Have you ever tried falling asleep with an enormous lion staring through your window? Nope, neither have we, but we’re up for giving it a try.
Wildlife-watching holidays were popular even before COVID, but now that other tourists are the riskiest aspect of foreign forays, doubling down on animals seems to make some sense. These hotels serve up round-the-clock wildlife, without you even having to leave your room.
1. Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, England
All the wonders of an African savannah – in the verdant pastures of Kent. Port Lympne’s 600-acre site hosts more than 900 animals, including big five staples like lions and tigers, and less common safari favourites like ostriches and gorillas. Accommodation options include luxury glamping huts, towering treehouses, and lodges overlooking the bear, lion, tiger, rhino, and giraffe enclosures.
2. Pairi Daiza Resort, Belgium
Your main struggle at the Pairi Daiza Resort in Belgium will likely be the agony of choice. The Penguin House offers an underwater view of the penguin pool, the Tiger House is conjoined with the tiger enclosure, and the Polar Bear House … well, you can probably guess. There’s also the Walrus House and the Full Moon Lodge – a subterranean hobbit-hole that serves up round-the-clock views of wolves and bears.
3. Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Australia
As if Australian wildlife wasn’t remarkable enough, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge near Canberra also throws in leopards, lions, giraffes, and all sorts of other tropical fauna for good measure. An overnight safari is based at the National Zoo & Aquarium, with the lodge offering itineraries lasting between one and three days, each with endless animal encounters and treehouse accommodation.
4. Jarvzoo Wolf Hotel, Sweden
This Swedish retreat provides guests with a traditional wood sauna, sumptuous Swedish cooking – and a single pane of glass separating them from a large pack of grey wolves. Light sleepers may wish to pack earplugs: the night-time howling of wolves just metres away from your bed is atmospheric but could make snoozing difficult.
Read: Wild dogs in Zimbabwe
5. The Manta Resort, Zanzibar
For the most organic zoo experience, put yourself in the cage, and let nature unfold around you. Zanzibar’s Manta Resort is neither zoo nor hotel per se – simply a submerged room bobbing gently in the shallows of the Indian Ocean. Your underwater bedroom boasts intimate views of the shoals of fish that huddle around the windows for protection from predators, and guests are wholly isolated from the rest of the world.
Which hotel would you most like to stay in? Why not share your thoughts on zoo hotels in the comments section below?
– With PA
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