According to The New York Times, America’s national parks are “gearing up for their busiest years in history.” And with international travel still posing a number of uncertainties, the appeal of incredible outdoor experiences, such as those offered by Yosemite or Yellowstone, is undeniable—and all within easy reach. So, whether you’re planning your next vacation or a weekend break, we’ve curated a selection of the top hotels from which to experience the very best of our national parks.
Best for: A bespoke adventure in Yosemite National Park
Just 16 miles (25 km) from Yosemite National Park, the five-diamond Chateau du Sureau offers a luxurious base from which to explore, with 10 graciously appointed rooms. But for true seclusion, opt for its exclusive-use Villa du Sureau—a 2,000 square-foot (185 sq m) Parisian-style retreat, hidden behind a private-gated entrance within the hotel’s grounds. “The privacy offered by Villa du Sureau makes it our most coveted accommodation,” says hotel director Rani Grube. “Here, personal butler services are available, and we can deliver all meals upon request.”
Off-site adventures, such as private guided tours of Yosemite, fly-fishing outings, or an off-road excursion to take in 360-degree views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, can be curated for you by the hotel’s concierge. “The entire world has been stuck inside for more than a year,” Grube says, “so our top priority is for guests to get outside and enjoy activities. Our expansive property provides the perfect setting for this and, of course, Yosemite is the ultimate outdoor escape.”
The hotel has many protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of its guests, including mandatory face masks for staff (in accordance with C.D.C. guidelines, unvaccinated guests are also required to wear masks), as well as stringent cleaning and sanitation measures.
Best for: Hiking and wildlife sightings in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks
With vast swathes of wilderness on its doorstep and two national parks within easy reach, Amangani is surrounded by extraordinary natural beauty and is ideally placed for summertime outdoor adventures.
Choose from suites with fireplaces and spectacular mountain views, or spacious four- and five-bedroom private-use homes with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Snake River Valley. Below, the Snake River beckons for fly fishing and rafting, or you can go horseback riding accompanied by majestic views of the Tetons. Hot air balloon flights and scenic helicopter rides offer the opportunity to take in the incredible surroundings as a whole.
Walking trails wind through mountains and fields of wildflowers, making Amangani one of the world’s foremost hotels for hikers, where all-day adventures in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks can also be arranged. The Amangani Signature Wildlife Tour is not to be missed—Grand Teton is the U.S.’s number one national park for wildlife sightings, and is known for big game such as bison, elk, moose, bears, wolves, and more than 300 species of birds, including bald eagles.
The safety and well-being of guests is a priority at Amangani. Its low room count allows for easy social distancing; accommodations are spaced far apart within the secluded location; and new private-dining experiences have been created alongside sanitation and social-distancing measures.
Best for: A tranquil base from which to visit the Grand Canyon
Nestled under a canopy of sycamore trees, in the spot where Arizona’s magnificent Red Rock Country meets the lush oasis of Oak Creek, L’Auberge de Sedona offers a truly tranquil retreat. Choose from cozy creekside cottages, suites with sweeping red rock views—or, if you’re looking for a private stay, the 3,070 square-foot (285 sq m) Creekhouse with a large common area and five luxuriously appointed bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and separate keyed entrance, is ideal.
Known as one of the country’s top hotels at which to celebrate a special occasion, L’Auberge is also the closest luxury resort in Sedona to the national parks of Montezuma Castle and the Grand Canyon. The hotel’s concierge is equipped with great insights for a memorable Grand Canyon visit and will organize tailor-made excursions, ranging from sightseeing flights to day trips or rim-to-rim-to-rim treks. Once back at the hotel, you can enjoy locally sourced fare at Cress on Oak Creek restaurant, served alfresco on the creekside patio.
The hotel closely adheres to guidelines provided by the C.D.C. and State of Arizona, and has implemented social-distancing practices alongside a range of sanitation procedures.
The Oasis at Death Valley, California
Best for: Stargazing from a true oasis within the Death Valley National Park
The Oasis at Death Valley is one of very few hotels that are situated within national parks. And while its Death Valley location is known for soaring summertime temperatures, the hotel offers a cool and tranquil respite built around the site of a true American oasis, where 80,000 gallons of ancient waters rise to the surface every day.
Founded in 1927, and once the getaway spot for stars such as Clark Gable and Ronald Reagan (it’s also where George Lucas filmed scenes for the original Star Wars movies), the hotel, owned by Xanterra Travel Collection, received a major renovation in 2018. Today, it’s surrounded by palm trees, lush gardens, spring-fed pools, and a golf course. It also offers 66 elegantly updated rooms, a spa, and a fine-dining restaurant and cocktail lounge, all featuring verandas with sweeping views of Death Valley and the Panamint mountains.
Death Valley is one of only eight designated “gold tier” International Dark Sky Parks in the U.S. where you can view the Milky Way with the naked eye. The hotel makes this gorgeous natural setting a priority, with a number of sustainability measures in place—such as utilizing solar power and managing its water supplies—to preserve its surroundings.
To enhance the safety of its guests, The Oasis follows the most up-to-date policies and protocols outlined by the Xanterra Travel Collection, and the state of California and the C.D.C.
Banner image: An aerial view of The Oasis at Death Valley