Going off-grid is something many of us fantasise about from time-to-time, but it’s not always the most imaginative daydream. The desire to “get away from it all” - beyond the reach of even the most persistent emailers - can be more of a push than a pull.
Yet going back to basics doesn’t have to be boring, as these spectacular properties from Host Unusual prove. The call of the wild beckons from the top of a Norwegian treehouse, the shores of a private Greek island, and a cosy hobbit hole in Central America.
The travel company specialises in unique stays all over the world - the sort that will get your Instagram followers asking how, what, why and when. This category takes things even further, as there’s no, or limited, electricity and WiFi.
If you want your next stay to improve your mindfulness technique, take a look at our selection of off-grid Host Unusual places below.
11. Pennard Hill Tree Tent - Somerset, England
Peacefully suspended between two trees, this orb-shaped tree tent is the perfect place to forget about your worries and cares. Fortunately it’s connected to a fully-equipped kitchen and shower, so the bare necessities aren’t far away.
In fact, you can have a pretty luxurious time on this family-run farm in Somerset, with a heated pool on hand, and all the wonders of Glastonbury close by. One guest called it the “cosiest tent” they have ever been in.
Cost: From £115 (€136) per night, sleeps two.
10. River Eye Treehouse - Tessungdalen, Norway
If you prefer sleeping in something a little more house-shaped, then this hand-built treehouse home in Norway may be just the ticket. River Eye Treehouse offers an immersive natural experience, surrounded by pines and overlooking a clear river. It would be a great place for a group of friends to switch off and reconnect, recounting tales round the campfire, or going off-piste for a skiing, hiking or kayaking adventure.
Cost: £170 (€201) per night, sleeps nine.
9. The Hoot - Wiltshire, England
Motorhomes and campervans are all the rage, but have you ever heard of anyone staying in a horse box? This one in the Wiltshire hills has been put out to pasture, and converted into a stylish studio, with all the modcons you need (and none of the ones you don’t…) Even more unusually, this is one holiday home where you can bring your pet horse along, with stabling and paddocks close by.
Cost: £110 (€130) per night, sleeps two (plus two children) or three adults.
8. El Caracol - Aragon, Spain
This one-of-a-kind Spanish mountain house offers plenty of home comforts in a secluded setting. From its striking domed shell structure, to its circular infinity pool, the unique design features will make this an unforgettable stay. El Caracol is about a two and a half hours drive from Barcelona, but the real attractions are the hilltop villages, and being on the edge of a mountainous nature park.
Cost: From £230 (€272) per night, sleeps eight.
7. Hobbitenango - Guatemala
Going off-grid Hobbit style is tantalisingly possible in one of these Guatemalan eco-casitas. Hobbitenango (literally, ‘place of the hobbits’) is the closest you’ll get to the Shire this side of New Zealand. The little solar and wind-powered homes open onto breathtaking views of the Panchoy Valley and surrounding volcanoes.
Cost: From £60 (€71) per night, sleeps four or six per casita.
6. Albion Nights - Norfolk, England
A little more down-to-earth but no less charming, a few nights in a Norfolk cabin might be just the break you need. Hand-built from recycled and reclaimed materials, this retreat is a sweet spot from which to enjoy nature’s wonders: the six-acre wildflower meadow it sits in and “star-sprinkled” skies above. On colder nights, you can catch a good glimpse through the skylight, while settling in by the wood-burning stove.
Cost: From £125 (€148) per night, sleeps two, adults only.
5. The Observatory at Frieda and the Moon - Cornwall, England
The poetically named Frieda and the Moon has a special design quirk: six stained-glass portholes that each represent a different phase of the moon. Set in a rolling valley in Cornwall, you’re sure to leave this remarkable observatory with a fresh outlook on the world. A downy king size bed is another interior highlight, while the private paddock boasts a cedar wood hot tub. Not too shabby for under £100 (€118) a night.
Cost: From £95 (€113) per night, sleeps two.
4. Casa Eterea - Mexico
Going off-grid has rarely looked - or felt - so good as at this Mexican hideaway, inspired by the concept of ‘emotional architecture'. It’s designed to be a ‘theatre to nature’, and with its exterior mirror panels it both stands out and blends in beautifully to the slopes behind. You’ll be sharing the environment with some incredible wildlife, including grey foxes, white-tailed deer and hawks.
Cost: From £358 (€424) per night, sleeps two.
3. Inverlovan - Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Bothies are a cornerstone of Scottish hospitality; basic shelters left open for anyone to use on remote mountain paths. Nature takes centre stage on the shimmering waters of Loch Nell, in Glen Lonan. But these two architect-designed huts are more than just a place to rest your head, with stylish furnishings and an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven to recharge you after a swim, hike or paddleboard adventure.
Cost: From £200 (€237) per night, adults only.
2. Lough Mardal Lodge Glamping - Donegal, Ireland
Another gorgeous off-grid retreat can be found in Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost county. Skydome yurts cluster round Lough Mardal, and with the Wild Atlantic Way within hiking distance, you can explore as much of the countryside as your heart desires. Unusually among this collection, a large, shared lounge space provides a chance to meet new people. It’s gadget-free, so conversation should flow.
Cost: From £100 (€118) per night, sleeps two to four per unit.
1. Nissos Sofiaia - Echinades Islands, Greece
But if you really want to get away from it all, other people included, perhaps only a private island will do. Part of the Echinades islands in the Ionian Sea, protected Nissos Sofiaia island is a nature-lover’s paradise. Though you’re free to explore the island at your leisure, your sleeping place will be an elegantly restored fishing boat. No need for foraging, as crates of fresh fruit, and other holiday essentials will be sailed to you daily.
Cost: From £422 (€500) per night, sleeps two.