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Perched on isolated summits and in sunken valleys, we’ve scoured the globe to find some of the coolest cabins around. It’s time to go entirely off grid, power down and disconnect in some of the cosiest lodgings imaginable.
Talkeetna Moutains, Alaska
Nestled deep in the Talkeetna Mountains, The Hatcher Pass Lodge (and its nine rustic cabins) are blanketed in snow. Hand-built huts have no internet, television or other modern luxuries. Despite the simple surroundings, the main kitchen serves up hearty meals of fondue, smoked halibut and homemade soups to rejuvenate weary wanderers. Look heavenward at night when the cloudless night sky reveals the dancing aurora borealis.
Lake Louise, Canada
Constructed in 1922, the Storm Mountain Lodge and Cabins are situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Home to Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake, the reflective waters serve as a foreground to a seemingly endless sequence of snow-topped peaks. In the morning, hike to Lake Louise with a parcel of freshly baked scones and sandwiches in your rucksack. On your return, retreat to your alpine hideaway for a long soak in the oversized claw-footed bathtub.
Austrian Alps, Austria
Made almost entirely of larch wood, Ufogel cabin is pitched in the heights of picturesque Lienz Dolomites. Designed by Austrian architect Peter Jungmann, the unusual structure – built on stilts to give it an appearance of floating – aims to blur the boundaries between inside and out. A panoramic window guides the eye up to the impressive Val Pusteria mountain peaks, while inside the deceptively spacious 45 square-metre cabin boasts a dining room with under-floor heating.
Dolomite Moutains, Italy
At an altitude of 6,000ft, the Starlight Room in the Dolomite Mountains is only accessible by snowmobile. Its remote location makes for prime star-gazing and with breakfast and dinner delivered straight to your door there’s little to distract from the scenic surroundings. At dawn and dusk, watch as the peaks in the Dolomites take on a pinky red colour, which gradually turns into violet in a phenomenon known as “enrosadira”.
This mystical boathouse placed in the centre of the Obersee riverbanks requires a bit of effort to reach. Take a boat across the Königsee to Sale, and from there follow the hiking trail onwards towards the Obersee and Röthbachfal. You can’t stay overnight so it’s best to combine a visit to the remote cabin with a hike to Röthbachfall, Germany’s highest waterfall. Listen for cowbells as livestock wander freely throughout the mountains.
The Faroe Islands bombard its visitors with saccharinely sweet scenes and Saksun, a village of only 30 inhabitants, is no exception. Ensuring total privacy from the outside world with unmatchable views, only a smatter of houses are available to rent in the summer, with sheep roaming the surrounding grassland. This Air BnB sleeps six and offers views across the misty mountains.
Often compared to the witches cabin in Hansel and Gretel, this roughly cut wooden lodge (complete with rickety chimney) looks wholly uninviting. But inside the chalet, designed by Swiss architect Rapin Saiz, is brimming with unique features and plenty of space over three floors. The cosy quarters are clad entirely in oak panels with peekaboo windows that flood the space with natural light.
New Cuyama, California
Just two hours from Los Angeles is Blue Sky Center, an area aimed at regenerating the economy and communities of the desert town of New Cuyama. Within this network are a series of accommodation options, the most impressive of which are designed by father-daughter duo Jeff Shelton and Mattie Shelton. Their bohemian huts, known as Shelton Huts, are steel-frame structures, simply furnished with white covers and glass fronts. Come nightfall, the dotted huts illuminate Blue Sky Centre’s central living quarters.
Surrounded by wilderness, this family-run eco-retreat dramatically alters from winter through to spring, with waterskiing and canoeing replacing cross-country skiing as soon as the temperatures rise. Regardless of season, some activities are evergreen; toasting marshmallows on your private fire pit or taking a dip in the hot tub overlooking the south shore of Falcon Lake are year-round traditions here.
Lake Kaniere Scenic Reserve, New Zealand
Part of a community initiative, this off-grid cabin is the brainchild of Eddie Newman and Julie Bradshaw. Originally built in 1962, the isolated hut relies on the local community to clear its access tracks and is free to stay in, operated on a first come, first serve basis. It is a steep climb up from Lake Kaniere, Hokitika (about four hours) but the views are fantastic.
Velebit Mountain, Croatia
Hidden in the Velebit Mountain resort, this hiking shelter is better suited for those who like to walk on the wild side. Built by Croatian architect Ivan Juretć to provide adventurers with somewhere to lay their weary heads after navigating the Paklencia National Parks, the cabin is furnished with the bare necessities; bed, benches and a wood-burning stove.
Virginia Woolfe’s To The Lighthouse was notionally set here and the Isle of Skye’s jagged coastlines and the shimmering Loch Dunvegan make a great case for an impromptu weekend writing retreat. A simple wooden plaque is the only signpost for Black Shed, situated on the north of the mountain – so bring well-researched directions. Once you arrive, cosy up by the burning stove as you watch thunderous storms roll in from sea.
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