Rustic Glamping- Camping with a Touch of Posh

The idea of glamorous camping is the combination of two things in apparent diametric opposition- camping, which is sleeping in the elements, with glamor, which refers to luxury. Here we visit properties on the other end of the scale for a more rustic travel experience. These are accommodations for those of us who are more nature lover than jet-setter, with the luxury still present but dialed down to a modest level- camping with a touch of posh.

The Ponds of DobciceThe Ponds of Dobcice

If you’ve ever imagined yourself living “off the grid” but want to try it before completely pulling the plug, consider a getaway to The Ponds of Dobcice. The Madlenka (pictured) and Valdala bungalows are perched over idyllic waters, but have no running water, no heat, and no electricity- heating and hot water is obtained by wood burning cook and boiler stove. Interiors are spartan but comfortable and appealing with clean lines. Here, you can reside for a short time as a true bohemian in Bohemia, the region of the Czech Republic where this resort resides.

Jungle's EdgeJungle’s Edge

The simplicity of accommodations in this category is often reflected in the name of the resort. Jungle’s Edge of Costa Rica is one such example. It is located near Playa Guiones, a well-known surfing spot in the Nosara region of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province. Surfing is definitely on the menu as is yoga, but try your hand at martial arts with a Muay Thai boxing and fitness retreat, then retreat to your cozy open air jungle hut, costing a mere $50 a night double occupancy.

3X2KBqKpQBlSYGZnRzWxPhopvmlw2W04Kr9JXuSpiqoPalpatha Eco Safari Lodge

Stay at the chalet, the name given to the abodes at the Palpatha Eco Safari Lodge in Sri Lanka, which anywhere else might be called a casita or a palapa for sleeping. But let’s call them chalets anyway. Why not, when you will feel like royalty abroad while on a leopard safari at the Wilpattu National Park, a short 15-minute drive away, or perhaps you’d like to view dolphins and whales in Kalpitiya? Then return to your chalet for the evening after an authentic Sri Lankan meal with a traditional ‘village’ experience, which is all-inclusive starting at a mere $95 per night per guest.

Shanthi Kunnj HomestayShanthi Kunnj Homestay

The owners of Shanthi Kunnj Homestay refer to their place as “Paradise by the Riverside.” Situated on the scenic, guests have the opportunity for white water or still water rafting, and Bhadra Reserve Forest trekking. If you don’t mind trekking a little further, visit Bhadra Tiger Reserve to view tigers and elephants. The resort features handsome wooden structures with simple elemental names, like glass house, mud house, and log house. If you’re not familiar with India’s currency, then one glance at the price in rupees will make your jaw drop. It’s a bargain starting at 2750 rupees a night, or less than $50 USD.

hGP2reFEwmGfhX_7sJyZ8Z0RBei1TqNPMhKaNHv55pMDesert Days

The place is called Desert Days, which sounds like it could be a small town festival in Nevada. This however, is a resort in Negev, a desert in Israel, with nine “eco huts” built by hand, “according to the eco construction principles,” with mud and straw bricks, making them suitable for desert lodging. Spend your days in the desert at Desert Days in the three connected circular swimming pools, or practicing desert archery, and spend your nights relaxing in a hammock in view of the bonfire in your private yard, spending only $67 per night to start.

Go Glamping in a Winter Wonderland

Sunlight sparkles on the snow like diamonds as you snowshoe along the trail. Later, you’ll warm frosty toes by the fire and reminisce on a day spent in a winter wonderland. Does the thought of winter glamping make your blood freeze? Think again.

You’ll find standard winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding and sleigh riding at most winter glamping destinations. But it’s the accommodations and location that make each experience unique. From yurts to luxury log cabins, winter glamping is available for all budgets; and there are plenty of woodstoves and fireplaces to warm you up.

Image Credit: Blue Sky Ranch
Antelope Yurt at Blue Sky Ranch

At Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship, Utah, one Norwegian yurt sits at the top of a hill overlooking the Wasatch Mountains and Deer Valley Park. The world-class view includes 3,300 acres of diverse terrain and not another soul except whomever you’ve brought with you. Powered by solar, LED and wood stove, the yurt includes a propane grill – yes, you’ll be cooking – and outdoor fire pit. Most importantly, an enclosed compost toilet is adjacent to the yurt, although you can walk through the snow to the outhouse if you prefer. Winter horseback riding to a mountain tavern for lunch and yoga snowshoeing are two of Blue Sky Ranch’s unique winter adventures.

Tipi at Ontario Winter Camping
Glamping Tipi at Ontario Winter Camping

You’ll be sleeping on a cushy bed of evergreens at Atelier Arboreal on an Ontario Winter Camping trip. Stay in wood-heated teepees or yurts located at the base of the Bruce Peninsula. Warm up in the log sauna after a day of snowshoeing in the Colpoys Range. Rates include meals and Ontario wines. And your luggage arrives via sleds.

Whitepod's Dome Glamping
Domes at Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel & Alpine Experience

In Valais, Switzerland, go glamping in a geodesic dome. At the Whitepod Hotel, your pod is equipped with wood-burning stove, organic luxury bedding, king size bed and full-service bathroom with a small electric heater. Breakfast (both hot and cold buffet) is served at the Pod-house. Dinner is available at Les Cerniers restaurant. Enjoy a day of skiing on Whitepod’s private slopes.

Luxury Glamping Cabins at The Resort at Paws Up
Luxury Glamping Cabins at The Resort at Paws Up

Glamping goes high end at The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana, where winter accommodations are in luxurious log homes. Fine dining combined with a 37,000-acre playground makes the experience unforgettable. Don’t miss the sleigh ride complete with the jingle jangle of sleigh bells. Have a yen for downhill skiing? Paws Up will arrange it for you at nearby Whitefish.

Alaska's Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge
Alaska’s Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge

A winter glamping trip to Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge near Tok, Alaska, provides the chance to view the northern lights so bring your camera. Log cabin accommodations come with full baths and the rate includes breakfast and lunch. After a day of winter adventuring, swap stories with lodge guests in the wood-fired hot tub or sauna.

So what are you waiting for? All of the glamping locations mentioned provide plenty of winter activities plus that all-important cozy fire.

The Jewel of the Swahili Coast: Kinondo Kwetu

Kinondo Kwetu is one of those places where the moment you leave, you are already planning your return. You walk into the main space of this former Kenyan home with its soaring thatch ceiling, African chic furnishings, and white curtains billowing from the ocean breeze, and you exhale. In Swahili, Kinondo Kwetu means “home away from home,” and when you feel a wave of calm as you soak in their 13 acres of gardens, beach, forest, and villas decorated to perfection…you’ll know how it got its name.

2. Diani
About an hour south of Mombasa, this ultra-chic glamping destination is set in the beautiful and fascinating cove of Diani Beach. The turquoise tides change dramatically throughout the day but as they recede, members of the local Digo tribe often come out to pay homage to this sacred rock. Paper prayers are left in its crevices and cast out to sea when the spirit moves them.

3. Kinondo Kwetu
The series of cottages and villas are built from coral rock, plaster, and macuti thatch with plenty of ocean-view windows. We stayed on the top floor of this double-decker beauty but a group or family could quite happily rent the entire cottage.

When we weren’t in the ocean, we could be found relaxing by either of the two pools on the expansive property.

The food is incredible, but you don’t need to take our word for it, Kinondo Kwetu just won “Best Cuisine” in The Safari Awards. Even beyond the quality of their super fresh fish and produce, the dining experience is one of a kind. Rather than seating everyone in the same dining room meal after meal, they surprise guests with a different table each night, romantically tucked away somewhere on the property…in a beached boat, atop the water tower, in the tropical garden…you’ll just have to wait to find out.

6.Mama-Ta Villa-
Another thing we adored about Kinondo Kwetu was the familial nature of things. In the evenings, guests meet at one of the various lounges or villas, as if we were gathering for drinks at a friend’s place. With old chess sets, beautiful coffee table books, and a well-stocked bar, the Mama Ta villa was one of our favorite places to get comfortable.

7_Africa Yoga
A few mornings a week, a teacher from the Africa Yoga Project conducts class in the open-air studio and spa. Proceeds help empower inner-city kids through the teaching of yoga. This is one of the many of the heart-warming community projects the hotel supports, in addition to the local Kinondo Primary School and Kinodo Kwetu Clinic.

8. Horseback riding Diani Beach
We aren’t ones to sit still for long so we made sure to take advantage of the hotel’s volleyball net, paddle boards, tennis courts, snorkeling gear, and the Kinondo stable. We explored the beach on horseback watching local ladies gather mollusks, fisherman cast their nets, and kids splash in the waves.

9.Paradise Lost
The area around Diani Beach is just as impressive. Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Reserve is a thriving ecosystem filled with bird life, dolphins, and coral gardens (scuba dive here if you can!). Even closer t the hotel is Paradise Lost, a sandbar island that only emerges at low tide. An hour after finishing our picnic the island had literally disappeared.

10HoneyTrek cocktail
There is no doubt in my mind we’ll be back to Kinodo Kwetu someday but if you get the chance before we do, order a HoneyTrek cocktail (vodka, home-made ginger juice, fresh squeezed lemon, and a splash of Sprite) and toast your new home away from home.

Anne and Mike Howard are creators of the around-the-world honeymoon blog and Long Term Travel Coaches for anyone looking to travel the world safely, affordably and off the beaten path. You can follow @HoneyTrek on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.