What many of the best hotels in the world offer is the chance to be utterly secluded. And, with Valentine’s Day coming up, a romantic secluded retreat could be just what the doctor (or marriage counselor) ordered. There are different types of seclusion, though, so it’s important to consider your ideal notion of it. Here are a few elements to consider:
* A remote setting
How great is it when you can achieve seclusion without actually having to fly or drive for an entire day! My husband once surprised me with a romantic overnight stay at East Brother Light Station, a lighthouse that’s a tiny B&B on an island in San Francisco Bay. It’s only a 30-minute drive from San Francisco, yet most locals have no idea the island is even there…or that you can sleep on it. Some of these ten wonderfully secluded hotels are closer than you might think. The Hotel Pilatus-Kulm, a mountaintop aerie in Switzerland, is just a half-hour drive from Lucerne and is accessible by train and bus too.
Your own private plunge pool might sound divine, but is complete solitude really what you want? In many foreign places, I’ve found that the downside to secluded accommodations is that you may not get to meet the locals. Last year I stayed in a 12-room retreat in rural Morocco, Dar Ahlam, that delivers an experience so private that there is actually no communal restaurant. Each meal is served privately, in a surprise spot, either al fresco somewhere in one of the gardens, or in a hidden alcove inside the restored kasbah that is the hotel’s main building. Fortunately, though, you do get to meet the locals, as the hotel is set on an organic farm and you can meet the people who are picking olives, making bread, and otherwise helping to grow the food you eat.
* Vast space
Sometimes seclusion means that feeling of vast empty space all to yourself. At Fogo Island Inn, on an isle off the northern coast of Newfoundland, when you look out through the floor-to-ceiling glass of your room, you see nothing but immense ocean, unfolding all the way to Greenland. That sort of panoramic view—one where you see no other guest rooms or guests at all—represents another unusual (and delightful) version of seclusion.
For those of us who live in big cities in particular, sometimes what brings us the greatest sense of serenity is silence. In Morocco I spent a night in Dar Ahlam’s desert encampment, in the most remote part of Morocco, a six-hour drive from the hotel. There was nothing but sand dunes as far as the eye can see (if you don’t believe me, check out my video), and at night there was not a sound in the world. Desert is particularly conducive to extreme silence, as ocean or jungle can bring crashing waves or noisy wildlife.
* Being unplugged
You say you want to get away from humanity…but do you really want to unplug entirely? Sometimes we just can’t give up our Internet… and, in my experience, hotels where you can be isolated yet also count on reliable high-functioning Wi-Fi are all too rare. Rosewood Mayakoba (a 40-minute drive from the Cancun airport) is a notable example of a place where you could spend all day every day in your plunge pool on your private terrace, seeing nobody, yet always have a speedy Wi-Fi connection.
You’ll find more travel advice from Wendy at WendyPerrin.com.