New US glamping escapes

New US glamping escapes

From a theme park resort to riverside Airstreams and upscaled ranches, glamping accommodations keep raising the bar 

by LEBAWIT LILY GIRMA 

GLAMPING — the seemingly silly-sounding practice of sleeping in five-star “tents” in pristine environments — continues to be in high demand in the US, piggybacking on the success of glamorous tented camps in destinations like Costa Rica and Botswana. In 2023, more than half of all campers chose to go glamping at least once, a 52% increase from 2022. Among first-time campers, a third opted for the upscale version, up from 18% in 2021. That’s according to new data from Kampgrounds of America, the largest campgrounds operator in the US, which on May 8 is publishing its 2024 Camping and Hospitality Report. 

“We are really surprised at the level of bookings we’ve had this early in 2024,” says Neil Dipaola, founder of the outdoorsy resort brand Autocamp, best known for fancy conversions of Airstream travel trailers. His six glamping resorts — located in places such as New York’s (NY) Catskills and Zion, Utah — generally run at 95% to 100% occupancy, he said. This year, he added, Autocamp is seeing amped-up demand from a younger generation of travellers and corporate groups arranging offsite team meetings. 

Bigger players are entering the field, too. In February 2024, Autocamp announced a partnership with Hilton Hotels that will allow Hilton Honors members to book, collect and redeem points when staying at its resorts; the kick-off is expected this summer, pending some complicated back-end technology integration, DiPaola said. Hyatt, too, is getting in on the action by making a handful of glamping resorts — including Dunton Hot Springs in southwestern Colorado and Alila Ventana Big Sur in California — available to its loyalty members following Hyatt’s acquisition of luxury platform Mr & Mrs Smith. 

“Glamping is a top leisure trip that consumers are interested in taking in 2024,” said Toby O’Rourke, CEO at Kampgrounds of America, in an emailed statement. “We see a growing appeal of luxury camping, especially within the millennial audience.” 

The good news is that hoteliers are getting increasingly creative with these outdoorsy offerings. From California deserts to the mountains around Asheville, North Carolina, here are the most exciting new glampsites in the US. 

Chatwal Lodge opened 3 luxury treehouses this year in New York’s Catskill Mountains (Pic courtesy of The Chatwal Lodge)

1. Treehouses at the Chatwal Lodge, NY’s Catskills

This all-inclusive lodge in the western Catskills, part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, sits on 100 acres (42.89ha) along Toronto Reservoir Lake, just 106 miles (170.59km) northwest of Midtown Manhattan. Three new lakeside treehouses, each with two bedrooms and double-height windows, hover 15 ft above the ground amid maple and oak trees. The bathrooms are decadent, with heated floors and glass-walled showers facing the forest canopy. At the lodge, you can enjoy farm-to-table dining at Rustic Grill, as well as activities from table tennis to fly fishing and kayaking. Or you can hole up in your treehouse with room service and stare at starry skies from your nest-like private patio. Tree- houses from US$2,300 (RM4,743) per night. 

A glamping suite at Savannah Sunset Resort and Spa (Pic courtesy of Six Flags)

2. Savannah Sunset Resort and Spa at Six Flags, New Jersey

Pretend you’re on a great African safari… without having to leave the tri-state area. That’s the premise at Savannah Sunset Resort and Spa, which is located inside Six Flags’ 350-acre Wild Safari theme park just 70 miles from NY City and 55 miles from Philadelphia. Its 20 one- and two-bedroom glamping suites aim to emulate African safari lodges with earth-toned colours, carved wood furniture and handwoven decorative baskets. Here, though, the accommodations come with features you wouldn’t find in the savannah — like kitchenettes. The patios may lack the private plunge pools offered by the best spots in southern Africa, but they have big decks where you can light a fire or spy giraffes roaming in the distance. (The resort recommends visits with children 10 and older.) Each stay includes free access to Six Flags’ three theme parks, plus the option of getting taken on a private, guided “safari drive.” Opening from June 14 through Sept 2, and on weekends from October through Nov 3. Rooms from US$550 per night, with a two-night minimum. 

3. Autocamp Asheville, North Carolina 

Just nine miles from downtown Asheville, less than 30 minutes from the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and only an hour from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Auto-camp Asheville’s 67 mid-century modern Airstreams will face the French Broad River. The Premium Basecamp, the hotel’s room- iest option, is retrofitted with panoramic windows and stretches 31 ft; with both a queen-size bed and a pull-out couch, it’s a good option for families. And while swimming in the river is a main draw in this area, the hotel will offer a 10 ft long plunge pool, too. Either way, you can revisit childhood with grab-and-go grilling and s’mores kits that are sold from the 5,000 sq ft riverfront clubhouse. Opening in July. Airstreams from US$245. 

4. Paintrock Canyon Ranch, Wyoming

Nestled in the foothills of Wyoming’s northern Bighorn Mountains, Paintrock Canyon Ranch promises vast landscapes: Surrounding the lodge are freshwater springs, dramatic canyon walls and extensive meadows filled with elk and whitetail deer. It’s the latest opening from the family-owned adventure lodge pioneer Ranchlands, now branching out from Colorado, its home state. Vacations here consist of five nights in simple but elegantly furnished safari-like tents lined with handwoven kilim rugs. Spend days horseback riding on 80,000 acres (no experience required), fly fishing for trout, hiking or learning about Native American petroglyphs. A private chef is on hand for meals that incorporate Ranchlands’ own beef and dairy, along with local produce. Opening May 12-July 5. All-inclusive packages from US$3,950 per person, including meals, lodging and activities. 

Stay in one of 14 glamping domes along San Juan River in southwest Colorado (Pic courtesy of River Domes)

5. Pagosa River Domes, Southwest Colorado 

While Colorado’s summer perks still fly under the radar of many travellers, the 14 geodesic tents that make up Pagosa River Domes, on the banks of the San Juan River, should stand out anywhere. Set a mile outside the serene, nature-rich mountain town of Pagosa Springs in southwestern Colorado, these insulated, ultramodern accommodations blend wood and leather accents with Pendleton throws; additional amenities include custom-woven Turkish robes, kitchenettes, walk-in showers and a king-sized bed from which you can view the great outdoors. Just five miles away are hot-springs spa options, waterfall hikes, whitewater rafting and tubing, and shopping at art galleries. Open: Soft opening rates start at US$200 per night, based on double occupancy. 

6. Wildhaven Yosemite, California 

Located an hour’s drive southwest of Yosemite National Park and one mile from the pedestrian-friendly gold rush town of Mariposa, glamping outfitter Wildhaven’s newest location will soon count 12 luxurious cabins and 30 tents. Go for the Valley View Cabin, which promises unobstructed views — no neighbouring guests in sight — over thousands of acres of rolling green hills. The well-appointed, minimalist suite has a modern kitchen, walls of glass windows and a private patio. Apart from driving to Yosem- ite National Park, you could take scenic nature walks near your cabin, including a trail up to a picnic area that boasts panoramic views. Nights are for stargazing and making s’mores over a campfire. Open. Cabins start from US$399. 

Autocamp Sequoia National Park’s signature Airstream (Pic courtesy of Autocamp)

7. Autocamp Sequoia, California 

If you’re waiting for summer temperatures to give way to crisp fall nights, look ahead to Autocamp’s forthcoming location along the Kaweah River in the Sierra Nevada foothills. When it opens in October, Autocamp Sequoia will sit in the town of Three Rivers — a 15-minute drive from Sequoia National Park and three hours by car from Los Angeles. In addition to the brand’s signature Airstreams, two bunkhouses will feature minimalist Scandinavian rooms in a main hotel building — some with bunk beds for families or groups. You’ll be able to swim in a heated outdoor pool; perhaps more enticing will be a dip in a natural, on-site swimming hole where three river streams converge. Opening in October; rates from US$305. Bloomberg 


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition

from themalaysianreserve.com Source link

[2024-05-15 08:00:27

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