1. Sage Lodge in Pray, Montana
Forest ranger stations served as a muse for Sage Lodge, a hotel that opened in 2018 in Paradise Valley, located 35 miles outside Yellowstone National Park. While designing the hotel, the architecture team with Jensen & Frey climbed into a telescopic front wheel loader to scout the best views for the two-story hotel, as well as to make sure they were aligning the lobby with a straight shot of Emigrant Peak, a stunner that juts from the Absaroka Mountains. What’s more, dark sky standards were followed to limit light pollution and preserve the night sky for stargazers.
2. Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado
A year-round heated pool at Devil’s Thumb Ranch breaks from the traditional rectangular shape so it can instead resemble a natural pond, complete with curved ledges and a smooth river rock bottom. The mountain ranch—which is about 1 1/2 hours from Denver—is classically Colorado: It’s rustic, but luxe; room views show off the Continental Divide; and guests here can go cross-country skiing on the property or be a part of a cattle drive. But, there’s also some Oregon influence as the the main lodge resembles Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, which is where owners Bob and Suzanne Fanch like to spend their vacation time.
3. Red Mountain Resort near St. George, Utah
When it comes to national parks, Utah is spoiled. The state is home to the “Mighty Five,”—Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion. The architecture for Red Mountain Resort in southern Utah was inspired by its nearby national parks as well as State Canyon State Park. Red-orange buildings are a nod to the red sandstone of Snow Canyon, while arched windows pay homage to the famed natural arches in Zion and Arches national parks. Plus, the resort’s landscaping includes a water feature that creates an “oasis-in-the-desert” feeling much like Zion’s lush river gorge.
4. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in New South Wales, Australia
While “parkitecture” is a term coined in the United States—and is specific to lodging resembling America’s national parks—there are other examples of parks-inspired architecture throughout the world. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is a 7,000-acre resort in the Greater Blue Mountain located between two national parks, the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park (about 2 1/2 hours from Sydney). Architects Turner + Associates and designer Chhada Siembieda incorporated Australia’s natural color palette by sourcing timber and sandstone sourced within a 60-mile radius of the property. The villas are made of natural wood and stone that was sourced locally as well. Expect cameos by kangaroos and wallabees.
5. Shipwreck Lodge on Skeleton Coast, Namibia
The eco-friendly cabins at Shipwreck Lodge are eerie, but in a cool way. The cabins are propped on sand dunes near the Atlantic Ocean and designed to mimic the 20th century shipwrecks that dot Namibia’s Skeleton Coast National Park, which is known as the “world’s largest ship cemetery”. Fog from the ocean lends a cinematic effect. Included in the stay is a visit to the mysterious Suiderkus and Karimona shipwrecks.
6. Jackson Hole Lodge in Jackson, Wyoming
Jackson Hole Lodge, originally built in 1941, gets bragging rights for being the oldest continuously operating hotel in Jackson, Wyoming. The hotel incorporates “parkitecture” with original paneling made from lodgepole pine sourced from the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest. Visitors here can choose their own national park adventure by visiting Grand Teton National Park, about which President Theodore Roosevelt once remarked, “This is how mountains are supposed to look”, or pay “Old Faithful” a visit in Yellowstone National Park.
7. Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina
About 40 miles outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grove Park Inn’s original builder Edwin Wiley Grove wanted to design a lodge that reflected the “majesty of the mountains,” according to historical records from the National Park Service. His concept called for building the lodge with natural rough stones from nearby mountains. Local architects couldn’t grasp the idea, so he enlisted his son-in-law, who had no formal training, to design the building. Grove Park Inn was built in five sections to resemble the rise and fall of a mountain range. Granite boulders quarried from Sunset Mountain were used in its construction, including the inn’s chimneys.
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