Picture this: After a long day spotting lions, elephants, ostriches, and wild dogs in the Botswana bush, you cosy up in a sumptuous, king-size bed set nearly 20 feet off the ground on a platform. Nothing but a thin mosquito net separates you and the great outdoors. A gentle breeze keeps you cool, and the twinkling Milky Way lights blanket the sky above as you’re serenaded to sleep by nature’s symphony. By Hannah Freedman
That’s the experience I had when I spent a night at Natural Selection’s Tuludi Sky Suite during my safari honeymoon. A far cry from camping or even glamping, this took sleeping outside to the next level. In addition to a plush bed, our outdoor “room” included a sitting area with couches and blankets for comfortably spotting wildlife, a full bathroom (with plumbing), and luxurious touches like cosy robes and our own bar setup for sundowner cocktails.
But you don’t necessarily have to go on safari to experience something similar. Luxury hotels around the world feature stunning outdoor aka alfresco sleeping quarters, so you can reconnect with nature in style. For a truly unique stay you won’t soon forget, spend a night sleeping alfresco at one of these seven incredible hotels.
Luxury hotels that let you sleep alfresco
La Valise Tulum, Mexico
Take indoor-outdoor living to the next level with a stay in La Valise Tulum’s master suite. A rolling, king-size bed is easily transported out to the balcony for a refreshing night’s sleep amid the salty ocean air and sound of breaking waves. During the day, the balcony view features turquoise waters and palm trees dotting a white-sand stretch. The suite also comes with direct beach access, so you can go from bed to toes in sand within seconds.
Wellness seekers will enjoy the yoga classes and spa therapy offered at La Valise, as well as the fresh, locally sourced bites found on the menu at on-site restaurant Nü. In addition, private tours can be arranged to swim in sparkling cenotes, snorkel among colourful tropical fish, or visit the nearby ancient wonder of Chichen Itza.
Utah’s stunning red-rock mountain ridges and mesas provide an otherworldly backdrop at Amangiri, an ultra-luxurious desert hideout favoured by celebrities. By day, more than 600 acres offer the ultimate adventure playground, from hiking through slot canyons to climbing the dizzying Cave Peak Stairway 400 feet off the ground.
After an adrenaline-pumping day, relax with an outdoor yoga session or blissful spa treatment before retiring to a Mesa Pool Suite. The rooms feature private outdoor sky terraces, complete with roomy daybeds for stargazing or spending the night. Each suite also has a private plunge pool, fire pit, deep soaking tub, and large indoor bedroom with a king-size bed — just in case you change your mind about sleeping outside.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla
Groups and families will be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic Caribbean retreat than the four- and five-bedroom beachfront villas at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla that can sleep 11 or 13 guests, respectively. Found on the island’s peaceful northwest shore, the grand residences include more than 2,500 square feet of furnished outdoor space to maximise those glorious ocean views.
The ultimate place for a daytime snooze or tranquil evening rest amid the sea breeze? The swinging alfresco daybeds at this luxury hotel that hang from the deck on chains, so you can gently rock. While those are undoubtedly the best beds in the villas, there’s plenty to entice guests inside, too, including multiple luxurious king-size beds, deep soaking tubs, comfy cream couches in the living areas, and optional add-ons like in-residence spa treatments and private chef dinners.
Singita Lebombo Lodge, South Africa
For safarigoers who enjoy having a true room with glass walls and air-conditioning, but still want the option to sleep alfresco, Singita Lebombo Lodge offers the best of both worlds. Found on a private concession within Kruger National Park, 13 meticulously curated rooms are set high on a cliff overlooking the river.
Every room also features a private balcony with a large daybed for prime animal viewing, and it’s common to spot elephants, baboons, crocodiles, and more. Upon request, staff will turn the balcony bed into an outdoor oasis with high-thread-count sheets, a fluffy comforter, and a mosquito net. The balconies are optimally positioned to catch fiery sunrise views, and you might even find yourself waking to the sounds of lions calling from below.
Two words sum up the allure of the Cabriolet Suite at this Italian Relais & Chateaux retreat on Lake Iseo: retractable roof. Thanks to this ultimate romantic add-on, guests can slip under the red silk comforter, press a button, and watch as the roof above the bed opens up to reveal the clear Lombardy night sky.
If you can pull yourself away from the majestic room, stroll through the verdant sculpture garden and enjoy lake views from the terrace of the on-site restaurant, Leonefelice Vista Lago. Getting in some R&R is easy at the gorgeous spa, designed by architect and Architectural Digest Italia editor-in-chief Ettore Mocchetti. It even features its own wellness restaurant with a menu that revolves around keeping a balanced, flavour-packed diet.
Adrère Amellal, Egypt
Go off the grid at this remote eco-lodge in Siwa Oasis, a nine-hour car ride from Cairo. The 40-room hotel was carefully handcrafted to blend into its surrounding desert landscape, and multistory mud buildings give way to the ethereal sand dune and salt lake views. Among the rooms and twisting staircases is a maze of minimalist alcove dining spots and cave-like lounge areas. With no electricity, the real magic here happens at night, when every room is lit solely by a multitude of beeswax candles.
Enjoy epic star views free from any city light interference after dinner in the dunes, or spend the evening enjoying the night sky from an open-air lounge while curled up among plump couch cushions and fluffy throw pillows. Just be aware that the temperature can quickly drop in the desert. But not to worry, as you can always head back to your room where blankets and hot water bottles between the sheets await. And you can still catch views of the twinkling stars from bed through the square windows cut into the bedroom walls.
Natural Selection, Botswana
Found along the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the Tuludi Sky Suite at Natural Selection also comes with a private afternoon game drive and romantic candlelit dinner at your outdoor space. Here, you truly feel alone in the bush, since this platform suite is a 15-minute drive from the main camp (though a guide sleeps nearby just in case you need anything during the night).
Pair a stay in the Sky Suite with one or two nights at the canvas-tented main camp, where every room features a private plunge pool and stunning grassland views. For families (with kids ages 15 and up) or those travelling as a group, Natural Selection also has a nearby Skybeds camp, offering three Sky Suite setups together.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Jarryd King/Courtesy of Natural Selection)