The origins of recreational camping date back to the U.K. in the 1880s, when Thomas Hiram Holding led a craze of Victorian-era visitors who slept along the river Thames in simple A-shaped tents. There are those who continue to rough it in the outdoors, carrying supplies on their backs through treacherous trails for miles, arriving in the wild to build their own shelter and fend for themselves. Then, there’s the rest of us.
Those who yearn for an authentic experience in nature but who also value things such as thread count, culinary options, full-bathrooms, and, of course, Wi-Fi, have some new options for this summer. Sure, there are numerous “glamping” resorts across the U.S. that tout elevated tent accommodations, but only a handful truly go above and beyond, offering everything from camp butlers to tented luxury spas—all the while being located adjacent to traditional five-star resorts, should the call of the wild end up falling on deaf ears.
And for those who are wary of staying in more densely populated hotels, camping—or glamping—offers an option for a vacation with peace of mind.
Amangiri , Canyon Point, Utah
History: Ever since Amangiri debuted in 2009, the 600-acre desert haven has lured visitors with its striking contemporary architecture that appears to spring up from the middle of nowhere, surrounded by miles of monolithic boulders and arid mesas as far as the eye can see.
The Camp: Opened on July 1, Camp Sarika by Amangiri is a collection of 10 tented pavilions located on 135 acres, about a five-minute drive (or 30-minute hike) from the main resort. Each “tent” has been designed by Luxury Frontiers and is fully furnished with custom walnut wood and leather furniture, etched-timber headboards, and Douglas Fir sliding doors that open to private decks with plunge pools, firepits, and telescopes. The tents’ soft canvas is made from recycled plastic bottles and can handle up to 12 tons of snow. A central pavilion designed by New York–based Selldorf Architects reflects the main resort, featuring concrete blocks, a Maya Lin art installation, open fireplaces, and an outdoor pool area with daybeds. There’s also an onsite restaurant, and guests of Camp Sarika have full access to all of Amangiri’s resort amenities. To Do: Wellness seekers should book the helicopter flight over Lake Powell and Glen Canyon, which lands at Tower Butte for guided yoga and meditation at 5,000 feet above sea level. There’s also miles of hiking and biking trails, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, canyoneering, and more, including the Camp Sarika spa, where guests can bask in the two-hour Desert Calm spa treatment, which includes a detoxifying wrap made from Red Sedona Clay, as well as an oxygen facial.
Worth Noting: The tented camp is the only accommodation of its kind to be open year-round in the U.S.
From $3,500/night; aman.com
Mustang Monument , Wells, Nevada
History: Owner and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens purchased the 25,000-acre ranch property in 2010 while concurrently rescuing 500 horses from slaughter in eastern Nevada. She then spent the next several years developing the property as a boutique eco /zigman2/quotes/209471719/delayed CA:ECO +0.66% resort but closed in 2018 because of a water dispute. She’s now reopened the property for the season, updating all of the accommodations and expanding on activities.
The Camp: While the property is expansive, occupying mountains up to 9,500 feet and three valleys in between them, the accommodations are all centralized. Five, stand-alone wood cabins each feature two, one-bedroom suites with unique furnishings but identical layouts. All feature plush king-size beds, sitting areas, and bathrooms with soaking tubs, rain showers, and dual vanities. Ten tepees custom created for the property by Native Americans are erected each season and offer king-size beds, leather sofas, rugs, and air conditioning. Each comes with its own bathroom, located steps from the tepee, complete with plumbing for showers, tubs, sinks, and flushing toilets.
Those wishing to truly camp out can sleep under the stars in a wagon, which can be placed just about anywhere on property. Additionally, there is a seven-bedroom home for groups who want a more intimate experience. Other facilities on site include an authentic saloon with saddle bar stools, the Ruby’s Restaurant whose chef comes from the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Daniel, and ample seating areas for enjoying the outdoors.
To Do: Venture out in an ATV up the mountains, through old silver mines, and enjoy a picnic at the top; horseback ride on any of the 20 saddle horses; accompany the cowboys on a hayride to feed the property’s 1,000 wild mustangs; archery; roping lessons; culinary classes; and Native American beading and moccasin making.
Worth Noting: The property is open from June through September. All proceeds from stays at the ranch go to helping to maintain the property’s 1,000-plus wild mustangs.
History: The 37,000-acre resort first opened in 2005 with a collection of Western-chic cabins. The first glamping tents launched in 2008, while the most recent collection was added in May 2017.