with a network of hiking trails spanning over 120-miles of ancient and empty footpaths across the island. In late fall the hotel is a perfect spot for viewing the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.
Even by the lofty natural beauty standards of Australia, the island of Tasmania is epic and this property sits on the idyllic Freycinet Peninsula, a National Park wrapping around Wineglass Bay. Hiking is the main attraction and also partner outfitters offering longer off-site excursions, many of them involving one way sea plane transfers. All rooms are luxury suites and the fine dining focuses on ultra-local dishes.
The first US hotel built specifically for cycling enthusiasts, the Domestique is the work of pro cycling’s most famous domestique, 16-time Tour de France finisher George Hincapie. The 13-room property sits on 29-acres, including vineyards, and is very Mediterranean, built around a central pool, and would not be out of place in Tuscany or Provence. It includes an on-site bicycle maintenance shop and rental fleet of road and mountain bikes from very high-end Swiss manufacturer BMC. While the main appeal is for cyclists, there is plenty for other active travelers to enjoy.
Located on a remote coastal stretch of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot is a unique “eco-safari” style resort that can only be reached by boat or seaplane, adding to its mystique. Lodging is in canvas safari-style luxury tents, just 20 of them, and if you haven’t slept in a tent with radiant floor bathroom heat you have not experienced this kind of “glamping.” Riding and horsemanship are the featured pursuits including galloping. There is also white water and flatwater kayaking with views of bears, whales and porpoises and plenty of hiking.
A true Bucket List destination, Easter Island is one of the most fascinating, unique and memorable places on earth. Nothing else on the island remotely compares to the Explora lodge, which has just 30 rooms and a private staff of expert local guides offering a variety of hikes, bike rides and fishing trips, half or full day, each for no more than eight guests. While the vast majority of tourists see Easter Island from the inside of a van on the loop road, Explora guests can hike hours to remote and spectacular spots almost no one else ever sees.
Set on a gorgeous lake below the rock horns of the iconic Torres del Paine massif in one of the most famously beautiful places on earth. Patagonia is a flagship property with highly sustainable 49-room lodge which is deceptively luxurious and a first rate restaurant that accompanies all meals with a carefully chosen list of Chilean wines. Options include more than 50 different half and full day hikes and horseback trips, exploring a wide range of diverse landscapes within the Torres del Paine National Park, including the opportunity to return from hikes by boat and get close to calving glaciers.