There are few experiences as memorable as launching a falcon or hawk from your wrist and then watching it air brake with its wings as it alights again, coming to rest eye to eye with you. Up close they are magnificent animals.
Falconry has been called the sport of kings, but it is available as an activity at a number of luxury hotels, both in the U.S. and around the world.
At Gleneagles in Scotland, groups or individuals can take lessons from the on-site British School of Falconry, established more than 35 years ago. The school uses Harris hawks that are among the easiest raptors to train, and are able to hunt in packs.
The experiences range from 90-minute flying demonstrations for groups using hawks, falcons and eagles, with the opportunity to launch and recover Harris hawks from a leather gauntlet to half- or whole-day hunting trips seeking rabbits and game birds at local sporting estates.
Other hotels where falconry can be experienced include:
The Falconry Experience at The Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pa., using Harris hawks, falcons and a golden eagle.
The Green Mountain Falconry School at The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, a Luxury Collection hotel, in Manchester, Vt., using Harris hawks.
Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland, has the oldest established falconry school in the country, featuring Harris hawks and a European eagle owl.
Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, offers falconry in the country where it is by far the most popular.