Ever heard of a dopamine fast? Essentially, it’s removing yourself from all the devices, stimulants and platforms that highjack your limbic system, and getting back in touch with who you are when you’re not constantly texting, updating your status, and downing caffeine and sugar. Remember that relatively calm and level-headed person? Maybe it’s time to reconnect.
We can think of no better way to do this than by booking a rejuvenating vacay at a remote—and we do mean remote—locale. Whether you’re looking to clear your mind, open your heart, or get proper closure on the last decade, the next few months are the perfect time to schedule a trip to a temptingly pristine landscape that is blissfully free from the background noise and distractions that prevent us from detaching from our habits and devices. Here, we’ve rounded up a few far-flung destinations that guarantee a much-needed respite from stress, and are overloaded with unforgettable beauty you can experience IRL. The flight to and fro might not be an easy-peasy puddle jump, but the peace and wonder of these destinations is worth a few extra hours of travel time.
Courtesy of Amangiri, Utah
Amangiri is the go-to spot for city dwellers who need a reality refresh, and for good reason. Located in Utah’s stunning Grand Staircase—a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas—this mesa-inspired monument is a minimalist’s dream, with clean, Modernist architecture set against a striking, wind-swept landscape. The vibe at Amangiri is relaxed, with amazing hiking, horseback riding, and climbing. In honor of the hotel’s unique setting, Amangiri pays homage to traditional Navajo culture through its cuisine and special itinerary of musicians and storytellers, making it not just a gorgeous destination but also one rich in meaning. And while this spot may attract the moving and shaking A-list, when at Amangiri phones are off—or at least silent.
Courtesy of Hipcamp
For those who haven’t struck gold quite yet, Hipcamp offers an affordable chance to experience the beauty of nature up-close, via camp sites that range from decidedly rustic to exquisitely breathtaking. Essentially an Airbnb for campsites, twenty percent of the listings are privately owned residences and run the gamut from yurts, teepees and ski huts to Airstreams, and tree houses Bonus: some spots offer goodies like vineyard tours and cheese-making tutorials. Another innovation in cheap stays in nature is Getaway House, which features quaint and super easy-to-book cabins (hot showers and linens included) in remote locales close to major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Dallas, among others.
Courtesy of Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Hawaii
If you have not yet traveled to the Big Island, you are in for a treat. A top-notch spot to stay when visiting this epic natural wonder is the Mauna Lani, which was recently reimagined by Auberge Resorts (check out our Mauna Lani collab—which features a complimentary Arlo Skye case with your 4-night hotel stay— here). The hotel is remote and close to nature, with a serene character that mirrors the island’s integral native culture. Once on the island, the biggest must-do is a visit to the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, which reopened last year after a period of intense volcanic activity. Composed of two active volcanoes, the real draw is Kilauea, a 4,000-foot-tall mountain that’s been actively spewing lava since 1983. We’re also a fan of the Hilo farmer’s market, which sells unique fresh produce (ever tried jaboticaba fruit?) and locally made crafts.
Courtesy of San Luis, South Tyrol, Italy
Italy is never a bad idea in terms of a relaxing and rejuvenating break from the 9 to 5, but we found a spot that kicks the typical Italian excursion up a few bars. San Luis, near the small hamlet of Avelengo, is an Alpine destination in the Italian South Tyrol that features 22 chalets and treehouses scattered around a clear glacier lake. While no one travels to Italy without thinking of the epic cuisine that awaits them, San Luis offers two unique approaches: a traditional menu that celebrates the region's Austro/Italian heritage and a Mediterranean-inspired menu conceived by executive chef Arturo Spicocchi. Antipasti is served all day, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to hike, feast, relax, read, meditate, and feast again.
Fogo Island Inn, Canada, courtesy of National Geographic
Ever been to Newfoundland? While it may not be the first destination one thinks of for a vacation, the Fogo Island Inn makes a case for reconsideration. Modeled on traditional Atlantic Canadian outport architecture—an outport is a small isolated coastal community in Canada—this stunning lodge features handcrafted outport furniture, quilts, and woven rugs. The lodge was conceived to breathe new life into a once-threatened artisan community, and its careful calibration of rustic charm, exquisite service, and cuisine allows visitors to partake in luxury while also sustaining a vibrant community. While hiking through the natural beauty of Fogo Island is enough to keep you busy, you can also visit the fishing village of Joe Batt’s Arm, and visit several artist studios that dot the island’s pristine coastline.
Courtesy of Scubby Bay Estate, New Zealand
For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, New Zealand is truly another world. Before humans arrived on the island, it was devoid of any mammal lifeforms, and that intriguing sense of mystery makes the island and amazing place to explore. If you’ve got a big family or friend group—and they happen to be rather intrepid—Scrubby Bay, a cedar wood bungalow on an isolated stretch of the Annandale Estate on the Banks Peninsula, is a vacation destination. Accessible only by helicopter or four-wheel drive, this farm-style residence sleeps fourteen, and features luxe amenities like a heated pool and a killer modern kitchen for cooking and chatting. Floor-to-ceiling windows face the ocean, while the epic landscape features rolling hills and rugged cliffs.
Courtesy of Awasi Hotel, Patagonia
Patagonia is on many travelers’ bucket lists, but conjuring the journey into reality requires a bit more than wishful thinking. Happily, there are two amazing spots that make the trip well worth the planning. Located in the in Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra Patagonia is a luxury hotel that marries extraordinary architecture with cutting-edge sustainability. Activities include amazing horseback riding and hiking in the day, and delicious traditional “asado” barbecue in the evening. For a more private voyage, the Awasi Patagonia offers individual villas with sweeping views—oh, and your own personal designated guide and 4-wheel drive vehicle to explore the many natural wonders of Patagonia.
Zannier Hotels Omaanda, Namibia, courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler
Want to travel to where the deer and the antelope play? Namibia offers outstanding opportunities to experience African wildlife in its full glory, and the iconic Woldewans Lodge features wood-and-canvas chalets that expose guests to the beauty of African nature firsthand. Conjuring the epic adventure of a traditional safari—where luxury is secondary to authenticity—this lodge features classic elements like leather armchairs and paraffin lanterns. Finally, Zannier Hotels Omaanda is a new take on a luxury hotel in the unspoiled wilds of Namibia. Rather than exhausting game drives, here guests get the exquisite pleasure of staying in a safari-style lodge, and taking in the incredible savannah landscape that outlines the property.