Urban Glamping with Hazel

I understand camping isn’t for everyone. There are bugs, variable temperatures, sleeping on the ground, no wifi – that’s why they invented Glamping! However, I also understand that glamping is still a little too roughing it/outdoorsy and remote for people – but what if you could ‘glamp’ in a city? Get the feeling of camping but have a vibrant urban landscape at your doorstep?

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I have found the solution – tucked away between brick buildings in the European capital of Brussels – urban glamping. The boutique Vintage Hotel in Brussels not only went vintage in their décor and room design, they took it a step further and brought in a refurbished vintage Airstream camper and parked it on their front terrace. Poof – urban glamping!

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I was pretty excited to try out this unique accommodation and still have the joy of easily getting to the bars, restaurants, and nightlife of Brussels.

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The vintage Airstream was built in 1958, but has been fully updated with queen size bed, funky sitting area, TV, wifi, and shower.

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It even came with a name, Hazel. In a previous life Hazel was a functioning camper that was used to travel the U.S. – oh, the places Hazel had been!

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As I stepped up on the metal step and entered into my camper I sort of felt like Austin Powers was going to be lying on the bed greeting me! The décor was straight out of the 1970’s, colorful and graphic, which made the Airstream fit in seamlessly with the rest of the Vintage Hotel décor.

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You are not just in the middle of a bustling city; you are also in the middle of the courtyard and entryway for the hotel. At first, I was a bit freaked out feeling rather exposed with the Airstream sitting right in the entrance with little tables around it so that people from the wine bar could sit around you, but it also felt very city like. I was in the middle of all of the action, and honestly once you closed your camper door and pulled the shades, you were in your own little camper world anyway.

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And if you start to feel a bit claustrophobic, you can hang out on the terrace or inside at the wine bar at the hotel. The indoor wine bar also doubles as the breakfast area in the morning.

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If you are urban glamping, then it’s all about the city and luckily the Vintage Airstream was located in one of the hippest neighborhoods in Brussels – Saint Gilles. You are surrounded by great restaurants, friteries, coffee shops, bars and shopping, all within a few blocks.

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I enlisted the help of my friends who live in Brussels and we started our evening at the Vintage Hotel wine bar. Then, we went for Tibetan food at Momo’s in the neighborhood.

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As we were strolling to the next bar, we came across a gallery exhibition opening and soon were sipping champagne looking at Jimmy Nelson’s “Before they Pass” photography exhibit that transported us to the far reaches of the globe. See – urban glamping can be quite adventurous!

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I spent the next morning walking around the neighborhood taking in the cobblestone streets, Art Nouveau architecture that Brussels is famous for, and of course had to stop at the well-known neighborhood Friterie de la Barriere. I took my large cone of frites and mayonnaise and sat at an outdoor café and ordered a Lambic beer. Sure, this wasn’t hiking in the woods and cooking over a campfire – but urban glamping was a fun way to get the rustic with the modern. Sometimes you just need a little urban glamping pampering.

Sherry Ott

Sherry Ott is a long term traveler, blogger, and photographer with one goal in mind – to make you wish you were somewhere else.  She seeks out epic adventures to intriguing places and writes about her around the world adventures on Ottsworld.com. You can also follow her live travels on Instagram and Twitter.

Why Do Celebrities Love Caravanning?

The traditional perception of caravanning is that it’s the domain of Mr and Mrs Boring, bumbling along on their annual getaway to the Keswick Pencil Museum. However that perception seems to be changing. The Caravan Club currently has 1.7 million members and each year it sees a 40% rise in advance bookings. No longer are caravans the sole pastime of pensioners and eccentrics – young people and families can now see the attraction, and so, it seems, can celebrities.

Being in the public eye at all times must surely be draining, hence why a number of celebrities are drawn to caravanning. It offers the opportunity to get some peace and quiet, the chance to be on the move away from all the hype, as well as the ability to stay one step ahead of the paparazzi…

Here’s a list of some high-profile caravanners and the reasons why they find caravanning so attractive.

 

Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins

She’s got the looks, the voice, and the charisma to match, however the Welsh classical singer has said that she feels most content when she’s away from it all. One of her happiest moments was when she was with her mum, dad and sister in their little touring caravan in France playing card games for pistachio nuts!

 

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis is the English singer-songwriter best known as the frontman of the alternative rock band Pulp. It seems his vehicle tastes are correspondingly alternative as he is often spotted on the King’s Road in London driving his Toyota mobile home.

 

Tara Palmer Tomkinsin

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Tara is no stranger to the outdoors being perhaps most famous for her infamous appearance on I’m A Celebrity in 2002. She came in second place and went on the following year to open the Caravan and Leisure Show at Earl’s Court. She always likes to keep up to date with the latest caravanning models on the market and currently owns a cute little custom-made caravan, which she hopes to be making the most of this summer.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Jay Z and Beyoncé

Two years ago it was reported that Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin had organised a caravanning trip with Jay Z and Beyoncé along the coast of Florida. Although this was intended as a quiet getaway, in order to give Jay Z and Chris Martin some quality down time after their whirlwind tours, they travelled in a huge luxury Winnebago.

 

CHeryl Baker

Cheryl Baker 

The Bucks Fizz singer who won the Eurovision Song contest in 1981 is no stranger to the limelight, however it’s been said that she likes nothing better than to hitch a caravan to the back of her Austin Allegro and drive down to Cornwall for the summer.

 

Rowland Rivron

Rowland Rivron

Roland is the television host of a number of travel shows, however it wasn’t until he was aged 42

that he began taking an interest in caravanning. He has been quoted as saying, ‘I’ve no idea who it was that said ‘all good things come to those that wait’ but with me and ‘vanning’ they couldn’t have been more on the money.” Rowland is featured in the image to the left driving away with his brand new Bailey Ranger.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver

Jamie is well known for his down-to-earth, no-nonsense, cooking style, and it seems this rustic spirit rolls over into his choice of transport. He currently drives a converted 1959 Porsche-powered VW Spiltscreen Camper when moving between locations for his TV series. It is, of course, complete with a cutting-edge kitchen and stylish interior.

 

Patsy Palmer

Patsy Palmer

The EastEnders veteran is a frequent caravan user and takes regular trips to Sheerness on the Island of Sheppey in Kent with her family. Although she says she prefers her luxurious holidays she continues to caravan because of her children. She says, ‘If you get a good campsite, then it’s just heaven for them.’

Patsy has also come up with an innovative way to ensure she catches the sun no matter where she travels with what she calls the ‘Tanvan’. This is a caravan which has been fitted out as a mobile tanning shop! She takes it along to summer music festivals and offers fake tans along with her range of tanning products for the fairer skinned.

Gary Numan

Gary Numan

The new wave post-punk singer Gary Numan has strong ties to the caravan, and in fact liked them long before they were considered ‘cool’. He used to holiday at Weymouth with his parents when he was a boy.

After his initial success with Tubeway Army at the end of the 1970s he went out and rented one of the big caravans on the site, thinking he was really ‘lording it up.’ Gary likes to put on a show for sure, but it seems his heart is where the home is.

 

For those people who want to live the celebrity lifestyle whilst enjoying the great outdoors, Glamping.com offer various quiet getaways all over the world. Gwyneth and Tara would no doubt feel right at home staying at the Silver Bullet Retreats in Florida, taking a Combitrip around Chile, or driving a 69 Camper across the South of France – all enviable trips where rusticity meets vintage style and luxury. There are numerous classy outdoor trip options on offer, not all of which are confined to caravanning: whether you decide to stay in a tent, yurt, airstream, hut, villa or treehouse, you’ll experience the pleasures of the countryside furnished with all the amenities associated with a hotel.

 

 

 

Living Airstream: Glamping Rentals Galore

Airstreams not only hold the hearts of many with memories of camping and childhood road trips, but the metallic gleam is a staple of the brand stopping many in their tracks to marvel at these unique recreational vehicles. We sat down with Bill Ward of Living Airstream, a luxury rental company of his fleet of vehicles ranging from vintage model rentals to newer models nightly, weekly and monthly. Renting for all types of occasions, from photo shoots to weddings, mobile offices to Burning Man accommodations, Living Airstream is picking up momentum as the cult-like following of Airstream becomes engaged.

Bill Ward

Glamping.com: How did you first become involved with Airstreams?

Bill Ward: I first got started with Airstreams when I saw one up the street from where I lived in Denver (super shined up exterior… beautiful), thought “what the hell” I’ll buy one! I mentioned it to my father and a friend of mine and they wanted in on it, too, which sparked the idea that maybe other people might be interested in becoming a part of this as well.

G: What markets are you currently in with Living Airstream?

BW: We have our main branches in Denver and San Francisco and satellite offices in Los Angeles and Scottsdale.

Bill Ward

G: Any favorites in the fleet?

BW: I really like the 1964 Bambi, because they truly represent the all-American road trip.

G: What makes Airstreams the right fit as opposed to other RVs?

BW: Airstreams are rolling pieces of art that have stood the test of time with a cult-like following. Anytime anyone sees that polished aluminum exterior pull up to a campsite, they immediately want to look inside and take photos. Plus, more than 60% are still in use (from what I’ve researched). We also have a new website, www.rentbowl.com where customers can rent RVs, campers, off-road ATVs and more as part of a sharing community, much like airbnb.com but with recreational vehicles.

Bill Ward

G: How is Living Airstream a glamping experience?

BW: Living Airstream is a unique glamping experience in that it allows for a mobile airstream experience. Between our high-quality product and our customer service we are bringing retro back into glamping.

G: Where do you see the future of the company?

BW: For the future of the company, I see Living Airstream expanding to a commercial division as well. I want us to then take both divisions, business and leisure alike, throughout the United States and eventually Europe where Airstreams are enormous.

Whether purchasing a new Airstream to refurbish or moving inventory across the country, Ward does so with a smile. With the company growing and the demand increasing with it, glamping in style with Living Airstream is proving to be a popular option across the United States. Eventually utilizing rentbowl.com, Ward is looking to the future for an inventory-less model, making room for even more unique stays as the site becomes more popular. Rental information for Living Airstream can be found at LivingAirstream.com.