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11 Stunning Hotels You Can Only Reach by Helicopter or Float Plane

If you truly want to escape on your next vacation, you can’t get more remote than these destinations

Modern conveniences like Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, and smartphone apps are making flying easier than ever, but some destinations take just a little more effort to get to—and they’re so worth the extra air time. You’ll have to take a private helicopter or float plane to reach these private islands, cliffside lodges, and lakefront cabins, but, once there, you’ll be rewarded with stunning scenery and almost total seclusion. Looking to drop off the grid for a bit? One of these 11 hotels should make the shortlist for your next getaway.

Minaret Station, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Tucked into New Zealand’s Southern Alps, at the head of a glacial valley, Minaret Station is a rustic escape that shares 50,000 acres with a working high-country farm and can only be reached by helicopter from Wanaka. Raised wooden boardwalks crisscross the alpine meadow, linking the four alpine chalets to the main lodge and kitchen, all of which are outfitted in classic sheepskin and plaid country decor. Guests can go hiking, fishing, jet boating, heli-skiing, and heli-biking on the property or at Fiordland National Park’s nearby beaches, then dine on fresh meat and seafood from Stewart Island and Fiordland at the Mountain Kitchen Lodge

Talus Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

Up in the high reaches (7,600 feet high, to be exact) of the Canadian Rocky Mountains—near Banff National Park and the continental divide—Talus Lodge is only accessible by helicopter from Canmore, outside of Calgary, or Mount Shark, Alberta. Able to accomodate 12 guests at a time, the two-story lodge is a kick-off point for backcountry adventures like tobogganing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, backcountry skiing, and hiking on the nearby Mount Assiniboine, Mount Sir Douglas, and Mount Birdwood. It’s also almost completely off the grid, relying on wood stoves for heating, propane for cooking, and solar panels for electricity. taluslodge.com

Tikchik Narrows Lodge, Wood-Tikchik State Park, Alaska

Opened in 1969 as a sport fishing lodge, Tikchik Narrows Lodge maintains its rustic roots—not least of all because it’s more than 300 miles from any connecting roads, making it only accessible by seaplane from Dillingham in southwestern Alaska. You’ll find the main lodge on the tip of a narrow peninsula separating Tikchik and Nuyukuk Lakes, while seven duplex guest cabins dot the shore overlooking Nuyukuk Lake and the Kilbuck mountains. Both the dining area, where you can gorge on Pacific Northwest cuisine and veggies from the on-site greenhouse, and the main lodge boast 360-degree views of the lake, which is known as one of the best fishing spots in the world. tikchiklodge.com

Purcell Mountain Lodge, British Columbia, Canada

It’ll take a 15-minute helicopter ride to get you to this three-story mountain lodge, nestled into the high slopes of Bald Mountain near Glacier National Park. There are 10 private guest rooms decked out in cozy mountain decor—think wood beams, pine tables, and wool throws—although in true mountain style, the bathrooms and showers are shared. Guests can ski right off the alpine plateau towards the Selkirk Mountains and Beaver River Valley or snowshoe and hike along the nearby glacial-fed river before returning home for daily après appetizers and gourmet mountain cuisine, plus thawing in the traditional wood-burning sauna just steps away from the main lodge. purcellmountainlodge.com

Winterlake Lodge, Skwentna, Alaska

Nearly 200 trail miles northwest of Anchorage—along Alaska’s Iditarod Trail—sits the pine-hewn Winterlake Lodge, accessible by float plane in the summer and ski plane in the winter. The properties 15 acres are situated on the western edge of the Alaska Range, a playground where guests can dog-mush, heli-ski, snowshoe, cross-country ski, explore glacial pools, white-water raft, fly fish, rock scramble, and more. The main lodge, which was once an old trapper’s cabin, is the property’s social hub (with a bar, dining area, wellness room, and game area), and six individual guest cabins offer views of the finger lake where the planes land. withinthewild.com

Nimmo Bay, British Columbia, Canada

One of the world’s first ecolodges, Nimmo Bay is situated in the middle of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and surrounded by the granite foothills of Mt. Stephens, glacial-fed waterfalls, and pristine beaches. It’s so remote, you’ll have to fly to Port Hardy on the tip of Vancouver Island to catch a helicopter or float plane to the property’s private dock. The resort is home to nine solid-wood cabins, six of which are perched on stilts on the edge of the lake, and three of which are tucked up in the forest; the main lodge actually floats on the lake. Go bear or whale watching, paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, hiking, or fly fishing before soaking in the views at one of the cedar hot tubs between the heli-pads and a cascading waterfall. nimmobay.com

North Island, The Seychelles

No part of the Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands off the eastern coast of Africa, would be considered easy to get to, but the North Island (where Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned) doesn’t even have a landing dock for boats—a 20-minute private helicopter ride from the capital of Mahé is your only transportation option. The 11 thatched-roof villas on Anse d’Est Beach are the ultimate in island luxury, built from local materials but offering modern luxuries like personal plunge pools, sunken baths, and outdoor showers. And with the beach just steps away, you might run into one or two of the island’s 100-plus-year-old giant tortoises. north-island.com

CMH Bobbie Burns, Alberta, Canada

This 26-room ski lodge is no more than a 15-min flight from Calgary, but thanks to its isolated location between the Purcell and Selkirk Mountains, it feels worlds away. It’s not a spot for casual skiers; each morning, guests are flown to the slopes for some seriously hardcore heli-skiing on the area’s 224 runs. Non-skiers can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the glacial terrain, while the lodge itself boasts a climbing wall, game room, massages, an outdoor whirlpool and sauna, and a thoroughly stocked wine cellar. (The off-season is just as nice, with rolling alpine meadows and rocky ridges to high through.) canadianmountainholidays.com

Kandolhu Maldives, North Ari Atoll, Maldives

Seventy miles southwest of Male, the capital of the Maldives, is Kandolhu, a tiny island just 150 by 200 metres. You’ll have to take a 25-minute seaplane ride to get there, and once there, you can stay at one of the 30 villas dotting the island and surrounding Indian Ocean. The locally inspired bungalows all come with either beachfront access or ocean views and modern conveniences like AC, rechargeable torches, and a GoPro to help you document your adventures while snorkeling the crystalline waters right off your sundeck. kandolhu.com

Mica Lodge, British Columbia

Another heliskiing property located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the five-star Mica Lodge is just north of Revelstoke in British Columbia, via a short helicopter ride from Mica Creek. Twelve suites fill up the main lodge, while heliskiing groups can reserve the log chalet next door, complete with a lounge, hot tub, private massage quarters, and roomy suites—but the max capacity at any time is just 20 guests. Mica boasts 500 square miles of mountains, fresh powder, and fall-line tree-skiing between Tsar Creek, Mount Molson, Kinbasket Valley, and Harvey Cree; when you’re done with that, you can refuel on the resort’s Rocky Mountain cuisine and local brews. micaheli.com

Sheldon Chalet, Denali National Park, Alaska

The Alaskan wilderness is about as remote as you can get in the U.S., but this five-room property takes that to a new level—perched 6,000 feet above the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre on Ruth Glacier, it’s only accessible by helicopter from Anchorage or Talkeetna. The Sheldon Chalet, which is located just 10 miles from the summit of Denali, is an eco-conscious mountain house offering simple, modern luxury and breathtaking panoramic views of the frozen Alaska Range, where guests can go heli-skiing, fishing at hidden lakes, dog-sledding, rappelling into ice crevasses, and glacier hiking. Even better: There’s no internet or cell service. sheldonchalet.com

architecturaldigest.com

TEXT BY ASHLEY MATEO