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You don’t always have to take a safari to see wildlife. At properties all over the word, you can see incredible animals without even leaving your hotel room. From underwater villas that give you uninterrupted views of marine life, to luxe manors where giraffes are known to poke their heads through open windows, these hotels are ideal for animal sightings. So go ahead, stay in bed: Let the wildlife come to you at these 14 amazing hotels and resorts.
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa
Located deep in the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Maha‘s hefty price tag (cash and points) comes with some spectacular wildlife viewing. The hotel sits on miles of red sand dunes, where you’ll spot everything from camels to the wild oryx and gazelles that roam the property. During my stay, staff members told me to always keep my door shut, in case of especially curious creatures. All-inclusive rates start around $720 during the low season, or 60,000 points per night. Book soon, because once Category 8 pricing kicks in, points rates will rise to 85,000 per night.
The Amethyst Resort in Passikudah, Sri Lanka has both beachfront and riverside rooms. A bridge over the river separates the guest rooms from the rest of the resort, and it’s not uncommon to see large crocodiles sunning themselves on the river bank, just a few yards away from the rooms facing the river. Don’t worry, though: a fence keeps these reptiles at a safe distance, ensuring you won’t have to climb over one to access your room. One of the more affordable spots on this list, river-view room rates at the Amethyst Resort start at just $60 per night.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
At the Conrad Maldives, travelers can now book The Muraka: the world’s first underwater villa, which debuted in late 2018. The bedroom, bathroom and living space are all submerged in the Indian Ocean, giving guests unmatched views of the Maldives’ rich marine life. There’s plenty of overwater space, too, including a private deck and plunge pool, but there’s nothing like seeing thousands of fish and even sharks swimming over your bed. Room rates start at a jaw-dropping $50,000 per night (just think about all the points you could earn). If the price tag is just too much to stomach, you could always plan to redeem a standard room award for 95,000 points per night and eat in the underwater restaurant instead.
Located on the edge of the Kanha National Park, this eco-camp in India offers its guests regular drives through the park, where you can spot the famous Bengal tigers. Although it’s unlikely you’ll see tigers from your cozy cottage at the Kipling Camp itself, monkeys regularly gather on the premises, and you may spot barking deer or sloth bears from your lodge, too. A friendly elephant (who the owners affectionately named Tara) frequently visits the watering hole next to the hotel. All-inclusive prices, which include meals and game drives, start at $300 per night.
The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, had the time of his life at Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Its wild location only enhances the luxurious feel of the property, and it’s not uncommon to see lions, elephants and other members of the Big Five cooling off at nearby watering holes from your bedroom, the pool or even your shower. Room rates start at $2,200 per night per adult and include food, drinks and game drives and walks.
The Manta Resort
A no-frills, much more affordable under-the-sea adventure, the underwater room at the Manta Resort in Tanzania is actually an overwater and underwater villa with three levels: a rooftop sundeck with a bed where you can sleep or get some sun; a main floor with dining and lounge areas; and an underwater bed chamber with 360-degree views of the surrounding marine life. The villa is only accessible by boat and surrounded by a reef. Underwater room rates start at $1,700 per night, with a three-night minimum stay required.
If you’ve ever dreamt of the kind of African adventure where you not only gawk at animals from an open vehicle but are also woken up by giraffes poking their long necks through your bedroom window, book a flight to Nairobi now and stay at the famous Giraffe Manor in Kenya. Here, giraffes wander the 12-acre property and visit guests every morning. All-inclusive room rates start at $550 per night.
While many hotels in Africa overlook watering holes, the Mfuwe Lodge, located in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, gets guests really close to the action. The camp was built along an elephant migration route, and in order for wild elephants to reach their preferred mango trees, they regularly walk through the open-air reception and lobby areas. Room verandas overlook lagoons where you’re likely to catch a glimpse of frolicking hippos, too. Room rates start at $383 per night.
State Game Lodge
You don’t have to leave the country to spot wildlife. It’s likely you’ll see plenty of animals during a stay at the State Game Lodge in South Dakota, with 1,300 free-roaming bison meandering the grounds of Custer State Park, where the hotel is located. While the bison typically roam the property at their leisure, there is a roundup once a year to count and vaccinate the population, ensuring they stay healthy, so book accordingly. Room rates start at $135 per night.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
OK, so you may have to get out of bed to see the flamingoes here, but according to current TPG points and wildlife valuations, using your Bonvoy points to see flamingos is a solid redemption. The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino owns a private island, reachable via a quick speedboat only for hotel guests. The island is home to six resident flamingos that you can admire as you lounge in private cabanas on the beach. Room rates start at $206, or 35,000 points per night.
This eco-resort in the Riviera Maya is known for hosting all kinds of creatures such as monkeys, frogs, lizards and rare tropical birds. Jolie Jungle is passionate about protecting the natural habitat of the local flora and fauna, and boasts that guests can see up to 120 bird species and 40 other animal species on the resort and in the surrounding rainforest. Room rates start at approximately $100 per night.
Nayara Springs in Costa Rica
Both Nayara Springs and its adjacent sister property, Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens, are famous for its resident sloths. After the resort planted 300 Cecropia trees on the grounds, the local sloth population increased to roughly 15 individuals (sloths love to munch on the leaves). Both hotels offer free walking tours to point out the sloths to guests, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot them lounging in the trees on your own. Bonus sightings include monkeys, frogs, tropical birds, butterflies and more. Room rates start at $390 per night.
This hotel in Tasmania has a distinct design concept inspired by sand dunes and sea creatures. But the architecturally striking property is also well-known for its Tasmanian devil sanctuary. Guests at Saffire Freycinet can enjoy walking through the open-range enclosure and learning about the animals that the hotel is dedicated to protecting. The hotel even supports efforts to discover a vaccine for a rare cancer that’s affecting the Tasmanian devil population. All-inclusive room rates start at $1,500.
Intrepid travelers will enjoy spending the night on a glacier at the Nordenskiöld Lodge in Norway, where you can spot polar bears from the warmth of your room. But be prepared to rough it, because the cabins have no Wi-Fi, running water or electricity. Instead, rooms are heated by wood-burning fires and drinking water is collected from melting glaciers. The cabin is accessible only by dogsled or boat between May and October. Despite the lack of traditional amenities, three-night stays start at about $2,000 with Basecamp Explorer and include food and guided tours.
Featured image courtesy of Marriott.
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