This Way to Nowhere

Lakshman Sagar, IndiaPhoto: Courtesy of Lakshman Sagar

Raipur, India
The dizzying, nonstop bustle of New Delhi feels a million miles away from Lakshman Sagar (from $350;, a nineteenth-century hunting lodge turned conservation retreat, stretched across 32 acres in rural central India (a.k.a. the badlands). The property blends beautifully into the barren environs—green architects Revathi and Vasant Kamath used indigenous materials to construct the dozen mud-and-stone guest cottages—and features plenty of local handiwork, like embellished Zenana tables inspired by the colorful style of Rajasthani women. Take a lesson in yoga or meditation, trek through the surrounding badlands on horseback, bring a picnic lunch (the hotel will pack it for you) to nearby Fort Bagri, or try to spot a sloth bear, a langur (a slender gray monkey named after a Hindu god), or a chinkara (Indian gazelle) at the Todgarh Raoli Wildlife Sanctuary. No one will judge you, of course, if you opt simply to loiter by the pool and admire the surrounding desert’s foothills.
Need to rewire? The property has no TVs, Wi-Fi, or cell-phone service. To log on, you can hit the Internet cafés in the town of Raipur, five minutes away.

andBeyond on Mnemba IslandPhoto: Courtesy of andBeyond

Mnemba Island
Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, has a removed-from-reality quality that has drawn romance-seekers for years; but nearby Mnemba Island takes it one step further. This private isle in the Indian Ocean is a beachcomber’s dreamscape with shimmering talc-soft sands, calm azure waters, and a dazzling coral reef ideal for snorkeling. The luxurious privacy of the andBeyond resort (from $790 per person; comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s justified. You stay in one of ten private beachfront bandas with palm-frond roofs, huge stone showers, and verandas where breakfast is served. Swim and snorkel among the vibrant marine life (bottlenose dolphins and coconut crabs) of the Mnemba reef; kayak; scuba dive (two daily trips are included); then take a sunset cruise on a dhow. At night the hotel offers mchanga ngome, which is beach dining in a lounge area built from sand.
There are no TVs on the island. You can get intermittent cell-phone reception in the manager’s office, and the central guest area has Wi-Fi.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Nicaragua may have had a tumultuous political history, but today, the Central American country is safer—and more inviting—than ever. Nicknamed the “land of lakes and volcanoes,” the lush terrain could just as well be called the land of dense jungles and immaculate beaches. Aqua Wellness Resort’s “tree-house” suites (from $130; are built into the forest canopy, and the private Redonda Bay beach, a haven for nesting turtles, sprawls below. Each suite features a plunge pool and wraparound deck, but even better, there’s no TV, phone, or stable Inter-net connection to distract you from the on-site yoga, organic restaurant, spa, or vast array of local tour options. Continue your idling on the tranquil Little Corn Island, which has no cars and is located 50 miles off the mainland. Check in at the aptly named Farm Peace & Love (from $75;, a six-guest property that grows organic produce and has chickens, goats, and horses. Explore the island on horseback or walk just three minutes to dive shop Derek’s Place; then spend your days swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the surrounding coral reefs.
Aqua Wellness has a steady Wi-Fi zone only in its reception and restaurant/bar areas. At Farm Peace & Love, there is no landline or cell-phone connection, but you can pay for access to Wi-Fi.

Cresto Ranch, ColoradoPhoto: Courtesy of the vendor

Colorado Rockies
John Denver knew a good thing when he saw it. The Rocky Mountains are rife with babbling streams, dramatic snow-capped peaks, boundless sky, and clusters of pines that would have sent painter Bob Ross into a creative frenzy. Arranged around an alpine clearing, the eight luxury tents of Cresto Ranch (from $1,400, all-inclusive; are a far cry from traditional camping. Each has a gas stove and soaking tub, as well as a wraparound porch for taking in the San Juan Mountains. In the milder months, ride bikes or horses, fly-fish, rock climb, or log spa time indoors (the hot-rock massage at the nearby Dunton Hot Springs bathhouse uses stones from the neighboring riverbed) and outside (at the hot springs on the side of a mountain). Rocky Mountain high, indeed.
There are no TVs, cell service, or Wi-Fi at Cresto Ranch, but a four-mile walk to Dunton Hot Springs will earn you an Internet connection.

Avowed adventurers know all about the lure of mythical Patagonia. This meandering and widely varied swath of southern Chile and Argentina is wilderness at its most magnificent, and at the secluded Patagonia Camp (from $320 per person;, there is nothing to do but revel in it. With views of the Paine Massif granite peaks and enormous Lake Toro, each fully appointed yurt boasts a private terrace shaded by beech trees. Twenty minutes away is the renowned Torres del Paine National Park, where you can hike and see the Base de las Torres, Laguna Azul, and the Salto Grande waterfall. You can also fish at the lake and horseback ride along the Cerro Tenerife. In the evening, head to the camp’s quincho (grilling area) for a traditional Patagonian lamb barbecue.
The yurts themselves have no TV, Wi-Fi, or cell reception, but you can pick up a Wi-Fi signal in the lobby.

Yelepa, MexicoPhoto: Courtesy of the vendor

Yelapa, Mexico
Far, far off Mexico’s well-worn tourist path lies the tiny fishing town of Yelapa, a carfree haven on the country’s Pacific coast. The journey there is not for the impatient, however: After a flight to Puerto Vallarta, a short drive to Boca de Tomatlán, a 30-minute boat cruise along the coast to Yelapa, and an uphill hike (mules carry your luggage), you arrive at Verana (from $175; The nine bungalows scattered around the property’s five acres share one impressive feature: a mind-blowing view of the postcard-perfect ocean and surrounding jungle. Spend your days hopping from one watery retreat to another: the swimming hole at Quimixto, the rushing waterfalls at Tecumata, or the nearby Marietas Islands, where you may spot sea turtles, giant manta rays, and the elusive blue-footed booby.
Verana has intermittent cell service, but no TV. For a Wi-Fi fix, the property’s restaurant and bar offers a connection.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Petit St. Vincent
Those with fantasies of escaping to a private isle adore Petit St. Vincent, which is as far from the mega-resorts of the Caribbean as you can get (both literally and figuratively). To reach the 115-acre island cum resort (from $1,100; in the Grenadines archipelago, fly to Barbados, take a 50-minute flight to Union Island, and then a 20-minute boat ride. The island has strict policies to keep the ambience idyllic: that means no TVs, Wi-Fi, or even room keys. The 22 cottages are plush and airy, some with outdoor daybeds overlooking the water, perfect for sunbathing or enjoying a private yoga session. Even the communication here is old-school. Raise the yellow flag up your cottage’s bamboo flagpole, and a staff member suddenly materializes; raise the red one, and no one will dare disrupt your alone time. Book a tropics-inspired Island Haze massage at the tiny spa; have a sailboat carry you to the nearby islands of Mayreau, Carriacou, and the Tobago Cays for lunch and snorkeling; or just park it beachside and revel in your seclusion.
For those desperate for a tech fix, there is a Balinese carved-wood daybed near the main office where you can pick up a wireless signal.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Fafá Island, Tonga
This unspoiled archipelago (170-odd islets in total) in the South Pacific is isolation embodied—its coral atolls, palm forests, and cerulean waters are the stuff of dreams. Start your Blue Lagoon fantasy on Tonga’s Fafá Island, which takes three flights, plus a 30-minute sailboat ride, to access. Just north of Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s capital, awaits the Instagram-perfect Fafá Island Resort (from $235;—and nothing else. Check into one of the thirteen traditional fales (thatched-roof huts), each with its own outdoor shower and private flower garden. Paddleboard around the perimeter, snorkel close to shore or at one of the neighboring uninhabited islands, or arrange a fishing tour, after which the resort’s chef will prepare your catch.
There are no TVs or cell service, but there is an Internet connection (albeit a very slow one) available in the bar.

Three Camel Lodge, MongoliaPhoto: Courtesy of the vendor

Tourism has never been a big industry in Mongolia, but the government aims to attract one million visitors annually by 2015. And while the capital of Ulaanbaatar has seen some new fashionable hotels—a Shangri-La will break ground this year—it’s the remote grasslands of the countryside and vast Gobi Desert that are the real draws for those seeking sublime detachment. The Three Camel Lodge (from $180 per person; is a cluster of 50 rustic gers (traditional felt-and-canvas nomad tents; spring for a deluxe version to get a private bathroom), nestled beside the Gobi Altai Mountains in the desert’s Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Each has a south-facing door (a Mongolian practice) and wood-burning stove. Spend daylight hours taking in the Gobi’s natural marvels—examine ancient petroglyphs or dinosaur fossils at Flaming Cliffs, hike the mountain’s peaks and valleys, go on a trek by horse or camel, or get schooled in Mongolian cooking techniques at the lodge’s Bulagtai restaurant, which uses produce grown in the on-site greenhouse. Evenings are reserved for quiet stargazing: The solar-powered property’s lights are turned out at 11 p.m. sharp.
This is as off-the-grid as you can get—no TVs, Wi-Fi, cell service, or even phones (only satellite). The closest place to reconnect is at the Dalanzadgad Hotel, which is 90 minutes away by car.

Negev Desert
This massive Israeli dust bowl contains little more than the odd military base, camel, Bedouin village, and … a burgeoning wine country? Retreat amid the grapevines and olive trees at the Boker Valley Vineyard Farm (from $150; Built fifteen years ago along an old incense-trade route, the B&B (which serves a traditional Israeli breakfast) comprises four simple honeymooner cabins, each with views of the surrounding valley and hammock-strewn patios. Hike or bike the desert, take a dip in the nearby Zin Valley springs, and contemplate the staggering natural wonder that is Makhtesh Ramon, one of the world’s largest erosion craters. The on-site wine shop offers ample opportunity to pick up local varietals.
There are no TVs, and cell service is spotty at Boker Valley, but there’s Wi-Fi in the wine shop. Cabins have iPod docking stations for in-room music.

Far Meadow, YosemitePhoto: Courtesy of the vendor

Yosemite, California
About three-and-a-half hours and a world apart from San Francisco are the majestic mountains, lush valleys, and crystalline lakes of Yosemite National Park. Long a destination for family road-trippers, California’s exalted High Sierras also offer many options for nature-bound seclusion. On twenty acres of private land are the four houses that make up Far Meadow (from $220; Choose from a cozy tree-house-style one-bedroom cottage with a large deck; an old-school log cabin with a wood-burning stove and a deck with built-in barbecue; or two sunny A-frames, one with a Japanese soaking tub and both with outdoor fire pits. Rock climb, take advantage of the complimentary mountain bikes, go for a dip in one of the many lakes, hike the myriad surrounding trails, or just kick back and relax chez vous.
There are no TVs, and cell service is patchy, but satellite Internet allows for very basic web usage.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

Okavango Delta, Botswana
In this less-traversed part of southern Africa, safarigoers set their sights on the iconic “big five,” particularly elephants. Northern Botswana happens to have more of these long-trunked mammals per square mile than any other place on the continent. There is no shortage of them at Abu Camp (from $1,916 per person, all-inclusive;, a 450,000-acre private game reserve located in the dewy western Okavango Delta. The six tented suites each have luxe outdoor copper tubs for soaking en plein air, plus decks overlooking a lagoon where hippos can be spotted at play. Days here are full: Walk alongside or ride Abu’s beloved elephants; embark on game drives to see impalas, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, spotted hyenas, and leopards; laze around the pool; and enjoy quiet sundowners by the campfire. One evening, make sure to reserve the “star bed,” an elevated mosquito-netted platform where you can doze off with the stars flickering above and an elephant herd grazing below.
There are no TVs or phone service at this solar-powered property, but a limited Wi-Fi signal is available in its library.

This Way to Nowhere