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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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