Meeting planners looking for the ultimate in sustainable, authentic and adventurous travel needn’t look any further than National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World collection. Earlier this month, National Geographic Society announced its boutique collection of hotels, which were selected based on a strict evaluation process guaranteed to provide small corporate or incentive groups with upscale guest accommodations that protect the local culture and embrace sustainable tourism.
“National Geographic would welcome the opportunity to work with meeting planners to craft private expeditions that include stays at the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World,” says Lynn Cutter, National Geographic’s executive vice president for Travel and Licensing. “These lodges’ outstanding service and experiences in addition to their commitment to sustainability make them ideal for small groups or incentive trips.”
The collection consists of 24 properties across six continents that were each chosen by National Geographic–deployed experts based on the following criteria:
- The Property: The design and character are unique and authentic, and the property provides guests with a true sense of place by celebrating the surrounding landscape and cultural heritage.
- Guest Experience and Quality of Service: Guests are offered top-quality service and exceptional and inspiring experiences—from activities that enable them to engage with local people to wildlife encounters with seasoned naturalists.
- Sustainable Tourism Best Practices: The property demonstrates a commitment to conservation and green operations; it actively supports the protection of cultural heritage; and it provides tangible benefits to local communities.
The Unique Lodges collection ranges from thatched bungalows nestled in the coastal jungles of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula to luxury tented suites overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Australian Outback. Many of the properties have devised their own renewable energy solutions; all prioritize locally sourced food and provide economic and social benefits to the local community. Each one offers opportunities for attendees to delve further into the local culture or environment. Examples include a private sunset wildlife cruise at British Columbia’s Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, a special research outing with the onsite scientist at The Brando in French Polynesia or a game drive through South Africa’s Kruger National Park at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge.
Meeting planners can simply book stays at a Unique Lodge, or they can book a pre-crafted itinerary via National Geographic Private Expeditions, a wide range of itineraries—several of which include stays at a Unique Lodge. For example, attendees can travel to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and stay at the Zhiwa Ling Hotel, where they will explore emerald valleys, historic fortresses and Cliffside shrines on this nine-day journey, quite the incentive for groups.
For a complete list of the collection, visit the Unique Lodges website.