Luxury hotels have long wooed travelers by providing amenities like plush beds, top-notch staff, and decadent dining. But, over the past few years, many properties have looked to offer unique experiences as a way to stand out in the industry. But One&Only might have just created the best one ever.
Opening this fall, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest will have all the accommodations and service you’d expect from the brand with a once-in-a-lifetime bonus: the ability to go gorilla trekking. Located in the foothills of the breath-taking Virunga volcano range in Rwanda (the closest resort to Volcanoes National Park), the remote property helps guests have a personal encounter with the rare and majestic mountain gorilla.
During your stay, a guide will give a pre-trek briefing on specific protocols and rules for visiting the gorillas that live within an altitude of 6,500 to 13,000 feet in the upper terraced slopes of the volcano. Hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over four hours (the return journey can last just as long), depending on the location of the gorilla family. Guests have one hour to spend with the gorilla family, and you’re also bound to see many colorful birds and endangered golden monkeys.
One&Only will book your permit for your trek, but you are in charge of paying the $1,500 per person per visit cost. There is no additional cost for the activity itself from the resort.
Of course, after a long day trekking in the jungle and coming face-to-face with wild animals, you’ll want to clean up and relax. Well, the intimate resort has 21 guest lodges and suites overlooking the vast African terrain with private decks and in-room fireplaces. You can also venture to the spa, which draws on ancient tribal remedies using African botanicals for treatments, dine at the on-site restaurant The Nest, get in a workout in the high-tech gym, or lounge by the pool.
And if you want to participate in other activities besides gorilla trekking, guides will take you to visit the tomb of American activist Dian Fossey or a crater lake on the Bisoke volcano. Plus, you can tack on a visit to One&Only Nyungwe House (located within working tea plantation) in the southwest of the country by taking a 45-minute helicopter flight.
This might be on the top of our bucket list now.