Published November 29, 2012
Luxury has crept into the most unlikely of industries, including that of hunting. In the past, hunting was all about checked shirts, sleeping on the ground and roasting your kill on homemade bonfires. Nowadays, the thirst for bloodshed is as strong as ever, with everyone from rock stars to royalty enjoying a spot of hunting. However, this new breed of hunter demands a little more from their hunting experience, including five-star accommodation, world-class hospitality and Michelin-worthy food.
Here are the top 10 most luxurious hunting lodges on the planet for you to take a well-aimed shot at.
No.10 Rancho Caracol
Hidden in the undulating foothills overlooking Mexico’s famous Lake Las Alazanas, Rancho Caracol allows guests to live out their very own Mexican fantasies in a luxury beach resort-style hacienda. Set adjacent to the largest white-wing nesting colony in the worlence.
No.9 Dymond Lake Lodge
Offered by adventure firm Webbers Lodges is Dymond Lake Lodge, hailed as Canada’s most exclusive luxurious hunting lodge. Positioned in the heart of the Central Flyway in Manitoba, the route taken by millions of birds when journeying south, Dymond Lake Lodge is the perfect place for those who like their game covered in feathers. Those who prefer fur won’t be left out either, with thousands of moose, Arctic caribou and other big-game species roaming about the locale for your choosing. The lodge itself is simply spectacular, with stone fireplaces, screened decks, a hot tub, a sauna, a games room, and four luxury rooms to kick back in. Offset by a lake that’s teeming with trout and grayling, this is the ultimate huntsman’s paradise.
No.8 Rainbow Bay Resort
Pedro Bay, Alaska
Both luxurious and rustic, the Rainbow Bay Resort in Alaska has got the balance just right. Located to the south of Anchorage near Lake Iliamna, guests are able to enjoy hunting bear and moose, as well as a spectrum of colored fish that flit about just beneath the water’s surface. Each bedroom is furnished with two queen-size beds and en-suite baths, with exposed log-walls and cedar-covered interiors. The communal rooms are just as cozy, and guests can sink into plush leather couches, prop up the wooden bar in the Great Room or enjoy a family-style meal around the long table in the dining room. After a long day’s hunt, you’re also able to relax on the deck out front and take in the shimmering lake by moonlight. Those who say they come to Alaska solely for the hunting obviously haven’t stayed here before.
Gourmet game: Wild Alaskan salmon on herb mash with chili garlic butter
No.7 The Aloes Camp
As part of one of the most exotic continents on the planet, it’s hardly surprising that South Africa is home to some of the most luxurious hunting lodges. Enter The Aloes Camp, offered by IKAMVA Safaris. Animals available for hunt here include black-backed jackal, bushpig, fallow deer, and wildebeest, with the guidance of a professional hunter ensuring that all local rules and regulations are followed. The accommodation is just as varied with a number of haute suites to choose from. Housed in a renovated 1870 farmhouse, the lodge also features a pool, a bar and a restaurant with a meat preparation facility. Enjoy a sundowner beside the crackling fire before you hit the sack for another day’s hunting.
Gourmet game: Fillet of wildebeest marinated in South African spices and served with fresh vegetables
No.6 The Resort at Paws Up
If you like the camping concept, the Resort at Paws Up in Montana is the perfect place to lay your head after a day of hunting elk. While you could stay in the resort’s Big Timber Homes, we recommend checking out Tent City to experience sleeping under the stars in style. A community made entirely from canvas, the resort’s tents are more like luxury hotel rooms than the dwellings you used to make between armchairs as a kid, with fine-thread count linens, artworks on the walls and full electricity. The tents even come with their own en-suite bathrooms, with heated floors and power-showers. When you’ve freshened up after a long day’s prowling head to the Dining Pavilion at Tent City, where you can enjoy sumptuous food with breathtaking views out over Lookout Rock.
Gourmet game: Fresh Rocky Mountain trout sauteed with herbs
No.5 Glenroy Hunting Lodge
Queenstown, New Zealand
Haven’t heard of the Remarkables Mountains? You should have. Head to New Zealand and go on the prowl for Himalayan tahr, red stags, fallow deer, and American elk with your shotgun slung over your shoulder in a manly fashion. Afterward, hunker down at Glenroy Hunting Lodge, a rustic ranch just 15.5 miles from the glitz of Queenstown. Set beside the craggy Kawarau River canyon, famed for the goldrush that took place here in the 18th century, the lodge is New Zealand’s largest private hunting reserve and can accommodate you and 11 of your closest pals. With everything a man could ever need on a hunting trip, including a large barbecue area, a house bar and a spa pool, Glenroy Hunting Lodge will make you feel like you’re the king of the land.
Gourmet game: Chef’s saddle of wild rabbit with a spinach puree
No.4 LaFonda Ranch
If hunting in Texas is good enough for the likes of JR Ewing then it’s certainly good enough for you. Land on the mile-long illuminated airstrip at LaFonda Ranch, where you’ll be able to run wild across 8,000 acres of rugged Texan countryside. Whether you’re hunting whitetail, quail or Rio Grande turkey, you’re sure to return to the 27,000-square-foot lodge with a grin on your face and game under your arm. Deserving of every one of its five golden stars, the lodge can accommodate up to 40 people and features an in-house chef and swimming pool. For those looking for something to do between reloads, there’s a lake stocked with fish and rifle ranges galore to hone your aim.
Gourmet game: Cajun-friend wild turkey with Caesar salad
No.3 Tarr Farm
Dulverton, Exmoor, England
For a spot of British hunting you could do worse than to check into Tarr Farm. In fact, it would be hard to do better. A magnet for the upper-crust hunting crew, Tarr Farm is situated in Exmoor and offers some of the best shooting opportunities in Europe. When you aren’t buying bullets for another day on the prowl you can make use of the spectacular surroundings with a number of alternative outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, rock climbing, abseiling, horseback riding, and fishing. Naturally, five-star home comforts await at the lodge itself, with each of its nine rooms as cozy and as comfortable as you’d imagine for the hefty price tag. Complete with Egyptian cotton sheets, DVD players and organic bath products, it’ll be hard for you to leave. But if you do, you’ll be pleased to find an exceptional restaurant in the bowels of the hotel, serving (naturally) the best damn meat around.
Gourmet game: Roast saddle of venison with bubble and squeak
No.2 Barnsley Gardens
Voted as one of the Top Places to Stay in the World by Conde Nast Traveller, it’s hardly surprising to find Barnsley Gardens on this list of luxurious hunting lodges. Comprising of shooting grounds, historic ruins and 30 acres of heirloom gardens, the sprawling resort offers wingshooting in the type of scenery only imagined by the most experience huntsman. While its game isn’t as extensive as that offered by other lodges in other parts of the U.S., the surroundings are unsurpassed. Accommodating guests in 87 guest suites and 33 Old World English cottages, Barnsley Gardens makes any average-Joe guest feel like lord of the manor.
Gourmet game: Pot-roasted quail with Muscat and grape risotto
No.1 Three Forks Ranch
Open fireplaces, plaid armchairs, beamed cathedral ceilings, hand-carved European paneling and stone walls; what more could you want from a luxurious hunting lodge? Enter Three Forks Ranch, set amidst trickling trout streams, soaring mountains and Aspen-covered meadows. Offering the hunting of elk, deer and antelope in 50,000 private acres of Colorado countryside, as well as fly-fishing, horseback riding, four-wheeling, and photography, Three Forks will leave you hungry for more. Retiring to the luxury lodge, you’ll find 15 well-appointed rooms to catch some shut-eye in, an in-house spa to ease away those aches and pains and a world-class restaurant in which to eat, drink and be merry.
Gourmet game: Elk medallions with roasted shallots
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