Hotel Review: Is the Three Camel Lodge Really the Best Luxury Hotel in Mongolia?

Mongolia’s first eco-lodge has long been known as the best luxury hotel in Mongolia, but does it live up to its reputation? We checked in to check it out.

Table of Contents

For more than 20 years, The Three Camel Lodge has attracted travelers, explorers, and adventurers from across the globe. With a reputation for detail and as the country’s first eco-hotel, the lodge is on par with what you’d find at a luxury hotel in the United States or Europe.

As a founding hotel of the (now defunct) National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World association, and with the Thirsty Camel Bar being named one of the best – and most remote – whiskey bars in Asia by Bloomberg, it’s no wonder the hotel has earned such a reputation. But, twenty years later, has the hotel stood the test of time?

As tourism in Mongolia grows and more hotels turn their efforts towards being eco-friendly, the Three Camel Lodge has more competition than ever. Especially as tourists look for other destinations within the country to spend their time – and money.

Three Camel Lodge Mongolia Best Luxury Hotel

Inside The Three Camel Lodge

With 35 gers (or yurts, as many of you are used to calling them), all with adjoining bathrooms situated in an attached ger of their own, the Three Camel Lodge isn’t your typical Mongolian ger camp. With electricity, hot running water flowing from the ger’s rain shower, Three Camel Lodge embroidered robes, and a nightly turndown service, the lodge checks all the right boxes of a luxury lodge.

Read: Discover Mongolia: The Ultimate Travel Guide

What is missing, though, is guests. During my stay, my photographer friend and I were the only guests at the property for the entirety of our two days stay. And we had been the only guests to check in for weeks.

With a roughly $1,000/night room rate, it almost seems as if the lodge doesn’t even want guests, either.

When the hotel should have been nearing its peak season, it was almost as if it was ending its season instead. A bit too Grand Budapest Hotel IRL for any distinguished traveler’s liking, if you ask me.

But, I can’t entirely blame the lodge for the experience. Coming off two rough travel seasons thanks to the pandemic, and with Mongolia being one of the last countries to reopen their borders and lift all vaccination requirement restrictions, the five-star service I was expecting hasn’t returned to the experience. That’s not to say that it won’t – or can’t – it’s just not there now.

Three Camel Lodge Whiskey Bar

Getting to The Lodge

Arriving late in the day on a hot June afternoon, finding the lodge was an adventure.

Following the powerlines from Bulgan soum, the hour drive deep into the Gobi wasn’t one I’d recommend for most. Without service or most maps, even ones that should work offline, you need to have a reasonably good idea of where the lodge is to make it there without headache.

Finally arriving at the lodge, we were informed that the electricity was out, something that (unfortunately/fortunately, depending on who you ask) isn’t that uncommon in Mongolia.

The strange part about that, though, was that the lodge typically runs off solar power. The lodge’s staff did use solar energy to power the restaurant, bar, and gers at night, so all was not a disaster.

Plus, and maybe most importantly in our book, the beer in the bar was still cold, and we were able to enjoy Golden Gobi lagers and decompress from the stress of off-roading without direction for the previous two hours.

How to Get to Three Camel Lodge Mongolia

Inside the Luxury Gers and Restaurant

Inside each private ger, the setup is quite nice, as expected. Beds are fitted with comfortable sheets and duvets, fans are in each room, bedside tables have lamps that set a nice ambiance for reading and relaxing, and windows allow a breeze to keep you cool at night.

Meals are all included in a stay at the lodge, and they will surely be the highlight of anyone’s stay.

Each meal consisted of several courses, each better than the last. Dinner started with a salad, soup, and main course, followed by a simple, but always delicious dessert. Lunch followed the same coursing.

Breakfast was ordered the night before from a menu that ranged from crepes to omelets, breads, meats, and fresh fruit. Eating became the highlight of a stay at The Three Camel Lodge.

Best Restaurant Luxury Hotel Mongolia

No Wi-Fi, No Problem

Even when there is electricity at the property, Wi-Fi is not available at the lodge. Even a stay at Mongolia’s best luxury hotel means going on a digital detox.

Guests are instead invited to spend their days in other ways.

Cannondale mountain bikes are available for all guests to use at will and horseback riding is included in the lodge’s nightly rate. A movie theater is also available for guests to use, and a newly built spa is another way for guests to (enjoyably) pass the time.

Read: What to Pack for Mongolia

Last, But Not Least, A Note on Sustainability

The lodge was built entirely by locals and continues to have a staff of native Mongolians.

Stones used inside each ger were quarried from a local rock canyon with timber being imported from the Siberian taiga due to Mongolia not having a reforesting program when the lodge was constructed.

The lodge is constructed of 90% natural materials.

Eco-Friendly Hotel Mongolia

Author: Breanna Wilson

Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fuggi
Fuggi
2 months ago

Well the prices seem to have shot up to $2000/night now per room, it’s quite frankly offputting knowing it used to cost just $320 /night less than 10 years ago. I’d be happy to pay $1000 /night but this is just extortionate…