There’s no doubt that, after months of stay-at-home orders, wanderlust is running high—something that’s being borne out in reports that bookings for summer travel are on the rise and that people are willing to pay more to ensure private experiences. But as hotels and resorts across the country slowly begin to reopen or announce upcoming opening dates for the summer, travelers may still be wary about how they can continue to stay safe while venturing out into the world. In addition to implementing new health and cleanliness programs, many luxury hotels are leaning into the privacy angle by offering buy-out options, secluded suites and residences, and even new sections separate from the main hotel. From Alaska to Rhode Island, here are 12 hotels where you can relax while still maintaining physical distance this summer.
Inns of Aurora
Set in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York, less than a five-hour drive from cities like Boston, Philadelphia and New York City, the Inns of Aurora has always offered an unconventional hotel experience, with rooms and facilities spread out over five separate historic homes. In this current situation, however, the hotel is now offering the chance to privately rent three of their five inns: E.B. Morgan House, with seven guestrooms; Rowland House, with 10 guestrooms; and the brand-new Zabriskie House, with 11 guestrooms. Each house comes with private firepit, lakefront area and dock access, in-residence washer and dryer, and access to kayaks, paddleboards, yoga kits, lawn games, picnic blankets, binoculars, art kits and more. A dedicated innkeeper/concierge will help organize activities like visits to area hiking and biking trails, wineries and historic sites, and can arrange for add-ons like private chefs and grocery stocking services. Rates start at $1,500 per night.
JL Bar Ranch Resort & Spa
Head three hours west from Austin and San Antonio—or just five minutes from the private airport—to reach this working ranch-slash- luxury resort set on 13,000 Hill Country acres. In addition to offering 32 guest rooms. the intimate property (which re-opened on May 20th) has just unveiled the new Archer’s Nest Villa, a private home surrounded by 100-year-old live oak trees and prime sunset views. The villa comes with six bedrooms, a private pool and pool house (the latter with a fully-equipped kitchen and bar), home theater, indoor and outdoor dining area, gardens and the services of a dedicated butler; a private chef can be arranged to cook meals in the gourmet kitchen. Villa guests will also have access to the rest of the resort’s amenities, which include equine experiences, hiking. ATV and biking trails and a state-of-the-art shooting facility. Archer’s Nest Villa ratees starting at $4,495 per night, with a minimum two-night stay.
Within the Wild
You’ll feel like you have the majesty of the Alaskan wilderness all to yourself with a buy-out of one of the two upscale, seaplane-accessible lodges operated by Within the Wild. Winterlake Lodge sits on the edge of the Alaska Range, bordered by a lake to the south, mountains to the west, and a forest to the north—all of which you can explore using the house helicopter, in between river rafting, fly-fishing and other adventures. Or head to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, at the gateway to Kachemak Bay State Park, to take over Tutka Bay Lodge, which is poised on a private cove within a rugged fjord—a prime spot for sea kayaking, whale watching, inter-tide pooling and more. Both lodges have six cabins and a total of 10 bedrooms, and come with a full staff to oversee everything from gourmet meals to wellness activities, cooking classes, forest treasure hunts, dips in glacier pools or whatever else your group desires. Buy-out rates start at $60,000 for three nights (the minimum required stay.)
The Resort at Paws Up
This Montana resort has always been about physical distancing—after all, it’s not only spread out over 37,000-acres of Montana wilderness along the Blackfoot River, but the accommodations are all in 28 private luxury homes and 36 seasonal glamping tents (there are no traditional hotel rooms.) This summer, though, they are taking privacy to the next level with the August opening of The Green O, a separate adults-only, year-round camp featuring just 12 modern, nature-inspired accommodations scatted throughout the forest and around a central gathering house. Guests staying in any of the homes or camps will enjoy access to the resort’s 100 miles of designated hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and ATV trails, plus the shooting range, fly-fishing trips and more, ensuring plenty of outdoor time. Summer (May-October) buy-out rates for the homes and three glamping camps (not including The Green O) start at $42,897 per night; buy-outs of just The Green O start at $9,600 per night.
Originally built as a Great Camp for William Avery Rockefeller II, this intimate lakefront estate in the Adirondacks was also the first designated Relais & Chateaux hotel in North America. With just 11 rooms spread out around a Great House, the place maintains a private house party atmosphere—making it ideal for buy-outs. Even if you don’t take over the place, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only ones here as you explore the 75-acre property, get pampered by the on-point service, and enjoy special experiences like a private dinner on the resort’s Elco boat as it cruises Saranac Lake (with each course delivered by motorboat to ensure it’s fresh from the kitchen.) Summer room rates start at $1,750 per night, buy-outs start at $28,750 per night; rates include all meals and alcohol.
Camp Sarika by Amangiri
To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Amangiri has gifted itself a whole new sister property. Set to open on July 1st, the year-round Camp Sarika by Amangiri is accessible via a 30-minute hike (or five-minute drive) from the main hotel, and features 10 one- or two-bedroom tented pavilions surrounded by 1,483 acres of Utah desert—ensuring nothing but privacy, solitude and adventure. Camp guests have access to all the facilities at Amangiri, but with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, restaurant, sun deck and two spa suites available at the camp—plus plunge pools, firepits, telescopes and private decks in each tent—there’s little reason to leave. Yoga and guided meditation can be arranged outdoors, as can evening Native American storytelling sessions, while off-site activities might include hiking, kayaking, e-biking, hot air balloon rides, or a sunrise helicopter flight that will take you over Lake Powell and Glen Canyon before landing atop Tower Butte. One-bedroom Camp Sarika pavilions start at $3,500 per night including all meals; Camp Sarika buy-outs start at $48,000 per night.
Montage Palmetto Bluff
Easily accessible from both Hilton Head and Savannah, this Montage resort (which is re-opening June 4th with a new set of health and safety protocols) is set within the 20,000 acre Palmetto Bluff community, surrounded by miles of riverfront, woodland and marshland—offering easy access to activities like biking, boat rides, golf, walking under cover of ancient oak trees, and kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding through bird sanctuaries. Set up like a small town, complete with central square, the resort is also ideal for guests who want to keep their distance, as the accommodation options include both two-bedroom resort cottages and larger private residences with two- to five-bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens and other facilities that make it easy to stay put. Cottage rates start at $950 per night, residences start at $1,300 per night.
Inn at Dos Brisas
Just about a 45-minute drive from Houston, this Relais & Chateaux property has only nine standalone haciendas and casitas—making it ideal for a family or friends takeover. Once you do a buy-out, all 300 acres are yours to explore and enjoy via activities like horseback riding, clay target shooting, private yoga, or dips in your private pool. In-room spa treatments can also be arranged, while meals—which can be taken anywhere, from in-room to by the lake or under the willow trees—will be crafted with produce harvested from the on-site 42-acre, USDA-certified farm, ensuring both freshness and minimum human contact. As of now, the hotel is slated to re-open in September, when it will also implement new procedures like contact-free meal deliveries. Buy-out rates start at $10,000 per night, including meals, non-alcoholic drinks and all activities.
Beginning in June (subject to re-opening guidelines), this historic beachfront getaway in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, will be offering total buy-outs of the whole property (which includes 49 guest rooms and 20 suites), in addition to rentals of the longtime-favorite Cottage Collection residences that allow for more privacy. Located throughout the resort, the cottages range from two- to seven-bedrooms, and come with laundry, full kitchens, and yard space; some also have swimming pools, hot tubs or firepits. A dedicated cottage concierge will be on hand to stock your residence before arrival and take care of any other requests, and cottage guests will also have access to the resort’s private beach, golf facilities and other amenities. Cottage rates start at $2,000 per night; buy-outs of the main property (all rooms and suites, not including cottages) start at $149,000 per night.
After six years of construction and a $100 million investment, this eight-suite boutique property in the heart of Jackson Hole has already become a celebrity favorite, drawing such guests as Mandy Moore and Gigi Hadid. Re-opening June 25th, the hotel features four two-bedroom suites and four four-bedroom suites, as well as two restaurants, a spa, fitness and yoga studios, and a kids’ club; guests who buy-out the place (which, with additional beds, can sleep up to 60) will also get roundtrip airport transfers, a dedicated concierge and complimentary daily breakfast and snacks. The residential-style suites each boast dining areas, soaking tubs, patios with fire pits and kitchens that can be stocked before your arrival. If you do feel like venturing out, the team can arrange for things like zip lining or equestrian activities at Diamond Cross Ranch. Summer buy-out rates start at $26,000 per night.
For generations, families and groups of friends have been retreating to Sea Island for their holidays, checking in to either one of the hotel-style options or enjoying extended stays in one of the rental residences, which are spread out along the beach and throughout the main island. With so many accommodation options, it’s easy to keep to yourself if so desired, but to really ensure peace and quiet (particularly in the summer), we recommend one of the cottages at The Lodge, the golf course-front enclave set a 10-minute drive away from the main resort. Among the multi-bedroom options is the recently-unveiled King’s Cottage, a 4,200-square-foot, four-bedroom home complete with wrap-around porch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, an open-plan living and dining area with fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen that can be stocked according to your requests—and its very own private indoor hitting bay leading right out onto the driving range, so you don’t even need to leave the cottage to get in some swings. Sea Island is re-opening in phases throughout June and July, beginning with cottage rentals available starting June 5th. King’s Cottage rates start at $3,549 per night.
Once the home of Nobel prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis, this Vermont favorite has for decades been spread out over 300 bucolic acres—but recently, the property took over an additional 100 acres, ensuring there’s even more pristine land on which to maintain a safe distance (and get lost in nature.) More hiking and biking trails have also been added, as have more bikes themselves (available in fat tire, mountain and electric options.) The staff has also mapped out new picnic locations around the estate and elevated the private dining experience (think multi-course meals and picnics with caviar and Champagne) for guests who’d like contactless dining during their stay. Check in to one of the ten freestanding cottages (each with fireplace and screened porch), the four-suite Farmhouse (with hot tub, soaking tub and more), the two-bedroom Lodge, or one of the four main house suites—or take over the whole place. Room rates start at $1,750 per night; buy-outs start at $56,000 per night with a two-night minimum.