National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
“T his growing collection represents tourism as it should be. Our lodges offer a rare kind of experience where protecting the planet’s treasures is an integral and inspirational component of top-notch service and accommodations. They are destinations in their own right — and they set the standard for authentic and responsible travel.”
That is a statement which purportedly defines National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World — a collection of 24 lodging options around the world which promise an “unforgettable experience”, which includes “stunning architecture and design, incredible views, innovative sustainability practices, excellent cuisine, comfortable common spaces that fit the destination, and gorgeous grounds. But then they go further, offering you a wide array of activities to help you engage with their unique surroundings — whether it’s snorkeling or cooking classes, horseback riding or guided nature walks. As a National Geographic guest, you’re also treated to an exclusive, complementary opportunity to delve even deeper into the local culture and environment.”
I decided to price room rates at a random sampling of lodges:
- Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge South Africa: Starts at $1,100.00 per person per night for a luxury suite; and $2,000.00 per person per night for the Amber Presidential Suite
- Mashpi Lodge Ecuador: Starts at $1,205.00 per room per night for a Wayra Room; and $1,443.00 per room per night for a Yaku Suite
- Fogo Island Inn Canada: Starts at $875.00 per room per night for a Labrador Suite; $1,275.00 per room per night for a Newfoundland Suite; and $2,475.00 per room per night for a Fogo Island Suite — and you must request a rate for the Flat Earth Suite
- Zhiwa Ling Hotel Bhutan: Starts at $172.00 per room per night for a junior suite; $285.00 per room per night for a one-bedroom suite; and $572.00 per room per night for The Royal Raven Suite
- Longitude 131˚ Australia: Starts at $993.00 per person per night for a minimum of two nights in a luxury tent
- Rosalie Bay Resort Dominica: Starts at $225.00 per room per night for a garden view superior room; $299.00 per room per night for a junior suite; $375.00 per room per night for an oceanfront suite; and $450.00 per room per night for your choice of either a riverside suite or a premium oceanfront suite
Additionally, accommodations at some lodges are part of a package — such as at the Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia, where you can choose from one of three packages ranging from three to five days with rates starting between $1,690.00 per person and $2,995.00 per person. You may also arrange for your own private expedition.
Included in the room rate of each lodge are accommodations and one National Geographic Exclusive experience per lodge; meals, activities, excursions, and local taxes and fees are included only if specifically noted. Activities include bird watching, boating and kayaking, culinary experiences, cultural exploration, hikes and walks, horseback riding, snorkeling and diving, wellness services and wildlife encounters; and they vary by lodge.
Not included in the room rate of each lodge are air transportation and related fees; any meals, activities, excursions, transfers to and from the lodge, local taxes and fees, gratuities not specifically listed as included; passport; visa; medical expenses and immunizations; insurance; personal expenses, such as laundry; and any other items not specifically noted as included.
Additional terms and conditions are located here with detailed information — including but not limited to payments, cancellation policies, refund policies, insurance, health requirements.
If you own a lodge and want it to be a part of the collection of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, it must meet the following criteria which will be evaluated during your application process — which costs a fee of $250.00 which is not refundable; and you will be charged an inspection fee of $2,500.00 once approved, which is to be applied towards the annual membership fee — where your property must:
- Be unique and authentic pertaining to its design and character; and provides your guests with a true sense of place by celebrating the surrounding landscape and cultural heritage
- Offer top quality service and exceptional and inspiring experiences to your guests — from activities that enable them to engage with the destination, to culinary excellence and personalized customer service
- Demonstrate best practices and a commitment to sustainability and conservation of the natural environment through green operations and environmental management; actively support the protection of cultural heritage; and provide tangible benefits to the local peoples and communities
While the room rate pricing seems rather rich at many of the lodges, it is an interesting concept of which the experience does seem appealing — and if the opportunity presents itself to me, I would consider experiencing at least one of the lodges.
What about you? Would you stay at one of the lodges? Do you think that there is enough of a market for National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World to succeed?
Map courtesy of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. © Mapbox © OpenStreetMap.