No. 1 Singita Grumeti Reserves
South Africa’s pioneering Singita tourism group revamped a pair of lavish lodges and a tented camp in the Grumeti Reserves of Serengeti National Park. You almost expect to see Teddy Roosevelt behind the wheel of one of the two vintage Chevrolets parked at the entrance to Sabora, a safari camp accessorized with antique mahogany chests, worn-leather folding chairs, and thick Persian rugs. Faru Faru, with six chalets overlooking the Grumeti River, channels a Swahili beach resort; a swimming pool curves in front of an open-air lounge, where guests sip sunset cocktails as elephants gather at the watering hole below. The reserve’s flagship is Sasakwa, an East African ranch house set on a plateau with panoramic views of the plains. The lodge’s wood-paneled libraries have an English country club feel, and there are seven cottage residences, each with a garden and plunge pool. Tennis courts, a spa, and a yoga center occupy guests between twice-daily game drives, where sightings include wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles.Sasakwa
Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
TEL: 27 21 683-3424
TEL: +1 770 947 7049/98
No. 2 Singita Sabi Sand
Two raised lodges with interiors by up-and-coming African designers—Boulders is high-design rustic, Ebony has a vintage safari feel. Private outdoor showers and well-stocked wine cellars, plus photography-focused safaris led by renowned wildlife lensman Adrian Steirn and cultural outings to a nearby village to share meals with locals.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve
TEL: +27 21 683-3424
TEL: +27 (0)13 735 9800
No. 3 Royal Malewane
A refined 20-room bush camp on the western edge of Kruger offers a roster of throwback activities, such as hot air balloon rides and safaris on horseback. The Royal and Malewane suites are perfect for couples traveling together—each comes with a private chef and masseuse. The lodge’s springbok carpaccio and Mozambican prawns with red curry are two of the best dishes you’ll find in the bush.
Hoedspruit, South Africa
TEL: 27 (15) 793-0150
No. 4 Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge Mbirikani Group Ranch
No. 5 Oberoi Udaivilas
Picture your arrival: you’re met at the airport by a car and driver, guided onto a private boat, then ferried across Lake Pichola—past Udaipur’s domed lakefront palaces—into the gardens and fountains of the Udaivilas estate. You’re led to your suite, tempered with earth tones. From your window, Udaipur, the city of lakes, carved into the desert landscape by Mewari royals in the 16th century, sparkles in the sun. When sensory overload subsides, wind your way through sprawling courtyards to a traditional Kashmiri gondola, where champagne and canapés for two await. Come back to the 30-acre lakeside property another time to receive traditional Meenakari jewelry boxes lined with deep-red velvet and adorned with enamel flowers, departure gifts given to repeat visitors.
Premiere Lake Views, for their private patios leading to a semiprivate pool.
Wander through the on-site Bada Mahal, an 18th-century former palace with delicate frescoes.
Haridasji Ki Magri
TEL: 91 294 243-3300
TEL: (800) 562-3764
No. 6 Triple Creek Ranch
Triple Creek is a service-driven, adults-only property located in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains. The 600-acre landscape has 23 plush log cabins, each outfitted with cozy touches like wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs, and locally woven woolens. Itineraries are tailored to guests’ interests and can include dinners at the chef’s table, wine tastings, and helicopter tours.
The Baker and Boulder cabins are the least expensive, but still have a sitting area and fireplace and offer access to a hot tub.
Take a free birding and nature tour in the Bitterroot Valley to look for peregrine falcons, hawks, and eagles, as well as elk, moose, and possibly even a bear or wolf.
5551 W. Fork Rd.
Darby, MT, United States
TEL: (406) 821-4600
TEL: (800) 654-2943
No. 7 Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai
A complex of 54 suites and 64 freestanding Thai pavilions, set on intricately landscaped grounds (complete with a small moat). The amazing two-story villas are reclaimed authentic Northern Thai rice barns. Participate in daily rituals or take a class at the resort’s Ban Sam Lang arts and crafts village.
51/4 Sankampaeng Rd.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
TEL: 66 53 888-888
TEL: (800) 526-6566
No. 8 Oberoi Rajvilas
Modern Rajasthani retreat made up of well-appointed tents and villas and an Oberoi spa. The new restaurant Rajmahal uses herbs and vegetables from the on-site gard. Royal tents have Burmese-teak floors and claw-foot bathtubs. Pay a visit to the nearby outpost of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, supported by the hotel.
TEL: 91 141 268-0101
TEL: (800) 562-3764
N0. 9 Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp
Edwardian-style tented camps on a ridge in the western Serengeti. No. 11 is the most private tent. Request a crocodile-viewing safari on the Grumeti River.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
TEL: 254 20 284-2333
TEL: (800) 525-4800
No. 10 Serengeti Migration Camp
20 tents with wraparound porches and attentive service along the Grumeti River, a fave drinking spot for hippos. Tent No. 15 for the charming porch—the tree growing up through it is popular with bird
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
TEL: 255 27 250-0630
TEL: (800) 806-9565