I don’t camp. At the risk of offending those of you who love nothing better than a night under canvas, allow me to elaborate and explain. I live in the UK, where good weather is a rare blessing rather than a habitual visitor. Camping in Britain requires a higher than average tolerance for wet sleeping bags, muddy walks to distant shower blocks and a lack of circulation from the knees down. What I do enjoy, however, is glamping. The name’s derived from the phrase “glamorous camping”. Glampers, unlike their camping counterparts, enjoy many of the mod cons of a top hotel. But you don’t have to forgo the best bits of camping – fresh air and a chance to commune with nature. How indulgent to be able to enjoy that from a proper bed in an ensuite tent. If you’re keen to sample the outdoor life, then here’s where to go glamping.
Patagonia Camp, Chile
The luxury yurts at Patagonia Camp straggle up a hillside facing the dramatic peaks of the Cuernos del Paine. They’re located on the banks of Lago Toro, a stone’s throw from the entrance of Torres del Paine National Park. If the wind’s howling outside – even in summer Patagonia’s weather can be unpredictable – you won’t notice, thanks to the radiators on the yurt walls. Oversized beds, en suite bathrooms with a bath as well as a shower and electricity deliver all the comforts of a hotel room. Yet as you fall asleep, the glass dome in the roof reveals a dark sky glittering with stars. In the morning, throw open the curtains and gaze out over Lago Toro under the pink sky of sunrise.
Under Canvas, USA
Under Canvas, Moab is tantalisingly close to the dramatic rock formations of Arches National Park and an easy drive from Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos. The largest tents not only feature a comfortable bed, there’s also a sofa to lounge on. But the best seats in the house are the ones on the private deck. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner. Wood burning stoves and en-suite shower rooms complete the picture. Activities such as hot air ballooning, horseback riding and mountain biking are all available nearby to tempt you away. That’s not all – Under Canvas have sites near a number of other US National Parks, including Grand Canyon, Glacier and Yellowstone.
Glamping doesn’t have to equate to tents, as the cube-shaped cabins of Hoshinoya Fuji resort demonstrate. They face Lake Kawaguchi, their floor to ceiling glass the perfect frame for the picture of Japan’s iconic mountain beyond. In summer, the sun-drenched balcony is beyond tempting, and even in winter, it’s utterly usable thanks to the thoughtful addition of patio heater and blankets. If you’re thinking this just isn’t enough of a camp to suit, think again. The resort’s Cloud Terrace features wooden decks, open fires and even hammocks. You can chop wood, toast marshmallows and go for long walks in the forest of red pines. A couple of tents strung between trees can be reserved for a spot of star gazing when night falls. If the notoriously fickle Mount Fuji decides to show its face, that’s the icing on the cake.
Longitude 131, Australia
Australia’s most famous monolith, the breathtaking Uluru, dominates the desert landscape of the Red Centre. Though there are a number of hotels in the nearby Yulara resort, travellers looking for something truly special try to secure a booking at Longitude 131. Indulgent suites built on stilts offer unimpeded views across to Uluru. Nothing screams luxury quite like relaxing on a day bed on your own terrace. Drag yourself away and you can partake in sunset hikes, helicopter flights and the chance to meet the area’s indigenous residents. For a quintessentially Aussie experience, sleep out, swagman-style, beside an open fire.
Governor’s Camp, Kenya
Located beside the Mara River, Governor’s Camp occupies a prestigious spot at the heart of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Today’s luxury accommodation perches on the same ground that in colonial times was reserved for the governor, hence the name. Opened in 1972, it was the first permanent tented camp in the Masai Mara. To this day sets a standard which others can only attempt to emulate. Classic safari-style tents boast private verandas, en-suite bathrooms and electricity. WiFi is also available at the camp. Governor’s Camp offers walking safaris as well as game drives. You’ll have a good chance of spotting giraffe, buffalo, hyena, zebra, elephant and lion.
If you’re tempted to try glamping this summer, why not get in touch with one of Mundana’s experts to discuss where you’d like to go?