For travelers who want to get close to nature but don’t want to rough it, glamping is just the thing. Glamping – short for “glamorous camping” – has been taking off exponentially around the world. No more sleeping on the ground: glampers stay in luxury tents – or yurts, treehouses or cabins – with hotel-quality facilities and service. It’s a way to experience nature without sacrificing luxurious comforts.
“The tent makes it exotic and romantic, but the room is as comfortable and luxurious as in the best hotel,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Betsy Donley in Phoenix, Arizona.
Glamping on the Rise
“We’ve noticed the trend taking off in a really big way,” says John Romfo, director of sales and marketing for The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana. It houses five luxury camps, each with just six tents and its own cook, butler, and housekeeping. The tents all feature ensuite bathrooms and range in size from 505 to 1,030 square feet. A wide variety of travelers find the tents an appealing lodging option: there are three honeymoon tents for couples, and large groups can reserve an entire camp for themselves.
Perfect for Families
The growth of family travel is fueling the glamping trend, and many resorts are turning to an all-inclusive model. “You have so many different activities at your fingertips,” says Jolie Goldring, a Virtuoso travel consultant in New York City. “It’s a great sell for a family reunion or a special birthday, especially if it’s a patriarch or matriarch who has grandchildren.”
Suzy Nevins, a Virtuoso travel consultant in Beverly Hills, California, visited Paws Up with her children and grandchildren. “The idea of camping, the outdoors, and tents, it’s a big wow. My grandchildren still talk about it every time I see them,” she says. “The bonding was amazing.”
An Active Vacation
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada offers guests 20 large heated tents overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They’re furnished with spacious beds with down duvets, elegant rugs, antique dressers and tea tables, heirloom china and silver accessories, and abundant candles.
“It’s a dream world for kids, a Disneyland in real nature – not constructed,” says Donley, who took her two grandchildren to Clayoquot. Activities there include hiking, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, rock climbing, mountain biking – even ziplining, heli-photography and heli-hiking. “A honeymoon couple was there when we were. As we rode the horse and wagon back down to the float plane to leave, my 11-year-old grandson said, ‘I’m coming here on my honeymoon.’”
Experiences Your Way
The small size of most glamping resorts provides opportunities for personalized experiences and interaction with likeminded travelers, notes Peter Graham, director of sales at Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, which runs Longitude 131, a luxurious camp with 15 two-person tents. Each tent has a canvas roof and glass front, allowing spectacular views of Uluru (Ayers Rock). Longitude 131 offers a variety of ecological and cultural activities, including small-group tours with local guides within adjacent Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.
The culinary aspect of glamping is another key to its popularity. Guests can choose from a variety of gourmet yet casual offerings. Paws Up emphasizes organic food and grilling, like baby back ribs with chipotle barbecue sauce and smoked trout cakes. Longitude 131 highlights fresh produce and contemporary Australian cuisine, including wines from the country’s best regions. Fine wines are also featured at Clayoquot, alongside signature dishes such as prosciutto-wrapped halibut and oyster chowder.
Donley summarizes why glamping has become so popular: “Guests want to feel the outdoors but not have to be uncomfortable. [Glamping] frees people up to be casual, relaxed and close to nature.”
Benefits of a Glamping Vacation
- You get the comforts of a hotel combined with the sense of being in the middle of nature.
- You’re getting away from it all and truly relaxing.
- It’s a great way to bond with your travel companions – your partner, your friends or your extended family.
- You won’t be bored with so many available activities. Glampers can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hiking and much more – even spa treatments.
- You enjoy great outdoor experiences as you would on a safari but without the long trip to Africa.
Go to virtuoso.com to find out more about these glamping resorts and the benefits you’ll receive at them by booking through a Virtuoso travel advisor. Each resort’s page suggests expert advisors who can reserve your stay.