Trending: Hotel off-site experiences
Secluded islands, remote huts, and ultra private dining are some of the exclusive perks at these luxe locations.
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Hotels aren’t just in the business of providing a place to sleep for the night. Yes, they offer extras like superb spa treatments and top chef-helmed dining options, but the best hotels in the world extend their responsibilities by designing entire one-of-a-kind experiences guests won't likely find anywhere else—not even on the hotel's official property. These luxe off-site spots, exclusive to hotel guests and located a boat or a bike or a hike away, challenge you to explore beyond the resort property lines.
Private Island at Renaissance Hotels, Aruba
The Caribbean island of Aruba is home to not just one, but two different Renaissance hotels which share an incredible amenity located just off the coast: the Renaissance Private Island. A complimentary water taxi transports guests out from the marina and to the island, only 15 minutes away, where two beaches, a spa, nature trail, and an al fresco restaurant wait. Far from the busy sands of Aruba’s most popular tourist beaches, the private island’s lagoon-style swimming areas are limited to Renaissance guests and divided between family-friendly and adults-only, with the latter host to flocks of flamingos roaming freely among the sunbathers.
Stargazing Lounge at Hotel Alto Atacama, Chile
Located in the middle of the Mars-like terrain of Chile’s Atacama Desert, Hotel Alto Atacama makes the most of the region’s reputation for stargazing with its astronomy observation lounge. When the sun sets behind the the 42-room eco-luxury hotel, guests may make a short hike to the open-air lounge and meet with the hotel’s astronomer for a primer on the galaxies and constellations visible in the southern skies. The observation lounge is kitted out with six lounge chairs and one 17.5" Dobsonian Discovery telescope, currently the most powerful (amateur) telescope in the region.
Walig Hut at Gstaad Palace, Switzerland
If you can bear to leave the palatial environs of the 1913-built Gstaad Palace (where past guests have included Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, and Peter Sellers) you’re welcome to hike a few hours through the idyllic mountain valleys of Saanenland to discover the hotel’s Walig Hut. Built in 1786 and located at 5,500 feet above ground, you may mistake its rustic, simple design and remote location for a mirage in the midst of a landscape ripped from a Ricola commercial. Picnics are possible, but the real magic happens during a multi-course, catered dinner in the hut.
The Island Spa at Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa, Maldives
The Island Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Kuda Huraa is exactly what it sounds like: a spa...on its own private island. To reach it, guests of the Four Seasons board a handcrafted Dhoni, a wooden boat traditional of the Maldives, for a short journey over clear blue waters while the occasional stingray or sea turtle swims past. Just large enough for an elevated, open-air yoga pavilion, a nature trail, and several over-water treatment villas, the island is a sweet secret saved for those who indulge in anything from a simple facial to the full “Night Spa” ritual, a progression of massages and treatments at the water’s edge, under the night sky.
Dining by Design at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab, United Arab Emirates
Elaborate dinners in unusual locations are a hallmark of Anantara, but the resort of Qasr Al Sarab near the Liwa Oasis deep in the United Arab Emirates’ portion of the “Empty Quarter” desert doesn’t simply set up a private table poolside or on your suite terrace. The Dining by Design here makes the most of the miles of sand surrounding you with a table for two alone between towering dunes, a path lit by lanterns, and a ceiling of stars above.
Cliff House at Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui
A historic piece of Hawaiian plantation architecture, the Cliff House (built in 1940) has been lovingly restored by the Montage Kapalua Bay for private events, even if that private event is just enjoying an unobstructed view of the sunset over the Pacific. With only 56 residential-style rooms at the Montage, there’s a good chance you’ll have the Cliff House, which sits on the cliffs below the hotel property and only a short hike away, all to yourself.