Glamping on the Rise: Travel + Leisure Lists 20 Glamping Properties Among 70 Best New Hotels in the World

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.

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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.”

022_Villa Three At Night_original Chinzombo Camp

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.

Bathhouse_at_duskDunton 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.

Contributing Writer Review: Cresto Ranch in Colorado

Cresto Ranch Lodge

By Jen Bianco, Contributing Writer

It was very exciting getting to visit the brand new Cresto Ranch tented camp at Dunton Hot Springs and check out the property for

The eight safari-style tents at Cresto Ranch are large (640 square feet) and spread out over the property, providing spectacular views of the surrounding San Juan Mountains. The four tents near the river are named after trout (Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook and Brown) while the four along the hillside are named after local mountain peaks. Spa services are available in a tent on the property.

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The heart of the Cresto Ranch is the restored farmhouse, which was originally built in the late 1800’s and has been thoughtfully restored. Some of the original furnishings have been refurbished and are still being used today. The farmhouse serves as Cresto Ranch’s communal living room, dining room, and bar.


Guests meet at the farmhouse for drinks and meals. At Cresto Ranch, the food is gourmet, and reflects the Colorado environment. The chefs use a lot of local ingredients like pheasant and venison. I really enjoyed trying these foods and appreciated that the chefs had no problem with food restrictions or preferences.

Cresto Ranch does a great job of keeping fine dining relaxed. They keep some of the tradition of the old west alive by offering communal meals, with guests dining family style either on the outside deck or at tables inside the farmhouse (they offer in-tent dining to guests who would prefer this option).

Communal dining became the social highlight of the day. All the guests and the staff were very nice and interesting. Not only did it make meals lively and memorable, but it also allows guests and staff to know each other better, adding to the resort’s intimate and personalized service.

Lunch was served outside, overlooking the Delores River where we ate on authentic German bier tables.  The chef suggested wine pairings or lunch and dinner, which allows guests to sample of some of the best wines from the resort’s sister property, Sutcliffe Vineyards.

Here’s the menu chef Daniel Sopiwnik served for lunch the day I arrived


 Spinach & Arugula Salad

Served with Champagne vinaigrette, farm-fresh cucumbers, and heirloom carrot confetti

Pasta Primavera

Wild boar, elk, spiced apple, blueberry and Cabernet Sauvignon sausage

 Double chocolate chip cookie

 Wines Served

2011 Sutcliffe Vineyards Pinot Gris

2009 Sutcliffe Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Before dinner each evening, the chef rang the dinner bell to summon guests to the farmhouse. It’s details like this that make Cresto Ranch both quirky and unforgettable.

Drinks and meal times provided a really nice and casual atmosphere for guests to mingle. One couple visiting Cresto Ranch was checking out the new tented camp after staying at the Dunton Hot Springs twice in the past year. I’m not sure there is a bigger vote of confidence than that kind of repeat business, but after a few days I understood the resort’s enduring allure.

I stayed in Rainbow, a tent near the river. It was spacious and comfortable, complete with a desk area, a porch with a table and lounge chairs and an ensuite bathroom. The Wi-Fi signal was strong and the king size bed was extremely comfortable and topped with warm and luxurious bedding. Each tent has a gas stove that was a nice touch when waking up on cool mountain mornings. There are no televisions at Cresto Ranch and I didn’t miss having one. Each tent also comes with a pair of mountain bikes so guests can explore the expansive property.


The bathroom was impressively large for a tent, complete with side-by-side sinks and a large soaker tub. The flash heater meant there was no shortage of hot water, so you could have a nice soak after spending the day hiking, mountain biking or taking advantage of other outdoor activities. Heated towel racks kept the bathroom warm and cozy in the night.


With the sounds of the river lulling me to sleep, I was surprised just how easy it was to relax and unwind at Cresto Ranch. There are enough activities (everything from horseback riding and fly fishing to rock climbing) to satisfy adrenaline junkies, but it’s also a great place to chill out for a few days and do nothing more than read a book while listening to the sounds of nature.


Hummingbirds abound at Cresto Ranch. After watching them my first day, they helped lull me into some kind of relaxed state. While sipping a margarita (the staff knew how I liked mine after I ordered my first) I found myself a bit in love with everything about Cresto Ranch– the spectacular surroundings, the fabulous food and good company of the warm staff and other guests. By the time I left I was already planning my return visit to Dunton Hot Springs during the winter.

Dunton Hot Springs/Cresto Ranch Day Three – Contributing Writer Jen Bianco

Today, I really enjoyed exploring the property and nearby areas. So much gorgeous Colorado scenery, including cows free-ranging along the Dolores River.  In the morning I did a hike around the property here at Cresto Ranch and discovered a rather charming outhouse.  I ate lunch with the other guests (sturgeon and fried rice with mushrooms) before heading to the nearby town on Dolores. The Delores Farmers market was very interesting and I couldn’t resist making a few purchases there and at the Antique Mall.  While heading back to Cresto Ranch, I noticed this extremely unusual painted tree and photographed it.

Once I got back to the Farm House at Cresto Ranch, I sipped a margarita while watching the sun go down. Dinner was Italian white bean stew and grilled venison chops with bourbon-glazed carrots.  My tent was nice and toasty since it has a stove/fireplace that you can turn on with a switch. Fell asleep to the sound of the Delores river.

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