No, that’s not a typo (even if my spellchecker does refuse to accept it). Glamping, as you might have guessed, is a mash-up of the words “glamorous” and “camping.” That doesn’t sound so bad. And it doesn’t look so bad either, based on the research I've been doing lately. In fact, some of the properties and experiences I've found look as nice as five-star luxury hotels, and LEED-certified eco-lodges. The trend is so mainstream at this point, that even USA Today and the LA Times have reported on it, though I'm going to be taking a more in-depth look over the course of this week.
I'll be honest, I'm not exactly outdoorsy, and I'm not really a camper. I think if you polled my friends, they'd be shocked to learn that I used to spend my childhood summers at a ramshackle camp on Catalina Island where you were lucky if your open-air cabin had doors. These days I'm more about the pampering, but I can still hike a trail, rig a sailboat, shoot an arrow and start a fire. That said, I'd rather have a personal butler do it for me!
So join me this week as I hike across the globe, trendspotting, and taking you on a tour of the more intriguing properties I came across while researching the Glamping scene. Day by day, I'll span the continents, starting in Africa, where I'll tell you about an “Out of Africa” package in Kenya, island-hopping in Mozambique, nomading like a (really pampered) Bedouin in Tunisia, lake-living in Tanzania, and a slew of upscale safari options.
Then it’s on to Australia, where the flavor is a little more cowboy-ish. There’s cattle-ranching deluxe in South Australia, a station (or ranch, as we’d call it in America) with a restaurant that would make any gourmand drool, riverside remoteness in the far northwest of the country, and eco-conscious mysticism (with helicopter tours and Harley Davidson rides!) in the shadow of Ayers Rock.
For the third day, I'll tour the Americas, where the experiences range from trekking through the salty highlands of Bolivia, to the Galapagos’ “evolving” lodge scene (tee hee), to perching in a Peruvian canopy tree house, to braving the windswept stretches of Patagonia…in tricked out chalets, of course.
Finally, I'll cover the best of the rest, including a chance to hop a private jet to a camp site in Antarctica, geodesic luxury pods in the Swiss Alps, sauna-ing in style in northern Finland, sheltering with friendly camels in Mongolia, prowling with tigers in India and a tented camp in Thailand’s notorious Golden Triangle.
Intrigued? So am I…almost enough to order up a backpack and some fur-trimmed boots from L.L. Bean, and not just because they accentuate my shapely calves. So stick around this week for my Glamping series, and see where those in the know will be “roughing it” this year.