This beautiful lodge on the banks of the meandering Rapti River offers the Taj group’s signature luxury amid the splendor of Nepal’s most famous jungle reserve, Chitwan National Park. Rhinos and wild elephants frequently come to the river to drink, bathe, or woo the domesticated females of a nearby elephant camp run by the forest department, so guests are often treated to stunning sightings while they enjoy a dip in the resort’s shimmering infinity pool or sip cocktails at the outdoor restaurant overlooking the water. Boasting 13 hotel-style rooms and an opulent presidential suite alongside 16 spacious pool villas, Meghauli Serai has a rustic beauty that is elegant but understated. The focus on local materials and artisans is exemplified in touches like subtle, hand-painted murals and the elephant-grass-and-bamboo furniture in the main lodge building. It also provides employment for local villagers. With private plunge pools and all the amenities expected from a five-star resort, the guest quarters nevertheless have a cozy feel reminiscent of the region’s old colonial outposts. Most importantly, as part of the Taj Safaris’ joint venture with Africa-based andBeyond, the resort’s highly trained guides and naturalists offer guests a world-class experience of Chitwan—whether on foot, by jeep, by boat, or atop an elephant. (977 56/695 304; tajsafaris.com; doubles from US$590).