For travel journalist and photographer Sebastiaan Bedaux, there's something magnetic about the mountains. "As a travel journalist, you get to see a lot of the world, but for some reason, I've personally always been drawn to the mountains. Not only for walking, hiking, skiing, and breathing in fresh air, but also for their photographic qualities," he tells MyDomaine.
It only takes a glance at the imagery in Bedaux's new book, Mountain View, to understand his connection with the wilderness. Spotlighting some of the most spectacularly designed mountain retreats in the world, it certainly elicited a twinge of wanderlust. Indulge in escapism with a few of the most jaw-dropping homes in the book—and yes, they're available to rent.
Mountain View/ Lannoo
The Retreat: Trafjosen is a small cabin in Voss, Norway. Take your pick from activities like hiking, rafting, and mountain biking or explore Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway, which is a 40-minute drive away.
Getting There: Bergen Flesland (BG) is the closest airport.
Design Detail: Be warned: The cabin is without electricity and running water, but what it lacks in amenities it makes up for in views. Designed by architecture firm OPA Form, the mountain retreat has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer breathtaking views of the surrounds. As Bedaux points out, it doesn't matter that the cabin is sparsely decorated—the location is everything.
The Retreat: Scrubby Bay House is a secluded retreat in Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. Invite your friends—it sleeps up to 14 people and has generous living areas to take in the view. You'll have the private bay to yourself and can explore the surrounding cliffs and sheep-dotted fields in total solitude.
Getting There: It's only accessible by a 40-minute SUV drive or helicopter ride from Christchurch.
Design Detail: Nominated for World Building of the Year in 2015, this space has no shortage of thoughtful design details. Natural materials reign supreme: Cedar, macrocarpa wood, and a stone fireplace blend the transition between the cabin and its wild surrounds.
The Retreat: Anako Lodge in Switzerland is Bedaux's favorite. "From the outside, they still look like very old Swiss mountain shacks (except for the side with the big new windows), but the interior is very trendy and cool, with designer furniture and rough materials," he says. "Add that amazing view of the Swiss Alps, and you get the perfect mountain hideout."
Getting There: Fly into Geneva Airport (GVA) to reach the lodges.
Design Detail: Saved from demolition, these historic huts have been redesigned to perfection. All wooden elements in the home are made from reclaimed wood, which pairs perfectly with the retro-modern design.
The Retreat: Dubbed "the wooden castle in the sky" in Mountain View, this tree house–like retreat is located in Matugama, Sri Lanka. It's surrounded by rainforest, making it the ideal base for hiking and bird watching.
Getting There: Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo (CMB) is the closest hub.
Design Detail: The open living room lets you look over the rainforest canopy from the comfort of a cloud-like couch. This luxe retreat certainly fulfills Bedaux's definition of the perfect vacation home: "The exterior of a fantastic holiday home will draw you, making you curious about what it's like inside," he tells MyDomaine. "Then, I guess the interior will try to keep you inside, offering comfort, a certain type of style, and of course amazing views of the surroundings."
The Retreat: Hen House on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, pays tribute to the many sheds that dot the island. Spend a day exploring the Old Man of Storr, one of the most photographed landscapes in the region, and then finish with a glass of whiskey at Talisker Distillery.
Getting There: Fly into Glasgow International Airport (GLA).
Design Detail: Rural Design Architects wanted to ensure the structure had a low environmental impact. Thanks to a big window on the south side, the house heats itself and has thick layers of insulation to lock in the heat.
The Retreat: Tubakuba, also known as the "wooden rabbit hole," was designed by students at the Bergen School of Architecture. It's basic—guests need to bring their own sleeping bags, toilet paper, water, and towels to enjoy the stunning retreat and the Norweigan surrounds.
Getting There: Fly into Bergen Flesland (BGO).
Design Detail: The retreat was designed to encourage children to discover Norwegian nature. The small wooden cube is the only off-the-grid hotel room in all of Bergen.
The Retreat: A south island gem, Te Kahu is an award-winning home in Wanaka, New Zealand. Guests can explore Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, or drive an hour to Queenstown, the adventure capital.
Getting There: There's a helipad next to the home for those with a private helicopter. Otherwise, the retreat can be reached by car—Christchurch International Airport is the closest option for international travelers.
Design Detail: Locally sourced furniture and artwork feature through the retreat. A cedar-wood exterior makes the structure blend into the natural surrounds, too.
The Retreat: Dreamed up by a "small group of desert fans," Shelter combines midcentury modern interior design with the breathtaking landscape of Joshua Tree National Park.
Getting There: Jet to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP), and then drive 50 minutes to reach the three retreats.
Design Detail: You can't go past the enviable hot tub, which boasts 360-degree desert and mountain views.
The Retreat: Located in Cretas, Spain, this concrete beauty has an incredible view of the Puertos de Beceite natural park. Solo Houses are the first of 17 stunning retreats designed by top Spanish architects. They're off the grid and run exclusively on solar energy.
Getting There: Fly into Barcelona Airport El Prat (BCN) to access the retreats.
Design Detail: "Since the scenery is so impressive, we felt architecture should be invisible, merely emphasizing the natural qualities of the surroundings," explain architects Kersten Geers and David Van Severen in the book.
The Retreat: Spot wildlife from the swimming pool at Klipspringer, a stunning retreat in Calitzdorp, South Africa. With room for six adults and two children, it boasts panoramic views of Swartberg Mountains.
Getting There: Klipspringer can only be accessed by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is the closest airport.
Design Detail: Wood and stone details create a balanced, serene interior, while leather seats, mounted trophies, and woven chairs add character.