This Luxury Rain Forest Hotel Has Outdoor Tubs, Private Pools, and Adorable Animals Roaming the Property

Plus, it's just minutes from the Great Barrier Reef.

The sound of rushing water filled my ears as I perched on a small beach, eyes peeled for movement in the water, watching for signs of the elusive platypus. It was dusk in the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest tropical rain forest in the world, and I was sitting by the edge of a river, the air sticky and still.

That morning, I dove into the underwater world around the Great Barrier Reef before heading just a few minutes inland to check into the Silky Oaks Lodge, which made Travel + Leisure's editor-curated It List this year. Here, I stepped into another world completely, walking along a wooden path to the open-air lobby, surrounded by tropical greenery.

The hotel was just minutes from the ocean and the more commercial towns that serve as jumping-off points for the reef, but as I listened to the chirping noises of the rain forest, I couldn't imagine a more peaceful refuge to serve as a home base for Australia's tropical north.

Silky Oaks Lodge in Australian rainforest
Courtesy of Silky Oaks Lodge

"Most guests are blown away by this place. It's just so unique," Sonya Boaden, the lodge's manager, told me as we walked around the property. "And people really do feel like they're immersed in the rain forest because they kind of are."

The hotel, which is now part of Australian hotel group Baillie Lodges, reopened in December 2021 after undergoing an extensive renovation. Today, it welcomes guests to a modern and high-end resort that brings the beauty of its natural surroundings to life. Each room comes with a deck overlooking the gorgeous landscape, and most include an outdoor tub so guests can soak in the peaceful setting.

Silky Oaks Lodge in Australian rainforest
Courtesy of Silky Oaks Lodge

My room, the Daintree Pavilion, was another story entirely. The two-bedroom suite — the largest on the property — offers both privacy and luxury, with a dreamy outdoor living and dining room and a private pool overlooking the forest. In the bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outside in, while the bathroom's outdoor shower and enormous soaking tub take the term forest bathing to new levels.

After spending a day touring the area, I headed back to my room and hopped in the pool, enjoying some homemade coconut ice cream that had been placed in my kitchen. Like all rooms at the lodge, the fully stocked mini bar is included, making it hard to leave the room.

Related: 20 Best Small Towns in Australia — From the Coast to the Countryside

Two images, one showing tree waters near small waterfall and the other a plate of food with toast
Alison Fox

The amenities may be thoroughly modern, but the reality of the rain forest itself is never far away. This is clear during meals — breakfast, cocktail hour, and multicourse dinners with wine pairings are all included in the rate — which are served under a soaring wood ceiling with the rushing Mossman River sounds beneath. It's also apparent when the forest's animals pop up to say hello, like the small pademelon I found hopping along a path on the way to my room.

Silky Oaks Lodge in Australian rainforest
Courtesy of Silky Oaks Lodge

Nature was literally all around me, from the available hikes to the chance to cool off with a bit of river bathing — free from the fear of crocodiles, of course.

Even the hotel's spa invites nature to be part of the experience with treatments that draw on plant essences, river stones, and forest bathing. The treatment rooms themselves bring in the views with floor-to-ceiling windows paired with dark wood to create a calming tone. I opted for the Sunshine State treatment, which left my skin glowing and mind calm as I listened to the rain fall outside.

On my final morning, I tucked into a breakfast of avocado toast — an Aussie specialty — and let the sounds of the rain forest wash over me. I was relaxed and refreshed, and not quite so ready to leave this peaceful escape. But as I walked back down the winding wooden path toward the car, I turned and took one last look, promising myself it wouldn't be the last.

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