MILAN — From isolated islands off the coast of Montenegro to remote parts of Italy, the most insidious meanders of the French Alps to the Portuguese countryside — tI have shown remote hotels in Europe are often also the most luxurious.
These far-flung locations may be difficult to reach, but for those seeking exclusive and unusual holidays, they provide tranquil — and beautiful — escapes.
Here, WWD explores some of the most secluded five-star hotels in Europe that promise exceptional and unforgettable experiences.
The Eremito Hotel, Italy
What is more isolated than a 14th-century monastery redeveloped as a hotel and located in the Umbrian valleys of Italy?
This is the case of Eremito, which translates to hermit, a hotel located in Parrano, a 40-minute drive from the closest town, Orvieto, and surrounded by 3,000 hectares of protected natural reserve.
Founded and owned by Marcello Murzilli, the structure is known to be the first digital-detox hotel in Italy. It doesn’t have internet, business centers, minibars or televisions, and is intended for solo travelers only, exclusively offering single-bed occupancy. At The Eremito Hotel, the main source of light comes from candles, and what little electricity the hotel does use is generated by a state-of-the-art array of photovoltaic cells.
Bedrooms — formerly used by the monastery’s priests — are insulated to stay cool without air conditioning in the summer. In winter monthsthe rooms are heated with an underfloor heating system.
The restaurant, known as the “refectory,” offers a simple cuisine based on vegetarian and vegan traditional recipes made of fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits, while the bread and pasta are all homemade, as are the jams and desserts. The dinner is consumed in silence, together with the other guests at a big common table. During the summer, guests enjoy their meals on the outside patio.
The Refuge de la Traye, France
Similar to Eremito, the Refuge de la Traye is nestled in a haven of nature, at the heart of the three valleys in a ski area, and situated at an altitude of 1,650 meters in the French Alps. Built in 1982, the structure was originally a mountain lodge and was renovated into a luxury hospitality destination in 2019. It offers only six rooms and suites, which create a private, intimate, homey vibe.
The hotel places an emphasis on its natural surroundings, offering courses such as zip-lining and tree-climbing, electric mountain biking, pottery workshops, pony rides and spa retreats.
There is a wellness center, a sauna, a hammam, an outdoor jacuzzi, a fitness room, a tearoom, a lounge and a cigar salon, a children’s indoor playroom, a screening room, a chapel and two small lodges that are available to book.
The hotel’s restaurant, La Table, offers Savoyard specialties such as raclettes and fondues during the colder seasons, and fresh vegetables and wood-fired pizzas during the summer.
Located on the terrace overlooking the Alps, the restaurant is one of the most jaw-dropping features of the luxury inn.
Casa na Terra hotel, Portugal
Surrounded by the green countryside and wide ocean beaches in the Alentejo region in Portugal, the Casa na Terra hotel is located near the artificial lake Monsaraz. It is unique, resembling an alien station or a luxury bunker hidden by the vegetation: only the dome and patio are visible from the outside, minimizing the impact the building has on the landscape or the view.
Casa na Terra, designed by architect Manuel Aires Mateus, is the latest addition to the Portuguese hotel group Silent Living, which already owns the Santa Clara 1728 in Lisbon, and the Cabanas no Rio in Comporta.
With only three suites, each with a bright, private patio and a fully equipped kitchen, this structure is a place where visitors rest up, thanks to the minimal style of the hotel in neutral colors such as white, gray and beige.
Casa na Terra has only one common area, which acts as the heart of the hotel, as meals are consumed inside the guests’ rooms.
The Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Aman, one of the biggest luxury hotel chains, is bringing a high-end lodging experience to a small island off the coast of Montenegro.
The Aman Sveti Stefan is located on the island of Sveti Stefan and is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. The restored village lies across the bay from Villa Miločer, a former royal retreat. The hotel grounds are spread across 80 acres, with two kilometers of beaches and a stand-alone Aman Spa.
The hotel houses 51 rooms, cottages and suites connected by stone steps and cobbled paths. The restored dwellings feature hand-rendered stucco, stone and local oak, in keeping with the village’s rustic legacy, with sea or garden views.
Aman Sveti Stefan also offers two restaurants, in addition to the grill bar and the pool bar. The Arva, the structure’s main restaurant, is available for dinner service only.
Facilities include a fitness center, hydrotherapy and swimming pools, three hotel-owned beaches, wine tasting and boat trips.