(Photo: Courtesy of Endémico)
These stunningly sexy, diminutive vacation retreats pack maximum comfort—blissful beds, chic design, and unbelievable views—into minimal space. Yes, big luxury can come in small packages.
Just 90 minutes from San Diego is a tiny, breathtaking retreat high on a hillside in the Mexican desert that makes civilization feel a million miles away. The 20 weathered-steel, 240-square-foot cabins are ultra-modern (Edison bulbs, rain showers), but the star is the floor-to-ceiling window with views of the renowned vineyards of Baja California Norte's Valle de Guadalupe, whose Zinfandels and Sémillons can be sipped—accompanied by freshly baked focaccia—as you watch the sunset from a private deck with a clay chiminea.
(Photo: Courtesy of Consolación)
This area of Aragón in central Spain has plenty to offer—Moorish architecture and world-class wine—but the eight freestanding "kubes" at Consolación alone are worth the trip. The minimalist structures feature Artek lights, sleek steel hanging fireplaces, and sunken slate bathtubs that share the bedroom's mountain vistas. Daily deliveries of firewood may make hunkering down attractive, but there's also a restaurant that puts an up-to-date spin on traditional ingredients like the Iberian pork that's slow-cooked for 36 hours and served with a potato cream and pickled cauliflower.
Elqui Valley, Chile
Who needs a TV when a giant retractable skylight installed at the foot of the bed perfectly showcases the Elqui Valley's famously clear night skies? In addition to gazing at the jaw-dropping starscape from the room, guests at these ultra-contemporary (modern rockers, blonde-wood conversation pits) but petite (small living space, a loft sleeping area and deck) tri-level cabins can venture out for poolside astronomy-primer classes or nighttime horseback-riding tours. There's even an observatory on-site, but nothing beats drinking a local craft beer on your terrace and peering through a telescope at the night sky.
Juvet Landscape Hotel
With wraparound picture windows and mid-century-style furnishings, the seven 290-square-foot cabins that make up the Juvet feel like mini versions of Philip Johnson's Glass House. All the structures, designed by the Norwegian firm Jensen & Skodvin, look directly into the remote wilderness, 300 miles from Oslo—where you can go grouse hunting or white-water rafting. While the furnishings are punctuated by Scandinavian favorites like Stokke and L.K. Hjelle lounge chairs, the subdued decor is designed to keep the focus on the awe-inspiring view. The only thing you won't see is your neighbors, unless you head to the spa or the restaurant serving Nordic fare in a former barn.
For those brave enough to holiday inside the Arctic Circle, Kakslauttanen is like the Disney World of backwoods Finland: It has the world's largest smoke sauna, a snow chapel, an ice bar, and a traditional birch-lined honeymoon suite with an illuminated Versace bathroom. But the best bet is a stay in an individual 194-square-foot heated glass igloo, inside which you can simply lie and watch the northern lights flicker in the distance—provided you don't feel like taking snow-sculpting classes or learning how to pan for gold.
To capture that romantic feeling of being snowed-in and surrounded by a winter wonderland, reserve one of the PODhotel's 83-square-foot wood structures inspired by Indian thatched huts. Even when drifts reach 13 feet, each tiny rustic chalet can be a heated home base for plenty of nearby outdoor adventure, including cross-country skiing amid breathtaking mountain peaks and hikes to the Swiss Grand Canyon. And forget taking home a fancy robe: For $10,000 you can bring home your very own pod—PODhotel will deliver it to the snow bank of your choosing.
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