Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today: Top 10 best rainforest hotels & lodges in the world
Thick jungle vegetation and emerald green rainforests offer some of the best wildlife and nature experiences left on the planet. While the prospect of staying the jungle might scare some discerning travelers, there’s nothing to worry about as more and more luxury lodges are popping up in the heart of these fascinating ecosystems (without compromising on comfort). Put the next 10 amazingly beautiful and luxurious rainforest lodges on your bucket list, and be prepared for a world-class trip and life-long memories, whether it be hiking in the temperate rainforests of Western Canada, taking a spa break in Bali’s jungle, or tracking chimpanzees in Rwanda’s damp forests.
There is more information below the slide show (with trip reports & YouTube videos). Think I missed one? Leave a comment below!
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10. INKATERRA RESERVA AMAZONICA, PERU
Exotic, yet accessible, Reserva Amazónica Lodge is situated on the banks of Amazonian Peru’s Madre de Dios Rive, surrounded by a vast rainforest. As Peru’s pioneer in nature travel and research, Inkaterra provides an unforgettable introduction to an amazing realm of incomparable biodiversity and takes jungle luxury to the next level. The lodge’s 35 thatched-roof cabanas, with their hammocks, crisp white linens, lanterns, and organic bath products, offer simple, low-impact elegance. From your bed, you can watch the sunset through the treetops, then fall asleep to a toucan serenade, all with your personal butler just a walkie-talkie call away.
- Hotel website: Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
9. BELMOND HOTEL DAS CATARATAS, BRAZIL
The only hotel located within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas enjoys an unrivalled location in the jungle, just a short stroll from Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. Due to its location, guests have exclusive access to the magnificent surroundings in the evening and at dawn, when the park is closed to other visitors. A Portuguese-colonial residence, this classic luxury hotel is redolent with the atmosphere of lazy days lounging on a veranda or beneath sub-tropical palms. The hotel also offers thrills and excitement in abundance, including helicopter trips over the falls and jungle treks to view amazing wildlife including colorful toucans and giant butterflies.
- Hotel website: Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and up to $200 USD resortcredit).
8. MASHPI LODGE, ECUADOR
Lost high up in the Andes, a few hours west of Quito, 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 a contemporary, minimalist decor, mixing warm earth tones, notes of bright color, clean lines and striking angles and vistas. Here, you can venture into the forest to come into close contact with countless species of birds, as well as monkeys, peccaries or even the occasional puma.
- Hotel website: Mashpi Lodge
- Other accolades: Mashpi Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the world’s best wilderness lodges.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary Dragonfly ride for all guests).
7. SILKY OAKS LODGE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
Silky Oaks Lodge is set in a stunning riverside location inside one of the planet’s oldest living rainforests – the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park in Queensland. Reopened in 2021 following a multimillion-dollar rebuild by the team at Baillie Lodges, the lodge features elegantly furnished interiors, spacious open lounge areas, and an excellent fine dining venue. All accommodation retreats, located in Riverhouses and Treehouses, have spacious balconies with lush garden, rainforest or river panoramas. The lodge’s spectacular location offers opportunities for rainforest walks, canoeing, mountain biking, swimming and sunbathing.
- Hotel website: Silky Oaks Lodge
- Other accolades: Silky Oak Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Australia.
6. SONORA RESORT, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
This luxury wilderness resort is an absolute jewel amid one of Canada’s most alluring, pristine environments: British Columbia’s stunning Desolation Sound, home to fascinating wildlife and some of the best salmon fishing in the world. Sonora Resort is where uncompromising eco adventure travel meets luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service and five-star facilities. Here, you can get close-up views of grizzly bears and orcas, hike through the towering old-growth firs and cedars of the coastal temperate rainforest, 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 accolades: Sonora Resort also features in my top 10 lists of the best wilderness lodges in the world and the best luxury hotels in Canada.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary eco tour for two aboard a Polaris Inflatable or Aluminum hull watercraft).
5. LAPA RIOS, OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA
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 Lodge is a paradise for lovers of wildlife, birding, nature and beaches. The 17 private bungalows line three ridges overlooking the pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean and are situated 350 feet (100 m) above sea level. Lush walking paths and stairs that meander up to the main lodge connect all bungalows. 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 Rios
- Other accolades: Lapa Rios also features in my top 10 list of the best wilderness lodges in the world.
4. BLANCANEAUX LODGE, BELIZE
In the early 1980s, film director Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. For more than a decade the lodge was used as the family’s rainforest retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993. The 20-room resort is tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Guests can also explore the ancient civilization of the Maya, which still endures in the sacred sites throughout this magical region.
- Hotel website: Blancaneaux Lodge
- Other accolades: Blancaneaux Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels owned by celebrities.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD credit to use against any tours/activities).
3. FOUR SEASONS RESORT BALI AT SAYAN, INDONESIA
Four Seasons Resort Sayan encapsulates Bali at its philosophical and soulful best: a sublime hillside haven where man, humanity and nature unite with purest intent. Only a ten-minute drive from the stylish boutiques, artist ateliers and atmospheric eateries of boho-chic Ubud, Four Seasons Sayan is an inspiring base from which to explore Bali’s cultural heart or to retreat into nature’s meditative embrace. Guests arrive via a dramatic bridge, beneath which the Ayung River valley spreads its tropical arms. From the gravity-defying rooftop lotus pond, the property cascades down the hill to the two-tiered swimming pool, cantilevered over the river, through an enchanting forest that cocoons just 60 suites and villas.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
- Other accolades: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Bali and the best hotels in Ubud.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Review: read my review of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan here.
2. THE DATAI LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA
Nestled in the heart of an ancient rainforest above a gorgeous bay, the Datai Langkawi – recently completely refurbished – is a captivating destination resort that blends smoothly with its natural surroundings. Situated on the beautiful Malaysian island of Langkawi, each room, suite and villa enjoys the embrace of the lush rainforest and some offer stunning views from private verandas of the breathtaking Andaman Sea. The resort’s jungle surrounds plays host to a wealth of wildlife, such as dusky leaf monkeys, tokay geckos or Sunda flying lemurs. In this serene natural haven, you can reconnect with nature, rekindle your spirit and reignite your soul.
- Hotel website: The Datai Langkawi
- Other accolades: The Datai Langkawi also features in my top 10 list of the world’s best family hotels.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (upgrade, daily breakfast, one Balinese Massage for two, early check-in, and late check-out).
- Review: read my review of the Datai Langkawi here.
1. ONE&ONLY NYUNGWE HOUSE, RWANDA
Alongside ancient rainforest, within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation, One&Only Nyungwe House offers an exciting window to Africa’s fascinating wildlife and culture. Exploratory treks and hikes through the rainforest give guests access to the park’s nearly 250,000 acres, where they can discover black-and-white colobus monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and more than 275 bird species. After a full day out in the rainforest, guests can retire to the lodge’s modern suites and villas, each featuring decor accented with traditional African touches and vast private decks equipped with fireplaces. The property also features an gorgeous infinity pool and intimate spa house.
- Hotel website: One&Only Nyungwe House
- Other accolades: One&Only Nyungwe House also features in my list of the best new hotels of 2018 and the 10 best hotels in Rwanda.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD hotel credit).
- Review: read my review of One&Only Nyungwe House here.
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The Four Seasons at Sayan in Ubud, Bali, used to be a wonderful retreat. But that is now severely compromised by hordes of screaming rafters who come down the river every few minutes, destroying the peace. Thus, sitting by the swimming pool which is actually perched on the river, is no longer a relaxing pastime!
It is very sad to see hotels encourage this, including the Four Seasons itself which has a designated stop on the rafting route. And the local government does not put a ban on rafting, possibly because of the kind of revenue it generates. However, the price is paid in terms of damage to the physical environment and the sound pollution it creates. In addition to ruining Ubud’s reputation as a tranquil haven.