9 Stunning Hotels That Get You Close to Wildlife

Your next vacation buddy may not be human at these unique properties where animals roam free

Two elephants facing each other standing in front of a clear bubble hotel roomPhoto: Courtesy of Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Elephant Camp

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Elephant Camp (Chiang Rai, Thailand)

In the tranquil jungle setting of Chiang Rai, Thailand, is the luxurious Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Elephant Camp, home to an award-winning elephant camp and conservation program. Here, guests can partake in a number of elephant activities, including a “Walking with Giants” experience to stroll, feed, and bathe the giant creatures. The property’s newest addition, Jungle Bubble Lodge, is a two-bedroom expansive bubble that allows guests uninterrupted views of the elephants in their natural habitat, straight from bed.

Giraffe sticking its head onto the terrace of a building where a woman is looking down at itPhoto: Robin Moore; courtesy of Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor (Nairobi, Kenya)

The most unforgettable bucket-list experience? Eating breakfast with giraffes. The Safari Collection’s Giraffe Manor in Nairobi is an exclusive boutique hotel that’s often referred to as one of the most Instagrammed properties in the world. While staying at Giraffe Manor, guests will interact with the resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes, who may visit throughout the day, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat before retreating to their forest sanctuary. With the property’s latest major expansion, the Retreat Wellness Center, guests can not only have meals and afternoon tea with the giraffes, but they can also interact with them from a 70-foot infinity pool.

Image of huts along a riverPhoto: Courtesy of Sani Lodge

Sani Lodge (Quito, Ecuador)

Sani Lodge, the Ecuadorian Amazon’s only ecolodge that is 100% owned and run by an Indigenous community, is the ultimate rainforest escape. While staying at this wildlife retreat on the banks of a stunning lagoon, guests are surrounded by packs of monkeys, manatees, sloths, and over 550 types of birds. The lodge also employs local guides to take guests canoeing and kayaking, allowing them to search for even more wildlife.

Brown lodge with green trim in a lake view of dock leading to shorelinePhoto: Margaret Leehane; courtesy of Great Bear Lodge 

Great Bear Lodge (Vancouver Island, Canada)

A fully self-contained floating property, Great Bear Lodge is located at the ideal wildlife viewing region on Vancouver Island. The boutique eight-bedroom lodge operates its very own grizzly bear viewing program, where BBC filmed the TV series Secrets of Our Living Planet. A typical daily itinerary at the lodge includes two grizzly bear viewing sessions with a wildlife biologist as a guide, interpretive walks, open discussions and orientations, and boat excursions.

Getting ready to set out on a reindeer safari reindeers sleds and passengers in the snowPhoto: James Strachan/Torassieppi Reindeer Farm/Getty Images

Torassieppi Eco Reindeer Resort (Lapland, Finland)

At Torassieppi Eco Reindeer Resort in Finland, guests have the chance to stay in an ecological wilderness hotel by a lake in a gorgeous setting by the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. A five-minute walk away from the hotel room, there’s a nearly 200-year-old farm called Lapinkartano (“Lapland Manor”), where reindeers have been raised for more than a century. All year round the farm gives guests the rare opportunity to meet reindeer at close quarters, embark on a tour, or even ride with them.

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