Eco-Conscious Glamping

One of the many reasons I’m hopelessly devoted to glamping is the eco-factor, a by-product of staying in a natural setting. Having glamped on almost every continent, I’ve yet to meet a chic campsite that isn’t small scale, low impact, or energy efficient—a trend hinting at a green sensibility that’s becoming increasingly important to travelers.

It was during one of my first glamping experiences on a vegetated cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef that the chef at the upscale eco-isle pointed out fishing boats in the distance. “Today’s lunch (of pan-fried barramundi) was delivered ashore from one of those vessels”, he explained. Dining fish-to-fork at a table made of local wood has made every other meal (ever) hard to measure up.

Sustainable situations like this are the rule versus the exception when you choose to glamp. Such is the case at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, where upon arrival I was handed a guava welcome beverage in a cup chiseled from the local forest’s bamboo bounty.

Beyond bamboo tumblers, the luxury retreat also includes elephant treks through a conservancy they set up to rescue the gentle giants from a life of begging and forced labor. In a feel-good twist, a portion of every guest’s room rate is donated to protection efforts.

Kamu Lodge
Across the Mekong River in nearby Laos, Kamu Lodge may be remote, but the modest wilderness escape doesn’t skimp on eco accoutrements. Each of 20 thatched-roof tents is topped in solar panels to light each abode at bedtime, and keep the fan running during hot jungle nights.

longitude 131
At a lower longitude, Longitude 131 to be exact, the namesake resort sets a different example of social and environmental responsibility in the form of extensive consultations with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to support the cultural heritage of the area—only 6 miles from Uluru—as well as the World Heritage Site’s flora and fauna, so precious, the entire 15-tent camp can be dismantled and relocated if need be.

Back in North America, my most recent brush with wilderness lodging took me to the sun-drenched beaches of Tulum, Mexico where at Papaya Playa Project, boho-chic beach bungalows built using local materials go so far as to fashion free-standing towel racks out of wind-swept branches and string. I took a photo in hopes of making a similar structure for a rainy-day DYI project.

It’s incredible how contagious stewardship can be when paired with passion and creativity.

Glamping in Australia at Longitude 131

Longitude 131 is truly an oasis in the middle of the red desert of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.  The fifteen luxury, glamping accommodations lie at the gateway to this national park.  Located just a short distance away from the famed Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), Longitude 131 is named for the exact location on which this beautiful rock formation sits.  Guests to Longitude 131 may come to view the natural beauty of Uluru, but stay for the immaculate, luxury accommodations and impeccable service provided by this Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Award winning luxury resort.

From the moment guests arrive at the airport, the pampering begins with a Longitude 131 employee there to whisk you away to your destination.  You are then driven straight to the resort where you will be greeted with a glass of chilled champagne and canapés and shown to your tent. Each tent is named for a different prominent figure in early Australia’s history and decorated in a modern, chic style with historical relics from each explorers’ excursions.


The extravagant accommodations of each tent are plush and inviting and include a sumptuous, king size bed, an en suite bathroom,  iPad, Bose sound system, and Wi-Fi.  There are no televisions in the tents however, as all of the entertainment you need is right outside of your floor to ceiling windows.  Each tent is a stone’s throw away from Uluru, and provides amazing uninterrupted views of this naturally-made wonder.  For guests that prefer to enjoy the beautiful colors of a desert sunrise from the comfort of their bed, simply flip the bedside switch to raise the blinds.

Each day, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, which center around exploring and learning about the natural landscape and aboriginal people to this land.  Expert local guides are prepared to escort guests through the surrounding desert landscape to Uluru for a morning excursion around the base of this enormous monolith, which like an iceberg, has most of its mass underground. Guests will also get an opportunity to view the sun setting over this majestic sandstone structure, whose reddish hue is derived from the rusting of the naturally-occurring iron contained within.  Or enjoy Table 131, where guests are greeted by the sound of a didgeridoo and entertained by indigenous performers displaying one of their own cultural dances, all while feasting on a decadent three-course meal under the unspoiled, twinkling night sky that only a remote desert location could showcase in such splendor.  For an opportunity to unwind, visit the Red Ochre Spa where guests can let their tensions melt away.  Try the Red Ochre Spa Signature Treatment for the ultimate in relaxation.  For a unique view of this natural wonder, guests can treat themselves to a helicopter tour over the national park or a Harley ride on a late model Heritage Softail.   Camel rides are another great way to explore the amazing views, complete with a trained guide to point out the wildlife and plant life

Perhaps the biggest compliment that any resort could ever expect to receive is rave reviews about their staff.  One point that seemingly all guests can agree upon about Longitude 131 is the level of attention to detail by their expertly-trained staff.  Many guests tout that “no” is a word that must not be in the vocabulary at Longitude 131.  The staff at this top-of-the-line resort brings the level of luxury to a point that is unparalleled by most other resorts. One point is certain – guests should come to this diamond in the rough prepared to be spoiled.