Even before COVID-19 arrived, we always appreciated space and privacy away from crowds, which is why we spent countless hours seeking out the best places to stay for the destinations we visited. Now, as we reflect on past travel and think about future travels, we have compiled a list of places that already offered social distancing and amazing amenities on site for guests. Find out which places we would enjoy being quarantined at right now and in the future!
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
We did not attempt to draw the landscape with the easel and pad provided in the room but we did find everything we needed for a leisurely and relaxing stay within the confines of our tented villa and patio at Al Maha. Our favorite part of the day was watching the sunrise over Oman in the distance from the heated infinity pool followed by room service breakfast on the patio with the gazelles. Aside from all the luxuries offered here, the most memorable part of our stay was just being outside and absorbing all the intricacies of the desert landscape.
Artists and philosophers will find no shortage of inspiration here with the expansive desert landscapes home to desert flora and fauna.
Nihi Sumba: Sumba, Indonesia
It was not easy for us to get here and even choosing the most direct route means about 3 flights (close to 24 hours of actual flying) and a 2.5 hour drive to reach Nihi Sumba but once we arrived, we never wanted to leave. Just a 1 hour flight from Bali, Sumba Island is quite the contrast of other busy and crowded tourist spots in South East Asia. It was very difficult to leave our little compound that has 2 private patios with lounge chairs, 3 showers (2 outdoor and 1 indoor), a huge soaker bath tub, and an infinity pool with prime views of the sunset but long beach walks and horseback rides are equally enticing. Depending on when you visit the island, you can even experience some of its most beautiful natural spots with no other people (or very few). We do not surf but if we did, we would be signing up for the limited spaces to surf their world-famous surf break here.
Adventure seekers and outdoor sports enthusiasts will fall in love with the untouched and unspoiled opportunities Nihi Sumba offers at the resort and on the island.
The Purist Villas: Bali, Indonesia
The Jungle Pool Villa we stayed in at The Purist Villas in Ubud had the best of both worlds; lots of outdoor space to enjoy the jungle and a luxurious interior to retreat back into. It gets really hot in Bali and so this large and deep pool came in handy. The outdoor seating offered spots in the sun and always some in the shade. The interior features a spa style bathroom with a nice soaker tub too. The food they had here both at the restaurant and for room service was delicious and healthy. As much as we like being out and about in most places, including Bali, we would happily stay here for a week and not miss the outside world.
Wellness seekers looking to enjoy a spa-like experience from their villa will enjoy all the jungle vibes and healthy bounty found at The Purist Villas.
Playa Escondida: Sayulita, Mexico
If you have ever wanted to live in tree house (in the jungle), Cenzontle House at Playa Escondida is a dream come true. Don’t worry about leaving your hammock in between naps and reading because there is time to do yoga in the morning, hang out at the beach, have margaritas and agua chiles on the beach for lunch, take your golf cart into Sayulita town, and have sunset happy hour to watch the birds fly and whale watch (seasonal). Despite only being 1 hour away from Puerto Vallarta, Playa Escondida offers privacy and space to enjoy the beach and jungle. Playa Escondida was closed due to COVID-19 but has announced their plans to re-open soon. As part of re-opening, Playa Escondida is offering some amazing promotions for stays between July to September; find out more.
Sunset lovers looking for a jungle getaway just a short gold cart drive away from an idyllic small Mexican town.
Encantada: Tulum, Mexico
With only 8 rooms, Encantada is a small resort on the beach in Tulum to the south, away from the busier stretches. Sure, you can sleep in, but why would you when you can roll out of bed and walk through the sand to watch the sunrise within 30 seconds and pretty much have the beach to yourself from your own palapa? Don’t worry since breakfast is included in the rate here and you have time to go for a nap as they burn copal in the morning. In between naps in your hammock or palapa, and swims and walks in the beach, you can enjoy the memorable margaritas and ceviches made on site. Yes, Tulum is super popular but due to how long and wide the beach is, there is lots of space and sometimes you feel like you have the place to yourself. Encantada was closed due to COVID-19 but has re-opened.
Sand-in-your-toes and salt-in-your-hair lovers who avoid all-inclusive resorts will love the low-key luxury vibe at Encantada.
Poetry Building: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Built in 1911 but renovated around 2006, Poetry Building offers apartment-style accommodations in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For us, it was the perfect place to be conveniently located in Recoleta while having our own little haven to enjoy the city. The unit we stayed in, “Terraces Suite 5A” had two patios one was accessible from the main living area and one on the upper level accessible by a winding staircase. In addition, Ellie’s Garden on the rooftop offered a bounty of freshly grown veggies and herbs and was a nice place to enjoy morning coffee. Poetry is the perfect place to finish reading all the books on your list, refine your wine tasting skills, enjoy gardening, people watch, learn to speak Spanish and dance the Tango like the Portenos do. Please note that our photos for Poetry Building are from our stay in 2015: we did not take the best photos back then and since, some of the rooms have been renovated at Poetry. There are no dates as to when Argentina will re-open to tourists but in the meantime, we encourage you to follow Poetry Building via Instagram to find out more about Buenos Aires and the building.
Those charmed by old historic buildings in modern times will love Poetry Building and be inspired by its renovation as they sip a glass of Malbec on their patio in Recoleta.
Farmers Dotter: Cawston, British Colombia, Canada
Located in Cawston, Canada’s Organic Farming Capital, Farmers Dotter is close to fresh produce and delicious wines grown in the Similkameen Valley. Framed by the steep peaks of mountains, the valleys are home to a bounty of agriculture, including wine, cider, and produce. Even if you are just 30-45 minutes away from the more popular and busy parts of the Okanagan Valley, you will feel hundreds of miles and hours away here. We’ve spent hours just sitting on the patio, observing the changing colors of the mountain depending on the sun and cloud cover, made friends with the neighbourhood cat, and enjoyed walks down the road. The treats they offer here; the farm fresh eggs, house-baked sourdough bread and local wine from Corcelettes make it the perfect place to remain far from crowds but to indulge in nature’s basket of goodies.
Foragers who like country living and organic farming will feel at home in this bucolic landscape| in a luxurious but rustic guesthouse.
Andaz Scottsdale: Scottsdale, Arizona
Just a short 2 hour flight away from Vancouver, we visited the Andaz Scottsdale a few weekends yearly the last 3 years to enjoy a restful weekend in a Saarinen King Bungalow. Equipped with two patios, we always found the sun and shade, depending on what we were looking for. We have also concluded that the Andaz beds are our favorite hotel beds from sleeping in the giant King beds here with plush linens and cloud-like pillows. The shower is also one of the best we’ve ever experienced; with two shower heads in a large space that’s the size of our washroom at home, it’s the perfect shower to cool down from the hot desert sun or warm up when it gets cold at night. This is our spot to come to when we need to catch up on sleep and want to be forced just to relax because it is way too hot to anything else.
Desert landscape lovers who enjoy staying at luxury hotels more than exploring the destination they’re visiting will find their perfect hideout in a Saarinen Bungalow and the spa at the Andaz Scottsdale.
- Stay: Review of Al Maha Resort in Dubai
- Stay: Review of Nihi Sumba
- Stay: Review of The Purist Villas in Ubud Bali
- Review: Farmersdotter Air BnB Cawston British Columbia
- Review: Playa Escondida, Sayulita, Mexico
- Destination Guide: Okanagan Valley and Similkameen Valley in British Columbia
- Stay: Review of Casa Habita in Guadalajara
- We Leave Someday: Puerto Escondido, Mexico
- Unfinished Business: 3 Days in Tulum
- Review: Playa Escondida, Sayulita, Mexico
- Top 15 Destinations in 15 Years: Our List
- Travel Advisory for Mexico – A Vacation Horror Story
- Overtourism: Did “Eat Pray Love” Ruin Bali?
- Parrilla in Buenos Aires: Get Your Meat On