Where do you go when you want to get away from it all? How about one of these 10 wild nature retreats with million-dollar views?
Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Tanzania
Chole Mjini bills itself as a "castaway fantasy." Located on remote Chole Island in Tanzania, the hotel is based in the heart of the Mafia Island Marine Park. The resort is private and secluded and offers seven tree houses for guests. Each tree house is open to nature and has a private bathing area with an outdoor shower (with hot water), and some have the luxury of a king-sized bed. Each tree house has waterfront views. Be prepared, though: This is truly an eco-conscious resort—which means that most of the tree houses have their own drop toilets, too.
Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico
Experience what it's like to live off the grid in Taos, New Mexico, with a stay at Earthship Biotecture. Each unit is fully furnished and completely sustainable—yet still has Wi-Fi and TVs with Netflix. These green rentals produce their own electricity through solar and wind energy and were built using natural and recycled materials. Rain water is collected and used for drinking and showering, and food is grown around the Earthship as well. Rentals range from the Studio Earthship with one king bed and a full kitchen for $145 per night to the Euro Earthship with three bedrooms and two bathrooms from $200 per night.
Longitude 131, Uluru, Australia
Just 15 tents are sprawled out in the red sand dune near Australia's famous Uluru. (And although these are called tents, the accommodations are more like freestanding luxury hotel rooms with all the modern conveniences, including air-conditioning.) You can't get any closer to nature without actually being outside—all of the tents at Longitude 131 have one-way privacy films that give guests uninterrupted views of Uluru without letting anyone else peer in. You'll be ideally situated to explore the incredible flora and fauna within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where there are more than 416 species of native plants, 21 species of native mammals, 178 species of birds, and 73 species of reptiles.
EcoCamp, Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia
Come to EcoCamp for Torres del Paine National Park's very first sustainable accommodations. EcoCamp is made up of 25 domes for sleeping and three large domes for community events (including one with a restaurant and bar serving Chilean cuisine and wine). The unique geodesic domes, which resemble igloos, have ceiling windows through which guests can gaze at the sky, private terraces, comfortable beds, private bathrooms, wood stoves and gas heaters, and composting toilets. The location, at the foot of the granite spires of Torres del Paine National Park, can't be beat.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, Canada
The word "tent" takes on new meaning at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, where the luxury tents on the property are equipped with plush beds, en suite bathrooms with heated floors (and running water), and thermostat-controlled propane wood stoves. The resort definitely lives up to its name—you'll have to take a 45-minute private seaplane ride from Vancouver just to get here. Once you've arrived, you'll be able to participate in activities like grizzly bear-watching, hiking, fishing, and zip-lining.
Three Camel Lodge, Gobi, Mongolia
Stay in a traditional Mongolian herder tent known as a ger—but with a luxury upgrade at the Three Camel Lodge. Located in the heart of the Gobi desert, the lodge features twenty Deluxe Gers, structures that are handmade using latticed wood that is covered with felt and canvas. (Don't worry, the gers are heated with wood stoves and have private bathrooms and king-sized beds.) The tents all feature unobstructed views of the desert and the Gobi-Altai Mountains.
Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a private nature reserve founded to preserve the island's coral reef sanctuary and its coral-rag forest. Only a lucky 14 people are allowed to stay in the park's seven eco-bungalows at any given time. All of the bungalows are waterfront on the tropical ocean and have sleeping areas, living rooms, hammocks, and self-contained bathrooms (with hot and cold showers). Everything is included at this resort, even guided snorkeling in the pristine coral reef.
Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Mary River National Park, Australia
The Wildman Wilderness Lodge takes recycling to a whole new level—the resort's infrastructure actually comes from the remains of another property. When Wrotham Park Lodge closed, the accommodations were dismantled and transported 1,740 miles across Australia to be rebuilt as the structures of Wildman. The lodge is located in the Mary River National Park Wetlands, a spectacular nature retreat full of rivers, billabongs, and wildlife (such as wallabies and crocodiles). Guests can stay in a safari tent (a large tent tricked out with comfortable beds, an en suite bathroom, running water, and electricity) or in one of the 10 air-conditioned cabins.
Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California
For the ultimate bonding-with-nature experience, stay in the Human Nest at Treebones Resort. This nest isn't for the acrophobic or for people who like to be pampered—it's a wood-woven nest up in a tree. You have to climb a ladder to get up to your futon mattress, and you must bring and haul up your own sleeping bag and pillow. The views of the surrounding Los Padres National Forest and the Pacific Ocean, however, can't be beat.
Whitepod, Les Cerniers, Switzerland
You definitely won't have to deal with honking cars or traffic at Whitepod. When you reach the resort's almost 5,000-foot elevation in the Swiss Alps, you can explore the surrounding area via ski (using the private ski run with three lifts), snowshoe, dogsled, or foot. The resort's 15 geodesic dome pods are covered with white canvas in the winter and green canvas in the summer to blend seamlessly into the natural landscape.
—By Caroline Morse
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