Secluded.Remote. Tranquil. Islands are often hailed as the
ultimate escape. Yet it doesn't need repeating that a geographical
location doesn't always dictate our mentality - and a
life-altering, clandestine retreat needn't always be surrounded by
an expanse of water.
"Fewer possessions, more experiences," says Sina Murphy Chan,
the co-founder of Off Grid Hideaways. It was while
juggling the demands of a fast-paced career and raising a young
family that this businesswoman realised that she needed to take
stock. Brought together with the interior designer Flavia Kämpf
Spahr by shared passions for travel, design and yoga,
the pair have curated wild getaways that invite worn-out visitors
to press pause on their hectic world.
Whether a reclaimed fishing hut nestled in a nature reserve or a
contemporary cabin in the foothills of the Rockies, each Off Grid
Hideaway combines a low-impact ethos with high-impact design. This
is luxury, redefined. Style, sustainability and serenity form a
holy trinity in every location. Guests are encouraged to adjust to
a slower pace of life, to embrace the quiet season and to
disconnect - the essential precursor to reconnecting. The digital
detox reigns supreme. High-tech gadgets are out and creature
comforts - coffee machines, toasters and binoculars - are in. Even
the oh-so-sacred wifi is often only available on request.
"Off Grid Hideaways strip away the noise," Sina continues.
"These are escapes for people who want to break free from daily
life. It's a chance to connect with what really matters."
Best for: explosive scenery
With a backdrop of Andean foothills and the Valle Las Trancas at
its feet, this remarkable mountain refuge is a fine example of
modern alpine architecture. The timber-clad hideaway seemingly
floats over the forest floor, offering an eagle-eyed view of
snow-capped volcanoes. Within, the retreat takes guests back to
nature with hand-hewn furniture and vintage pieces sourced from the
owner's travels. Ski,
ride along mountain-bike trails and explore a forest teeming with
fauna before sinking down by the wood-burning stove to share tales
of trails conquered.
Tangalle I and II
Best for: tropical tranquillity
With unrivalled views over Mawella Beach, a pristine stretch
Lanka's unspoiled south-eastern coast, these former fishermen's
houses are a tropical oasis. Lush jungle creeps down to dip its
toes in the bay's languid waters, where candy-coloured catamarans
bob and dip on their daily fishing forays. In the wake of the 2004
tsunami, these light and airy terracotta-roofed shelters were
rebuilt in a way that is stylish and respects the environment.
Tangalle is home to temples that are only a tuk-tuk ride away as
well as some of the coast's best surf breaks.
Best for: the simple life
Nestled among rolling pastures studded with oak trees, this
timeless farmhouse offers a contemporary reimagining of traditional
Alentejan culture. It's all seamless white walls, warm clay
flooring, graceful arches and natural textiles. Outside, a
sloped-shore infinity pool mirrors the endless sky. Lakes, trees
and wildlife are your only neighbours - you won't see another soul
for miles. Saddle up for sunset horse rides and fish for your own
supper before dining under a canopy of stars. Life here is lived by
the rhythm of the seasons, not the ticking of the seconds.
Best for: environmental design
This contemporary cabin offers a masterclass in low-impact
living. Peering out over high plains, pine forests and the Rocky
Mountains, the building is constructed from only organic, reclaimed
and recyclable materials. Its stripped-back interiors of untreated
wood, tiles and steel allow the great outdoors to take centre
stage. Spot rare wildlife, hike the ridgetops and ride the
white-water rapids. As dusk falls, press pause and settle in as you
dine on locally grown produce and chat to your host, the
architectural expert Andrew Michler, over a craft beer.
Best for: channelling your inner Viking
Appearing to sprout from the rocks themselves, a fisherman's
cottage stands in the footprints of the hardy hunter-gatherers who
have inhabited this remote island for millennia. Its pine cladding
is camouflage among the shore's wind-blasted trees. Inside,
Scandi interiors are illuminated by light flooding in through
picture windows that gaze out over rugged mountains. Kayak among
the coves nearby as wildflowers bloom in the warmer months. Come
winter, when many islanders shut up shop, feed your soul by the
warmth of the hearth.
Best for: an antidote to modern life
Set among rice paddies, sand dunes and fishing wharves, these
rustic wooden cabins are like a reset button for the soul.
Constructed out of raw, reclaimed timber, they offer a chance to
forge a connection with nature. The back-to-basics interiors here
inspire sensory calm. Take an open-air shower as you look out over
the waterways threading through the Sado Estuary. In summer, nearby
Comporta thrums with bohemian life. Mild winters set the scene
for evenings savouring fresh fish and local vinho verde as the sun
dips below the horizon.