If you’re going to splurge on vacation accoms, do it in style. These 10 luxury lodges offer unparalleled access to the world’s best natural beauty with an indoor experience to match.
Kaya Mawa, Malawi
Completely renovated in 2010, this beachfront lodge prides itself on integration with the local community – the workforce comes from neighbouring villages and is trained on-site, and each room was designed with an island textile workshop aimed at empowering single mothers. Situated on Likoma Island on Lake Malawi, the property’s activities include sailing, kayaking, kite surfing, diving and snorkelling – or you can take your time wandering the 18-sq-km island by foot or by quad bike.
Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
Modern design meets two national parks and the shore of the Southern Ocean at this beautiful property on Kangaroo Island, offshore from Adelaide in South Australia. Book one of the 21 suites to enjoy the floor-to-ceiling ocean views, locally commissioned artwork and outdoor terrace; if you can manage to leave the comfort of your room, you’ll find endless experiences on “Australia’s Galapagos,” including beach fishing, guided adventure hikes and excursions with a trained naturalist to view the island’s kangaroos, wallabies, sea lions and other wildlife.
Nimmo Bay Resort, British Columbia
Across Queen Charlotte Strait from Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island, Nimmo Bay is far from the beaten path: you can only get there by air or water, though if you don’t have a private plane at your disposal, they’ll arrange transportation – say, a 90-minute float plane ride from downtown Vancouver. Once you get there, enjoy the plethora of activities – kayaking, rock climbing, bear watching and snorkeling are just a few on offer – and amenities including a cedar hot tub, floating fire dock, rainforest rain shower, waterfall plunge pool and, in every room, housemade cookies and truffles.
The Farm, New Zealand
Drive about half an hour south from Napier on New Zealand’s North Island, along the coast of Hawke’s Bay and past several of its famous wineries, and you’ll come to a nondescript gate and intercom to let you into the huge property, still a working farm, that hosts the world-renowned golf course and lodge as well as spa and restaurant. It’s still 20 more winding minutes to the lodge proper, but keep your eyes peeled for native birds flitting through the bush and sheep crossing the road.
andBeyond Mnemba Island, Tanzania
Zanzibar is romantic enough; Mnemba Island, off Zanzibar’s coast, is even more remote. This “barefoot paradise” welcomes just 20 guests to enjoy its beachfront accommodation, off-the-beach snorkeling, dive tours and gourmet food, all from an island that’s surrounded by coral reefs and the accompanying wildlife. Come between April and August for the best chance of seeing sea turtles laying their eggs, an event that’s carefully monitored by lodge staff; all year round, the local suni antelope can be seen wandering the island, and dolphins might play near snorkelers and divers.
Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize
Purchased by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola in the early 1980s and used as a private family getaway until 1993, this 20-room property is tucked into the Belizean jungle, within the boundaries of the 107,000-acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve west of the city of Dangriga. All cabañas and villas come equipped with handmade soaps, local snacks and beer, an iPod dock and a “shellphone” for getting in touch with reception; the property features a shop selling local handicrafts, stables and horseback riding tours, an organic garden and a spa whose treatments use only locally sourced ingredients.