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Hide and Seek: Hush-Hush Hotels Around the World

PHOTO: Laucala Island Resort Ltd.

It’s not always easy to find a peaceful place where you can escape, but at these confidential properties, privacy, seclusion, and tranquility are the name of the game.

Don’t be surprised if your cell signal drops or if Wi-Fi is patchy at times—that just means you’ll have to live in the moment, rather than tweet about it. For hidden luxury, check out these hush-hush hotels that are inviting you in on their little secret.

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PHOTO: Toscana Resort Castelfalfi
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Toscana Resort Castelfalfi

WHERE: Montaione, Italy

Located between Florence and Pisa, this 2,700-acre property in Montaione, Italy has been transformed from an abandoned tobacco factory into a luxury estate complete with a boutique hotel, private villas, and a five-star hotel. Despite the rebirth of this medieval ghost town, the countryside is remarkably secluded with its own nature reserve where guests can ride horses, forage for truffles, or tour the vineyards and olive groves. From farm-to-fork cuisine in the historic castle, to vinotherapy spa treatments on the Tuscan hillside, it’s all about serenity and privacy—unless of course, you decide to wander the cobblestone streets of neighboring villages where civilization still exists.

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Laucala Island

WHERE: Taveuni, Fiji

Set on a 3,500-acre private island, this hidden property in Fiji’s archipelago is made up of 25 villas—each with its own swimming pool and private butler—set amid coconut plantations and dazzling beaches. It’s truly is the height of seclusion, with overwater bungalows and beachfront or hilltop lodging that overlooks deserted beaches and lush rainforest. Style and sustainability go hand-in-hand, with 95% of the island untouched, and the rest dedicated to raising livestock and growing crops like vanilla, pepper, tea, orchids, and produce. Accessible by its own airport, the luxurious resort boasts an 18-hole championship golf course, horseback riding, hiking trails, five restaurants, submarines for guests, and the highest staff-to-guest ratio of any hotel in the world (16 per villa). This level of privacy comes with a hefty price tag, however.

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PHOTO: Hidden Canopy Treehouses
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Hidden Canopy Treehouses

WHERE: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Tucked in the Costa Rican cloud forest of Monteverde, six luxury tree houses immerse you in calming nature with wraparound decks, driftwood headboards, waterfall showers, and skylight ceilings. Far from your vision of a childhood tree house, these two-story units are cradled in massive branches high above koi ponds and a network of hiking trails. Each tree house has a lounge area, private entrance, and floor-to-ceiling windows with views spanning over the hills to the Gulf of Nicoya. Breakfast and tea are served in a lovely solarium in the main house, one of the few spots you’ll encounter other guests.

INSIDER TIPNo kids under 16 are allowed here, so prepare for silence at this peaceful retreat where the sound of screaming children is replaced with that of chirping birds and howler monkeys.

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PHOTO: The Luxury Collection
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Hacienda Uayamón

WHERE: Campeche, Mexico

One of the most remote haciendas in the Yucatan, this exquisite jungle property was abandoned in 1913 and resurrected a century later. The original architecture and decor have been carefully preserved, right down to the ancient ruins jutting through the swimming pool. Draped across original tile floors are hand-woven hammocks where you can sway in the historic casitas, each with its own garden and Jacuzzi. The original company store now serves as the spa and offers Mayan-influenced treatments.

INSIDER TIPThis property is remarkably challenging to find, meaning it’s best to take advantage of the airport shuttle or avoid traveling at night.

 

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PHOTO: Musha Cay
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Musha Cay

WHERE: Exumas, Bahamas

If one island isn’t enough, how about a whole chain of them in the southern Bahamas? For $39,000 a night, you and 12 of your closest friends can get a taste of the magic that includes five beachside villas, world-class cuisine, and endless water activities from 40 sugar-sand beaches. The best part about this hideaway is that the only other guests on the island are the ones you invited.

INSIDER TIPThese off-the-radar islands in the Exumas are owned by legendary illusionist David Copperfield.

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Deplar Farm

WHERE: Troll Peninsula, Iceland

For adventure and solitude far from the madding crowds, this converted sheep farm in the remote Fljot valley is way off the beaten track but worth the journey. The modern 13-suite lodge pays tribute to Icelandic architecture with locally-sourced stone, black timber, and grass-sodded roofs. Walls double as windows with floor-to-ceiling views of mountains, lakes, and ocean where guests heli-ski, fly fish, horseback ride, snowmobile, whale watch, hike, and surf. Tired bodies can find healing at the spa with its own floatation tank, or in the geothermal infinity pool illuminated by the midnight sun. If cozying up is more your style, head to the library, private theater, or bar where you can nurse your favorite cocktail.

INSIDER TIPIf you’d rather have the entire place to yourself, simply dish out $21,000 a night for the entire farm.

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PHOTO: La Troza
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La Troza

WHERE: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Only accessible by boat, privacy is the top priority at this Puerto Vallarta resort cradled between Bahia de Banderas and the Sierra Madre Mountains. Accommodations for 24 guests are housed in four residences; the villa, the beach house, and two casitas—meaning you’ll have your own beachfront estate complete with a restaurant, infinity pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, and sandy white beach. Between snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, surfing, and hiking, the only reason you’ll need to visit Puerto Vallarta across the bay is to possibly catch your flight home. For even more tranquility in your stay, you can book private yoga, cooking classes, or a massage on the beach. Included in the nightly $5,000 buyout rate are activities, airport transportation, unlimited drinks, and elaborate meals prepared by a five-star chef.

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PHOTO: Chalet Pelerin
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Chalet Pelerin

WHERE: Le Miroir, France

You might just want to leave your ski boots on for this one, where the heli-skiing is considered to be some of the best in the world. Indulgence at this ski chalet starts with bubbly by the fire and continues throughout your stay with spa treatments, an indoor saltwater pool, and a terrace Jacuzzi with views of Mont Pourri. The five-room chalet offers intimacy aplenty, tucked away in the Tarentaise Valley near the mountain village of Le Miroir. Named after celebrated French landmarks, rooms are woodsy-chic with alpine furnishings like sheepskin throws and beamed ceilings from the 1800s. Pack leaders should claim the master suite with a private balcony, log fire, and steam shower. Outside your door are the French Alps, where you can snowshoe and snowboard in winter, and rock climb and mountain bike in summer.

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PHOTO: Cal a Vie
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Cal-a-Vie

WHERE: Vista, California

It’s secrecy at its best when celebrities like Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey can hang out at this destination spa without getting noticed. Despite it’s location in the hills of Vista, California, you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to a pampering Provençal village. Classic French style prevails in the opulent lounge areas and private villas with marble baths, Frette linens, antique furnishings, and 200-year-old reclaimed wooden floors. Balconies open onto hillsides blanketed in lavender, where a stone chapel from 1615 (imported from Dijon) is used for mediation and weddings. This luxury spa “camp” is no-holds-barred when it comes to fitness, health, and service with a staff-to-guest ratio of 5:1. Every three-course dinner is a fine dining experience with crystal chandeliers, velvet chairs, and a roaring fireplace. The 3-night minimum stay includes meals, spa treatments, fitness classes, and access to the private 18-hole golf course.