(above: Resort at Paws Up)
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of summertime camping trips- day hikes, wading through fresh streams, fishing, smores, the smell of a campfire and sleeping under the stars.
Although those memories hold a special place in my heart my taste for the great outdoors has become a bit more..ahem.. refined.. as an adult. Lets face it, I need a blow-dryer, I need a bed and I need a shower for crying out loud!
Enter Glamping! Glamorous Camping and THE expert on Glamping is Jennifer Domansky at GlampingGirl.com – a website and blog dedicated to finding the best Glamping spots around the world.
Jennifer explains,” Glamping truly originated in the early 1900′s, with the popularization of the safari, The word safari is an Arabic verb meaning “to make a journey” and an entire industry was created to cater to the needs of the demanding European and American travellers, looking to bag a trophy and experience adventure in the wilds of Africa. Naturally, the wealthy travellers weren’t eager to part with the creature comforts of home, and instead stayed in luxurious canvas tent lodgings. These tents were fully furnished with beds, luxurious bedding, Persian rugs, antiques and fully staffed with chefs, guides, porters and butlers.
A new trend of glamping has emerged with luxury camping resorts, safari camps, eco-resorts and campgrounds offering every amenity imaginable, from 5 star dining to spas. Manufacturers are catching on, offering designer gadgets and gear to bring style to the wilderness. Regardless of budget, you can enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.
Glamping has increased in popularity for several reasons. First, it really took off with the festival crowd in the UK. People were tired of mucking about in flimsy tents and festival organizers saw an opportunity to earn revenue by providing a luxurious camping experience for festival goers that were willing to pay top dollar. Glamping resorts and campgrounds started offering luxury tented accommodations and they reached a wider audience, willing to spend a premium to enjoy the comforts of home in the great outdoors.
Love the name, love the concept! I needed to know more about this outdoor glamour trend sweeping the country.
Although there are many Glamping locations at a variety of price points across the country I have never been one to do things any way but ALL-IN so I went straight to Larry Lipson, owner of The Resort at Paws Up in Missoula Montana -THE premier destination for glamping- to find out more about this exciting new way of camping.
Q: So what exactly is Glamping?
LL: Glamping is short for glamorous camping.
It’s a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.
When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to erect, no sleeping bag to unroll and no fire to build. We like to call it “nature served on a silver platter.” With the emergence of glamping as a travel trend, websites like glamping.com do a great job defining the concept and displaying the various glamping destinations available to travelers.
Q: What makes Glamping different than Camping?
LL: The beauty of camping is that it gives people a chance to get away from every day life and explore the best that Mother Nature has to offer.
Glamping gives people that same experience, but without the hassle. They can connect with the outdoors without giving up the creature comforts of a fine hotel. Some families or couples might be split on their willingness to go camping. Glamping appeals to both the outdoors person and those that don’t prefer sleeping on the ground.
Q: Paws Up is widely regarded as the premier destination in American Glamping. What inspired your resort to go in that direction?
LL: Paws Up sits on 37,000 acres of gorgeous ranchland. As we prepared to open the Resort in 2005, we decided to offer guests a way to experience the majesty of our landscape on a much more intimate level. We decided that luxury tents were the most unique and eco-friendly option. We call it “The Original American Safari” as our glamping experience is about discovery and making memories.
Q: What is a day of Glamping at Paws Up like?
LL: It starts with waking to fresh-brewed coffee and a delicious breakfast prepared by a private camp chef and served by a private camp butler.
The day is a canvas of opportunity for guests to embark on wilderness adventures like cattle drives, fly-fishing and river rafting or relaxing at their luxury camp.
(above: Blackfoot River at Paws Up)
Following dinner, the day ends with the camp butler starting a fire and preparing gourmet s’mores followed by the guest retiring to their luxury tent and our famous Last Best Bed for a restful slumber.
Q: What amenities do you offer?
LL: Each of our safari-like tents feature fine linens, The Last Best Bed, chic rustic furnishings, art-adorned walls, electricity, cooling fans, heat and, most importantly, a camping butler at your beck and call.
(above: Resort at Paws Up Blackfoot Tent)
Guests can refresh themselves in their private master bathroom with a rain shower, jetted tub, heated floors and indulgent organic spa products. Other amenities include daily full-service housekeeping as well as cell and Internet service…for those that need to stay connected.
(above: Bathrooms at Resort at Paws Up)
Q: What are the meals like? I’m guessing it’s more than just typical camping food.
LL: Each luxury camp has its own private dining pavilion and camp chef. Breakfast and dinner is served each day at the camps and lunch is served at Trough, our casual dining restaurant.
The cuisine is includes such dishes as baby back ribs with chipotle barbecue sauce, smoked trout cakes, bison New York steak and grilled salmon. Meals are prepared by each camp’s chef and served family-style by the camping butler.
Each dining pavilion is also fully stocked with snacks and a variety of refreshing beverages. All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages for two people are included in the nightly rate.
(above: Creekside Camp Resort at Paws Up)
Heated tents, personal chefs and private butlers, yeah that sounds like my kind of camping. Now to figure out what to pack and how many suitcases to bring!