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In our mile-a-minute world, we’re craving a connection that can’t be measured in bars on our phones. Featuring Scotland’s rugged coast, sun-kissed Caribbean sands and Himalayan retreats, this is the ultimate guide to escaping the grind.
1. Argyll, Scotland
Dotted with sparkling sea lochs and picturesque villages, Argyll’s Secret Coast is kept that way for a reason. Experience true JOMO (joy of missing out) as you delve into the Scottish hinterlands, exploring forests, hiking hills and soaking up romantic views across Loch Fyne and the hills of Kintyre.
Where to stay: Perched on Islay, one of the Inner Hebrides islands, Machrie Hotel & Golf Links offers restored glamour paired with striking views of peat plains, the Mull of Oa or the glistening Atlantic.
2. Lamu, Kenya
A recluse’s dream come true, Lamu is a historic Unesco World Heritage site in Kenya. Home to wandering donkeys and bobbing dhow boats, this Swahili town is the place to amble down side streets and soak up the laid-back atmosphere. For a true escape, come for the annual yoga festival.
Where to stay: Retreat to the tranquil realms of Ocean Spa Lodge, where deserted beaches and spacious suites offer the idyllic hideaway. Don’t miss the spa at this wellness-focused retreat; it specialises in therapies based on ancient East African relaxation methods.
3. Flinders Island, Tasmania
On the eastern edge of Bass Strait, this edenic island is sparsely populated with rural communities and fishing villages. Spend days here getting back to nature; bushwalk through lush greenery, mountain bike up rugged cliffs or while away the hours fly-fishing.
Where to stay: Disappear into island life at Flinders Island Gourmet Retreat at Cooma House, where the temptation to spend all day on the beach is curbed only by the lure of cooking courses. Choose between mastering the basics or a speciality course on how to utilise garden produce.
4. Svalbard, Norway
If a trip with limited signal and WiFi-less properties is what you’re searching for, Svalbard is the place to go. This dramatic archipelago is filled with powdered peaks and icy glaciers. Light here is never-ending in summer months, and non-existent come winter. With a polar bear population which rivals that of people, this is a land of mystical fairy tales and epic legends.
Where to stay: Located in Haugen with views over Longyearbyen and the Lars and Longyear Glaciers, Funken Lodge offers a tranquil base for an Arctic adventure. Curl up by the fire until the early hours before pulling on several woollen layers and heading outside to try and catch a glimpse of the shimmering Northern Lights.
5. Nevis, Caribbean
The lesser-visited half of the Caribbean’s Saint Kitts and Nevis, this is the place to come during off-season to experience palm-fringed beaches all to yourself and restaurants without queues. During the day, take a boat out to Booby High Shoals to dive amid stingrays, sea turtles and colourful fish – don’t be tempted to bring your phone, you won’t be needing it under the waves.
Where to stay: Avoid any unwanted company by staying at Paradise Beach’s Ocean Villa. On a 10-acre estate, the four-bedroom villa is Balinese-inspired, thatch-roofed and comes with a tropical private garden, terrace and pool.
6. Jackson, Wyoming
It’s small wonder that the Jackson Hole valley is gradually becoming a popular holiday destination. Stay on the outskirts for easy access to the towering Grand Teton National Park and the magnificent Gros Ventre Range. Spend days strolling along streams, hiking and keeping one eye open for roaming grizzly bears.
Where to stay: After a day trekking through Wyoming terrain, return to Caldera House for a soak in the infinity-edge hot tub overlooking the valley, or a steam in the cedarwood sauna.
7. Trancoso, Brazil
Once a small fishing village, Trancoso now offers a few more contemporary comforts while maintaining a down-to-earth feel with famed beaches and tranquil sunsets. Switch on your OOO, pack those books that have been gathering dust on your nightstand and don’t look back.
Where to stay: Stay at Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa for oh-so-stylish design paired with a laid-back atmosphere and a sustainable focus.
8. Almora, Uttarakhand, Himalayas
Deep within the Himalayas, the town of Almora sits 1,638m above sea level amid dwindling pines and ancient oaks. Come to breathe in fresh, unpolluted mountain air against snow-capped peaks and rejoice in true solitude.
Where to stay: Designed as an homage to the mountains, The Kumaon hotel features floor-to-ceiling windows providing mesmerising views of Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain, while interiors use local materials such as fly-ash bricks, indigenous pinewood and linen woven nearby to create a minimalist aesthetic. Sip a coffee while soaking up a vista of the pine-covered valley below.
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