A Home On The Range
One of the glamp-sites that seems to be getting the most attention these days is Paws Up in Montana. So what makes this Big Sky Country getaway “at the crossroads of incomparable luxury and unspoiled wilderness” so spectacular?
Though there are 28 “ranch homes,” or luxury cabins, we’re focusing on the 12 tents in the woods and on the banks of the Blackfoot River. Their 270 square feet are kitted up with king-sized beds, spacious decks, housekeeping service, gourmet meals in the Dining Pavilion, and a personal butler…who’ll build the campfire for your s’mores.
The bathhouses are separate from the tents, it’s true, but each tent has its own private master bath with heated floors, huge rain showers, granite vanities, and organic spa products. Nightly rates in the tents start at $725 per couple including all meals. Haven’t made your reservation yet? No worries. The camp is also set to open six more tents (with interior fireplaces) in its new Creekside Camp this July, right in the middle of Paws Up’s opening season from April-October.
For a bit more camp than glamour, adventurers can try the Sequoia High Sierra Camp in California, which only opens for the summer. The 8,000-foot-high camp consists of 36 spacious, sustainably constructed canvas cabins, each measuring up to 330 square feet, situated among towering red fir and lodgepole pine trees. They contain artisan furniture, casual seating areas, bedside tables and lamps, plush-top mattresses, down feather pillows and wool blankets and area rugs.
There’s also an open-air Dining Pavilion, which serves a buffet breakfast, pack-your-own picnic lunches, and gourmet dinners accompanied by a wine list compiled by renowned wine importer Kermit Lynch. The central bath house isn’t exactly five star, but at least it has modern low-flow toilets and hot showers. The rate is $250 per person per night.
Though there are cabins and rooms, we say rent one of the luxury oceanfront tenthouse suites that perch on stilts above the rocky shores of the calm, deep-blue cove waters. They sport king-size beds, fine linens, hydro-therapy tubs (with a view!), rain forest showers, propane fireplaces, and radiant floor heating, plus private verandas with deck furniture to relax in while you contemplate the view of the Malaspina Strait.
They’ve also got gadgets like coffeemakers, iPod docking alarm clocks, free WiFi, mini fridges, and even board games. There is one larger tent suite called the Kitty Hawk Cove Tenthouse Suite that has all the same amenities of the others, but a more vast sun deck and its own private cove. Rates for the tents start at $215, but go as high as $490 in summer, including breakfast.
Peru’s Canopy Camping
It seems like most tourists hit Peru to connect through Lima, or hike the Inca Trail, but the country has some of the most unspoiled Amazon scenery in South America, and now visitors can experience it while staying in a tree house…and you know how we love our tree house hotels.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a luxury camp site that includes a canopy tree house where guests can survey the surrounding jungle from the air. It lies along a 1,130-foot walkway that leads to eight observation platforms and two towers (where guests can enjoy the wildlife while having a cocktail). This isn’t quite so glam as camp, though, since the tree house has two beds, limited light, a portable toilet, and folding chairs. Still, the “canopy butler” will bring you your meals, arrange excursions, and make sure the monkeys and toucans don’t play tricks on you.
Those with a fear of heights can stay a short boat ride away in one of 35 private thatch-roofed cabanas made from native materials. Each cabana comes with a screened front porch with hammocks, lanterns, hot and cold water, private showers, ceiling fans, electricity, organic bath products, and robes and slippers.
They come in four categories from a Superior with 400 square feet of space, to nearly 650 square-foot Amazonica Suites to "the ultimate rainforest retreat": the Tambopata Suite, which is even larger, and has its own private plunge pool. Rates run from about $330-$600 per night, with a three-night minimum. Best of all, thanks to Inkaterra’s environmental initiatives, your stay is totally carbon neutral.
Who hasn’t dreamed of getting to the Galapagos after learning about Charles Darwin and his legendary journey around the world in high school biology class? Now there’s a sophisticated place to stay while learning about the islands’ famous flora and fauna, at the Galapagos Safari Camp. The camp is located on a large farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. It is just next to one of Ecuador’s national parks, and half an hour from the sea, guests will see some of Darwin’s well known birds, like finches and warblers, as well as the occasional tortoise.
The nine "luxury" tents (which we’d actually call well appointed but still a little rustic) that comprise the camp have viewing balconies, and private bathrooms with hot showers. There is also a main lodge with a dining room where guests can enjoy the on-site chef’s international menu, chill out by the fireplace, and have a drink, or hang out at the infinity-edge pool. Rates start at $227 per person per night including breakfast and dinner.
EcoCamp in Torres del Paine, Chile is an environmental award-winning base for trekking experiences and photo-safaris in some of the planet’s most dramatic scenery. The lodge takes its inspiration from the native Kawesqar peoples, who built geodesic huts out of wood, furs, leather, seal lion skins and other materials.
EcoCamp’s huts are designed in the same way so as to withstand Patagonia’s harsh winds, to blend into the landscape, and not distract from the famous sight of the granite pillars of Torres del Paine. The camp is powered by completely renewable resources (except for the propane used to heat water), and each winter, it is dismantled so that the land can regenerate.
The camp can only house 56 people at a time. Standard domes are about 150 square feet, and come equipped with two single beds, fleece sheets and blankets, and feather quilts, as well as skylights through which to watch the stars. Bathrooms are shared, and charge your appliances (or just shave really well) before you get there, because the electricity there isn’t powerful enough to do so. Suite domes in the beech forest are twice the size, and are tented, igloo-style double domes with private bathrooms, double or twin beds, and wood stoves for heating.
The living domes are connected to the three Core domes by raised wooden walkways. The Core domes house a bar, an outdoor deck, library-lounge areas, and a small shop, as well as the dining area, where the meals are served along with Chilean wines. Just the right recipe for refueling after a day of hiking, trekking, bird-watching or kayaking out in the windswept plateaus.
A stay here is a good way to take an exotic vacation while still being mindful of the environment, as well as to support Chile’s tourism industry, which will need all the help it can get after the recent earthquake and aftershocks. EcoCamp is operated by a Chilean tour company as a lodging component of larger itineraries that start at $1,500 per person.
The range of glamping opportunities in the Americas runs the gamut from mountaintops to treetops, and from ocean diving to river fly-fishing. We wish we could tell you about all the other spectacular properties we came across, but we’ve got to finish up our series tomorrow with the Best of the Rest from around the world, so stick around for the final installment in our Glamping Series.