Great Luxury Adventure Hotels
Ball & Albanese
More luxury hotels are opening in remote locations and catering to travelers in search of adventure.
The sun rises over 400-year-old limestone
formations as you set out on a desert hike with your personal guide. Then
you’re off to ride horses through red-rock canyons, or fly away for some
heli-skiing. You return to your hotel for a spa treatment based on Thai and
Indian traditions, then sit down to an organic meal before returning to your
chic, modern suite with a private plunge pool and terrace open to the stars.
It’s just another day at the Amangiri,
a 34-suite luxury resort set in southern Utah’s
Canyon Country—one of several newer hotels in rugged locations. And these
remote spots take full advantage of their location, offering a menu of
adventures along with their luxurious digs.
Why unique properties in
such remote destinations? They cater to a new type of globe-trotter, says Paul
Largay, a T+L A-List agent and adventure-travel expert: the exotic-pursuant.
These thrill-seekers want to experience nature, but not at the expense of
creature comforts. “After rolling around in the dirt or chasing a snow
leopard,” he says, “these travelers want a fine Cabernet.”
The trend may also be an
unexpected result of advances in technology, says Rachel Dodds of Sustaining
Tourism, a consulting agency that specializes in sustainable
tourism. Now that travelers are armed with more information about their next
destination, they may be willing to journey farther afield and push their
limits in new and different ways.
And to cater to these intrepid
outdoorsmen, luxury hotels have opened from the Maldives to Mexico,
from Switzerland to South Africa—each
with a different level of adventure. At Anantara’s Qasr Al Sarab Desert
example, a fortress outside of Abu Dhabi, guests ride 4 x 4s or sit atop camels
en route to a watering hole for glimpses of Arabian oryx and mountain gazelle.
And at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort
and Spa on Addu Atoll in the Maldives,
lucky jet-setters unpack in treehouse villas—all furnished with open-air
showers and infinity pools—or relax in the 17,000-square-foot over-water
bungalows set in the resort’s lagoon.
Of course, the adventure trend isn’t
restricted to hotels; tour operators and cruise ships, too, are offering more
soft adventures, like ziplining, kayaking, and nature walks—all things, says
Dodds, that enhance the traveler’s experience.
In the words of the Adventure Travel
Tourism Association, “adventure is becoming more luxurious and luxury more
adventurous.” At these properties, you’ll get the best of both worlds. —Sarah Kantrowitz