With the possibility of travel to Europe and other international destinations still unclear, Americans are seeking out domestic escapes, and national parks seem to be on top of the list.
After a year of decline in park visits due to the pandemic, industry experts report that the crowds are coming back in 2021. “Instead of going to Europe or someplace else out of the country, everyone wants to go to a national park,” says Colleen O’Keefe, a luxury travel adviser and national parks specialist who is the founder of The Global Concierge. “My phones have been ringing nonstop with clients who are rushing to book their trips before summer starts.”
The snag in a getaway to hit these natural wonders is the dearth of upscale hotels in which to hang your hat. But there are options to be had, and we’ve rounded up six high-end properties near some of the most popular national parks in the country.
The Parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone
The Property: Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Situated 7,000 feet above sea level, Amangani offers incredible views of the Grand Tetons and the Snake River range. The resort has 40 rooms, all with high ceilings, balconies, and large picture windows; a spa; an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the mountains; and a restaurant that serves dishes using locally sourced ranch meats and fish. But best of all, guests can book the property’s signature wildlife tours at both Grand Teton National Park, about 15 minutes by car, and Yellowstone, less than 90 minutes away. Through both walks and drives, Aman’s knowledgeable guides introduce guests to animals such as bison, elk, moose, and more than 300 species of birds. Prices for tours start at $700.
The Park: Yosemite
The Property: Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, California
Nestled in rolling foothills at the gateway to Yosemite, Château du Sureau is reminiscent of the French countryside. The property has 10 rooms, each inspired by the South of France and individually decorated—the 2,000-square-foot Villa du Sureau, with two bedrooms and a library, is the most impressive of them all. The upscale restaurant is worth the splurge, and there’s also an intimate spa. Offered throughout the year, the Yosemite Excursion is the package to book and includes a two-night stay, breakfast, and a trip to the park for two people with a picnic lunch. Package prices start at $1,850.
The Park: Golden Gate
The Property: Cavallo Point, Sausalito, California
Set within Golden Gate National Recreation Area at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cavallo Point was once the site of Fort Baker military base and is now transformed into an upscale urban resort. Amenities include a large spa, a fantastic cooking school, and a long lineup of outdoor activities, the highlight being access to the park and its many pursuits such as hiking, bird-watching, biking, and kayaking.
The Park: Great Smoky Mountains
The Property: Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
Among the most legendary properties in the country, Blackberry Farm encompasses 4,200 acres and is a culinary and wellness retreat in one. The cuisine and spa attract guests from all over the world, and the outdoor pursuits, from horseback riding to hiking to gardening, are the best of the diversions. The concierge team can arrange for numerous experiences in the Great Smoky Mountains, less than 20 minutes away, such as fly fishing, hiking some of the more than 800 miles of trails, and boating.
The Park: Grand Canyon
The Property: L’Auberge de Sedona, Sedona, Arizona
Even though it’s about a two-hour drive, L’Auberge de Sedona is still the closest luxury resort to the Grand Canyon. The property is located in the heart of Sedona’s scenic Red Rock region and has a mix of high-end cottages and lodge-style rooms, as well as a spa offering indigenous treatments, and a restaurant set along a creek. Outdoor adventures such as guided hikes and rock climbing are the point of a stay here—the Grand Canyon experiences that guests can book include driving, hiking, helicopter, and train tours. Prices for tours start at $325 a person.
The Park: Zion
The Property: Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah
It’s no wonder that a reservation at Amangiri is hard to snag, no matter the time of year: The resort is in the midst of a desert landscape that includes canyons, mesas, and ridges, and has a 25,000-square-foot destination spa, as well as onsite Via Ferrata hikes for every fitness level. It’s also near the largest Native American reservation in the country and about two hours from Zion, a park that’s home to hundreds of plant and animal species. Amangiri offers a helicopter tour of the park in combination with Brice Canyon National Park. Prices begin at $5,150 for two people.
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