Pampered in the wild

The idea of taking a relaxing break that nourishes your mind and body right in the middle of the wilderness sounds like pure nirvana. Luckily, this doesn’t mean one has to rough it out. There are some spectacular wildlife spas around the world that can help you truly disconnect, just when you need it the most.

Situated on the banks of Amazonian Peru’s Madre de Dios Rive, Reserva Amazonica Lodge is exotic yet accessible, and is surrounded by a vast rainforest. Nature lovers will find incomparable biodiversity here, and are sure to be blown away by the spectacular luxury of the jungle. There are 35 thatched-roof cabanas, with hammocks, luxury linens, and organic bath products. A favourite activity here is watching the sunset from your bed right through the tree tops. And should you need anything in the middle of the jungle, there is a personal butler, all just a walkie-talkie away. Unwinding at its best!


This one reeks of luxury, since it’s the only hotel located within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park. Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is a short stroll from Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. Because of its unparalleled location, guests have exclusive access to the majestic falls in the evening and at dawn. The hotel is unique in the sense that it was a former Portuguese colonial residence, so it has a very lazy and luxurious vibe, redolent of how life was back in the days of lounging on balconies and verandahs. For the more active guests, the hotel offers helicopter trips over the falls and jungle treks to check out the amazing wildlife including colourful toucans and giant butterflies.


Up in the clouds, high up in the Andes and a few hours west of Quito, Mashpi Lodge is located in a 1,300-hectare reserve in the Ecuadorian rainforest. As plush as can be, this is where wildlife is at its best. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows give one unprecedented views of the surrounding area. Clean and minimalist décor rule the roost here. The forest here is home to countless species of birds, monkeys, peccaries, and even the occasional puma.


This is a story straight out of a Hollywood movie, and it’s only fitting that there is a touch of Hollywood to it. Film director Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize in the early ‘80s, immediately fell in love with the location, and went on to purchase the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. After a decade of being used strictly as a family retreat, the 20-room resort that is tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains is now open to the public. There is a breathtakingly beautiful sight here of waterfalls tumbling into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Life’s simple pleasures can be enjoyed in this remote and serene location. Guests can also explore the ancient civilisation of the Maya, a huge attraction for people visiting this part of the world.


Easily one of the most read about jungle spa retreats, the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali is located in the breath taking rainforest near Ubud. The estate gives its visitors a positive, holistic and healing experience, leaving one truly relaxed and rejuvenated. Positioned on the steep slopes of the sacred Ayung River, it is hands-down one of the most luxurious health spas in the world. Previously known as Begawan Giri, the COMO Group bagged this property to make it one of their best retreats yet. So if you crave being in the jungle and at the same time being on the receiving end of some luxurious pampering, check out one of these special properties. They’ll make for an experience you won’t soon forget.     ---Suneela