For Your Next Getaway, Consider a Prefab Pod in Antarctica’s Lunar-Esque Landscape
If you’ve ever had dreams of exploring and spending the night in the frozen expanse of Antarctica, here’s your chance to make that come true. In November, luxe travel company White Desert plans to launch Echo, its latest eco-retreat that grants visitors access to the rarely seen interiors of the southernmost continent.
"There is no more dramatic landscape to wake up to than this lunar landscape," attests Mindy Roberts, White Desert’s chief marketing officer.
The camp’s six accommodations are bubble-like prefab designs by Skulpod that take inspiration from space modules. They’re lightweight, climate resistant, and include floor-to-ceiling windows that provide vistas over Antarctica’s snow, ice, and craggy rock formations. Far from civilization, the atmosphere is alarmingly quiet.
For the opening in the fall, the company plans to spend roughly one week on-site setting up camp, and like all of its retreats—Echo is White Desert’s third in Antarctica—the accommodations are designed to be dismantled with minimal impact, leaving nothing but tracks in the snow.
The interiors of the pods will have a futuristic look, too, with a white-domed ceiling, curved white walls, and recessed vertical lights built into the bed’s console-like headboard. The en suite bath is designed with octagonal tile flooring and recessed ceiling lights in a matching pattern.
Along with the accommodations, the camp will have separate commons for lounging, dining, and showering and freshening up after planned activities like ice climbing, mountaineering, or riding bikes. A main attraction is the wildlife, and specifically the 28,000-strong emperor penguin colony that resides at Atka Bay.
Protecting the local fauna, and the landscape at large, is a big part of the White Desert founders’ mission. Robyn and Patrick Woodhead follow the philosophy of naturalist David Attenborough, believing that a person must visit a place to understand, care about, and learn how to best preserve a region. In facilitating Antarctic stays, the Woodheads hope to create a network of ambassadors who will share the importance of conserving Antarctica for future generations.
Becoming an ambassador, however, will cost you. A stay at Echo is $65,000, or, if you book as a group of 12, the maximum capacity for the camp, $780,000. The experience includes a five-day tour, flights, and transfers from Cape Town to Antarctica, food and beverages, pod stays, and all activities. When you book, White Desert promises to put $1,000 toward their own conservation, community, and sustainability initiatives.
"Echo is an opportunity to understand that the global effects of climate change begin with our behavior at home," Roberts says. "Antarctica is self-governed and not owned by any one country. In order to preserve the environmental integrity of this pristine region, the team leaves nothing behind except memories and footprints."
Book a stay at Echo via White Desert’s website.
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Echo Camp: White Desert / @white.desert.antarctica
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