There are luxury hotels all over the world, and they all provide some variety of over-the-top amenities to make guests feel eminently comfortable—but perhaps the best way to demonstrate luxury is to contrast it with rugged surroundings.
Here are seven luxury hotels and resorts in rugged and often remote locations, where you'll be no less pampered, but where you may need to watch out for wild animals prowling the grounds at night.
Phinda & Beyond Private Game Reserve—South Africa
There's no denying the luxury of a stay at Phinda, regularly called Africa's top luxury safari, where guests choose from six different lodge areas set beautifully among nearly 59,000 acres of wilderness. Each guest gets an entire lodge building to themselves, there's no end to the gourmet food available, and all of the Big Five are found at this African safari reserve. Just note that you'll need a staff chaperone to walk around after dark in order to avoid the animals that lurk unseen.
Sanctuary Lodge—Machu Picchu, Peru
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is on many a bucket list, but if you'd like a slightly more luxurious route to the same iconic view, you can book a stay at the Sanctuary Lodge. It's the only hotel anywhere near Machu Picchu, and guests get to experience the World Heritage Site when it's not overrun by day-trippers, and of course everything from the suites to the restaurants to the spa services is top-notch (not to mention eco-friendly).
Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita—Matera, Italy
In the ancient town of Matera in the Basilicata region of Italy, people have been living in caves carved out of the hills for more than 9,000 years—and while many of the caves have long been abandoned, some are being brought back to life as hotel rooms spread throughout the town. Sextantio operates an "albergo diffuso" (literally, a spread-out hotel) in Matera called Le Grotte della Civita, and while these rooms are quite rustic-looking by most luxury hotel standards, they're extremely comfortable and sparsely (though beautifully) decorated, in order to showcase the ancient caves themselves.
Adrère Amellal—Siwa, Egypt
Deep in the Sahara Desert lies the Siwa Oasis, and almost ten miles beyond Siwa you'll find the Adrère Amellal. This unique eco-lodge sits at the base of the White Mountain, built to blend effortlessly into its surroundings—you'd be forgiven for thinking it was an ancient ruin when you saw it from afar. The land around the lodge isn't the only rugged feature—there's no electricity at Adrère Amellal, nor are there phones. Still, you won't for one moment feel like you're "roughing it," as every possible need has been anticipated.
Paws Up—Montana, USA
If the words Montana, log cabin, and ranch conjure up images of rugged natural beauty, then you'll have a good idea of what to expect of the surroundings outside The Resort at Paws Up—but those log cabins are among the most luxurious you'll find. Paws Up offers both luxury cabins and luxury camping, the latter resembling "camping" in absolutely no way any outdoorsman would recognize, a host of activities (like horseback riding, hiking, and fishing), and two on-site restaurants.
The resort at Aman-i-Khas is described as a wilderness camp—in many ways, it's the Indian equivalent of a private game reserve safari lodge in Africa. Accommodation is in one of the property's luxury tents (complete with an en-suite bathroom and AC), there's an on-site spa and a restaurant tent, and the wildlife excursions here include possible sightings of leopards, antelope, crocodiles, hyenas, and tigers. The resort is adjacent to Ranthambore National Park, which is more than 515 square miles.
Faraway Bay—Kimberley Region, Australia
When you think of rugged scenery in Australia, chances are good that you think of the outback—so there's no place in Australia better suited to provide the contrast of luxury accommodation with rough natural surroundings. Faraway Bay sits on the northern coast of the country in Western Australia, and the name of the resort should give you a hint about its remote setting. Guests get their own cabin (which are spread out through the property so guests also get plenty of privacy), and there's a rustic element to them—including the outdoor solar-heated showers. There are a host of "bush camp" activities (including fishing, hiking, and guided walks to look at wildlife and ancient rock art), a cliff-top "one-hole" golf course, and meals are served family-style at the lodge's outdoor "dining room."
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