The Best Luxury Lodges for Wildlife and Wilderness Lovers 

Recently I’ve become enamored by some of the unique and aspirational safari lodge properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, including the Al Maha and JW Marriott Masai Mara. 

This got me wondering what other luxurious properties in unique settings with access to local wildlife or wilderness might be out there. So I decided to search for more of these luxury ‘glamping’ or wilderness lodge-type properties, preferably ones bookable with points such as Marriott Bonvoy, but also Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, Fairmont Accor, and more.

Read on for a compilation of some of the best luxury lodges in the world for wildlife and wilderness lovers.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle – Thailand

The Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is a luxurious and one-of-a-kind property located in the lush jungles of northern Thailand, where Thailand shares borders with Myanmar and Laos, forming the Golden Triangle region. The property borders the banks of the picturesque Ruak River and has stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

The property is an all-inclusive experience, with several different tents and lodges available for booking, including the Golden Triangle Tent, Mekon Tent, and Bamboo Tent. However, it is an exclusive experience as the entire property only has 15 tents and 1 lodge. 

There are a plethora of activities available on the property, including exploring the camp in a restored Land Rover, a jungle spa, a riverside dinner, an elephant camp and bathing with elephants, a Thai massage class, a foraging walk, and so much more. 

However, this one-of-a-kind accommodation comes at a steep cost starting at around 100,000 Thai Baht per night, close to $3,800 CAD at the time of writing, and there is no way to redeem points towards the Four Seasons, unfortunately. 

Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Indonesia

The Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a luxurious jungle resort located in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The Mandapa is renowned for having a serene and secluded location amidst lush tropical forests and overlooking the Ayung River. The resort offers a tranquil retreat for guests seeking a blend of luxury with Balinese culture. 

While the resort doesn’t offer a ton of onsite activities aside from several cooking and yoga classes, it makes a fantastic home base for activities in the surrounding area, including: 

  • Ayung River river rafting and riverside picnic Explorer’s style.
  • Hiking Mount Batur
  • Private session with one of Ubud’s Traditional Healers.
  • Evening Kecak Fire & Trance Dance at Agung Rai Art Museum.                                                               
  • Exploring the village’s rice terrace on a bicycle or VW convertible
  • Bali Elephant Camp and Night Safari
  • Water blessing at Tirtha Empul Temple Holy Spring

The cost of this property is a fairly steep $1,500+ (CAD) per night, but it can be booked using Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 94,000–132,000 points per night, which isn’t an unreasonable value. Of note, the property is not all-inclusive.

Wa Ale Resort – Myanmar

Nestled amidst the barely touched beauty of Myanmar’s Myeik Archipelago, Wa Ale Resort offers an exclusive and eco-conscious island retreat. Surrounded by pristine beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant coral reefs, the secluded resort promises a harmonious blend of luxury and sustainability amidst the natural wonders of the Andaman Sea.

Wa Ale Resort features 10 rooms of two room types: Luxury Treetop Villa Ocean View, and Luxury Tented Beach Villa Ocean View. Both come with full board meals and drinks, airport transfer, and boat transfer (on Saturdays and Tuesdays only).

The resort offers an array of island adventures and eco-friendly activities. Embark on guided nature walks through the island’s pristine jungles, home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including rare orchids and exotic bird species.

Explore the vibrant coral reefs and marine life of Lampi Marine National Park with snorkeling or diving excursions, where encounters with colorful fish, turtles, and reef sharks await. Or, you can kayak through mangrove forests, picnic on secluded beaches, or simply relax in a hammock with the sound of the ocean as your background noise.

Wa Ale Resort is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World partner. You can book the resort only seasonally, from June to October for $800-$1,000 (USD). You should also be able to book it using Hyatt points, however, this partnership was recently announced as transitioning to Hilton so the opportunity may not be available for much longer in its current form.

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa – Dubai

The Al Maha is a revered luxury resort located in the Dubai desert 45 minutes from the city. It is an all-inclusive resort, including meals and two daily activities. 

The luxury villas with private plunge pools and views of the desert are as unique as the wealth of activities and excursions available around the resort. 

You can ride camels through the desert to watch the sunset, learn about the Arabic art of falconry, take an exhilarating 4×4 desert drive up and over towering dunes, and more.  

The Al Maha is bookable using Marriott Bonvoy points at a rate of 100,000 points per night. The cash rate for the property can be as high as $2,000 (CAD), which makes a strong case for using points, or a free night certificate with a points top-up.

Check out our complete review of the Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa to learn more about the property and what you can expect there.

JW Marriott Masai Mara – Kenya

The JW Marriott Masai Mara is a newly opened Marriott property in the heart of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. This property offers 20 luxury safari rooms and tent suites, with direct proximity to wildlife and the natural surroundings of the reserve.

This is the first luxury safari lodge in JW’s portfolio, and it aims to please as an all-inclusive offering, which will include meals (breakfast, lunch, high tea sundowner and dinner, both on property and bush meals), game drives, airstrip transfers, and other meaningful moments.

Of course, a particular focus of staying at this property is the prospect of being in such proximity to the wild animals out on the savannah.

This is one of the only safari hotels bookable with points in the world, and the cost to book this property is around 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. This is a great use of points considering the cash rate can exceed $2,000 (USD).

Also note there are some additional modest costs to staying here, such as the newly introduced park fee of $200 per person which takes effect in July 2024.

Honorable Mention: Fairmont Mara Safari Club

If the JW isn’t your speed, there is an alternative option in the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. This is another resort with 38 tented rooms, located in the Northwestern corner of Maasai Mara reserve. 

Similarly, this property offers an all-inclusive experience that includes meals and twice-daily game drives, as well as bush dining experiences and Maasai cultural shows in the river-view lounge and bar.

The nightly rate for the Fairmont Mara is a bit cheaper than the JW Masai Mara, while also acknowledging that the property is a bit further from the heart of the Masai Mara reserve and a bit dated as it was last remodeled in 2009. 

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti – Tanzania

Another world-class safari is located within the breathtaking expanse of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Here, the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti promises an unparalleled luxury safari experience. 

Tanzania, Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Maji Terrace

The lodge boasts a range of luxurious accommodation options, namely villas and suites with private pools and expansive views of the surrounding wilderness.

Two Bedroom Villa

As important is the safari excursions, led by expert local guides, where you’ll have the chance to witness the legendary Big Five – lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceros – in their natural habitat. Set out on game drives across the vast Serengeti plains, where herds of wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes roam freely. 

Moreover, you have the option to soar high in the sky on a hot-air balloon safari.

The dining experiences also look unique and cultural, such as the Boma Grill, an authentic African feast around an open-air firepit.

All of the above comes at a steep cost, with room rates in excess of $1,300 (USD) per night, and as mentioned earlier, Four Seasons can’t be booked with points or subsidized in any way.

Coming Soon: JW Marriott Serengeti Lodge

Coming in 2026 is JW’s second entry in the luxury safari lodge hotel niche, the JW Marriott Serengeti Lodge. This will be a competitor to the Four Seasons Serengeti, offering 30 private suites, including two presidential suites.

I would expect the property and experience to be similar to what is currently offered by the JW Marriott Masai Mara, and eagerly await more details and the eventual opening of the property.

Hilton Yala Resort – Sri Lanka

Yet another notable but unassuming safari hotel is the Hilton Yala Resort. This resort is nestled along the pristine coastline of southern Sri Lanka, and close to the Yala National Park safari. Like other safari properties, Hilton Yala beckons travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure, with a blend of modern comforts and captivating wildlife encounters.

There are 42 rooms at Hilton Yala Resort, ranging from sizeable deluxe rooms all the way to large pool villas with private plunge pools. The rate for a room at Hilton Yala is moderate from $400 to $700 (USD) depending on the room type. 

A main activity offered by the resort is game drives to Yala National Park, escorted by a personal eco ranger. While not a ‘big 5’ safari, you will encounter majestic leopards, elephants, and exotic bird species. The park has a varied landscape, from dense jungle to grassy plains to pristine lakes and shimmering lagoons. It offers many unique opportunities for wildlife sightings and photography.

Compared to other options on the list, Hilton Yala is a relatively affordable one, starting at $400 (USD) or 80,000 Hilton Honors points. 

Conclusion

These are just some of the incredible wildlife and wilderness hotel properties I was able to find in my research. I hope to be fortunate enough to visit at least one of these properties in the next few years of my travels.

No doubt there are countless more great luxury properties out there. If there are any we missed that are on your bucket list, please leave a comment and let us know!

Reed Sutton

Reed Sutton

Founder at Frugal Flyer
Reed is addicted to the art of earning and redeeming travel points, and frequently pairs his trips with his other hobby: photography. Through Frugal Flyer, Reed aims to distill some of the complex and esoteric points strategies into digestible information. Furthermore, he hopes to use his technical expertise to develop invaluable applications and tools for the travel community.

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