With so many of us living sedentary city lives, it’s not hard to see why -- when vacation time comes around -- there’s a strong desire to answer the call of Mother Nature and indulge in a little wanderlust. For some reason, though, park walks, riverside runs, and rooftop yoga (while nice) can’t quite match the appeal of mountains, valleys, and tropical rainforests.
Whether beautiful, daunting, dangerous, or just plain mind-blowing, the natural surroundings of these seven hotels will make you feel totally insignificant -- in a super-inspiring way.
1. Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe
Located in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantando, is a secluded getaway in Santa Fe. In a remote setting about 15 minutes from downtown, the hotel is flanked by both mountains and desert, with the natural beauty providing the hotel’s biggest attraction. Besides the appeal of the awesome views, rooms at Rancho Encantado are luxurious, bathrooms come with large soaking tubs, and there’s even an on-site art gallery.
2. Lodore Falls Hotel, England's Lake District
With steep hills, soaring fells, and glacial lakes, England’s Lake District National Park is home to (arguably) the country’s most stunning natural beauty -- not to mention its highest mountain, Scafell Pike. Lodore Falls Hotel is located in the heart of the national park, surrounded by waterfalls and rolling hills -- and looking out over Lake Derwentwater. Once your eyes can’t take anymore of that dramatic beauty on show, the quintessentially English interiors and award-winning restaurant will be waiting.
3. The Ocean Lodge, Oregon
Steer clear of Goonies fans and you can appreciate that Cannon Beach and Haystock Rock are a truly inspiring specimen of Oregon coastline. Stay at The Ocean Lodge and you can stare longingly out across the dramatic stretch of beach in the hopes that you might catch a glimpse of One Eyed Willy’s ship, or, you know, just appreciate the might of the Pacific rolling in. Rooms are homey (all include kitchenettes and fireplaces) and some come with jetted tubs, balconies, and ocean views.
4. Fretheim Hotel, Norway's Flam
At the Fretheim Hotel in Flam, Norway, the rustic chic decor, contemporary American Wing rooms, and charming library play the supporting cast to the beauty found outside. Located at the end of the Aurlandsfjord, the gorgeous, remote address is the hotel’s resounding feature. Surrounded by mountains, the hotel is a popular jumping off point for fjord cruises and hiking.
5. The Ahwahnee, Yosemite
Deep in the heart of Yosemite National Park, The Ahwahnee has an enviable location. The rustic interior of the hotel -- considered a National Historic Landmark -- includes stone fireplaces and stained glass, while rooms keep things up-to-date with modern touches like flat screen TVs. Defined by pine trees, cliffs, and canyons, views from The Ahwahnee are picturesque (which is actually an understatement), with some taking in the peaks of both the Half Dome and El Capitan.
6. Frost and Fire Hotel, Iceland's Hveragerdi
When it comes to your chances of seeing the Northern Lights, longitude and latitude are key (we’ve tried just looking up -- nothing). On the cusp of the Arctic Circle, Frost and Fire Hotel in Iceland is far enough north that seasonal sightings are reliably consistent. Offering a romantic, authentic Icelandic experience on the Varma River, the hotel’s setting in an otherworldly natural landscape probably couldn’t be more different from your day-to-day surroundings.
7. La Lancha, Guatemala
When you want to be reminded about your insignificance in the world at large, a rainforest is always going to help. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, the exclusive La Lancha Hotel is located in Guatemalan forest, just 40 minutes away from Tikal National Park and its Mayan ruins. Built on a hillside overlooking Lake Peten Itza and its surrounding rainforest, La Lancha is a romantic retreat, offering a luxurious way to get in touch with nature.