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Today we have not one, but two killer views for you, which happen to be from two properties belonging to the same group: Serena Hotels. If the name doesn't ring a bell, this might be because you'll have to make your way to East Africa or Southeast Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan) to find one.
Last week we tempted you with the outdoor shower at Selous Safari Camp in Tanzania; today we'll take you on a little tour of one of the luxurious tents (if you can still call them that) these showers are part of, as well as some of the things we saw while out and about in the reserve.
Selous Game Reserve lies about 200km southwest of Dar Es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania (the state capital is Dodoma). Much less known than the famous Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater, it's nearly twice the size of Belgium and actually four times as large as the Serengeti. We spent some time here following a journey through the northern part of Tanzania, and would highly recommend fitting Selous into your itinerary if you can.
Its landscape and vegetation is different from the drier plains in the north, with East Africa's largest river - the Rufiji - making it the home and migration stop for countless bird species. You'll find plenty of larger animals as well, as you can see in the gallery, but more on that later. First, a few words on the camp itself.
But fear not, we're not going to be roughing it here - each massive safari tent comes with en-suite bathroom complete with these lovely open air hot showers. By day you may see all sorts of wildlife wander by (there are no fences, so animal encounters inside the camp are common), at night the view is equally stunning looking up at the star-filled sky.
We'll have more on Selous Safari Camp, as well as other lodges and retreats in Tanzania, for you soon.
An hour away from Palm Springs sits a 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, dome-shaped "sound chamber" known as The Integratron. Built by an inventor (and UFO enthusiast) named George Van Tessel in the 1970s, his design was based on a combination of Moses' Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla, and telepathic communications with extraterrestrials.
Anthony Bourdain visited the site earlier this year. Billy Corgan, from the Smashing Pumpkins, is a fan. Thousands of people flock here to hear the mystical sounds and be "rejuvenated." Oh, and if you want, you can rent out the whole place for an overnight visit.
When was the last time you went camping? If you have to think about it, it's been too long. Which probably means you're a little rusty on the whole 'great outdoors' thing. To ease yourself back in, consider a night or two inside one of the Pop-Up Hotel's yurt-style rooms in Cornwall, England.
Rather than some other outlandish, gimmicky pop-ups we've seen in Europe, these are meant to be practical open-air retreats, modeled after the classic bell tent design. Of course, the alfresco high-life only gets you so far: once the bad weather hits (as it's prone to do in sunny England!), that sloping canvas roof might not look quite so appealing!
We recently moseyed up to Montana’s A River Runs Through It country to go glamping at one of our all-time fantasy hotels: Paws Up. While we were there, we checked out their newest luxury campsite, Pinnacle Camp, nestled along a bend of the Blackfoot River.
It says a lot about the place you’re staying when a yurt is the pedestrian option, but that’s how we felt when we booked two nights at Treebones Resort the week before last.
See, the reason we were really heading up to Big Sur was because we wanted to stay in The Nest – the treehouse perched on a bluff overlooking Highway 1 and the Pacific. But, thanks to its being booked up months in advance, The Nest was only free on our second night. So the first, we luxed up in a yurt.
Our yurt, 12, qualified as a partial ocean view – although we didn’t get much enjoyment from said view because our first day was freezing cold. But there were two chairs on the deck that we could have enjoyed it from, had we brought our longjohns.
The yurt itself was basic but spotless and comfy, too: a queen bed with, for once, a pretty quilt, a futon, a sink (with an eminently stealable bar of handmade lemongrass soap, spring water from their own underground aquifer and compostable cups) and towels. There was a small heater and, for those (um, us) who were still too cold with that, reception had more to loan out. The end result? Toasty.
As for the bathrooms, there were male and female blocks of toilets and showers up by the reception and lounge area – three showers and three toilets for the women, and two showers for the men – as well as one male and female toilet over the far side of the site. They were pretty clean, considering there are the inhabitants of 16 yurts using them. And we never saw a line for the showers over the two days.
If you've always wanted to go on an African safari, but aren't really that into roughing it, the Bilila Lodge Kempinski in Tanzania can help you out with a three-night glamping package that will let you see the animals in the Serengeti and get pampered at the same time.
As part of the Beauty and the Beast package, you get to stay in a room—no tents here—overlooking the plains of the national park, giving you a chance to observe the wildlife from your sun deck. Your days will be spent out in the bush, alongside veteran guides on game drives in search of the elusive Big Five—lions, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes and elephants—or floating overhead in a hot air balloon.
Treehouse Hotels / HotelChatter Reviews / Unusual Hotels / Big Sur Hotels / Yurts / Glamping / → All Tags
The treehouse, which is actually called The Nest is one of the accommodation options at Treebones Resort – you can either choose a yurt (more on those another time), full-on camping, or this. Although, if you book the nest, you’ll be required to pitch a tent just below it, in case the weather’s too bad to sleep in the nest (it’s bang on a ridge overlooking Highway 1 and the Pacific, so it’s the windiest part of the property). And seeing as Big Sur is, as we found out this weekend, pretty damp and foggy anyway, whatever the time of year, it’s not a bed for the fainthearted.
All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen lets us tag along as he explores the wild, far reaches of Australia, visiting some of the most untouched landscapes down under, and bringing you inside looks at some of the continent’s most distinctive hotel experiences.
Though we’ve told you about Arkaba Station before in a previous installment of our Glamping Series, I actually got the chance to travel to the dramatic red hills and ancient rock landscape of South Australia’s Flinders Range and stay at the historical homestead myself…and the experience did not disappoint one bit.
The Royal Wedding will be over with in just over a month, which probably explains why the Royal packages are being rolled out faster than ever. We’ve found you the weirdest, the most expensive, the seediest, the sweetest and now the cheapest.
Introducing Camp Royale, the latest Royal Wedding package with three nights accomodation for only £75 (approx $120) including free Yorkshire teait’s a STEAL! But don’t get too excited just yet as there’s one thing we forgot to mention. Camp Royale is in fact a camp site set up on Clapham Common and tents are not included.
All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen will be taking us on a guided tour of the globe’s most exclusive, luxurious, over-the-top vacation retreats in our new Private Islands Series. We’ll venture from the Bahamas to Fiji, from Africa’s crystalline Lake Tanganyika to the emerald waters of Cambodia, and everywhere in between. That is, everywhere you can be ruler of your own little island.
All good things must come to an end, and so it is with our exclusive series on Private Islands. We’ll be headed back to our usual coverage of run-of-the-mill hotels, but before we do, we’re casting away to a tiny coral cay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef called Wilson Island.