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Reflective stainless steel cladding helps Arcana's forest pods disappear into their environment.Andrew Latreille/Handout

You need to see Arcana’s cabins to really grasp the travel brand’s mission of immersing guests in nature. The tricky part is, they’re not exactly easy to see. The 275-square-foot structures are clad with sheets of polished stainless steel that have a mirror effect. The surrounding forest is reflected on the cabins so they blend into their surroundings.

“What this is all about is returning humanity to the wild,” says Felicia Snyder, co-founder and co-CEO of Arcana. Her team had been working on the concept before the pandemic, but today, the idea of being obligation-free, surrounded only by the sights, smells and sounds of nature is especially timely. “You think about people who have lived with family and partners and significant others for the duration of this pandemic. It’s nice to think about a place where you can again experience this idea of solitude,” she says.

Arcana opened its first site, a two-hour drive from Toronto, in late August with two cabins. The specific location isn’t revealed until you’ve booked a stay and a two-night minimum is required. While there are activities to help you pass the time – hiking trails, a sauna and an original meditative sound journey best experienced while lying on the bed – guests are encouraged to simply soak in the forest around them.

The cabins, designed by Vancouver’s Leckie Studio, come with all the mod cons including a stocked kitchenette, private bathroom with toiletries, WiFi and a deck and fire pit stocked with wood and a lighter. Arcana will offer a food program but guests are welcome to bring groceries and cook in their cabin or over the fire. It’s as DIY an experience as you want it to be.

Arcana’s next site will be much bigger. Snyder says they’re scouting Ontario and the northeast United States for properties that can accommodate up to 50 cabins. “We like to describe the experiences as solitude together,” Snyder says. “We really wanted to create the opportunity to experience the incredible feeling of being in solitude, but at the same time feel completely secure and safe … especially for those who haven’t spent a lot of time on their own in nature.”

Arcana opened its first site, a two-hour drive from Toronto, in late August with two cabins.Andrew Latreille/Handout

Arcana stays from $299 per night. For more information, visit findarcana.com.

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