It’s official: glamping has arrived, landing on the 2014 Travel + Leisure “It List” in no small fashion. With only the “coolest new hotels that are changing the travel landscape” making the list, glamping makes its mark with 20 properties (nearly 30%) that feature glamping as their primary accommodation, nestled among urban trendsetters, scene makers, and Next-Gen business hotels. The best glamping spots easily keep pace with the “hip,” “swank,” and “luxurious” newcomers, bringing with them “experiential travel” to round out a list that prides itself on recognizing the most exciting changes in the travel landscape.
From jungle to savanna, and snow-topped mountains to tropical islands, choices are what is cool about glamping. Glamping accommodations that made the T+L list were safari lodges, beach resorts, and “remote outposts.” It List safari lodge choices range from the traditional, such as Chinzombo in Zambia that offers “stylish austerity and unforgettable wildlife encounters” to Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri in Kenya that T+L refers to as a “futuristic riff on the classic East African lodge,” with tents resembling “spaceships.”
Beach resorts on the list span the globe from great escapes in the Caribbean like Eden Roc in Dominican Republic and The Cove Eleuthera Resort and Spa to sublime island resorts like Australia’s Bedarra Island Resort, Hawaii’s modern, renovated Andaz Maui Villas, and the decadent Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives.
Not surprisingly, several “remote outposts” are listed, such as Cresto Ranch and Outlook Lodge, both in Colorado. What may initially come as a surprise however is a property in the United Arab Emirates, Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort, until you learn that it is set amid “savanna-like grasslands of Sir Bani Yas Island’s famed Arabian Wildlife Park,” a welcome surprise indeed.
Dunton Hot Springs and Cresto Ranch
What may not come as a surprise are the price tags. To be the best in the world often means the most expensive, and glamping by Travel + Leisure standards can be pretty pricey, with 14 of their glamping choices (70%) costing guests $500 or more a night. Five properties in the more reasonable range of $350-500 were Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, Selfoss, Iceland, the culturally rich Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort and Spa in China, and It List five time winner Hotel Escondido in Mexico. One bargain made the list Outlook Lodge of Colorado Springs, Colorado, costing less than $200 a night. Regardless of price however, a discerning traveler on the lookout for a new experience will find that it really is no surprise that glamping is on the rise.