The added bonus of waking up to the roars of the howler monkeys makes hotel stays all the more fun. And the captivating sight of grazing animals makes breakfast all the tastier!
Here is a guide to some of the best properties around the world where our imagination and curiosity is piqued by conservation efforts or powerful mammals that take advantage of the land surrounding hotels.
Top Picks for You
Channel your inner conservationist inside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is home to just under half of the world’s mountain gorilla population. The Bwindi Lodge is so close to the forest, guests have a chance to see one of the remaining 880 silverback mountain gorillas around the lodge grounds. The eight stone and timber bandas, or rooms, face the forest and offer each guest their own private window into the dense canopy that is also home to chimpanzees and a variety of monkeys.
Sensitive ears? Prepare to be jolted out of bed with the morning scream of the howler monkeys from the outskirts of the hotel, considered to be the loudest land animal. Indura Beach & Golf Resort is set within the Jeannette Kawas National Park, one of the country’s largest protected areas. Howler monkeys feed mainly on the property’s top canopy leaves, fruit, buds, flowers, and nuts. Watch your step, you may stumble upon skittering armadillos and capybaras on property bushes.
WHERE: South Africa
Located 168 miles from Cape Town, South Africa at the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof is a sanctuary for one of the largest private herds of Cape Mountain zebra in the world, which has helped saved the zebra species from the brink of extinction. The reserve’s wildlife reintroduction program has also seen the return of the antelope-looking bontebok, red hartebeest, gray rhebok and the ostrich. Smaller mammals such as the bat-eared fox, African wildcat, Cape fox, caracal (African lynx), baboon, rock hyrax, klipspringer, aardwolf, and aardvark also roam the plains and rocky outcrops of the reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive Cape leopard that likes to hide in the remote parts of the mountains.
WHERE: Arenal, Costa Rica
Costa Rica brings forth images of lush rainforests, tropical flora, and furry creatures hanging from branches. Tabacón, a natural hot springs resort, doesn’t disappoint: the property is spread across 900 acres of rainforest in Arenal, Costa Rica—a country responsible for 6 percent of the entire world’s biodiversity. Tabacón’s grounds are home to more than 500 species of local plant and wildlife. On the property, guests can spot howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, and coatimundi, which are native to Arenal.
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
If you can pull yourself away from the tunes of Disney World, an hour south of Orlando in the heart of Florida’s cattle lands, guests vacation alongside buffalo and longhorn cattle at the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. On the property’s 1,700 acres, visitors can also directly interact with some mammals via horseback riding and visiting the Ranch’s petting farm (featuring goats and ponies).
WHERE: Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel is named after the famous Stanley Steamer, which used powerful torque to pull a chain of gasoline-powered cars up the Big Thompson Canyon. Located just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, it is common to see herds of elk and deer roaming the grounds. The occasional cougar and bear may saunter through as well. Horror movie fans will also appreciate that the hotel was featured in the sequel to The Shining.
WHERE: Nairobi, Kenya
At this out-of-this-world property, guests can enjoy a wildlife-filled stay without even leaving the inside of the hotel. Giraffes have the run of the property here, munching on trees, giving giraffe kisses, and sticking their heads through windows for a snack (and once-in-a-lifetime photo opp).
WHERE: Wolgan Valley, Australia
Located in Australia’s Blue Mountains region, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a luxury, conservation-based resort with a variety of mammals that freely roam the grounds. You will encounter kangaroo’s, wallabies, and wombats. The resort occupies only one percent of a 7,000-acre nature reserve in the Greater Blue Mountain World Heritage Area.
WHERE: Porters, Barbados
Colony Club’s most famous visitors do not grace the cover of tabloids, instead, they are the resident monkeys that are spotted sneaking through the back of the garden at dusk to munch on fruits. The lush, plantation-style resort sits on the Barbados’ tranquil west coast’s white sand beaches. The on-site garden and its expansive foliage have drawn the small Barbados Green Monkeys, a species that originated to the island 350 years ago. The furry creatures have dark brown or black faces and a coat of yellowish-white fur around their chins, however, after soaking up vitamin-D, their fur turns a slight tint of green from the sun.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge
WHERE: Koh Kong, Cambodia
Situated along the Tatai River in Cambodia in view of the imposing Cardamom Mountains, a peaceful and private sanctuary awaits at the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge. Built using eco-friendly materials, the 12 floating tents offer frequent animal sightings from private terraces. Some of the animals to look out for include the rare Indochinese tiger and Asian elephant. The sounds of the musical gibbons at sunrise or barking deer may also give away their locations for eager viewers.
Angel Canyon Cottages
WHERE: Kanab, Utah
A foster animal lover’s dream: on any given day, about 1,600 dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, horses, pigs, and other barnyard animals call Best Friends Animal Sanctuary a home-between-homes. Nestled in the red cliffs of Angel Canyon in Kanab, Utah, visitors can stay in cottages located within the sanctuary grounds and can volunteer at the sanctuary and take dogs back to their cabin or cottage for the night. To get some exercise, take your new best friend on an outing to hike and explore the area.
Turpin Meadow Ranch
WHERE: Moran, Wyoming
Huge, muddy paw prints left by a curious grizzly on the side of one of the property tents may cause you to halt in your steps. If you decide to explore further, you will find the Turpin Meadow Ranch located in a secluded area of the Teton Wilderness, and you will be able to spot resident moose, bison, elk, and foxes on the grounds. You can also catch glimpses of grizzlies while out on horseback trail rides.
Gaya Island Resort
WHERE: Borneo, Malaysia
Set within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Gaya Island Resort plays a proactive role in animal conservation through their Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre program. The property is involved in the preservation of the endangered proboscis monkeys (also known as the long-nosed monkey), which are native to the island of Borneo. Other exotic animals that can be seen by guests on Gaya Island Resort grounds include bearded pigs and red giant flying squirrels.
WHERE: Maasai Mara, Kenya
The luxury safari lodges of Angama Mara are located in Kenya’s Maasai Mara park—an ideal location for witnessing the Great Migration that brings millions of wildebeest and zebras through the area. Year-round game-viewing includes elephants, lions, cheetahs, and giraffes, which have been spotted hanging around the property.
W Retreat & Spa
WHERE: Vieques, Puerto Rico
Vieques is located eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, and headed to the W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island, you will notice there is not a single traffic light on the island due to the blissfully slow pace. As the island is nearly two-thirds nature reserve, visitors spot indigenous Paso Fino horses passing outside their window and across the lawns, as they roam freely around the island.