According to Deloitte’s 2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook, the luxury travel industry is set to thrive in 2018, with a predicted growth rate of 20%. The steady growth is being fuelled mainly by demands of young travellers eager to experience the world through an immersive experience. No surprise then that the top trends that have emerged this year are sustainable tourism and luxury lodges in the foothills of nature. Thankfully, India offers plenty of options that meet both these demands and then some. Read our picks of five luxury lodges that will revive your earth connection while enjoying both luxury and comfort...
The Oberoi Vanyavilas
Where: Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
When it comes to lavish lodges, Oberoi Vanyavilas is perhaps the best in terms of service and facilities. Located in the wilderness, it gives guests a slice of nature with cosy comforts like private walled gardens, decks and patio, and a secluded dining area that is approachable from a torch-lit pathway.
What you get: Since brand Oberoi itself epitomises luxury, you can expect nothing short of a royal experience, right in the middle of a jungle. The Vanyavilas tents will amaze you with their amenities. A personal butler will be at your service 24/7. You can be connected to the outside world through a wi-fi and TV. There’s an express laundry service and curated culinary delights for you. A poolside bar and a spa that offers ayurvedic massages and signature therapies are a must-try too!
Where: Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Situated on the banks of River Banjaar, the safari lodge by the Taj group is not to be missed. The resort extends over 90 acres of the Sal forest, giving its guests spectacular views of lush bamboo growth and green meadows overlooking the Kanha National Park.
What you get: Banjaar Tola is equipped with nine exotic tented suites that are furnished with antique mirrors and glass paintings. Outside each tent is a private chaupad where you can play marbles! Safari tours conducted by experienced guides are organised daily here. You can also take guided nature walks and tours to nearby villages to interact with the locals. In the evenings, you can enjoy a private dining experience by the riverside. To make your stay even more comfortable, there are additional facilities like babysitting and a doctor on call.
Where: Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Another Taj property that should be on your list is the Baghwan Wildlife Resort located near the gorgeous Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. The park, famous for hosting kings and commoners alike for centuries has some scenic vistas to behold, including River Pench that divides it into two equal western and eastern parts.
What you get: Baghvan has 12 roomy AC bungalows, each having its own machaan. There’s also a library, an interactive kitchen, a spa and pool within the resort. For adventure seekers, Baghvan provides a guided wildlife safari in a 4X4 vehicle to track tigers or enjoy a picnic breakfast. Nature trails and village visits are also organised to help you get acquainted with the surroundings.
Jim’s Jungle Retreat
Where: Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
Bordering the thick forest of Corbett National Park, Jim's Jungle Retreat is an eco-conscious lodge. Living spaces have been designed among water bodies and grasslands to give guests an immersive jungle experience.
What you get: The lodge has an old world charm to it with ancient paintings and deer hunting lithographs adorning the walls. In keeping its eco-conscious touch, the furniture in each accommodation is made of renewable materials. A classy dining space made entirely of mud and thatch serves delicious Kumaoni delicacies. Within the resort, you will also find a curio gift shop that sells elephant poo products and toys made of recycled cloth. The retreat offers cycling expeditions, jeep safaris and heritage walks too.
Diphlu River Lodge
Where: Kaziranga National Park, Assam
This quaint lodge perched on the periphery of the Kaziranga National Park receives a lot of celebrities, including Prince William and Kate and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The place can host 24 guests at a time at its eight individual cottages and four semi-detached cottages made of bamboo and thatched roof.
What you get: The lodges are designed to give you a serene experience broken only by an early morning visit from an animal or a bird. To enjoy the scenic outdoors, you can book a jeep or an elephant safari that are already included in the cost of your stay. Diphlu River Lodge’s well-trained naturalists accompany you on the excursion and help you identify the park’s many wildlife and bird species.