7 luxury escapes in the great outdoors

20 March 2017

Wondering whether you can escape to the wilderness and still enjoy the finer things in life? Well, we think it’s very much possible!

Read on to discover seven incredible destinations that mean you can escape to the great outdoors without leaving luxury behind…

Azur Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Azur Lodge Queenstown, New Zealand

Nestled on a hilltop with sweeping views of Queenstown’s incredible landscape of glistening water, rugged mountains, and bright green vegetation, Azur Lodge is a wonderful spot if you’re seeking the wilderness.

While it’s only five minutes from downtown Queenstown, this New Zealand hideaway has a spectacular view of Lake Wakatipu, and its location makes it seem miles from everything.

You’ll fine nine open-plan, contemporary private villas here, each with a private deck and large glass windows so that you can make the most of the dazzling view. Perhaps the most luxurious touch is the bathroom – the bathtub is set into a bay window so it feels as though you’re outside.

Makanyane Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Makanyane Suite in Madikwe Game Reserve South Africa

Recommended by Travel Counsellor Zoe

Always wanted to see the Big Five but can’t decide where to stay? For a luxurious safari experience in a malaria-free reserve, try Makanyane Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve.

Travel Counsellor Zoe spent her honeymoon at Makanyane Safari Lodge and said she was totally blown away it: “There are only eight lodges and the personal service is incredible. The lodges have glass walls overlooking the river - the wildlife is literally only separated from you by a pane of glass. We saw the Big Five and more and slept out under the stars – it was amazing!”

Tanque Verde Ranch, Arizona, USA

Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Horse riding in an epic landscape followed by a pampering spa treatment? Head to Tucson, Arizona. Nestled in 60,000 acres of desert landscape, next to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest, with the Rincon Mountains as a backdrop, lies Tanque Verde Ranch.

Activities to indulge in at this all-American dude ranch? Aside from the array of horse riding treks through the jaw-dropping landscape (there are breakfast rides and sunset rides, too) and lessons, try sand volleyball, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, tennis, yoga and more. And when those muscles are aching, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, indoor spa pool, or venture to the on-site spa, La Sonora Spa, for a rejuvenating treatment.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler, Canada

Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler, Canada

Whistler is renowned as a top ski destination and the exquisite 5 Star Fairmont Chateau Whistler is an amazing retreat for skiers looking for a little luxury after a day on the slopes.

Tucked at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and a mere seven minutes from bustling Whistler Village, Fairmont Chateau Whistler is surrounded by trees and the views are spectacular. It’s a ski-in, ski-out hotel and there’s plenty to do if you’re not skiing (or if you stay here during the summer months). Play a round of golf at the 18-hole award-winning mountain course or a game of tennis, relax in the indoor or outdoor swimming pools, head to the spa or join a yoga class. Or, simply, relax with a martini in The Mallard Lounge while looking at that mountain view.

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge in South Africa

Recommended by Travel Counsellor Beverley

“The most famous unfenced reserve in South Africa is the Sabi Sands,” says Beverley. “Over 160,000 acres, the Sabi Sands adjoins the Kruger National Park but is unfenced, so wildlife can flow through the park and into the Sabi Sands naturally.

As the land here is divided up and owned privately by a few lodges who manage the land, you can go off road (there are no tarred roads) for closer sightings, go on night drives and there are rules in place about the number of vehicles per sighting, so this makes [safaris here] much more exclusive, with fewer guests.”

For a luxury retreat, Beverley recommends staying at Sabi Sands Earth Lodge. It’s a spectacular safari lodge with 13 guest suites, inspired by the sweeping landscape and incorporating natural materials. The building in itself is breathtaking and there’s a feeling of being at one with the glorious South African bush.

And luxury facilities? Expect secluded, private plunge pools, a glass-fronted bathroom with bathtub so you can watch the wildlife whilst soaking, and there’s even a steam room in the Amber Suite!

Longitude 131, Northern Territory, Australia

Longitude 131 in Australia

With mesmerising views of Uluru and perched on the deep red dunes this area is known for, Longitude 131 is an incredible 5* camp. Nestled at the border of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park are 15 luxury tents – and it’s an experience quite unlike any traditional camping trip! Some of the facilities you’ll find in your tent? A kingsize bed, en-suite bathroom with rain showers, and a stunning wooden balcony with day bed and fireplace.

Expect gourmet dining, an exquisite spa, and a brilliant excursion programme, with events including venturing into the outback at sunset and exploring the Walpa Gorge and Kata Tjuta.

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

If you’re hoping for the beach alongside an adventure in the great outdoors, try a trip to Costa Rica. Pristine beaches lie next to tropical forest and the number of species of animals and birds you can spot here is phenomenal.

The dazzling Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica lies on the Pacific coast, with the sparkling sea at the front and surrounded by the brilliant green of the forest. On-site, play tennis or golf, unwind at the spa or take a dip in the pool. Or, venture further afield and explore the delights of Costa Rica. Among the activities you can try, there’s ziplining, sport fishing, scuba diving, walks through the cloud forest and, the active volcano, Arenal. The volcano is only 3.5 hours away so you can pop on your explorer’s hat for the day before unwinding in luxury back at your hotel…

To plan your luxury escape to the great outdoors, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today!

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