Glamping is the holy alliance of glamour, camping and pampering.
Ingenious eco-dwellings offer the surround sound of nature with the luxury of a hotel room. And there are themes.
Got the kids? Go Native with a tipi. Want a comfy bed with a dash of star-gazing? You want Yurt. Want to experience nature by saving it? You’ll want a reclaimed gypsy caravan or eco-fantastic geodesic dome.
Here are five of the best places to experience it.
Eco Lodge Brejeira, Algarve
Deep in the rolling hills of the Algarve, the Eco-lodge Brejeira lodge works in harmony with the nature it is nestled into. This is cosy, planet-friendly glamping. They’ve thought of everything: solar power, compost heaps and second-hand furniture. There is even a retired fire truck you can spend the night in. You may prefer to count stars from bed through the opening in the Mongolian yurt, and have a private shower in the middle of nature.
The luxurious safari tents of Imagine France are definitely the glam end of glamping. King size beds, jet showers, coffee-machines and in-tent Wi-Fi make them “hotel rooms with a canvas roof” according to owner Polly. Which almost sells it short, as being separated from the sights and sounds of magical Provence by just a curtain puts this way beyond the usual four-walled experience.
Canonici Di San Marco, Venice
Venice is the floating city of romance but is no place for camping or, for that matter, cheap hotels. So opulent but reasonably-priced lodgings of Canonici di San Marco that are just 20 minutes from Venice and tick a very attractive box. Claiming to be the first to bring glamping to Italy, the 5-star luxury tents dot the wheat-field countryside of Mirano. Perched on wooden platforms, the tents match hotel facilities with four-poster beds, fridges and en suites but still earn a ‘sustainable tourism’ label with zero impact on the surrounding enviroment. The real charm is in eclectic mix of furniture; antique, up-cycled and ‘found’ objects that ensure a memorable and experience.
Ecopod‘s geodesic domes lie in a National Scenic Area of Scotland’s West Coast and this highlights another benefit of glamping. A permanent building would never be permitted in this are here, so glamping can go where hotels can’t.
With the ethos that ‘five star need not cost the earth’, the luxurious open-plan interiors are filled with classic recycled furniture, high-end gadgets and locally-sourced produce. The pods themselves have a Bond villain feel, with log burners and “arguably the best view in Scotland”.
Tuckmill Treehouse, County Wicklow
Perhaps, like me, you’ve felt a gnawing unease deep-down since childhood which manifested right around the time you saw your first treehouse and swore to live in one.
One of the biggest disappointments of adulthood is that living in a treehouse is not a viable life choice (though the Dublin property market may argue otherwise).
So praise be that Airbnb at least allows us to holiday in one from time-to-time. Tuckmill is the treehouse of your adult dreams: with a hot stove, gas-fired barbecue on deck, fridge, bluetooth speaker, changing LED lights and steaming hot shower. Niamh and her partner (who live next door) have thought of everything. You’ll delight in details like the pulley basket for hoisting up your luggage, the wooden barrel cupboard, and the tree itself growing through the middle of the deck. Look out for the peacocks that roam the garden, and bring carrots to feed the donkey.
A version of this article was first published in Cara magazine