Selected through a rigorous evaluation process, these lodges offer an outstanding guest experience while supporting the protection of cultural and natural heritage and embracing sustainable tourism practices. The initial collection — numbering 24 properties on six continents — further builds National Geographic’s travel portfolio, which includes National Geographic Expeditions, Traveler magazine, travel books, photography courses and the @NatGeoTravel digital and photography community.
As part of a comprehensive vetting process, every lodge in the collection was judged on the following criteria:
The Property - The design and character are unique and authentic, and the property provides guests with a true sense of place by celebrating the surrounding landscape and cultural heritage.
Guest Experience and Quality of Service - Guests are offered top-quality service and exceptional and inspiring experiences — from activities that enable them to engage with local people to wildlife encounters with seasoned naturalists.
Sustainable Tourism Best Practices - The property demonstrates a commitment to conservation and green operations; it actively supports the protection of cultural heritage; and it provides tangible benefits to local communities.
National Geographic deployed experts to each site to evaluate operations, meet staff at all levels, scrutinize the lodge’s impact on the local environment and community and ensure that these criteria were met.
The Unique Lodges collection ranges from thatched bungalows nestled in the coastal jungles of Costa Rica’s pristine Osa Peninsula to luxury tented suites overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Australian Outback. Many have devised their own renewable energy solutions; all prioritize locally sourced food and provide economic and social benefits to the local community. Each lodge offers a special “National Geographic Exclusive” experience to guests who book their stay through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. This is a complimentary opportunity to delve further into the local culture or environment, such as a private sunset wildlife cruise at British Columbia’s Nimmo Bay Wilderness Lodge or a special research outing with the on-site scientist at The Brando in French Polynesia.
National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World charter members are:
Fogo Island Inn, Canada
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Peru
Kapari Natural Resort, Greece
Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, Costa Rica
Lizard Island, Australia
Longitude 131°, Australia
Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, Canada
Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Rosalie Bay Lodge, Dominica
Rubondo Island Camp, Tanzania
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, South Africa
Sayari Camp, Tanzania
Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysian Borneo
The Brando, French Polynesia
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana, United States
Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Chile
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Chile
Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Bhutan
To help raise the profile of these properties, National Geographic is implementing a broad promotional campaign, including advertising, digital marketing, publicity and social media. In addition, National Geographic will assemble an advisory group of charter lodge members in order to help facilitate the sharing of best practices and to provide input on direction and strategy as the program develops.
National Geographic Unique Lodges offer travelers a full-service experience from booking to checkout. Travelers can browse all of the properties on the Unique Lodges website and make a reservation at a lodge, join a National Geographic Expedition that features a Unique Lodge or book one of National Geographic’s new Private Expeditions, offered in partnership with Virtuoso®, the leading international network of luxury-focused travel agencies and advisors.
National Geographic’s Private Expeditions is a new series of itineraries specially crafted for independent travelers and the traveling companions they choose — whether it’s two or 10 — and many include a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge. Guests can explore Ecuador on a private expedition that combines the colorful culture of the Altiplano with a stay at Mashpi Lodge in the heart of the Chocó rain forest. Or they can immerse themselves in Berber hospitality at the Kasbah du Toubkal in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains on a trip that also includes the mesmerizing cities of Marrakech and Fez. Travelers may also contact a reservations specialist to customize a trip.
For more information about National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, visit uniquelodgesoftheworld.com.
For more information about National Geographic’s Private Expeditions, visit www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/triptypes/privateexpeditions.