Trips

When hospitality combines exclusivity and love of animals

Wild animals on our doorstep, newborns to accompany, endangered species to heal ...: the new hotel combines with exclusive talent and love of animals. Here are our four favorite addresses.
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It is no secret that the world's animal population is seriously threatened. Endangered species, destruction of natural habitat and overexploitation, the last fifty years have seen the number of wild animals decrease by 60%. What to do ? The answer is not simple, but small-scale initiatives are multiplying in our globalized societies. And the hotel industry? It is also slowly becoming a reconciling of premium tourism and wild life, sought luxury and sensitization to endangered, hunted or over-exploited species, now associating with organizations, sanctuaries and natural parks. A new direction even more respectful of the environment, even more immersive. But also the opportunity for animal lovers to get closer to their favorite species, in a process of help and respect.

Help elephants at Four Seasons golden triangle

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Perched on stilts, at the edge of a thick bamboo forest along a tributary of the Mekong River, the fifteen tents of the Four Seasons Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, Thailand, give a new dimension to the trend. nothing overused glamping. There is nature, first, the foggy and infinitely fertile north of the country, on the exact border with Laos and Myanmar, where the eye is inevitably lost, despite the post-colonial sophistication of these camps five stars, the largest of which is close to 230 square meters. There are dinners under the stars, meditation sessions in front of the immensity, Jeep tours in the nearby villages and treatments in the open-air spa, like lost in the jungle.

But above all, there are elephants. Twenty in all, rescued from commercial and tourist exploitation by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, with which the Four Seasons has joined to offer the pachyderms this sublime sanctuary. No elephant rides, therefore, but walks by their side to watch the sun rise, and the opportunity to feed, care for and bathe with them, all helped by experts and volunteers. To go further, the hotel and the foundation have developed a monthly sponsorship system that supports veterinary care and animal rehabilitation.

Protecting baby turtles with Cuixmala

Founded in the late 1980s, the domain of the extravagant British billionaire Sir James Goldsmith is, since 2004 and under the impulse of his daughter Alix Marcaccini, the most confidential hotel in Mexico. Neo-Moorish-inspired madness with its eleven rooms, three villas and infinity pool overlooking a private beach, this VIP haunt (including, at random, Emily Ratajkowski, the Delevingne family, Madonna, Mick Jagger or Heidi Klum) still hosts parties whose proud founder would be proud. A utopia as we do more, set in a park of ten hectares on the wild Costalegre, with an airstrip, a farm allowing it a perfect self-sufficiency, tennis courts and golf courses, stables and, above all, its own Unesco Biosphere nature reserve, counting zebras, antelopes, crocodiles, pumas or jaguars, some of which move freely around the hotel, among some twelve thousand species of plants and birds.

The place also has its own conservation and research programs, for felines, crocodiles, birds, but especially the very endangered sea turtles. Seven hundred thousand of their young have been protected and released since the beginning of the program, thirty years ago, greatly increasing the number of nests on the Mexican coast. And when the season allows, guests are called to help by helping to collect eggs and release newborns.

Chimp at the One & Only Nyungwe House

 

Just opened in one of the most environmentally friendly African states, Rwanda, the new jewel of the One & Only group, is set amidst tea plantations on the edge of the Nyungwe, iconic Rwandan National Park covering 1,020 square kilometers. tropical forest and home to 20% of Africa's primate population, most of which is endangered. We live here to the rhythm of this untouched nature, whose fresh and heady scent of eucalyptus perfumes up to the sumptuous rooms, enjoying a view of the vaporous mountains and their golden light. Breakfast at sunrise, yoga in huts perched in the trees, organic cuisine and holistic treatments inspired by African rituals ..., Nyungwe House ticks all the boxes of the contemporary eco-resort with, in addition, a philanthropic approach to support local communities through aid days and land allocated to farming families. A new approach to tourism, which also involves responsible trekking. Allowed only in groups of eight, the hikes, quite sporty, take place at dawn in the nearby national park. They allow to observe chimpanzees and colobus monkeys in the respect of their natural habitat, while an expert enlighten us on the conditions of preservation of these threatened species.

Sleeping with magnifying glasses

The most northerly wildlife park in Norway, Polar Park Arctic Wildlife Center has one and only one home. Welcome to Wolf Lodge, reinvented cottage installed, literally, among the wolves. Ultra-exclusive, available only on request and accessible for eight guests for fifteen stays a year, the place provides one of the most unique experiences in the world. Deco hygge neat with skins of animals, large living room and table d 'hosts where officiates the private chef, the Wolf Lodge borrows more to the premium comfort of the chalet genevois than to the rusticity of the lodging of mountain. But here, despite the intimacy of the place, we have the impression of being observed. No sudden gestures, no children under 15, we warn. For all around the Wolf Lodge, separated from the guests by the only windows, prowl a tribe of Norwegian wolves who, despite their domestication - all were born in captivity - have kept their primary instinct, wild and curious.

We go out with a private guide - the co-founder and guardian of the park, originally created to protect this fear species often hunted by the local population - at our disposal throughout the stay, to approach very, very close , the seven wolves perfectly acclimatized to human contact and try the wolf kiss under the midnight sun. Another privilege is a private access to the entire animal park, with lynx, bears and arctic foxes.

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