After the loosening of coronavirus restrictions in some parts of the country, we have begun to dream of new adventures. However, our expectations and requirements have shifted. When considering hotels, cleanliness has become paramount and personal space is crucial. The wish to reunite with family and friends, as well as to be outdoors in wide-open spaces, will doubtless lead many vacationers to book self-contained private villas or homes in more remote locations.
Some of our recommended hotels offer just these types of accommodations, places where guests can stay in comfort and semi-isolation. Many provide kitchens or kitchenettes, and staff can stock pantries and fridges prior to arrival. Private chefs can often be engaged. Here are 20 that provide perfect escapes.
Nestled within a 1,500-acre wooded estate, a little over three hours’ drive northeast of Pittsburgh and six hours west of New York, this secluded and relaxing resort was originally a family retreat. It now offers guests both independence and privacy. Of the 16 guest lodgings, over half are housed within stand-alone cabins. John’s Cabin, comprising four bedrooms and a kitchenette, is appealing for families as it is closer to the central area where kids’ activities are hosted. Forest Hideout is especially remote — guests require a vehicle to transport them down to the main lodge — while families or friends traveling together should consider the four-bedroom Guesthouse overlooking Skipper Lake or the Loft, which includes a stove, a wet bar, a woodburning fireplace, a billiards table and a screened-in porch. Activities include hiking and biking on the 18 miles of trails surrounding the lodge, plus fly-fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Set amid 300 acres of wildflower meadows in an unspoiled valley in central Vermont, two and a half hours northwest of Boston, this serene retreat encompasses 10 freestanding cottages, some with stone hot tubs and panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. Particularly appropriate at the present time, the Farmhouse at Copper Hill comprises four glamorous suites and can be taken in its entirety by a family or private group. This exclusive lodging, designed by architect Peter Bohlin, winner of the 2010 Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, has rooms connected by a handsome lounge and tranquil library; the rooms share a large hot tub. The hotel is renowned for its superb farm-to-table culinary program, with diners forgoing menus and entrusting the chef to create dishes based on their stated preferences. Though the Farmhouse lacks a kitchen, the gourmet meals can be served in your suite. Boxed lunches are available for those who are out and about, cycling, hiking or fly-fishing.
Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
A longstanding member favorite, family-owned Blackberry Farm is situated on a 4,200-acre estate bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In years past, this has been a resort at which the quality of the restaurants has been one of the primary attractions. During these challenging times, the hotel can offer private chefs and culinary experiences within the kitchens and dining rooms of the estate’s six three- to five-bedroom houses. These retreats are ideal for multigenerational family vacations, as many come with bunk rooms and living spaces stocked with a wide array of games. Private farm tours and carriage rides are offered, as well as fly-fishing, hiking and horseback-riding excursions. At Blackberry Mountain, the younger sibling of Blackberry Farm, the emphasis is on exercise and wellness, including hikes along 25 miles of private trails. There, three expansive multibedroom Mountain Homes include well-equipped kitchens and full-size washers and dryers, plus indoor and outdoor dining areas.
This charming country inn, located about 80 miles west of Baltimore, is set on a 265-acre estate with a working farm. The property’s five outlying cottages offer tranquil self-contained worlds with spacious kitchens, large dining tables and cozy living rooms. Goodstone Market, an on-site drive-thru grocery service, allows guests to stock their pantries and refrigerators. There is also a regularly changing “Good To-Go” menu that offers French-inspired meals employing at least one ingredient grown on the farm. Children can roam the gardens and visit some of the resident animals, including llamas. Private guided bird-watching and horseback-riding outings can be arranged, and the estate is crisscrossed with a wide network of hiking and biking trails.
Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
Surrounded by the unspoiled 11,000-acre private barrier island of Little St. Simons, this serene retreat offers 16 guest lodgings in an original hunting lodge, plus five one- to four-bedroom houses and cottages. For example, two-bedroom Michael Cottage provides a kitchenette, washer/dryer and screened patio, while three-bedroom Helen House has a kitchen, screened porch and courtyard. The island is a destination unto itself. Located on the Atlantic Flyway, its ecosystem supports a wealth of wildlife, including over 300 species of birds. Walks along 7 miles of peaceful beaches are led by a staff of resident naturalists. Boating and fishing are also available.
Set amid 300 acres of tranquil lakeside woodlands, two hours east of Minneapolis, this adults-only hideaway (no guests under the age of 21) is the perfect place to get back to nature. The 27 accommodations are spread around the estate in 20 distinctive structures. All stand-alone Signature Cottages overlook the water, but Hilltop is the most magnificent of all, with a stylish living room, a Finnish sauna, a kitchenette, an elliptical trainer and, for those working remotely, a formal study. The Edgewood Villa is suitable for two couples traveling together. Offering sweeping vistas of the lake and a private nature preserve, this sanctuary is the resort’s only lodging with two bedrooms. All meals can be delivered, to be enjoyed at your cottage’s private dining table. Hiking, canoeing and fishing are all within easy reach.
Situated atop the 7,000-foot East Gros Ventre Butte and just 20 minutes from Grand Teton National Park, this stylish resort offers sensational mountain views and a virtually endless list of year-round outdoor activities and wildlife experiences. As well as 40 guest suites housed within a low-profile sandstone structure, the resort offers four- to six-bedroom homes. Each comes with a well-equipped kitchen, an expansive terrace with a gas grill and several lounge areas. The East Tatanka Home is augmented by a workout studio and the Sena Home by a gym and hot tub. Perfect for extended stays, these self-contained properties offer guests an ideal setting in which to enjoy a range of outdoor pursuits including horseback riding, hiking and skiing.
Lake George, Colorado
This intimate Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing retreat is situated along a private 5-mile stretch of the Tarryall River, at an elevation of 9,000 feet. All seven lodgings are housed within elegantly styled cabins that date back to the 1920s. Each is an oasis, with a sense of exclusivity and serenity. While fly-fishing is the primary attraction, hiking and horseback-riding excursions through the Lost Creek Wilderness are also memorable. Though convivial family-style dinners have always been a highlight at this retreat, private dining services are offered in your cabin or on a terrace overlooking the mountains.
Surrounded by 6,600 acres in southwest Montana, this lavish guest ranch, just 90 minutes south of Missoula, takes its name from a blue-ribbon trout stream that flows out of the wilderness along the Continental Divide. There are several accommodation types, including Granite Lodge rooms and creekside wood-and-canvas cabins warmed by gas fireplaces. A remodeled 19th-century barn with three bedrooms would be ideal for a family. In addition, the ranch has seven private homes decorated in a Western style, with all-inclusive dining and housekeeping services. Maximum occupancy ranges between two and 12 guests. Amenities may include kitchens, laundry facilities, private cedar saunas and hot tubs. The 2,336-square-foot Ponderosa ranch house is especially discreet and serene, and comes with three bedrooms, a full kitchen, living room and dining area, two porches, two woodburning fireplaces and three claw-foot bathtubs.
This impressive resort is situated on a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley, a 30-minute drive east of Missoula. Most of the property’s 28 one- to four-bedroom vacation homes, screened from one another by tall trees, boast private decks with hot tubs, living rooms with stone fireplaces and kitchens. Personal vehicles are provided for on-ranch use. Provisions can be ordered in advance and in-home dining is available. The resort’s pristine setting offers outdoor summer activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, sporting clays and fly-fishing on the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Missouri rivers; skiing, dog-sledding and ice skating are available in winter.
This eco-friendly resort owned by actor Robert Redford is an exceptionally peaceful wilderness retreat an hour southeast of Salt Lake City. The property’s 13 elegantly rustic Mountain Homes come with full kitchens, large living spaces and separate dining areas. The most lavish of these lodgings, such as Cirque Crest, also offer private hot tubs. Three-story Mountain Spring, the largest accommodation, comprising seven bedrooms, lounge areas, a gym and a billiards room, houses a maximum of 15 guests and is ideal for large groups or multigenerational family vacations. Every outdoor pursuit imaginable is offered. This is a place to breathe in fresh mountain air, relax and disconnect.
About 90 minutes northwest of Houston, at the edge of the rolling Texas Hill Country, this serene Spanish Colonial-style property is surrounded by a 313-acre ranch. The 800-square-foot duplex Casitas can be joined together for families or couples traveling together. These come with kitchenettes; room service is available. The property’s 1,750-square-foot Haciendas feature cathedral ceilings, antique furniture and French oak floors. Both the bedroom and living room have fireplaces; other amenities include heated plunge pools, patios and enclosed porches. Personal golf carts allow guests full independence to explore the estate and to make trips to the stables where riding lessons, carriage tours and trail rides are available.
This adults-only spa resort is located 50 minutes from Tucson in the Santa Catalina foothills. In addition to the main property, The Retreat encompasses 22 residences, all with private entrances, patios with reflection ponds, large living areas and pools or hot tubs; some are augmented by full gourmet kitchens and laundry rooms. Though the Miraval brand is renowned for its comprehensive spa facilities, this property can arrange a multitude of activities that do not involve enclosed spaces and human contact. Hiking, climbing and horseback riding are available, and when staying in the residences, in-room activities, including culinary experiences and music lessons, are offered.
Raton, New Mexico
Owned by media mogul Ted Turner, this 558,000-acre ranch is located about 100 miles northeast of Taos. For ultimate privacy, it is possible to rent out the magnificent Casa Grande mansion adjacent to the main lodge. With seven supremely comfortable bedrooms — including Turner’s own master suite — and sumptuous public areas inclusive of a ballroom with a grand piano, a plant-filled atrium and a billiards room, it is the perfect setting for a family reunion or group get-together. Guests can be completely self-sufficient as the mansion has its own kitchen. Also ideal for family gatherings is the new 10-room Turner House on the main estate or the remote eight-bedroom Costilla Fishing Lodge located at an elevation of 10,000 feet. Though the ranch is primarily a shooting and fishing destination, horseback-riding outings and safari tours are easily arranged.
Carmel Valley, California
This distinctive resort in the peaceful Carmel Valley is set amid 28 acres of oak-covered hills with a backdrop of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Over the years, the estate winery and monthly culinary events, as well as the lavish lodgings and spa, have drawn guests to this bucolic estate. Two 2,100-square-foot two-bedroom villas — Villa Sol and Villa Carmelo — come with large terraces with outdoor fire pits and 12-person dining tables. The Vintner’s Suite can be configured as either a one-bedroom or two-bedroom accommodation complete with a professional kitchen and full-size appliances, seating for up to 10, a fireplace and an outdoor terrace. This suite is ideal for families or couples traveling together. River Beach, a renowned bird sanctuary overlooking Point Lobos, is just minutes away from the property, and surfing, fishing, whale-watching, mountain climbing and hiking are all available nearby.
Perched on a knoll above the small Sierra town of Oakhurst, near the southern entrance of Yosemite, this Provençal-style manor feels blissfully removed. The 10 rooms in the main auberge are charming, but it is the remarkable Villa du Sureau that is of particular interest at the present time. A gated entrance admits guests to this 2,000-square-foot manor, cloistered within a lush garden. The villa comprises two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a library and an outdoor Roman spa; a personal butler is at your service. Appointed with antiques and original artwork, this hideaway exudes Old World elegance. Hiking and biking trails abound nearby, but this is really a place intended for complete relaxation.
Fort Bragg, California
This distinctive property is set on 2,000 private acres of stunning coastal land in Fort Bragg, just 30 minutes north of Mendocino. Rooms in the main inn offer refined creature comforts, but we recommend the spacious suites in the adjacent Redwood House, which provide all the amenities necessary to allow guests to be self-sufficient. Supported by 24 redwood trunks, this sea-facing structure comprises three accommodations, each boasting a hot tub, full kitchen and oceanfront deck with a barbecue grill. Though each suite is self-contained, they share access to a sauna and game room within the house, so it is best to rent the entire building. Beach walks and hiking excursions through the lush Angelo Coast Range Reserve can be enjoyed nearby.
Big Sur, California
Set high above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, this peerless coastal resort is first and foremost about tranquility. There are no alarm clocks or televisions, and guests under age 18 are not permitted. All lodgings are refuges from the world, but the property’s two private houses are perfect places to hide away. With expansive living rooms, woodburning fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, spacious dining areas, patios with hot tubs and backyards offering spellbinding ocean views, these homes are truly spectacular. Surrounded by nothing but nature, guests can step outdoors and hit the nearby trails. Scuba diving, hiking expeditions and bird-watching are also available, but you’ll probably just want to stay at your residence, reading and lounging during the day and stargazing from your patio at night.
Gold Beach, Oregon
Set in woodlands overlooking the majestic Rogue River, this family-owned hideaway is 7 miles inland from the town of Gold Beach and about an hour north of the California border. In addition to five rooms and three River Suites, Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge offers three superlative houses. Osprey Bend has a Craftsman-style interior with furnishings made from local cedar, maple, myrtle and cherry woods. This lodging also features open common spaces with 180-degree river views, a large well-equipped kitchen and a wraparound deck with a barbecue. The concierge is happy to purchase provisions in advance. Fishing, boating and kayaking can be arranged, and fine hiking trails are close by.
Lummi Island, Washington
Though this haven on Lummi Island feels remote from civilization, it is just a 10-minute ferry ride from the mainland (110 miles north of Seattle). Normally, Blaine Wetzel’s sensational restaurant is the star attraction, but at this time the stylish off-site multibedroom homes may be more of a draw. While amenities vary, these all come with kitchens or kitchenettes and dining areas. The two-bedroom Rosario Guest House offers a private sauna, and the Loganita Loft has exclusive beach access, while High Tide, Beach House and Low Tide are set together within a cliffside beachfront complex, which could be rented in its entirety by a group of eight people. Lummi Island is a place to enjoy the simple pleasures of life by the sea: fishing, crabbing, boating or just lounging on the beach with a book.