Forget Camping: Here Are 10 Great Spots to Go 'Glamping'
Hilary Swank and Gwyneth Paltrow embrace the high-end-camping phenomenon as new places to enjoy nature while living luxe open across the West.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When a fleeting urge to rough it gives way to the desire for deluxe comforts, would-be campers turn to "glamping," as in glam camping, an ultra-civilized way to commune with nature without sacrificing 1,000-thread-count sheets, hot showers and housekeeping. Hollywood names have picked up on its allure as luxurious outposts pop up from the California coast to the Rockies. If Henry David Thoreau had known about it, he might not have left the woods.
►Twenty miles north of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Canyon (elcapitancanyon.com; from $405 a night) boasts 13 new Corral Loft cabins, rustic-chic creekside shelters amid oak groves. "My wife and I talked about camping and wanted to spend time with our daughter outdoors, but we wanted to Gucci it up a bit. This was the best compromise," says entertainment business manager Andrew Crow, a partner at WG&S. Grab a meal at its Canyon Market & Deli.
What to do: The beach is only a 10-minute walk away.
►In Big Sur, family-owned Treebones Resort (treebonesresort.com; from $225 a night) will turn 10 years old in November. Sixteen yurts have queen beds and Pacific-view decks with Adirondack chairs. A unique room is the "human nest," an art piece of woven wood that sleeps two.
What to do: Go full Big Sur at the famed nearby Esalen institute, where workshops include radiant body yoga.
►About an hour's drive southwest of Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs (duntonhotsprings.com) is a ghost town-turned-glamping hotspot. Log cabins ($900 to $2,000 a night) are wired for the modern age, and the new Dunton River Camp ($1,400 a night) has eight tents with en suite bathrooms. Meals are all-inclusive.
What to do: Soak in the hot springs after horseback riding in the High Rockies.
►The Resort at Paws Up (pawsup.com), a 35-minute drive northeast of Missoula, spreads along the Blackfoot River, which ran through a certain Robert Redford film. Tented accommodations (from $875 a person) include the new Cliffside Camp with six tents, four of which are two-bedroom suites, and a shared dining pavilion with a stone fireplace. "Insider tip: The Eagle Cliff tent has a clawfoot copper tub and is the tent Gwyneth Paltrow stayed in last time she was there," says Gen Hershey of Beverly Hills travel agency Genuine Access. Paltrow, who Instagrammed a selfie there in late July, has called the place "kid heaven." Dining is all-inclusive.
What to do: Fly-fishing, cattle driving, rafting and a new go-kart track.
►The Ranch at Rock Creek (theranchatrockcreek.com; from $850 a night) is set on 6,600 acres about 80 minutes west of Butte. Its Family Canvas cabins ($1,200 a night) fit four or five and have screened-in porches. Among those who have checked in: Relevant PR's Jessica Kolstad with client Carey Mulligan and Mulligan's husband, Marcus Mumford. Meals at its two restaurants, plus many activities, are included.
What to do: The family-friendly resort offers a kids activities club, paintball and stagecoach rides.
►The new Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort (mustangmonument.com; from $1,000 a night) is a 900-square-mile wild mustang reserve, home to 600 of the beautiful untamed icons of the West. Tents are hand-painted tepees with king-size beds and hardwood floors draped with Native American rugs. A gourmet chef does the campfire cooking, and a butler awaits guests' calls.
What to do: Practice throwback skills -- calf roping, archery, moccasin making -- they don't teach much in the city these days.
►Daryl Hannah ranks among guests who have enjoyed the best of both worlds at Moab Under Canvas (moabundercanvas.com; from $350 a night) in Utah's red-rock desert, a short stop from Arches National Park near the state's eastern edge. Set amid buttes and canyons worthy of a Road Runner cartoon, it boasts plush accommodations including a six-person tent suite ($345 a night) with a shower and wood-burning stove, perched on a secluded plateau. Breakfast and lunch are available if ordered ahead. (Under Canvas also operates camps at Montana's Glacier National Park, where Hilary Swank has stayed, and Yosemite.)
What to do: Hot-air ballooning, family rafting on the Colorado River and rock-climbing adventures.
Throughout the West
►Trips with Epic Private Journeys (epicprivatejourneys.com; from $600 a day) last a minimum of three days. The Australia-based adventure travel company, known for boutique excursions in Africa and Asia, has branched out to the U.S., offering luxury camping outings including a motorcycle trip through the Southwest.
►Included in the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort experience (wildretreat.com; from about $4,355 for three nights) is a seaplane trip from Vancouver to the 20-tent resort on Vancouver Island. Eight secluded outpost tents are along the water's edge or perched in hillside trees. Dining is all-inclusive.
What to do: Enjoy all-ages surf lessons, whale watching and ocean kayaking, or simply take it easy in the lounge tent reserved for billiards and board games.