Hubert Burda Media

5 getaways you can disappear to for a much needed retreat


BLINK, and we’re already a qaurter into 2019. Surely by now, you’ll be feeling a bit of fatigue from all that time spent staring at all those screens. Even if you decide to take a holiday, you’ll still be occupied on Instagram. So where can you go to truly escape?

Believe it or not, there are still some places left in the world that are completely disconnected from the grid. Some of them are in the most unexpected of sites, like Lake Placid Lodge in New York. Others though are a little more familiar – Bawah Island, anyone?

If you’re in desperate need of a digital detox, here are five destinations you need to check in to for that much-needed escape from reality.

01: Amankora, Bhutan

hidden destinations
Rest in paradise. (Photo: Simon Buxton/Aman Resorts)

If you’ve ever wanted to bask in the grandeur of the Himalayas, then a stay at the Amankora will do the trick.

The entire resort is spread out over five lodges, each in a different valley. On the outside, the lodges blend in perfectly with the countryside landscape, and on the inside it’s a masterful display of contemporary design that bears the all the traits of a classic Aman destination.

Amankora offers a variety of journeys, with the lengths ranging from three days to a full 12 days. It’s your chance to honour the last Buddhist kingdom in a high-altitude setting.

02: Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

hidden destinations
Your own private cove in Bawah Island. (Photo: Bawah Island)

Just three hours away from Singapore lies the pristine private retreat of Bawah Reserve. The previously uninhabited group of islands – there are six in total – make up what is now one of the hottest barefoot destinations for those in the know. Yes, we’d contend that it’s even better than Bali with its overflow of “eat-pray-love” basics.

There are 35 suites over four categories, so you can choose whether you want to spend a night over water or within the lush confines of nature in a garden suite. Designed by Sim Boon Yang of Singapore-based design firm Eco-id, all the suites and villas have a design language fitting the conservational aesthetic of Bawah Island.

You need not worry about your dining options as well. There are four eateries, with the main restaurant being Treetops.

If you’re concerned about posting your travelogues on Instagram or Facebook, fret not: The island has such limited Wifi that you can leave social media behind in peace.

03: Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada

hidden destinations
Please remember to invite us to your lakeside lodge. (Photo: Emerald Lake Lodge)

Bring up the Canadian Rockies and you’ll immediately picture a landscape of mountain peaks layered with snow, coniferous forests stretching further than the eye can see, and a cozy cabin you can call home at the end of a long day. That’s what Emerald Lake Lodge brings to weary travellers to the North.

As the only resort sitting on the picturesque Emerald Lake, there are 24 traditionally-styled cabins that can accommodate up to a staggering 200 guests at any point in time. Playing to the cozy nature of the alpines, each room has plush feather duvets, wood-stoked fireplaces (some date back to the previous century), and balconies so you can take in the splendour of the Rockies.

There are also activities for you to partake in all year long. Winter and Spring are when you’ll do most of the snow-related pursuits like skiing and snowshoeing. In the Summer and Fall, you can go canoeing on the jade-coloured waters of Emerald Lake or go horseback riding along the valleys.

Its seclusion in the Rockies also means that Emerald Lake Lodge has limited cellular service, with Wifi only available at the main lodge.

04: Gal Oya Lodge, Sri Lanka

hidden destinations
Waking up to a view like this wouldn’t hurt. (Photo: Josiah Neo)

You might know Sri Lanka for its bountiful tea plantations and the magnificence of Sigiriya. But hidden in the Eastern board of the island is the Gal Oya National Park, an untouched savannah home to dozens of wildlife. Just one property sits in the park, the Gal Oya Lodge.

The Gal Oya Lodge is nestled within the lush jungle foliage and has nine lodges plus a family villa. It’s a small number, but seeing as Gal Oya is barely known to the outside world, it’ll give guests a more intimate experience and encounter with nature.

If you decide to pay a visit to Gal Oya, you’ll wake up everyday to the view of Monkey Mountain greeting you from the main dining room. Here, you go off the grid so literally, but there are plenty of excursions and tours the locals will so gladly take you on. We had the pleasure of joining a safari, a tour of the village, as well as a hike up Monkey Mountain during a visit last year.

05: Lake Placid Lodge, New York

hidden destinations
Flip to the definition of cosy in the dictionary and chances are this is an accompanying picture. (Photo: Lake Placid Lodge)

New York to many of us is the heart of the 21st century, but there’s more to the state than just Times Square and DUMBO in Brooklyn. The Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York are where former titans of industry (think the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts) retreated to for their summer vacations. And located along the shores of Lake Placid is the eponymous Lake Placid Lodge.

Each of the 30 lodges has a unique layout that reminisces a gilded age: stone fireplace set in sturdy wooden cabins; thick, plush towels that will dry you after a long soak in the tub; an endless romance marrying the union of the lake and the shore.

 

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