The Hard Way

Remote Hotels That Reward a Long Journey

Estancia Cristina
Estancia Cristina — Patagonia, Argentina

It can require a long, complex journey to reach these far-flung hotels, but the fantastic landscapes and otherworldly ambience of their locations make the payoff immeasurable.

As children, we used our imaginations to create worlds of joy and wonder. We don’t do that nearly enough as adults. We do something better: we travel. Nothing inspires feelings of childlike amazement more than finally arriving to a far-flung destination you’d always dreamt of visiting. Those are the moments we live for, and they’re the kind of moments this collection of hotels aims to provide. If this isn’t where the sidewalk ends, it’s close enough.

Explora Rapa Nui

Easter Island, Chile

Explora Rapa Nui - boutique hotel in Easter Island

Easter Island is some 2,237 miles from the American continent, and a hefty five-hour flight from the closest airports in Santiago and Tahiti. Explora Rapa Nui is well worth the trek, though, melding raw architectural materials with a hyper-contemporary, open-plan layout against some truly outstanding views. But don’t come just for the hotel — rumor has it the island also hosts a few sites of modest archaeological interest.


Paro, Bhutan

Amankora - boutique hotel in Paro

As if it weren’t already difficult enough to visit, Bhutan strictly limits the number of tourists admitted in an effort to protect its pristine natural environment and ancient Bhutanese culture. All the better for you if you can make the guest list. And if you can, you should stay at Amankora, a series of lodges spread across the valleys of central and western Bhutan — with locations in the extra-remote locales of Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang.

Estancia Cristina

El Calafate, Argentina

Estancia Cristina - boutique hotel in Patagonia

If you’re going to embark on a Patagonian trek, you may as well get deep in it. From the already remote outpost of El Calafate, you board a small boat for a three-hour ride across the deep blue Lago Argentino and up into its long glacial fingers, ringed by impossibly tall peaks. When finally you arrive at Estancia Cristina you’ll feel — with some justification — as though you’ve arrived in another world entirely.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Vanua Levu Island, Fiji

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort - boutique hotel in Vanua Levu Island

Fiji is far from being a hidden gem, but that doesn’t make it any less of a challenge to get there. It is, after all, a cluster of small islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. But if there’s a good excuse to make the long flight, aside from the warm blue seas, coral reefs, and soft sandy beaches, it’s the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, where the son of Jacques has created the ultimate island resort idyll.

The Kumaon

Himalayas, India

The Kumaon - boutique hotel in Himalayas

That the Kumaon even exists is almost unbelievable. High among the Indian Himalayas, nine hours by automobile from Delhi, it takes the better part of a day to get here. When the owners found it, no roads led to the site. A simple log cabin would have been challenging enough to construct. The Kumaon is no log cabin. It is a work of hotel art, a feat of tropical modernism superimposed on a mountaintop almost entirely by hand.


Gifu, Japan

Wanosato - boutique hotel in Gifu

Arriving at Wanosato feels nothing less than magical. You ascend by train through the mountains to the town of Takayama, a settlement that took shape in the 16th century and remained, for many years, wonderfully isolated due to its high elevation and distance from Japan’s population centers. That feeling is only amplified at the 160-year-old ryokan itself, folded as it is into the forest well outside of town.

Longitude 131

Yulara, Australia

Longitude 131 - boutique hotel in Yulara

Longitude 131° refers to the precise east-west location of Uluru, the rust-colored monolith and primary attraction in Australia’s remote Red Centre. Not quite the only lodging within sight of this popular tourist destination, Longitude 131° is the most luxurious, and offers the best view — each of the tent-like guest cabins looks through full-length windows across six miles of desert at the thousand-foot-high rock.


Nordskot, Norway

Manshausen - boutique hotel in Nordskot

Even by Norwegian standards, Manshausen Island is out there. This island in the Steigen Archipelago was once a traders’ outpost, and the hotel’s 1880s-vintage main house is a relic of this era. But the sea cabins are quite a bit newer. These pared-down larchwood-and-glass structures perch right at the water’s edge, affording vertiginous views through full-length windows from living rooms furnished with mid-century reproduction furniture.

Six Senses Zil Pasyon

Felicite, Seychelles

Six Senses Zil Pasyon - boutique hotel in Seychelles

Deep into the Indian Ocean, on a private island in the Seychelles called Félicité, you’ll find Six Senses Zil Pasyon. And while there’s not a bad island in the Seychelles, they’re not all as pristinely beautiful as this. 652 acres of dramatic elevations and virgin forests are home to just 30 extraordinarily luxe timber villas, each of which includes a sundeck and an infinity plunge pool among its many high-end comforts.

Fogo Island Inn

Newfoundland, Canada

Fogo Island Inn - boutique hotel in Newfoundland

Perhaps the only thing stopping the Fogo Island Inn from becoming the most famous high-design luxury hotel in the world is its far-flung location, on a tiny island off the coast of Newfoundland, closer to Greenland than to Montreal or New York. Of course, its remoteness is key to its appeal, along with its architecture, an ultra-modern reinterpretation of traditional, utilitarian Maritimes architecture.

Aurora Villa

Fairbanks, Alaska

Aurora Villa - boutique hotel in Alaska

The word “aurora” in Aurora Villa is entirely literal. Here, at the end of a country road a half-hour from Fairbanks, in the Alaskan interior, the Northern Lights are a regular feature of the night sky. Aurora Villa’s Nordic-style minimalism is, in some ways, incongruously stylish in a place where rustic lodges are the norm — but at this latitude, it stands under the same night sky as Iceland and northern Scandinavia.

Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa

Ushuaia, Argentina

Los Cauquenes Resort & Spa - boutique hotel in Ushuaia

Among the many places that claim to be “the end of the world,” the Tierra del Fuego, at Argentina’s extreme southern end, might have the strongest case. It’s here, on the Beagle Channel just outside of Ushuaia, within sailing distance of Antarctica, that you’ll find Los Cauquenes — a high-end lodge and spa surrounded by a dramatic landscape that few other contenders for the title “most remote resort” can match.

Bay of Many Coves Resort

Arthur’s Bay, New Zealand

Bay of Many Coves Resort - boutique hotel in Arthur's Bay

We know that New Zealand is home to almost 5 million people, and that many of them live within hours of Bay of Many Coves. But for the other 7,595,000,000 of us, it’s a bit of a trek, so it’s fitting they’d have a hotel on this list. Especially this particular hotel, which requires a few final exciting steps to reach its scenic, serene expanse — there are no roads in, so your arrival comes via helicopter, seaplane or ferry.

El Cosmico

Marfa, Texas

El Cosmico - boutique hotel in Marfa

Marfa is a rare place — hundreds of miles from anything, on the way to nothing — the tiny desert town turned into an uber-fashionable destination for a new generation of American road trippers. As we noted a few years back, a good deal of the popularity can be put down to El Cosmico, a groundbreaking collection of airstream trailers, teepees, tents, and yurts.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Nizwa, Oman

Alila Jabal Akhdar - boutique hotel in Nizwa

It requires some effort to get to Alila Jabal Akhdar, and if you’ve read this far, you’ll know that’s exactly the appeal. Located in a remote corner of the Middle East, in Oman’s Al Hajar mountain range, this is not just a boutique hotel with serious design chops: it’s an oasis, secluded and self-contained, with a spectacular spa and an infinity pool that’s perfectly placed for drinking in views of the stark landscape.


Mark Fedeli is the hotel marketing and editorial director for Tablet and Michelin Guide. He’s been with Tablet since 2006, and he thinks you should subscribe to our newsletter.