How close is close enough?
Read about the other side of the fence, as Ms Shoba Mohan writes about proximity issue of hotels, resorts and other accommodation near a National Park or Reserve.
Every lodge in the proximity of a National Park or Tiger Reserve must first plan its location around the lay of the land. Where to build the lodge, how many rooms and how should the lodge look?
Typically locational advantage in any National Park is defined by your proximity to the primary gate. The result is that these areas are often inundated with a number of lodges creating pressure and crowding around important gates. The logic being one would like to be as close to the gate as possible to reduce your driving time to the park, especially during winter mornings when the park typically allows you in as early at 6am for the morning safari.
One of the most coveted features of a Lodge is when they are at a distance from the rest of lodges and in relative seclusion, sometimes being the only lodge in that location. This accomplishes two very important factors, a huge advantage and an important element of Conscious Luxury. One is that it reduces stress on the land and its resources, which rightfully is the community’s and the second is allowing for large estates with myriad land features creating a virtual forest around the lodge you will be staying in.
Some of the Wildlife lodges in Bandhavgarh, Pench and Satpura are sterling examples of this. Another luxury of staying in Lodges away from the crowds is the vastness of the estates they are situated in and the limited keys of each of these lodges present an expansive room to land ratio, ensuring privacy and exclusive space around.
I would add another feature which is rarely counted in the ambit of luxury, but for many hotels it is a part of its proximity to the land and its four legged or winged denizens. This is the idea of ‘wild gardens’. Discerning and conscious Lodges allow the undergrowth to spread and thrive so that indigenous trees and shrubs take over unchartered regions of the estate. This simple act of ‘letting go’ of the land to nature’s whim brings in the insects, birds, reptiles and smaller mammals – a veritable jungle at your doorstep!
The article has been authored by Ms Shoba Mohan, who is the Founder of RARE India, a collection of ‘Conscious Luxury’ Hotels in India and the subcontinent. www.rareindia.com