The best secluded boltholes to escape the tourists

By Tempus | 22 Jun 2022 | Travel

From Ireland to Indonesia, there are always places to hide away from other tourists...

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Summer is here and much of the world is gearing up for a much-needed holiday, be it a city break, beach escape or mountain retreat.

However, to some, the idea of heading to the more obvious holiday spots, no matter how appealing a destination they may be, is ruined by one major problem: other tourists.

Here, Tempus Magazine takes a look at some of the more secluded and hidden places to stay this summer, far from the throngs of holidaymakers, for a little peace and quiet.

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Miavana by Time + Tide | Madagascar

An ultra-exclusive private island off Madagascar’s northeast coast, Miavana by Time + Tide lends itself perfectly to travellers seeking more than a private getaway. With access to 2,500 acres of wilderness, plus five uninhabited islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Miavana by Time + Tide offers a 360-degree paradise for those looking for adventure, wildlife, cultural connection, and indulgence.

The island’s 14 ocean-front villas live and breathe castaway luxury with panoramic floor to ceiling windows providing uninterrupted sea views and direct beach access ensuring first-footprint-in-the-sand morning beach strolls. From lemur trekking, chameleon encounters and orchid hunting to diving with humpback whales, heli-surfing, paddle boarding to deserted coves to watch turtles lay their eggs on the beach and yoga classes in the forest; Miavana has it all. For soft adventure, Miavana’s vibrant house reef offers an abundance of colourful corals and rich marine life, often described as far superior to those found in the Maldives.

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Singita Private Villa Collection | Zimbabwe, Rwanda, South Africa & Tanzania

Set in four countries across Africa, the Singita Private Villa Collection is the epitome of Singita’s award-winning offering. From the vast plains of the Serengeti to South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand, and from Zimbabwe’s rugged sandstone ridges to Rwanda’s majestic Virunga Mountains – each of the seven private-use lodges and camps in this coveted collection provide the utmost privacy, comfort and seclusion for guests seeking to share a wilderness adventure with loved ones that will turn into memories that last a lifetime.

Of the collection, two of the most undisturbed properties include Singita Kataza House in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and Singita Serengeti House in the Serengeti, Tanzania. Built in response to its unique natural setting, Singita Kataza House’s plunge pools, in and outdoor fireplaces and large timber famed windows welcomes the breath-taking scenery inside, ensuring a guest experience unlike any other. Set on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, gorilla-trekking experiences are within easy reach and the villa’s four luxurious suites provide comfortable, reflective and nurturing spaces to appreciate the transformative experience of coming face to face with these gentle giants of the forest.

On the gentle slopes of Sasakwa Hill in the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve, Singita Serengeti House epitomises, casual, carefree living in one of the continent’s most iconic settings providing private access to an untouched wilderness on the annual wildebeest migration. Boasting endless views of the vast Serengeti Plains, the villa’s four bold guest suites, each with serene bathrooms, outdoor showers and private terraces, embodies refined luxury underpinned by contemporary comfort. Offering guests full access to incredible properties that exude authenticity, comfort, space and an inimitable sense of place; each villa includes a private host, chef, housekeepers, butlers and field guides – as well as private safari vehicles.

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Siruai Mobile Camp | Kenya

Embark on a completely off the beaten track safari and discover Suyian Ranch, a lesser known, wilder pocket of northwest Laikpia, Kenya at The Safari Collection’s Siruai Mobile Camp. Situated in the privately owned 43,000-acre Suyian ranch overlooking the Ewaso Narok River and the Laikipia Plateau, Siruai Mobile camp offers guests an authentic safari experience sleeping in luxury canvas tents under the stars. The mess tent sits at the top of a beautiful ridge, with views of Mount Kenya, overlooking a salt lick and waterhole, visited by a variety of wildlife.

Hidden from view, the seven guest canvas tents are dispersed amongst the scenery, behind granite boulders and fig trees with an indescribable landscape visible from their private verandas. Enjoy luxury glamping at its finest, with snug beds, en-suite bathrooms and traditional safari bucket showers, guests can relax in the height of comfort while still feeling close to nature. True magic can be experienced at night, sitting around an open campfire under some of the starriest skies you’ll ever see. The mobile camp will be privately guided by the co-founder of The Safari Collection and fourth generation Kenyan - Mikey Carr-Hartley, combining his expert guiding with his specialist knowledge of the region, having been raised nearby on his family’s ranch.

Discover this wild corner of Kenya on foot or by vehicle with no one else around, kayak or tube down the river and beneath waterfalls, and game viewing opportunities are around every corner in this remote paradise.

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NIHI Sumba | Indonesia

NIHI Sumba is a remote hideout on the island of Sumba, Indonesia – twice the size of Bali and just an hour’s flight away, yet totally undiscovered by mass tourism. Sumba is known as the lost-world island, offering a magically pristine mix of beaches, tropical scenery and a fascinating tribal culture, making it the perfect luxury holiday. For travellers looking to get away from the world and tap into their childhood treehouse dreams, look no further than NIHI Sumba’s Mamole Tree House, reminding guests what it means to be young.

Three separate but conjoining villas punctuate this breath-taking jungle property. Built around the trunk of a tree, Mamole is ideal for anyone who appreciates unique design and a sense of immersion in nature. The first floor contains an open-air living room and bathroom that leads out to a private lounge area overlooking a spectacular infinity pool. Deck chairs and lounge seating fill the outdoor space, inviting guests to leisurely lounge and enjoy the surroundings.

The second floor holds the master bedroom and bathroom: circular in shape and encased in fully functional sliding glass doors on all sides, the Mamole master bedroom is one of the most beautiful and distinctive that NIHI Sumba has to offer, complete with a balcony overlooking the ocean. Outside the treehouse, guests enjoy immense privacy and many activities, ranging from world class surfing, hiking to dramatic waterfalls, ancient villages and butterfly trails and stand-up paddling down the Wanukaka River to the unique ‘Spa Safari’ involving a jungle trek and limitless spa treatments on a remote peninsula. 

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Bawah Reserve | Indonesia

Situated in the remote Anambas Islands, Indonesia, 160 nautical miles from the closest city Singapore, Bawah Reserve is made up of six tropical islands, 13 white sand beaches and two crystal clear lagoons and is only accessible by private seaplane. In addition to its current 36 lodges, due to reopen after two years in September (including some of the only overwater bungalows in Indonesia), Bawah is launching six brand new cliffside lodges on a previously untouched island named Elang on 1 November 2022.

Further enhancing the reserve’s private island experience, guests over 18 can opt to book the entire island – the perfect hideout for those looking to reconnect with family or close friends. They will have exclusive access to the islands own clubhouse which has been carefully designed around a rock formation and inspired by tribal communal houses in Indonesia as well as a beachside restaurant and bar, spa, private beach and saltwater infinity pool, created from a natural hollow and refreshed with every tidal change, complete with a water slide.

Guests of Elang can take part in the plethora of activities included in the all-inclusive rate, in addition to full board dining experiences and daily spa treatments.

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Milaidhoo Island | Maldives

Maldivian owned Milaidhoo Maldives is delighted to introduce a brand new uber luxe accommodation – the spectacular overwater Two-Bedroom Ocean Residence. The breathtaking 475sqm accommodation is an incredibly spacious and elegant space, authentically designed with a thatched-roof villa, on stilts with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.

There is even a ‘secret’ loft deck hidden inside the roof of the villa, which is the perfect place for guests to chill out with a glass of wine, taking in the views at the end of the over-water jetty. The completely private sundeck comes complete with swing chair, sun loungers, huge freshwater and infinity swimming pool, with steps straight into the sea, allowing guests to explore Milaidhoo’s incredible house-reef.

Guests of the Milaidhoo Residences receive a number of benefits during their stay, including a dedicated, 24-hour butler, Champagne on arrival, a dedicated chef to personalize all meals according to preference, a pop-up cinema experience on the deck of their villa, one private, half-day boat excursion during their stay and lots more. 

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Baros | Maldives

The resort’s new Baros Residence offers enhanced privacy and space, as well as some fabulous extras. Designed for guests seeking the utmost privacy, the singular Residence provides the ultimate indoor-outdoor space in the seclusion of a garden retreat. It is a piece of Baros available entirely to guests staying in the Residence and the only visitors will be the assigned personal butler and Baros staff. 

To add to the exclusivity, for every day of their holiday, guests can enjoy a private in-villa breakfast, freshly prepared tropical fruit platters and delicious canapés at sunset as well as dedicated butler service. Residence guests will also receive return private luxury speedboat transfers from Male, as well as a bottle of champagne and welcome hamper on arrival. The brand new Baros Residence Villa maintains the authentic yet luxurious Maldivian style that personifies Baros, adding to the resort’s spectacular collection.

The 270sqm palatial Residence features a lush tropical garden, a 21 square metre pool and a sun deck with direct beach access to a pristine white sand beach on the Eastern Shore of the island – ideal for soaking up the rays. Guests who book the Residence for more than five nights will be entitled to the ultimate private dining experience – breakfast on the beautiful ‘Piano Deck’ floating in the middle of the island’s turquoise lagoon, lapped by splashing waves and the gentle Maldivian breeze.

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Ashford Castle Hideaway Cottage | Ireland

Tucked away in the grounds of Ashford Castle’s iconic estate, where luscious woodlands join with peaceful lakes, the exclusive use Hideaway Cottage offers the perfect calm and countrified haven. A former boathouse dating back to the Guinness era, this charming one-bed cottage invites guests to relish the tranquillity and natural beauty of one of Ireland’s most historic settings. Unique craftmanship can be found in the bespoke furnishings, from the French Empire marquetry chest of drawers; a 20th century, four-fold European canvas screen; art by Louis lcart and a late 19th century pair of walnut armchairs veiled in Brunschwig & Fils tapestry.

On arrival, guests will be greeted at The Castle and escorted to their private Hideaway Cottage, where a welcome basket awaits along with a fully stocked bar of local treats. To leave feeling truly countryfied, guests will also be gifted Jack Murphy Jackets and Wellingtons to take home. Come the evening, dine on the pier and embrace the romantic setting of the lake as it reflects the stars. As one of Ireland’s finest sporting estates, created over several generations by the de Burgo, Bingham, Browne and Guinness families, Ashford’s vast acreage lends itself perfectly to a selection of exhilarating activities to suit all tastes, from classic pastimes such as horse-riding, fishing, falconry and shooting, to more modern activities such as golf, cycling and kayaking.

Alongside its country pursuit offerings, there are a variety of meet-the-maker experiences designed to give Hideaway guests the opportunity to meet the flag bearers of traditional Irish culture. On the main grounds lies the striking bronze, glass-house spa with state-of-the-art facilities including five exceptional treatment rooms, an invigorating Hammam, and relaxing steam room. So, whether the active, creative or relaxing type, guests are truly spoiled for choice in the grounds of Ashford Castle.

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Deplar Farm | Iceland

For travellers seeking a remote getaway surrounded by some of the purest elements, head off-grid to the Troll Peninsula of northern Iceland, in Fljót Valley, where Eleven Experience’s Deplar Farm sits. A former home to Icelandic sheep, the sublime Nordic-inspired lodge sleeps up to 26 guests in 13 bedrooms, available to book exclusively or by room. The interior is also home to an exceptional spa and play space topped only by the magnificent views of the surrounding ice-sloped mountains and sprawling valleys that can be seen from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Offering adventure in the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’, Deplar Farm’s summer programme of multi-sport expeditions can be as action packed as guests like, with evenings set aside to hide away and relax. The season is prime time for fly fishing and Eleven has access to some of the most exclusive rivers in Iceland – the Fljótaá, a world-class Atlantic salmon river, Hölkná and Húseyjarkyísl rivers are right on the doorstep. Other adrenaline pumping activities include fat biking, hiking, kayaking and surfing some of Iceland’s best swells from the town of Ólafsfjörður. Back at the lodge, spa-seekers can spend an entire day enjoying the world-class facilities. The airy spa comprises an indoor-outdoor pool with a swim-up bar and built-in sound system, heated by thermal springs; Viking sauna and cold plunge; steam room; two Isopod floatation tanks and three treatment rooms.

Swim or float under the midnight sun in summer, in the open-air geo-thermal pool, or hop into the open-air hot tub for a private soak. A private and intimate dining experience can be enjoyed away from the lodge, as guests hike or are driven to one of two remote outposts, Ghost Farm or Lake House. Back at Deplar Farm, guests can socialise together in the evening with cocktails mixed by the resident mixologist, followed by a feast of local delicacies cooked simply but stylishly served by the private chef. Deplar Farm also boasts a library, entertainment room and a full band set up for late-night jamming sessions.

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62°NORD Owner's Cabin | Norway

Leading experiential travel company 62°NORD offers an interesting collection of boutique accommodation including the much-loved ‘Owner’s Cabin’ in Staurneset, surrounded by nature and located on the remote island of Giske, just off the north-west coast of Norway. Perfect for travellers looking to get away from it all this summer, and enjoy “hytte kultur” (cabin lifestyle) the Owner’s Cabin is a small cottage set in the midst of untouched land with direct access to the sea.

Home to three double bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, spacious dining room and living room with an open fire, the cabin offers total solitude surrounded by and natural beauty. When it comes to dining, guests can either have the team pre-stock the fridge or choose to simplify life further by enlisting the services of a private chef who will cook local Norwegian delights. The cabin is located just steps away from the glistening Nordic Sea where guests will find a sandy beach on the right and charming rocky tide pools to the left.

Giske island’s small size and comparatively gentle landscape does not betray the unique part it has played in the history of Norway, as home to noble Viking families. It is the ideal destination for outdoor adventures – bike to see the curious mix of well-tended farms and swathes of wild forest and kayak to experience the uniqueness of the North Sea – home to colonies of seals and passing orcas. While it has the feeling of being very remote and private, Giske is easily accessible and is connected to the mainland by bridge. It is not far (a 12-minute drive) from the historical town of Ålesund, which has direct flights from Oslo and Amsterdam.

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Armancette | France

Head to the French Alps this summer for a hearty dose of fresh mountain air, staying at Armancette Hôtel. Part of the new Almae Collection which launched last year, Armancette is a family-owned hidden gem in the lesser-known, remote town of Saint-Nicolas de Veroce of Evasion Mont-Blanc. Juxtaposing its louder neighbour, the quiet town offers total seclusion, making it the perfect location to unwind and shut off from the outside world. Open year round, this 17-room hotel is located within the former bakery and, being the only hotel in the village, is a hidden destination for those in the know.

The hotel offers total privacy, peace and tranquillity in exceptional surroundings, with French authenticity at its heart. The 17- room hotel is home to an impressive spa, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, outdoor jacuzzi, three treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness suite, destination dining restaurant and wine bar, there is plenty to keep visitors of all ages entertained. Guests can book a plethora of activities, including guided hikes and mountain biking excursions where guests can take in breathtakingly verdant views and disconnect from everyday life. Other popular activities include mini-golf, treetop adventures and a visit to the Saint-Gervais thermal baths.

Those looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience can also discover the best of the French Alps via hot air balloon or helicopter. Back at the hotel, guests can spend some alone time unwinding at the spa, and when it comes to dining, chalet residents looking to dine alone can opt for a private chef to showcase local and seasonal produce, or guests are welcome to join the hotel guests at destination French dining restaurant, La Table d’Armante. Furthermore, for a more relaxed evening and family style food, guests can enjoy dinner at Le Mont Joly Bistro.

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Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa | Italy

Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is housed in a former monastery, which became one of the most exclusive boutique hotels in Europe when it opened in May 2012, thanks to its complete renovation by Owner Bianca Sharma and dramatic cliffside location with unparalleled views of the Amalfi Coast. This summer, guests can opt to book all 20 rooms and suites for an exclusive takeover at competitive rates.

They will have the run of the hotel’s spectacular grounds, including the stunning landscaped gardens, historic herb garden, 12th century chapel and famous ‘floating infinity pool. They will feast with specially created seasonal menus from Michelin Star restaurant Il Refetorio and have full access to the award-winning spa and outdoor gym. The Spa is designed by Jane Goff to fit within the original 17th century vaulted ceilings and rustic stone walls and the treatments are exclusively created for Monastero using Santa Maria Novella products.

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Domaine des Etangs | France

Domaine des Etangs offers a truly unique experience in the heart of one of the most beautiful areas of rural France. Set over 1,000 hectares of protected nature-filled countryside comprising forest, grassland and lakes. On the property grounds lie six farmhouse cottages ranging from one to five bedrooms, surrounded by gardens, fields, forests and lakes – perfect for those looking for a truly sequestered sanctuary and to experience the rural surroundings and fresh air, where the only other being they might see are the local Limousin cows.

The cottages are so generously spaced apart, that they come with their own electric car, enabling guests to drive around the estate. Each cottage has its own personality and are scattered across the property grounds: hidden in a verdant hollow or sitting in a green meadow stretching out towards the horizon. The traditional stone structures have been refurbished and the cottages are complete with wooden beams and floor to ceiling glass doors, allowing the nature to fill the space. Some cottages are complete with a secret private wine cellar in the basement, filled with the owner’s private collection of French wines, and others with large copper bathtubs to relax in.

Guests of the cottages can enjoy delicious, homely dinners by the chef, cooked over the cottages open fireplace, or for those who prefer to cook themselves, the staff at the Domaine can organise guests shopping lists from their kitchen gardens and local suppliers. If they are able to tear themselves away from the comfort of their cottage, guests can explore the sprawling estate with their own pair of welly boots or bicycle which are included in the cottage, from the walking trails to the farm, taking a rowboat out onto the lake and exploring the nearby forests.

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Lopud 1483 | Croatia

Lopud 1483 is located on the northern tip of Lopud island, near Dubrovnik, in a Franciscan monastery that has been overlooking the island for centuries. The property has been lovingly restored over the past 20 years by Creative Director Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and her family. She worked with the Arhitektri studio in Zagreb to ensure that every aspect was carefully designed in order to preserve the incredible history of the building. Lopud 1483, which is a living art gallery, opened its doors to guests for the very first time in July 2020, as an exclusive use property.

The 13 original cells of the 5,000 square metre monastery have been transformed into five exquisite suites, with wooden ceilings, windows and floors and views onto the sea or medicinal garden. Each room features a unique combination of renaissance furniture, from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection as well as bespoke new pieces by Italian designer Paola Lenti and contemporary art from the TBA21 collection. Intimate meals can be enjoyed outside or in the Old Kitchen – a charming space with an open fire and functional bread oven, used to make delicious fresh pizzas today, while guests can indulge with cocktails and canapes on the Sunset Terrace, located on the top of the fortress, offering exceptional views of Lopud and The Elaphiti Islands.

Wellness offerings include locally inspired spa treatments, Alchemy Bars, in-house meditation experts and visiting practitioners can be arranged upon request. This undiscovered island sanctuary has been designed as a place where history, art and botanical exploration ignite the senses. The property is also home to a Sacred Garden, complete with nine stations designed for meditation and contemplation, a traditional Franciscan Pharmacy. 

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The Rooster | Greece

More than a resort, The Rooster is the vision become reality of one woman driven to create a destination with depth, value and relevance to today’s traveller. Conceived as a wellness and lifestyle resort that embraces ‘slow living’, The Rooster has been designed with unpretentious aesthetic luxury in mind paired with excellent service, while providing a holistic mindfulness haven. It is an all-encompassing wellness retreat that celebrates the soulful Greek island through sustainability and organic food in an authentic setting – making it the ideal location in which to unwind and recalibrate.

Cloistered between the sandy, unspoilt beaches of the Aegean coastline and the dramatic landscape of the Cyclades amidst open fields and the mystical caves of Antiparos, The Rooster exists in complete harmony with nature. The bespoke property is all about space and privacy: just 17 individual suites, villas and houses of differing size, each offering stunning views of the Aegean Sea and private gardens; and enchanting raw beauty with sustainability at its heart, all the while working in harmony with the local community and with wellness at its core.

The hotel’s ‘House of Healing’ adopts a holistic approach to wellness and has been designed as a peaceful sanctuary for relaxation, relief, recharging and rejuvenation. The team will introduce guests to custom-made treatments using pure organic products, and specially guided rituals that draw on traditional ancestral and ancient medicine to embrace the primary ways of healing: sound healing, sacred gong bath ceremonies, a Greek ceremony of fire and celebration of the elements are a handful of the authentic experiences on offer. Each room purposely has no television until requested, encouraging guests to digitally detox and destress from the mundanities of every day, further inspiring guests to fully immerse themselves in the surrounding natural beauty of the Cyclades.

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Islas Secas | Panama

Located off the wild, rugged Pacific Coast of Panama, Islas Secas truly is one of Central America’s best-kept secrets that affords travellers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration, all set within an unfrequented and far-flung environment. The highly exclusive, privately-owned archipelago of 14 islands in the Gulf of Chiriquí is home to just four individually designed Casita sites and three recently launched Tented Casitas, all located on one of the islands and sleeping up to just 24 guests.

The 20 miles between Islas Secas and the coast of mainland Panama allow endless opportunities to explore the vibrant waters of the Gulf, creating an untouched ‘marine playground’ for guests.This region is home to thousands of species of wild fauna and flora, the largest coral reefs off Panama’s Pacific coast, beautiful beaches and two vast, protected marine parks teeming with exceptional sea life. The largest Casita – Casita Grande – is the most exclusive hideout, perfect for families or groups of friends seeking to reconnect and relax following an adrenalin-fuelled day in paradise. This sanctuary of modern comfort and barefoot luxury, nestled within private tropical gardens, is beautifully appointed and boasts four separate casitas connected by a broad terrace, perfect for idyllic sunrise yoga sessions.

The indoor-outdoor living space gives Casita Grande a true bohemian vibe, which is further enhanced by the island’s lush surroundings, offering awe-inspiring ocean views, a private plunge pool and open-air thatched-roof cabana for al fresco dining and sundowners. The resort is also a serene base from which to undertake thrilling marine safaris and immersive natural experiences by both land and sea, including snorkelling and diving amidst the aquatic wonders of the Gulf and exploring the biodiversity of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site – undoubtedly one for the bucket list.