Remember a time when you could go on vacation and really be on vacation -- with no phone calls, no emails, no Tweets, status updates, or pokes? No?
All our high-tech gadgets are wonderful but they often keep us tethered to the world when what we really want -- and need -- is a great escape.
Here are five properties that offer truly off-the-grid vacations without sacrificing comfort and style. So step away from the keyboard. Power down your phone. It's easy to #getunplugged.
Dunton Hot Springs is a small and exclusive resort nestled deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies, near Telluride. This restored ghost town features original 19th-century hand-hewn log cabins that have been transformed into 12 luxury accommodations with unique artifacts and furnishings. Summer activities include fly fishing, hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking, rock climbing, rafting, photography classes and more. Prices include meals featuring local organic foods, with fine wines to match. Your cell phone most likely won't work, though there is wi-fi access in each room. The best way to avoid all outside communication? Get a massage and then soak in one of six natural hot springs under an edgeless sky. (Dunton Hot Springs, 877-228-4674; http://www.duntonhotsprings.com/ Winter/Spring rates from $550; Summer/Fall rates from $850)
Set in the uttermost south of Chile, the Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa is perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Sarmiento and the mountain peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, the centerpiece of Chilean Patagonia and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site since 1978. After exploring the great outdoors -- via horseback rides across the Patagonian steppe and guided mountain hikes -- relax in the great indoor spa that features a swimming pool with jets and cascades, an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, plus massage and meditation areas. Recently closed for the southern hemisphere winter; make your reservations for the next spring season. (Tierra Patagonia Hotel and Spa, 800-829-5325, http://www.tierrapatagonia.com; minimum 3-night stay for 2 guests $1,950 includes all meals, daily excursions, open bar of house drinks and wines, and use of spa facilities.)
Talk about remote. The only way to get to the nine cabins of Nimmo Bay Resort is by helicopter, seaplane or boat. Located at the base of Mt.Stevens in the middle of the Great Bear Rainforest, the resort is nestled in a small ocean bay on the mainland coast of northern British Columbia, Canada. It is the only development in the area and does not have road access. Beginning in May 2012 and running until Mid-July, the resort is offering Wellness Retreats with a focus on health, yoga, wilderness adventures and their signature helicopter adventures. From Mid-July to the end of October, the resort emphasizes helicopter fishing, helicopter adventures, and guided wilderness tours including bear watching, whale watching. a waterfall boat tour, kayak day trips, hiking, and more. Nimmo Bay Resort exists completely off the power grid and for nine months out of the year runs on clean hydro energy produced from their on-site waterfall. (Nimmo Bay, 800-837-4354; http://www.nimmobay.com/ from $895 per person, per day)
Gstaad Palace offers something far off the beaten path: the Walig Hut, a one-of-a-kind-experience in the Swiss Alps. Located over 5,000 feet up in the picturesque valleys of Gstaad and Saanenland, this hut, built in 1786 and one of only a few remaining today, was once home to local farmers as a summer stay when shepherding cattle. Bought by Gstaad Palace, it was completely restored but not completely modernized to retain its rustic authenticity and charm. The cozy hut offers views of the Alps and includes a kitchen, separate dining area and a bedroom with a large double bed. The hut features solar powered electric lighting, running water (cold), a log fire and a traditional wood burning stove and bathroom. (Walig Hut, +41-33-748-5000, http://www.palace.ch/en/rooms-suites/walig-hut/ Alpine night for 2 adults including a 3-course dinner from $1,716)
To truly escape, spend a week at one of 13 solar-powered cabins set in 65,000 acres of protected wilderness in Canada. At the Fairmont Kenauk at Le Chateau Montebello, you can hunt, fish, canoe and hike from your own secluded hide-away. There's no cell phone service or landlines, however guests can communicate with the entrance gate using walkie-talkies, and there's a lakeside pay phone. Each one- to six-bedroom structure is equipped with propane lights, stove, furnace, hot water tank, and solar panels to power a high efficiency refrigerator and water pump. The cabins have five-star chalet ratings from the Ministry of Tourism, including Le Labo toiletries, and, if you desire, a chef will arrive to prepare any fish you catch. (Fairmont Kenauk at Le Château Montebello Resort, 800-257-7544, http://www.fairmont.com/kenauk, from $209)
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