Far-flung cabins and mountain-top lodges offer adventurous travelers a closer connection to nature and a true feeling of escapism.

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Project Varden by Spinn Arkitekter. Images courtesy of Tor Even Mathisen.
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The new luxury getaway brings a whole new meaning to “off the grid.” In place of sumptuous accommodations and effortless accessibility, seasoned travelers are covering the toughest trails as they opt for remote and novel destinations all to themselves. Now, with growing attention to sustainability and environmental impact, travelers are increasingly seeking ways to minimize their carbon footprint when exploring uncharted destinations. 78% of US travelers say they want to travel sustainably, according to a 2018 report by Booking.com, and 26% say they want to feel good about choosing an eco-friendly accommodation. The latest luxury destinations offer just that; these prefabricated micro-cabins are consciously assembled in breathtaking, hyper-exclusive locations for a closer connection to nature.

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Project Varden by Spinn Arkitekter. Image courtesy of Tor Even Mathisen.

A cozy 15 square meter wooden cabin rests peacefully atop Norway’s Storfjellet mountain. Designed by Spinn Arkitekter, project Varden is designed to withstand severe winters, with a raised entrance to avoid heavy snowfall. “The cabin is off the grid and has no electricity,” James Dodson, senior architect and partner at Spinn Arkitekter tells JWT Intelligence. “It is warmed by a small wood fire stove, and light is provided by candles or lanterns.”

And mindful travelers can rest assured, because every part of the structure is designed sustainably. “The project is designed as a response to the surrounding arctic landscape in a way that blends in with the mountains and rocks,” Dodson says. “As such we wanted the design and construction to also have a minimal impact on the site and be built with sustainable materials.” A second cabin on the other side of Tyven mountain is currently underway and will be completed later this year.

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Project Varden by Spinn Arkitekter. Image courtesy of Tor Even Mathisen.

Meanwhile, tucked away in upstate New York, architecture firm BIG tracked down the perfect secluded spot to build a 180-square-foot A-frame cabin called A45. Completed in May last year, this is the first of many tiny homes designed for Klein, a new project offering the ultimate escape for urbanites wanting to disconnect. “When you go into the woods, you actually want to get into the woods,” Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG, told Architectural Digest. “A home that’s incredibly compact ensures that nature is what you end up experiencing.”

Last winter, Italian architects Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo created a pre-fab cabin nestled over 3,000 meters above ground on the peak of the Italian Alps. The Bivouac Luca Pasqualetti shelter aims to open up “forgotten” trails in the region and offer respite for mountaineers. The robust structure uses materials that are ecologically certified and leaves zero impact when dismantled.

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Project Varden by Spinn Arkitekter. Image courtesy of Tor Even Mathisen.

As technology continues to shrink our world, travelers are seeking radical ways to disconnect with challenging excursions to untouched and off-grid destinations. A 2018 survey by Intrepid Adventure Travel revealed that 700,000 travelers “are tired of the tourist trail,” and “off the beaten track destinations and responsible tourism resonate the most.” This response is echoed by Ingels: “I think it is a little bit of a paradigm change. Authenticity is somehow the new luxury.”

For more on the future of luxury travel, see trend #72 in The Future 100: 2019.