The beginning of every new year means setting new travel resolutions and updating the bucket list. From boarding the world’s most luxurious train to glamping on a cruise ship, the options are endless, but what many travelers are turning to this year is minimalism. Packing light and traveling in a more environmentally conscious way is a major theme in 2020, and many are choosing to retreat to a cozy cabin and connect with nature, leaving their buzzing phones behind. Minimalist accommodations don’t have to mean camping — these offer luxury, comfort, and high-end service. Here’s where to go for your minimalist vacation this year.
1. Juvet Landscape Hotel — Valldal, Norway
Nobody does minimalism better than Scandinavia, and the Juvet Hotel is a perfect example. Located just outside the remote village of Valldal between the Geiranger fjord and the Trollstigen viewpoint, Juvet is all about offering stunning panoramas. The experience begins even before you get there, as guests either drive or take a small plane from the nearest city, Ålesund, a testament to just how remote the property is.
Guests can choose to stay either in a cabin with a view — featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that look out directly to the mountain and sit above a river — or in one of Juvet’s human-sized “birdhouses,” which are narrow, high-ceilinged lofts perched on the slopes above the rest of the property. Architecturally, all lodging is designed on Scandinavian minimalist principles. There are no TVs anywhere, and instead, guests are encouraged to relax and enjoy the perfect hygge atmosphere.
Juvet entertains guests year-round with fjord kayak, rafting, canyoning, skiing, hiking, and climbing. Guests can also go on a fjord sightseeing trip to Geirangerfjord and Tafjord, and take in the views of Trollstigen mountains less than a half-hour away. After a full day of nature activities, guests can relax at the spa, which is designed to look like a cave and features a steam sauna, hot tub, and silent room.
From $207 per night
2. The Ranch — Malibu, California
Begin 2020 with a detox from the hectic world of social media and the chance to try out a plant-based diet at The Ranch in Malibu. Staying here is all about achieving awareness and calibrating guests’ bodies and minds by focusing heavily on nature walks, a plant-based diet, and eliminating all stress. The staff at The Ranch actually prepares a fitness schedule and a tailored menu for each guest as a part of the minimalist, rejuvenating experience. They welcome both solo travelers and groups.
Stays are for a minimum of one week and require a $2,000 deposit. A day at The Ranch includes waking up to Tibetan chimes, a morning stretch, and a coconut parfait for breakfast followed by a hike. The afternoon invites guests to a nap, followed by a circuit training and restorative yoga, right before dinners comprised of plant-based variations of steak and other popular dishes. A minimalist vacation here also includes massages and beach time, making it an easy and ideal escape from LA.
From $7,800 per week
3. Arenal Manoa — Alajuela Province, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is the perfect country for those who want to disconnect and travel lightly in 2020. At Arenal Manoa, instead of checking social media, travelers will find themselves soaking in one of the many volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna and getting soaked by a 120-foot waterfall on a canyoning expedition.
A minimalist vacation at the Arenal Manoa Hotel in La Fortuna begins with waking up to an unobstructed view of the volcano next door — observed from the rocking chair on the porch. The vibe is all about wellness and adventure. Arenal Manoa serves a local breakfast that includes fresh beet juice and local fruit. While WiFi is available, guests are encouraged to unplug and instead go hiking, have a massage, or enjoy a cold beer at the pool bar.
From $235 per night
4. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa — Clinton, British Columbia, Canada
Known for its vast landscapes and lush vegetation, British Columbia is a perfect choice for the minimalist traveler. Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is nestled at the bottom of the Cariboo Mountains and offers a front-row view of the surrounding pine forest, with green as far as the eye can see.
Accommodation here consists of luxury rustic wooden cabins. There are no TVs in the rooms, but guests instead have a long menu of entertainment they can choose from. The game room at the hotel has a pool table, shuffleboard, karaoke machine, and card table. Echo Valley offers Thai Yoga, guided nature trail walks, fly fishing, horseback riding, biking, shooting, and archery — all of which aim to get you to leave the screen behind and be fully immersed in the present moment.
From $240 per night
5. Tierra Patagonia — Torres del Paine, Chile
Tierra Patagonia, an adventure spa hotel located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, fully embodies the minimalist lifestyle with its floor to ceiling windows, whitewashed walls, and bare minimum when it comes to furniture. The hotel has bet on an elegant but very understated design in order to help guests recharge and destress by soaking up the mountain views, as well as the glistening Lake Sarmiento next door. The resort is all-inclusive and includes airport transfer as well as food, drink, and activities.
There are various activities offered, such as kayak expeditions, horseback riding at Entre Lagos or Estancia Lazo, wilderness bike rides at La Porfiada, birdwatching, fishing, or sailing to the Grey Glacier. Guests can also explore Hunter’s Trail, which follows the footsteps of the indigenous population of Patagonia. After a long day of adventure, guests can look forward to a glass of the red wine Patagonia is known for, followed by a hydro-massage at the spa.
From $2,437.50 for a three-night minimum stay
6. Die Wasnerin — Bad Aussee, Austria
A minimalist vacation in Austria looks a lot like The Sound of Music — endless green fields, tall mountains, and all the space you could ever need to clear your head. Die Wasnerin is located in Styria, which is known for its glassy lakes and forests and is all about forest-bathing and spending as much time outside as possible. Guests are invited to go for a hike in the Ausseerland on one of three different routes, passing by lakes and farms with cows lazily grazing.
There’s plenty to do in the winter as well, such as skiing, snowshoeing, or treating yourself to a hot stone massage. The hotel offers yoga, both in and outdoors, as well as Nuad Thai, aerial yoga, and a sound bath massage that will get travelers to forget all responsibilities of the external world.
From $180 per night
7. Rancho Feliz — Tenerife, Spain
Known for its rugged landscape, the volcanic island of Tenerife, formally a part of Spain, is its own little world off the coast of Africa. Those looking to get away from the bustle of daily life will feel right at home in one of Rancho Feliz’s quirky cabins. The property underwent huge renovations in 2018 and now offers six themed houses sprawled across a quiet pine forest overlooking the ocean. Each cabin here is completely different from the next, with themes such as the dark and cozy “Earth House,” the light and airy “Bali House,” and the “Spa House,” which features an indoor jacuzzi and a swing looking out onto Montana Roja.
The ranch does not have WiFi and instead is focused on organizing yoga and art events, hiking, and hosting barbecues and music events. There is a swimming pool, outdoor beds for napping and meditation, and plenty of trails to wander around until you have completely cleared your mind.
From $165 per night