Where to travel to avoid coronavirus crowds

With the summer months now upon us, and many countries moving to lift months-long lockdowns, dreams of a long-awaited getaway are inching closer to reality. 

Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy are among several European destinations to announce plans to resume international travel from some countries this month, as the coronavirus-battered tourism industry embarks on its lengthy journey to recovery.

But with the risks of infection still high, many travelers will be opting to replace holiday hotspots with more remote retreats in a bid to avoid the crowds. CNBC’s Global Traveler takes a look at some of the most exclusive escapes out there and the steps they’re taking to ensure social distancing from lobby to lounger.

Island isolation

An overhead view of Kokomo Private Island, Fiji.

Kokomo Private Island Fiji

Kokomo Private Island, Fiji gives holidaymakers the chance to get away from it all with a stay at one of 26 luxury residences and beachfront villas decorating the 140-acre island’s white sand coastline. Each with their own private pool and direct beach access, the lodgings promise serious social distancing from other guests. However, full exclusivity is also an option with a full island buyout.

As one of 330 islands spanning the 18,274 square meter Fijian archipelago, Kokomo is isolated by nature. Guests can while away the days scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing in the South Pacific’s crystal waters, or alternatively indulge at the spa before enjoying local cuisine caught and cooked on site.

Prices for a one-bedroom villa start from $2,790 per night.

Secluded safari

The view from the suite at Lembombo Lodge in Kruger National Park, South Africa.


African ecotourism brand Singita is inviting holidaymakers to get back to nature with a secluded safari at one of 15 luxury lodges and camps spanning Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Guests can practice social distancing alongside some of the continent’s most protected wildlife, while exploring the countries’ vast reserves. 

The conservation company recently reopened after implementing new virus guidelines including “health monitoring, stringent hygiene measures and a dedicated emergency evacuation plan.” All guests will be asked to disclose their travel history prior to arrival and will undergo regular temperature checks. 

Prices for a two-night minimum stay start from around $3,900. 

An island of one’s own

The balcony view from the Romance Suite at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Florida Keys.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the U.S.’s tropical Florida Keys is reopening this month, where guests can enjoy an exclusive private hire. The adults-only retreat, which accommodates up to 60 people, has taken measures to introduce social distancing in all communal areas and will provide personal protective equipment on request.

Located 47 kilometers (29 miles) from Key West, Florida’s southernmost point, the 4-acre island is a nature-lover’s paradise, with sailing, snorkeling, skydiving, dolphin watching and ecotours all on tap. 

Guests can have the 4-acre Florida Keys island to themselves, with rates starting at $250,000 for a 3-night minimum stay.

Hollywood hideaway

The view from above of the garden and grounds of Family Coppola Hideaways’ Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize.

Family Coppola Hideaways

The Family Coppola Hideaways, passion project of legendary Hollywood director Francis Ford Coppola, wants travelers to hide out like the stars at one of four remote retreats spanning Central America. Tucked away in the forests of Belize and Guatemala and accessible by chartered flight, the resorts are “private by design,” with extra measures newly introduced to enable privacy when relaxing and dining. 

“It was Coppola’s desire to have places of refuge to personally visit, places where one can distance and isolate — have a private experience with private excursions, private dinners — simply enjoying the natural beauty each hideaway provides,” Christine Gaudenzi, director of sales and marketing for The Family Coppola Hideaways told CNBC.

Prices start from $140 per night. 

Coastal cabin

The exterior view of Fogo Island Inn perched atop the rocky coastline of Fogo Island in Newfoundland, Canada.

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn is naturally remote, requiring a 45-minute boat ride or private chartered flight to reach the secluded island off Canada’s east coast. Once there, travelers can unwind and take in panoramic views of the expansive North Atlantic Ocean from one of 29 luxury rooms. Alternatively, the entire site is available for buyout. 

The award-winning accommodation has introduced strict health, sanitation and social distancing measures intended to cover “all aspects of the guest’s journey from transportation to housekeeping procedures (and) dining to excursions,” the company told CNBC in a statement.

Prices start from $1,440 per night.

Rural retreat

The exterior of Deplar Farm hotel in northern Iceland.

Eleven Experience

Deplar Farm in northern Iceland’s Troll peninsula is disguised from view under a grass-sodded roof deep within the Fljot Valley. When the country reopens to tourists later this month, guests will be invited to get off the beaten track with daily hikes, cycling trails and sea kayaking trips in the local area.

The 13-bed hotel and spa, which boasts two helipads and is available by the room or for full hire, has implemented a series of new health and safety precautions to reassure visitors, including optional private transfers, increased social distancing and virtual staff correspondence.

Prices start from $2,416 per night.

Home away from home

Exclusive Resorts’ ‘Owl in the Woods’ residence located in Whistler’s Kadenwood Estates, British Columbia, Canada.

Remote ski chalet in Whistler Canada

Members-only vacation club Exclusive Resorts boasts access to 400-plus private holiday resorts in 120 destinations, with each accommodation presented as a home away from home. Spend days hiking the hidden trails of Whistler, British Columbia before hunkering down with a steam room at the secluded four-bedroom, five-bathroom “Owl in the Woods” mountain-top chalet; or chill out in the crystal Caribbean waters of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands at Rosewood Little Dix Bay.

A new mobile app also allows guests a more socially-distanced service, with a range of contactless options including virtual check-in and check-out, complimentary grocery delivery, tailor-made housekeeping and in-residence chefs for those wishing to avoid restaurant crowds. 

“Homes will now come equipped with disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for members and their guests. We are also deep cleaning and sanitizing all high-touch areas; removing decorative pillows from beds; increasing cleaning time between stays and more,” noted James Henderson, CEO of Exclusive Resorts.

Prices start from $1,395 per day, plus an initial registration fee of $150,000.

The exterior view of a Mahoe Bay two-bedroom villa at Rosewood Little Dix in Virgin Gorda, BVI.

Exclusive Resorts

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