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12 Of The Most Unusual

Jul 30, 2023Jul 30, 2023

Wylder Hotel, Hope Valley, California.

My fascination with yurts began years ago, when I first visited Mongolia, the place I now call home.

Here, they aren't called yurts, but instead gers, which simply means the word for home in the Mongolian language. And they’re everywhere you look.

From the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital city, to the remotest corners of the countryside – there's no escaping them, and their history.

Used for centuries and dating back even further than the days of Genghis Khan, not much has changed in their construction. In a yurt's most basic form, two slender poles, the uni, support a toono, a wooden wheel that opens to the sky where smoke can escape, and sunlight can enter. From the toono, bagana columns run down and connect to the khana, a supporting lattice wall, and the khaalga, the yurt's door and frame, always face south. The wooden frame is then draped in felt and white canvas and secured with braided horsehair cord.

They’re easily torn down, moved, and reconstructed when it's time for a nomadic herding family to move when the seasons shift. Everything is packed on horses or camels, or on trucks, which is the case more recently, and moved within a day.

This simplicity, mobility, and dependability are what make them so beautiful. And, what makes staying in one so unique – especially in today's modern world.

While most of the yurts on this list don't require a flight to Mongolia, they do offer a glimpse into yurt-life, but with a few more bells and whistles. Unfortunately, though, they all miss the best part – sorry, no nomadic herders greeting you with a cup suutei tsai as you walk through the door here. You will need to book a flight to Mongolia for that.

Shearwater Cove

Seward, Alaska

Sleeping in a yurt has never looked cooler – especially since this adventurous stay is paired with sea kayaking and hiking in Resurrection Bay. Kayak to Fox Island and Humpy Cove while taking in your surroundings, it's hard to ignore how magnificent the scenery is in this part of North America. Inside your humble yurt abode, amenities include a queen-size memory foam bed and full-size futon, as well as private bathroom on the outside deck with a shower and composting toilet.

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Shearwater Cove has four yurts to choose from, each sleeping 2 – 4 people at a time.

District Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi, Finland

With the ability to stay in these Finish Lapland yurts year-round, the Yurt District's arctic vibe meets Mongolian spirit comes through strong. Keeping with tradition, each yurt as has an oculus opening covered in glass for warmth that allows for prime Northern Lights gazing from bed. Outdoor open fire pits accompany each yurt, and an on-property sauna can be booked to round out this Scandi-Steppe experience.

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Located 25 kilometers from central Rovaniemi, the hotel is a quiet destination set in the heart of ... [+] Finish Lapland.

Three Camel Lodge

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

No list of the world's best yurt hotels is complete without Mongolia's ultra-luxury eco-property, the Three Camel Lodge. In a land where yurts are the norm, the lodge's double yurts with rainfall showers built from locally sourced stones, reforested Siberian timber, and touches that would make even the most experienced travelers go weak in the knees, set it apart from the rest in the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.

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Inside one of the 35 yurts at Three Camel Lodge.

Nomad Lodge


With three locations – Jety-Oguz, Tamga, and Son-Kul – you have plenty of chances to sleep in a Kyrgyz-style yurt when you stay at Nomad Lodge. Arrange a longer journey between camps with the help of the lodge's guides and see all three locations, because three yurts are always better than one.

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Stay in one of these Kyrgyz-style yurts at one of the lodge's three locations in Kyrgyzstan.

The Vermont Retreat

Putney, Vermont

A fully furnished, four-season yurt set in the quiet solitude of a six-acre farmstead, the Vermont Retreat is a nature lovers dream. Cozy up with a book or get out and explore the grounds as the birds lead you through the surrounding forests, there's plenty to see and feel here, if you’re ready to listen. Since the yurt's shower is outdoors, don't expect that luxury in the wintertime, instead focus on enjoying the wood-burning stove, and try to stay off the Wi-Fi, which is available if needed.

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Sitting on six-acres and surrounded by forest, the Vermont Retreat is exactly that – a retreat.

Lapland Yurts

Boden, Sweden

It's true that in Swedish Lapland some of the world's best winter adventures await. Fill your days gliding across snow-covered landscapes on snowmobiles or stretch your legs on cross-country skis, all while filling your nights searching for the Aurora Borealis. Come summertime, experience a whole new side of Boden, 24-hour daylight means hiking, kayaking, and exploring at any hour are possible – if you can bring yourself to leave the comfort of your felt home.

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Visit in summer for 24-hour adventures or in winter for a chance to catch the Aurora Borealis.

Bell Lake Yurt

Bozeman, Montana

At 8,500 feet above sea level, Bell Lake isn't for everyone – this is a true adventurer's paradise. With the summit of Branham Peak just outside the front door, this six-bunk, two bed yurt is meant for self-guided explorers who have the experience (and certifications) to make such a journey deep into the backcountry on their own in the dead of Montana winter. No motorized vehicles can reach the yurt, and if you’re strapped to find someone with the necessary avalanche training to take on this backcountry skiing feat with you, join one of the Big Sky Backcountry guided trips instead.

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The Bell Lake Yurt is only available for bookings during winter months and can be reached via ... [+] self-guided expeditions or with a Big Sky Backcountry group.

Escalante Yurts

Escalante, Utah

With seven yurts on the property sleeping four to seven people each, Escalante Yurts is the perfect gateway for exploring Southern Utah. With Bryce Canyon at your doorstep, as well as the hoodoos and arches of Devil's Garden and the beauty of Escalante Petrified Forest State Park not far either, choosing where to explore first will be the toughest decision you’ll need to make during your stay. Use the property's recreation page to plan your visit, their sample itineraries alone are enough to get your wanderlust going.

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Inside the Aspen yurt at Escalante Yurts.

El Cosmico

Marfa, Texas

The self-described nomadic El Cosmico hotel has long been on curious traveler's bucket lists thanks to their not-so-usual selection of rooms. From airstream abodes to a Cosmic Kasita, it's the property's yurts that we’re yearning for. The hotel offers guests a Provisions Co. store, shared bath houses, bike rentals, a communal outdoor kitchen, and wood-fired Dutch tubs, perfect for finding your own balance between adventure and doing nothing.

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Inside the yurts at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas.

Cypress Valley

Spicewood, Texas

A 40-foot suspension bridge leads to this whimsical and lofty yurt in the cypress treetops. Soak in the one-of-a-kind waterfall tub before starting dinner in the yurt's kitchenette and try to reconnect with your senses – especially as you feel the last of the sun's rays on your face as they filter through the canopy above.

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Sleep in the trees at this unique yurt in the sky.

Wylder Hope Valley

Hope Valley, California

With dreamy hues and incredible views, checking into Wylder Hope Valley is so much more than your typical hotel experience. Located in the High Sierra and just 20 minutes from the shores of South Lake Tahoe, Wylder was built with adventure travelers and outdoor lovers in mind. Take a turn at fly fishing, go out in search of wildflowers, get your adrenaline going mountain biking, or hit the slopes in winter. With a bustling café on the property, swap stories and find inspiration in the place where it thrives.

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Wylder has three locations across the US in New York, Maryland, and California.

The Grove Farmstay

Whakatane, New Zealand

Nestled among the avocado trees on the Whakatane coast, and not far from the white sand of the Thornton Beaches, it's all about getting back to nature at The Grove Farm Stay. Explore the area, spend the day at the resort's spa, meander through the herb garden and cook a meal outdoors, it isn't just the yurts that speak to you here.

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There are two yurts to choose from at The Grove Farmstay – Still Waters, pictured above, and The ... [+] Grove.

Shearwater Cove District Rovaniemi Three Camel Lodge Nomad Lodge The Vermont Retreat Lapland Yurts Bell Lake Yurt Escalante Yurts El Cosmico Cypress Valley Wylder Hope Valley The Grove Farmstay