Today: Top 10 best &Beyond lodges in the world
&Beyond is one of world’s most exclusive travel companies. Established in 1991, &Beyond strives to make the world a better and greener place by combining conservation efforts with sustainable tourism. The company has established an intimate relationship with some of the world’s last remaining unspoiled natural places and the communities that surround them. In combination with highly-skilled guides and rangers, this allows &Beyond to deliver extraordinary guest experiences that feel profoundly meaningful. As of today, &Beyond owns and operates 30 extraordinary lodges and camps in iconic safari, scenic and island destinations in Africa, Asia and South America, enabling the company to positively impact more than 9 million acres of wildlife land and 2000 km (1200 mi) of coastline. Here’s my selection of the 10 most astonishing &Beyond lodges in the world.
There is more information (with review & YouTube movies) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite &Beyond lodge in the comments section.
Most people think that the famous tree-climbing lions at Lake Manyara have developed their climbing habit to get away from annoying insects. However, they might just be jealous of the magnificent treehouse suites at &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. Cradled in the boughs of an ancient mahogany forest, the lodge blends into the natural beauty of its breathtaking surroundings. Designed to exert minimal impact on the environment, &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge offers an exclusive interpretive safari in a remote, game-rich wilderness. Overlooking a forest boma, or outdoor dining area, lined with traditional dugout canoes, guest areas are characterized by soaring spaces that house local artworks and tactile fabrics. Ten stilted treehouse suites, crafted from local timber and makuti palm fronds, weave a sophisticated blend of intimacy and romance, offering privacy and exclusivity in the cool, leafy surroundings, with elephant visitors passing through. An interactive kitchen allows guests to observe, or help with, the preparation of delectable menus that are served in the theatrical boma or on the open dining decks
- Lodge website: &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
- Other accolades: &Beyond Lake Manyara Lodge also features in my top 10 list of the best hotels in Tanzania.
Located in the picturesque Araucanía region of Chile’s Lake District, homeland of the courageous Mapuche people, is a spectacular 22-hectare (34-acre) estate: &Beyond Vira Vira. Dramatic landscapes of breathtaking glacial lakes mirror the snowy tips of nearby volcanoes, while within the rainforests gracing the surrounding national parks, evergreen Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) trees, some over 1 000 years old, stand tall. The magnificent wooden lodge is themed in beauty. Enormous windows frame exquisite outlooks, while vibrant wall tapestries, hand-woven textiles and other traditional artefacts colour the interior decor. Signature features include a modern working farm, organic farm-to-table vegetable garden, on-site boutique cheese factory and two outdoor hot tubs. Ideally appointed accommodation, overlooking either the estate surrounds or the Liucura River, includes six cosy suites, 12 split-level villas with a separate living room, and a five-bedroom, sole-use Hacienda for up to 10 guests. Ensuite bathrooms include a separate bath and walk-in shower. Floor to ceiling windows fills the spacious wooden interiors with natural light.
- Lodge website: &Beyond Vira Vira
&Beyond Punakha River Lodge, tucked deep in the lush green Punakha Valley and draped on the banks of the Mo Chu river, is a spectacular lodge, offering six intimate luxury tents, a one-bedroom suite (the River House), and a two-bedroom suite (the Family Suite), enveloped by vast expanses of verdant paddy fields and dense clusters of forested hills. Intricately built, the lodge has been created in the traditional Bhutanese architectural style and is in perfect harmony with the surrounding terrain. Like all &Beyond’s properties, the lodge draws inspiration from its natural surroundings and combines traditional Bhutanese style with a unique twist. Handwoven Bhutanese wool products are used as upholstery, linen detailing and blankets, bringing a touch of bold and bright colour and texture to the simple and unpretentious design. The lodge is an adventure playground, making it the ideal base for the intrepid outdoor enthusiast. Guests can choose from an array of activity-based experiences including rafting, kayaking, and a variety of hikes and longer treks in the breathtaking surroundings.
- Lodge website: &Beyond Punakha River Lodge
Situated off the coast of Mozambique within the protected marine reserve of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, &Beyond Benguerra Island is set on a protected lagoon. The lodge lies sheltered within the canopy of an indigenous forest and swaying palm trees. The welcoming guest areas offer views of the lush tropical garden and the ocean beyond. Under the shade of straw covered wooden awnings, inviting comfortable loungers are set up around the lodge’s rim flow swimming pool. A colourfully decorated traditional wooden dhow has been converted into a picturesque beach bar, while the cool surrounds of the massage sala hold the promise of deep relaxation. The lodge has a range of luxurious thatched accommodation. For families or small groups, the exclusive-use Casa Familia is an ideal option with three ensuite bedrooms, a large deck area and private pool overlooking the beach. Set amidst lush island forest, there are two cosy cabanas, ideal for couples or honeymooners, and the slightly larger 10 casinhas. Cabanas and casinhas all offer private timber decks, rim-flow pools, sun loungers and private salas with irresistible hanging daybeds.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Benguerra Island
- Other accolades: &Beyond Benguerra Island also features in my top 10 list of the most astonishing beach resorts in Africa.
&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a place of dramatic contrasts where Versailles meets Maasai. Nowhere else on earth can you wake up among all the trappings of an elegant baroque châteaux that transports you into one of the most famous African landscapes. An eclectic blend of teak panelling, Victorian furnishings and whimsical African touches creates a sumptuous atmosphere that is as elegant and unique as the Ngorongoro Crater itself. Divided into three camps, 30 suites with banana leaf ceilings and grass roofs provide an intimate and exclusive experience. Each camp has its own sitting and dining areas, with private butlers who provide warm, personal service. With ever-changing views as mists swirl over the huge wildlife cauldron below, the location is truly breathtaking. Guests can be forgiven for losing track of which era, or even continent, they are experiencing at this lodge. Everything is chosen to delight the imagination and enhance the spectacular views of the magnificent surroundings. Between the natural riches of the Crater spread out at its feet and the incredible architecture, it’s easy to believe that you have entered a realm of pure fantasy.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
- Other accolades: &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most spectacular cliffside hotels, the best hotels in Tanzania, and Africa’s most spectacular safari lodges.
A romantic hideaway, Mnemba Island is an exclusive paradise In Zanzibar, featuring twelve rustically chic beachside bandas, for just 24 guests, connected to the breathtaking Mnemba atoll. Guests of &Beyond Mnemba Island can relax and unwind on their own stretch of beachfront, where simple yet luxurious bandas peep out onto unblemished sands from the dappled shade of the casuarina pine forest. Thatched dining and sitting or bar areas boast beautiful open views of the beach and spectacular vistas of Zanzibar beyond. Late breakfast trays teeming with tropical fruit, freshly-squeezed juice and Tanzanian coffee can be delivered to the beach banda for those wanting to indulge in a lie-in. Fresh sushi and chilled champagne can appear discreetly at the guests’ beach loungers should they wish to celebrate the magnificent sunset in privacy. Romantic candlelit dinners are served on the beach, with the waves lapping gently at guests’ feet. Allow yourself to relax and take a break with yoga and massages in the tranquil retreat of your banda. &Beyond Mnemba Island will be temporarily closed from January 11, 2024 for an extensive refurbishment and will reopen on October 1, 2024.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Mnemba Island
- Other accolades: &Beyond Mbemba Island also features in my top 10 lists of the most exclusive private island retreats in the world, the best luxury resorts in Zanzibar, the best hotels in Tanzania, and Africa’s most astonishing beach retreats.
- Review: read my review of &Beyond Mnemba Island here.
Set amidst an ocean of towering dunes, rocky outcrops and endless gravel plains, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located in the Namib, the world’s oldest living desert. Ten beautifully appointed stone and glass suites, spread out along the curve of the escarpment, open onto ever-changing outlooks. Each spacious air conditioned suite offers a secluded, shaded veranda complete with private plunge pool, a living room with a fireplace, a large retractable skylight above the bed, and an ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower offering 180º desert views. The two-bedroomed Star Dune Suite is an ideal option for families or groups of friends. The main split-level guest area – which houses a lounge, bar, dining room, gym and spa – is an inspired masterpiece of glass, rock and steel, with large glass panels folding away to reveal unobstructed desert vistas. Inviting amenities include a central-island bar, comfortable sitting room, walk-in cellar, interactive kitchen and rim-flow pool. To ensure you get the most out of your desert adventure, the &Beyond team will assist you in planning a range of exciting, specialist-guided experiences for the duration of your stay.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
- Other accolades: &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in Namibia and the best desert lodges in the world.
- Review: read my review of &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge here.
In the heart of Botswana’s famous Okavango Delta, on the edge of a waterway in a diverse, wildlife-rich, private concession, you’ll find &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge. The inspired organic design of the lodge melts into the surrounding forest canopy of wild palms and gnarled fig trees. Trees will shade you as you approach the lodge; an intriguing curl and sweep of shingled wood comes into view, resembling a giant scaled pangolin at rest. Stairs open onto the high ceilings of the copper-toned and glassless guest area overlooking the Delta. From this central dining area, the wooden deck stretches beyond the roof, while the upstairs bar and lounge extend along an elevated walkway to a viewing platform. Interior finishes throughout showcase the craftsmanship of Botswana’s artisans, and feature intricate basketware, sculpted wooden tables and unique feature pieces. While the main guest area is set within the forest, the twelve guest suites peep out from beneath its canopy. Raised above the papyrus-lined banks like golden weaver nests, each is a cocoon of privacy, with breathtaking views, a private plunge pool and cosy fireplace.
- Lodge website: &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge
Situated in a perfect position on the banks of the Sand River, with sweeping river views from every vantage point, lies &Beyond Tengile River Lodge. Meaning ‘tranquil’ in the local language, the lodge is set in the world-famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which shares a 50 km (31mi) unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park and which is renowned for its prolific leopard sightings. The magnificent lodge features nine enormous, air-conditioned, secluded suites, dotted in the dappled shade of the bushveld, each with panoramic river views. In addition to a master bedroom, bathroom and outdoor shower, there is a lounge, dining area, fully-stocked bar, coffee station, and an outdoor deck with private lap pool. For families, two of the lodge’s suites are joined by a covered walkway to create a family suite. The lodge’s guest area offers a mixed selection of open, interactive and private places. Bespoke furniture, lights and unique décor pieces have been created from skilled local artists and striking fabrics have been masterfully hand-painted. A massage and gym area offers guests a space of well-being and tranquillity and a Safari Shop is stocked with beautiful handcrafted items.
- Hotel website: &Beyond Tengile River Lodge
- Review: read my review of &Beyond Tengile River Lodge here.
Perfectly situated on the banks of a tributary of the Grumeti River, in the secluded western parts of the Serengeti National Park, &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge shares breathtaking views and unparalleled sightings. Due to its far-flung location, there are very few lodges in this pristine section of the park, allowing for an intimate and exclusive Serengeti safari experience. Using the natural bow shape of the river, and paying homage to the circular forms of a traditional Maasai manyatta, the lodge unfolds to reveal an understated sense of luxury. Adorned with Kitenge fabrics and accentuated with stone walls, the lodge also features the vibrant colours of the fishing communities surrounding Lake Victoria. Touching the earth lightly and seemingly floating across the landscape, 10 nostalgically elegant,and very spacious,- guest suites offer natural light, an enormous bed, bath, an indoor shower, and a private plunge pool. A Family Suite, with the addition of a smaller children’s bedroom, offers adventurous families the unique opportunity to explore the African bush together. Celebrating the local culture and cuisine, the lodge offers exquisite meals, from breakfast to dinner.
- Lodge website: &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge