Sure, a hotel can offer a lively bar for its night owls but, come sundown, isn’t toting rifles, a moonlit swim in the sky and hunting alligators more exciting? All over the world, several hotels are getting creative with their post-dinner activities, and we rounded up the some of the coolest and craziest offerings at hotels during the witching hour.
Alligator spotting in the Amazon, Juma Lodge
Found one! (Photo: Courtesy of Juma Lodge)
At Juma Amazon Lodge, an isolated ecolodge in Brazil’s Amazon, guests can live within the rainforest in one of 20 bungalows on stilts 50 feet above the river. Wildlife abounds, but the real action happens when it’s pitch black outside. Guests can hop aboard a motorized canoe with a guide and travel 20 minutes into the depths of the rainforest to cruise for alligators in their natural habitat. The guide generally spots caiman (“alligatorid crocodilians” that, according to locals, are basically small alligators that grow up to three feet long) and even catch them so guests can take a closer look. Grandaddy alligators are spotted from the canoe; when the flashlight catches their reptilian eyes the river monsters freeze up. Cost: Free for guests.
Night snorkeling in the Caribbean, Viceroy Sugar Beach
Night Snorkeling (Photo: Thinkstock)
Night swimming takes on a whole new meaning on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. Guests staying at Viceroy Sugar Beach can don a snorkel and fins, and grab an underwater flashlight to explore the sea at night, a rare activity right in the bay flanked by the Petit Piton Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This National Marine Reserve reef, just steps from the resort’s beachfront, is teeming with octopus, squid, sergeant major trumpet fish, parrot fish preparing their mucus sleeping sacs, moray eels, and, if you’re lucky with your sightings, a sea horse. Cost: $25 per guest.
Underground debauchery at Queen of the Night, Paramount Hotel
Queen of the Night (Photo: Courtesy of Queen of the Night/Facebook)
At the recently revamped Paramount Hotel in Manhattan’s Theater District, guests don’t have to travel far to catch a great show. The hotel is home to “Queen of the Night,” a $20-million production in the elaborately designed basement (once home to the iconic Diamond Horseshoe back in the1930s-1950s) put on by the guys who produce cult shows like “Sleep No More” and “The Box.” Here, it’s like a slice of Vegas in N.Y.C., only surreal and somewhat disorientating with acrobatics, choreographed dances, magic, dramatically strange performances, and tons of naughty, sexy audience participation. Entry includes dinner — a whole pig on a spit and birdcages full of lobster. Want dessert? You can either be spoon-fed by a dressed-down showgirl or earn a bite by getting spanked. It’s that kinda place. Cost: Tickets from $185.
Indulgent, moonlight swim in Dubai, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
The Pool at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah (Photo: Courtesy of Jumeirah/Facebook)
It’s no surprise hotels in Dubai go over-the-top with amenities (like gazillion-dollar facials and megasuites). At Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, one of the most famous buildings in the world, couples can privately rent out the Talise Spa’s infinity pool — which is 500 feet in the sky. The package includes massages, refreshments, and other perks, like that full-moon glow amping the atmosphere of your sky-high private pool. Cost: $1,900.
Midnight-sunrise hike in Jamaica, Strawberry Hill Hotel
Hike in Strawberry Hill (Courtesy of Strawberry Hill/Facebook)
Hardcore hikers flock to Strawberry Hill Hotel, a mountain village resort featuring 12 19th-century, Georgian-style cottages opened by Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records in1959 (he discovered Bob Marley). It’s home base for an18-mile night trek up to Jamaica’s highest peak (7,400 feet). The hike starts at 2 a.m. sharp, to arrive at the mountaintop at 5:30 a.m. for the commanding sunset. The guided hike lasts eight hours roundtrip, passing verdant landscapes, waterfalls, and flora and fauna like bamboo trees, wildflowers, and eucalyptus. While hikers may be tempted to plug into a Bob Marley playlist, the best soundtrack is the sounds of the tropical forest. Cost: $40 for up to five people.
Rock climbing in Reno, Whitney Peak Hotel
The Rock Climbing Wall at the Whitney Peak Hotel (Photo: Courtesy of Whitney Peak/Facebook)
Rock climbers and adventure enthusiasts can reach great heights at Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno, NV. The only non-smoking, non-gaming hotel offers a rock-climbing wall that virtually spans the entire length of one side of the building. At 164 feet high, it’s the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall with climbs for all levels. Views from the top are surreal, and with the wall open until 10 p.m. (it’s illuminated), night climbs are hugely popular. Cost: Beginner climbing class is $40.
Sleeping Under the Stars in Africa, Little Makalolo Camp
Little Makalolo Camp (Photo: Courtesy of Little Makalolo Camp)
Zimbabwe is a hot destination for 2015. Little Makalolo Camp, an intimate lodge overlooking a watering hole busy with wildlife and an hour charter from main hub Victoria Falls, offers six rooms with indoor and outdoor showers, collapsible walls, and outdoor plunge pools. The remote lodge — surrounded by vast planes — is completely unbound, so the best seats in the house for animal viewing are practically anywhere. Guests can choose to forego their camps and sleep overnight under the stars — literally — on a roofless, raised platform that’s fifteen minutes from base camp. The platform, equipped with only a queen bed and a separate bathroom, is extraordinarily unique at night while animals prowl and other sounds of the wild can be heard. Cost: Free for guests.
Improving the ecosystem in New Zealand, Kauri Cliffs
Rabbit Hunting (Photo: Tony Alter/Flickr)
In New Zealand, critters can be a problem (akin to the kangaroo crisis in Australia, where the lovable animals destroy crops). Possums and rabbits (non-native creatures) particularly plague the Kiwi countryside, threatening and decimating the native birds and indigenous flora. So the practical solution is to selectively reduce the populations. At Kauri Cliffs, a five-star, lavish resort along the coast, staff invite guests to help eradicate the invasive species, equipping visitors with guns and departing for the “hunting zone” at night. On a guided hunt, guests have free range to hunt these pests, helping New Zealand’s ecosystem and rodent infestation. Cost: $52 per person.
Nightswim in the City of Angels, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Night swimming at The Hotel Roosevelt (Photo: The Roosevelt Hotel/Facebook)
Annoyed that your hotel pool closes at 8 p.m.? Not at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Tinsel Town. This historic hotel (where Marilyn Monroe liked to party) is home to “Nightswim” every Tuesday evening, one of few hotels in the world where the pool party is after hours (outside of Vegas, of course). Starting at 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., partiers head to the outdoor pool for craft cocktails, oversized pool toys, and mischief. There’s a resident DJ but guest DJs like Franki Chan and Dum Dum Girls make cameos, as well as local celebs like Elijah Wood and Jon Hamm. Cost: Free for guests.
Ziplining in Las Vegas, Rio Hotel and Casino
The Voodoo Zip Line (Photo: Courtesy of the Rio Hotel and Casino)
For a jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching experience, thrillists can soar through the Vegas skyline with Voodoo Zip Line. The inclined cable 400 feet in the sky at Rio Hotel and Casino is attached between the hotel’s two towers, offering 360-degree views of the Vegas valley. The best time for flight is at night, above the glimmering Vegas city lights (the last zip is at midnight). Cost: $27.49 per person.
Learn more about our travel policy.