Today (May 26, 2014): Top 10 world’s most exclusive wilderness lodges.
A couple of weeks ago, I published my top 10 list of Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges. While African safaris guarantee a memory of a lifetime, other wilderness adventures can be equally transcending experiences, whether it be a stay in the rainforest, desert, African savanna or mountains. I hereby present you my selection of the world’s 10 most ultra-luxurious wilderness lodges, where you can explore the remote corners of the planet in all comfort. It should come as no surprise that most of these lodges are located in some of the world’s most scenic destinations and offer some of the world’s best wildlife viewing opportunities.
There is more info below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite wilderness lodge in the comments section, or take my poll below!
Lost high up in the Andes, a few hours west of Quito, the Mashpi Lodge is located in a 1,300 hectare reserve, where the biodiversity of the Ecuadorian rain-forest is protected and the wildlife thrives. The lodge offers views of the forested mountains on one side and the forest right up close on the other through its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. It features contemporary, minimalist decor, mixing warm earth tones, notes of bright colour, clean lines and striking angles and vistas: a luxury cocoon amid the cloud forest with the natural world just beyond, ideal for contemplation and relaxation. Guests can venture into the forest to come into close contact with the wildlife, with countless species of birds, as well as monkeys, peccaries or even pumas!
- Hotel website: Mashpi Lodge
- Other top 10 accolades: Mashpi Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most luxurious rainforest lodges.
Longitude 131° is a transcendent experience of discovery, located in the spirited heart of Australia. Facing majestic Uluru, Longitude 131° commands spectacular views of the outback icon and World Heritage listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Crouched in the lee of a red sand dune and set among desert oaks and spinifex, the pavilions of Longitude 131° are dwarfed by the majesty of the landscape. Delve into the foundation of Anangu culture and explore this irresistible land and the stories of the traditional custodians. Luxurious and unfettered, Longitude 131° will make your senses come alive.
- Hotel website: Longitude 131°
- Other top 10 accolades: Longitude 131° also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels & lodges in Australia, the world’s most luxurious glamping sites and the world’s most luxurious desert retreats.
- Review: click here to read my review of Longitude 131°.
Amangiri resort is tucked into a protected valley with sweeping views towards the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Built around a central swimming pool with spectacular views, the resort blends into its dramatic surrounds where deep canyons and towering plateaus create a raw landscape of immense power. Amangiri’s Aman Spa features a floatation therapy pavilion, water pavilion with sauna, steam room, cold plunge and step pool, fitness centre and yoga pavilion. Amangiri’s trail system and unrivalled backcountry access allow guests to explore the region’s striking desert scenery on foot. Amangiri is operated by Aman resorts, one of the world’s most exclusive ultra-luxury hotel brands.
- Hotel website: Amangiri
- Other top 10 accolades: Amangiri also features in my top 10 lists of hotel rooms with the best views, the world’s most beautiful hotel pools, the world’s best luxury hotels, the best luxury hotels in the USA, and the world’s most luxurious desert retreats.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, a 30 minute scalp massage or neck/shoulder massage, and a toiletry kit with Amangiri’s signature sage shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and body wash).
This luxury wilderness resort is an absolute jewel amid one of Canada’s most alluring, pristine environments, being British Columbia’s stunning Desolation Sound, home to fascinating wildlife and some of the best salmon fishing in the world. At Sonora Resort, uncompromising eco-adventure travel meets luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service and five-star facilities. Enjoy thrilling eco-tours along the coast, where you’ll get close-up views of grizzly bears, orcas, sea lions, and dolphins. Take a hike through the towering old-growth firs and cedars of the coastal temperate rainforest to beautiful Florence Lake. Or experience a mind-blowing helicopter ride to a glistening glacier where you can enjoy a private picnic prepared by the chef.
- Hotel website: Sonora Resort
- Other top accolades: Sonora Resort also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Canada and the world’s most luxurious rainforest lodges.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary eco tour for two).
Set in a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Central America’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforest in Costa Rica’s wild Osa Peninsula, Lapa Rios is paradise for lovers of wildlife, birding, nature and beaches. The 16 private bungalows line three ridges overlooking the pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean and are situated 350 feet above sea level. Lush walking paths and stairs that meander up to the main lodge connect all bungalows. Much more than a luxurious eco lodge, Lapa Rios is a model ecotourism project and a sustainable tourism pioneer. Home to monkeys, macaws, pumas, toucans, tree frogs and thousands of other creatures, a trip to Lapa Rios Eco Lodge will be the experience of a lifetime.
- Hotel website: Lapa Rioso
- Other top 10 accolades: Lapa Rios also features in my top 10 list of the world’s most luxurious rainforest lodges.
Nestled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains north of Cape Town, South Africa, lies Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat; an ecological oasis within a roughly hewn and magical land. Bushmans Kloof offers a distinctive wilderness experience among open plains and ancient sandstone formations. It is a place to reconnect with the natural world and feel the pulse of an extraordinary and ancient landscape. As a Relais & Châteaux property, the lodge offers splendid luxury, generous hospitality and all modern amenities.
- Hotel website: Bushmans Kloof
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, branded peak cap per person, and a picnic for two at a private location in the reserve; for 3 night stays: one complimentary dinner).
Tasmania is a wild and diverse frontier on land and in its coastal waters, and 20-room Saffire Freycinet complements its grandiose surroundings instead of competing with them. Designed by award-winning Tasmanian architect Robert Morris Nunn, the intimate lodge evokes a connection to the sea through references to waves, sea creatures, sand dunes and a flowing, organic form. The lodge’s colours are inspired by the peninsula: the pink granite of the Hazards mountains, the white beaches, sapphire waters and the grey-green of the native bushland. The view from the patio’s is great, but you’ll be encouraged to explore the great outdoors, such as hiking to the nearby white sand beach or take out a mountain bike in search of marsupials.
- Hotel website: Saffire Freycinet
- Other top 10 accolades: Saffire Freycinet also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels & lodges in Australia.
Explora Patagonia is located at the center of the Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Anchored like a white ship on the shores of turquoise Lake Pehoé, Explora Patagonia’s unique location sets travelers literally in the middle of Patagonia’s most famous landscape, while greeting them with award-winning architecture. The 37 Cordillera Paine Room and the 6 Exploradores Suite all have breathtaking views of the Paine Massif and horns. The recreational area is located 100 meters away from the main building, connected by a sloped wood path, and it is equipped with a heated, covered pool, sauna, and four open-air jacuzzis with spectacular views.
- Hotel website: Explora Patagonia
- Other top 10 accolades: Explora Patagonia also features in my top 10 list of hotel rooms with the best views.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and USD $100 resort credit).
Southern Ocean Lodge is Australia’s first true luxury lodge, offering a unique and exclusive travel experience on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, dubbed called “Australia’s Galapagos” for its abundant wildlife (e.g. sea lions, kangaroos, and koala). Floating atop a secluded cliff on a rugged stretch of coast, the lodge commands peerless views of the wild Southern Ocean and pristine surrounding wilderness. The lodge’s 21 eco-chic luxury suites have mesmerizing views of the ocean and feature lavish king beds, sunken lounge, dramatic glass walled bathroom and outdoor terrace with occasional seating and daybed.
- Hotel website: Southern Ocean Lodge
- Other top 10 accolades: Southern Ocean Lodge also features in my top 10 lists of the most spectacular hotel bathrooms in the world, the best luxury hotels & lodges in Australia, and the world’s most expensive hotels.
The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, open from May to September, promises an exotic paradox of indulgent luxury and remote, untamed wilderness in the Clayoquot Sound World Biosphere Reserve (within the Pacific Rim National Park). This unique 21st-century-safari-style enclave of great white canvas suite tents, dining, lounge, and spa tents, offers exquisite cuisine and breathtaking adventures, giving visitors a rare taste of how the fortunate spent their summers ‘roughing it’ some 100 years ago. Twenty guest and family suite tents showcase antique furnishings, opulent rugs, down duvets, remote-controlled propane powered woodstoves and luxurious amenities. Watch out for bears and whales though!
- Hotel website: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
- Other top 10 accolades: Clayoquot Wilderness Resort also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Canada, the world’s best family hotels, and the world’s best luxury hotels.