The simple camping experience has had a reinvention. No longer a family adventure in the wilderness or a tent in a field during a festival, glamping – glamorous camping – is the new luxe way to travel.
When it comes to providing luxury accommodation, Aman Resorts never disappoints. Even this 10-tent Mughal-style safari outpost feels majestic, and so it should, located on the threshold of Ranthambore National Park. The park is a former royal hunting ground home to tigers, leopards, marsh crocodiles, the imposing 10th century Ranthambore Fort, and the Ganesh Mandir temple. The tents are surrounded by a leafy wilderness and there’s a stately communal pool to unwind by. With 6m high canopies, sunken marble bathtubs, and custom-made teak furniture, these are not your average tents. In fact, Katy Perry and Russell Brand got married here. If you wish to roam outside, guides are on hand to take you tracking for wildlife. Otherwise, indulge at the on site spa or take advantage of the butler service. Prices on request.
FOUR SEASONS TENTED CAMP
Golden Triangle, Thailand
If it wasn’t for its tented walls and canvas roof, it would be hard to believe this opulent abode is “glamping.” Located in the heart of the jungle in northern Thailand, bordering Burma and Laos, these 15 luxury tents were conceived by interior designer Bill Bensley. Each tent is decorated with hand-picked explorer-themed antiques and metal craftwork by local artisans. Opt for the deluxe styles that include private outdoor whirlpools overlooking the lush landscape. The all-inclusive resort offers excursions and activities, including private sunrise breakfasts, helping to bathe elephants, rainforest treks, mountain trails, picnics, and cruising down the Mekong River in a traditional longtail boat. After a busy day, unwind in the treetop spa. Prices on request. Fourseasons.com/goldentriangle
Les Cerniers, Switzerland
While these wintry white pods look minimalistic from the outside, they are far from basic inside, with wood stoves, fluffy duvets on king-size beds, cowhide rugs, and fur-covered chairs – it’s like having your very own boutique alpine hotel to yourself. The luxe eco-camp, compromising 15 space-age domes, is situated on the mountainside, 28km from Swiss ski resort Villars. Each pod suite has its own design and special amenities (although all have an iPad Pro with Netflix). The 007 Bond-themed pod comes with a large terrace with the best views of the alps. Prices on request. Whitepod.com
Big Sur, California
No road trip across California is complete without a journey down the picturesque Big Sur – a rugged stretch of coast bordered by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Nestled in the foothills of South Big Sur and overlooking the Pacific lies this unique resort. While its 16 signature Mongolian-inspired yurts are glamorous enough, take your experience up a notch with the autonomous tent. The 46 sqm giant cocoon has its own private deck and outdoor fire pit. Inside there’s a king-size bed complete with luxurious cotton linens, a gas fireplace, and leather lounging chairs, as well as a private shower. Perched on the edge of the cliff, it’s the most stunning off-grid spot on the resort. From US $320. Treebonesresort.com
This off-the-beaten-track home away from home in Shaba will bring you as close to Africa’s wildlife as possible. The elegant camp is built on the site of renowned conservationist and author of Born Free, Joy Adamson’s tented home in Shaba National Reserve. Offering a truly complete luxe experience, each tent comes with an en suite bathroom with stone floors, flush toilets, and a hot water shower. Each also has its own peaceful veranda from which to imbibe the serene surroundings. While game drives are the most popular activities on site, you can also treat yourself to a massage or mani/pedi and take a dip in the communal pool, with its views of the spring. It offers a true back-to-basics adventure feel without having to forgo any lavish desires. From US $270 per person. Elewanacollection.com
While the decor may be deliberately rustic, Sandat has the elegance and efficiency of a hotel rather than a campsite. Conveniently located close enough to Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart, the site, wrapped in a junglestyle garden, also feels remote enough to be a hidden paradise. Even though there is an emphasis on being environmentally sensitive, the deluxe side of camping is also a priority, with each tent having its own plunge pool, iPod docking stations, large, comfortable beds, a range of locally made toiletries, and coffee-making facilities. Those wanting to explore further afield can jump on the free shuttle bus to Ubud. While there is no on-site masseuse, it can be arranged for you – it is glamping, after all. Prices on request. Glampingsandat.com