The newest upscale getaways aren’t indoors. They’re in swanky tents – and they’re fabulous
In-room spa treatments. Farm-to-table al fresco dining. French-press coffee. Turkish robes. These are the types of amenities you’d find in a five-star hotel. But for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort, there’s a new option: glamping-style retreats. Campsites loaded up with luxury amenities are popping up throughout the country. You’ll find them near national monuments, adjacent to farmsteads and even smack-dab in the middle of New York City.
The allure of such lodgings? “We’re seeing an increased demand for travel experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level that are more adventurous and more personalized, inspiring travelers toward a path of self-discovery,” says Alison Lewis, social media manager for The Resort at Paws Up, a popular glamping destination in Montana. “These travelers experience a shift in perspective that improves the way they connect with the world and lets them be fully present with the natural surroundings,” she says.
Glamping allows travelers to get up close and personal with nature without sacrificing comfort. Many camps offer rustic but chic decor, amenities galore and the types of bathrooms you might find at a swanky Manhattan boutique hotel.
Here’s a rundown of some of the newest, and coolest, options.
The Resort at Paws Up
In Montana, Paws Up offers 30 uber-luxurious tents in five different campsites across its 37,000-acre swanky wilderness retreat near Missoula. Each of the sites features safari-style one- and two-bedroom tents that provide both air conditioning and heat and range in size all the way up to 1,030 square feet. One favorite: the Moonlight Camp, which is nestled at the foot of towering pines amidst a landscape of spectacular boulders. Notable features include king-size beds, art on the walls and en-suite bathrooms with heated floors and granite countertops. Nearby, the Creekside Camp, also set amidst fragrant evergreens along the banks of a creek, boasts tent sites with expansive decks complete with Adirondack chairs; a grand dining pavilion with a stunning fireplace; and a dedicated camping butler. Or, try out Cliffside Camp, located across the resort’s famous covered bridge. It’s perched atop a soaring cliff that overlooks the confluence of Elk Creek and the Blackfoot River. Four two-bedroom tent suites feature plenty of space for families, while two one-bedroom honeymoon tents are an option for romantic getaways.
A quick call to the camp butler will get you a reservation
at Pomp, a fine-dining restaurant.
Besides luxury furnishings, the resort has a long list of outdoor activities for guests. Among the offerings: ATVing, horseback riding, authentic cattle drives, fly-fishing, clay shooting, horse-drawn wagon rides for stargazing and snowshoeing. The resort also offers a number of dining options for those who don’t want to cook over the campfire every night. A quick call to the camp butler will get you a reservation at Pomp, a fine-dining restaurant on site that has been curated by Executive Chef Sunny Jin, whose pedigree includes French Laundry and elBulli. Local purveyors and farmers in Montana provide the ingredients that inspire his recipes. www.pawsup.com
One thing that’s notably different at each resort are the dining options. One example: Each retreat has its own signature s’mores recipe. For instance, Collective Vail’s version includes local honey-infused marshmallows; Collective Hill Country’s recipe features agave- and grapefruit-infused marshmallows.
Open in the winter, the Hill Country retreat sits on an eco-friendly ranch and organic working farm that runs alongside the Blanco River. Using Texas growing seasons as inspiration, Executive Chef William Howell brings a “farm-to-flame” philosophy to his menu. Visitors can expect “chef tableside dinners” like jalapeño-cheddar Texas grits, Gulf-caught redfish and wild boar osso bucco. The retreats are all open at different times in the year. www.collectiveretreats.com
Under Canvas, U.S.A.
Inspired by the African Safari Experience, founders Sarah and Jacob Dusek have created seven glamping resorts near national parks throughout the U.S. Locations include Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Mount Rushmore, Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. In addition to luxury furnishings (all tents are outfitted with Casper mattresses, leather sofas and armchairs, and cowhide rugs), Under Canvas resorts are known for offering up educational and wellness programs designed to enhance visitors’ experiences. For example, it regularly runs yoga retreats in its location in the Smoky Mountains, and it hosts fly-fishing excursions in Yellowstone. Activities at the Mount Rushmore location include gold panning, kayak and stand-up paddleboard tours, rock climbing and safari jeep excursions. www.undercanvas.com
Here are three more unique glamping spots to check out:
AutoCamp Santa Barbara
Three miles off the beach, AutoCamp Santa Barbara offers luxury camping in 15 tricked-out, fully appointed Airstream campers with plush, modern interiors that include luxury pillowtop mattresses, soaking tubs and down comforters. Guests will find numerous amenities, including complimentary Handlebar coffee and Malin+Goetz bath products. www.autocamp.com/santa-barbara
This wedding venue in South New Berlin, NY, offers midweek getaways during warmer months in any of 10 luxury glamping tents. Besides its picturesque location, the resort offers a number of special weekend retreats. One example: hip-hop yoga retreats, where guests practice yoga in a chandelier-lit barn while listening to hip-hop instrumental music. www.gilbertsvillefarmhouse.com
The Silver Bettie, a 1955 vintage trailer, is part of the Asheville Glamping resort. The trailer has a modern kitchen, tiled bathroom shower, a bedroom with a memory-foam mattress and living room, plus Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The campsite also includes yurts, teepees and safari tents. www.ashefilleglamping.comom