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.

5 New Shades of Glamping

Latest luxury camping alternatives for your outdoor getaway

Once it was only celebrities at festivals who could afford to go ‘glamping’. Now though everyone seems to be getting in on the trend of posh camping.

Whether you feel like slumbering underneath the stars in luxury yurts, or getting close to nature with wooded tree-top hideaways, the new designs in camping alternatives are coming in thick and fast.

So for those of you who don’t like to spend nights atop damp ground proof sheets on rocky floors, why not take a look at some of these recent innovations designed to revamp the peg-up tent into a relaxation station?

Stackable sleeping cells
stackable cells

‘Did you ever live in a beehive before?’ says co-inventor designer Barbara Vandhorre.

These honeycomb-shaped wooden cells were designed by a team of Belgian designers called B-and-Bee, who were fed up with sleeping in tents at music festivals. The separate capsules are great for avoiding the muddy or flooded floor beneath: plus everyone gets their own individual pod (so no disturbance from all the other sweaty bodies around you after a night of dancing!)

Each pod contains a king sized bed, which can be transformed by day into a comfortable seating area. And the best bit is locks, lights and power are all included, meaning you’ll still be able to keep your gadgets buzzing throughout the trip!

The QUQUQ camping box
QUQUQ-instant-camper-van

With one of these European-designed camping boxes, you can transform your van into a two-person camper in under one minute. Crack open the top to find a miniature kitchen inside, complete with a 2-flame stove, a freshwater sink and storage space, as well as a comfy bed for two.

When compared to other campers-in-boxes, the QUQUQ is not only more fun to say, it also appears to be simpler to transport and transform. It’s effectively a home in one, and means you can switch that mouldy old tent for a cool, compact camping compartment.

De Markies mobile home
de markies

For the laid back roadtripper, the De Markies (Danish for ‘The Awning’) is a perfect way to live and breathe those wide, open roads. When driving along it measures just 2.00 metres by 4.50 metres, but once you’ve arrived at your destination, it opens up and the space can increase threefold in a matter of seconds.

One side of the Dr Markies hosts a private boudoir, whilst the canvas on the other side is completely transparent, allowing for breath-taking views of the countryside from the comfort and warmth of your cosy camper.

Orange, stainless steel, and crisp white complete the vintage-looking design, which is both stylish and contemporary.

Glisten Camping
glisten-camping

Glisten Camping brings a truly unique glamping experience to the south-west of France. The brainchild of Cornish-based camper Simon Thomason, Glisten selects the best locations in south-west France then sets up the distinctively stylish geodesic domes. Each dome sleeps a family of up to six.

These camping pods have hanging beds for kids, tonnes of head room, partitioned bedrooms and luxurious king-sized beds and are the true essence of glamping. As Simon puts it, “the great outdoors deserve a beautiful indoors”.

Indoor Caravanning
indoor caravanning

Although combining indoor and outdoor is usually the worst design faux-paz known to man, bringing the outdoors inside has proved fabulously popular in Germany.

The Huttenpalast (meaning ‘caravan palace’) in Berlin provides quirkily decorated vans within the comfort of an old vacuum factory. They even provide AstroTurf flooring for makeshift gardens, and hanging baskets galore, so you still get a healthy fill of the fresh outdoors without actually having to step outside. This is an ideal for the novelty-seeking glamper.

Have you noted any other glamping designs or trends in other countries? Let us know in your comments below!

All photos curtesy of Salop Leisure

A Glamping Balancing Act

“What is this gramping about?” my father asks on our way to the Ridgeback Lodge on Kingston Peninsula in New Brunswick.

“Dad, it’s called glaaammping, “I pronounce loudly and slowly so that hopefully this time he’ll get it correct, “it’s luxury camping.”  I reply.

I’ve decided to take my parents on a road trip holiday in New Brunswick Canada. I booked us a night at Ridgeback Lodge, a glamping site on the scenic Kingston Peninsula.  My parents love the outdoors; they honeymooned camping on Pike’s Peak 55 year ago.  At 78 years old, I thought introducing them to glamping might be a good way for them to enjoy the outdoors and not have to put up a tent or sleep on the ground.  However, I hadn’t considered how hard it would be to add a new word to their vocabulary.

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Dad, This is Why it’s Called Glamping

It feels 5-star, complete with memory foam beds, 500 thread count sheets, a beautiful private view, comfortable chairs that you sink into, stacks of current magazines for your lazy viewing pleasure, and a personal hot tub.  Harpers Bazaar Singapore even includes it as one of their top 5-star travel experiences.  But look closely at the Ridgeback Lodge Dream Domes; you won’t find fancy soaps or shampoos, no room service, you’ll have to start your own fire to keep warm, and you’ll dine outside on a picnic table.  This isn’t a typical 5-star experience – it’s glamping.

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We arrived and met Christel and Robert, the architects of the Dream Domes, and immediately fell in love with their passion for these unique accommodations as well as their passion for the outdoors.  Christel explained that they tried to strike a balance between real camping and luxury.  The goal is to appreciate and intermix with nature, not view it from a distance.  They purposefully didn’t provide too much of a ‘hotel’ experience and wanted to keep it more like a true camping experience.  Therefore, you bring your own food with you to cook as there are no stores or restaurants nearby, and you eat outside on the picnic table. However, with all of the nice comfortable touches, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking this is a hotel experience – but it’s not.  There’s no WiFi and they don’t furnish a hair dryer or little shampoos – you must bring your own just as if you were camping.

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We reserved a dome (which only sleeps 2 people) and a cabin so that we all had a place to sleep.  Each dome is located in the forest away from the cabins and has it’s own private view surrounded by evergreen trees. The dome included a bathroom with shower, kitchenette, king sized bed, and a couple of lounge chairs.

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Dome Design

We settled into our new glamping surroundings and my mom and I decided to share the dome, while my dad was happy in the cabin.  The dome’s interior design was a modern twist to cabin living.  The décor of the ‘living area’ was designed in taupe and muted gray colors so that it didn’t overshadow the real décor – a giant spherical picture window looking out onto the green forest.  The window was a perfect way to showcase Mother Nature’s masterpiece.  The lamps and light fixtures were sleek stainless steel, which blended with the octagonal bars of the dome.  There were two Scandinavian looking chairs to sit back and relax with a stack of current magazines to suit anyone’s taste.  Big fuzzy blankets abound making the whole dome ooze comfort.

The one solid wall that created the divider for the bathroom, living area, and kitchen was a simple nod to rustic cabin life.  The wall, which also formed the ‘headboard’ for the bed, was made of unfinished wood planks.  The kind you would use for the walls of a cabin.  As perfect and impeccable as the rest of the dome was, the wood planks were uneven, rough, and raw.  I loved the juxtaposition of the unfinished cabin wall among the slick, sleek, modern dome.  The living area also contained a wood stove for cold winter days and nights.

The small, bright kitchen was simple yet modern – and it has everything you would need for basic cooking.  The colorful Tomodachi knife set was the only real splash of color in the whole dome.  The stove top was an induction unit providing energy efficient cooking without creating a lot of extra heat in the little dome.  However, if you prefer the real camping experience, a small outdoor grill was also provided with each dome. There was not a real dining area inside the dome, which encouraged you to sit outside at the picnic table mimicking a typical camping experience.

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A Hot Tub Fired by Nature

Christel took us out back to show us how to use our dome’s personal hot tub.  The little Japanese style wooden tub is not only really cool, but it’s also a giant science project!  As she explained how the wood fired hot tub worked it made me delve back into scientific principles that I had long shelved in the back of my brain.  Water temperatures, rising, falling, air flow – yikes!  The system is similar to a boiler system; the ‘furnace’ has a water jacket and heats up and forces out the hot water back into the tub.

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“You have one chance, don’t overshoot it, else you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to use it.” she instructed as she talked about how to get the temperature just right with the wood fire.

I looked at my dad and said, ”This is your job.”  My father is the fire starter and maintainer – not me.  My dad was never really a water person so he was much happier building the fire rather than sitting in the hot tub.  My mom and I instead enjoyed his fire building work while we soaked in our hot tub among the trees.  Sure, the hot tub required a little work, but it was totally worth it. And the wood fire stayed true to the camping theme.

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No Sleeping Bags Required

Normally camping means a poor nights sleep for me, but not in the dome.  We woke up the next morning to  “pitter patter, pitter patter”  – it was lightly raining outside.  Surprisingly there was not a feeling of dread that you normally have when you realize it’s raining and you are camping out in the forest.  Instead, I felt happy to be in a beautiful tented dome among the pine trees in New Brunswick Canada.  Rain while glamping is soothing.

My mother declared, “That was the nicest bed I’ve ever slept in!”   And I had to agree with her.  The sheets were like silk, and the mattress like a cloud you slowly sink into.  It’s such a good mattress you don’t even notice there’s another person in bed with you!  As the other person moves there is not a single reverberation of movement on my side of the mattress.  This was sleeping heaven.

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Celebrate The Outdoors

The Ridgeback Lodge property is full of options for the outdoor lover.  You can hike up to the pond and go swimming or have a picnic, rent a canoe on the Kingston Creek, hike the trails on the property or venture out onto the Kingston Peninsula for more hiking.  At night you can keep your camping experience going with a bonfire – don’t forget to bring your own marshmallows!

However I was pretty happy just watching the rain droplets roll down the dome’s window. I wrapped myself in a little blanket reading a magazine while my parents putzed around.  “I like this gramping, do you think they have this in the US?” my mom asked.

I sighed, rolled my eyes, and decided to give up with the vocabulary lessons.  “Yes mom, they have glamping in the US, you should try it there too!” I replied.

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So I clearly wasn’t the only one who fell in love with the domes, my parents are now gramping fans. And I have now decided that ‘gramping’ is the senior citizen version of glamping.  Maybe I should start a website I muse to myself.

Christel and Robert don’t care what you call it – glamping, gramping, or 5-star – the main thing is that you still get close to nature as if you were camping.  They managed to create an environment that was spot on – the right balance of camping to glamour.

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.