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 Cabins and Tents in Hotel Rooms

In June 2013, The Baltimore Sun Travel discussed glamping and highlighted locations in Maryland. Title image Savage River Lodge.

“For those who want the outdoor experience without sacrificing the comforts of high-end living, there is glamorous camping, or ‘glamping.'” Read the full article.

Glamping is a trend that is not likely to fade as our lives become more fast-paced and connected through technology. The glamping ideology tells us to get away from stress but not sacrifice comfort.

The Sun highlights two glamping experiences. The first is Savage River Lodge with comfortable cabins and tents. Savage River Lodge is located within Western Maryland’s Savage River State Forest, and is a tranquil getaway from a hectic world. And because of high demand, Savage River Lodge will be adding eight yurts to its 18 luxury cabins. The glamping yurts, permanent tent-like structures, are 30 feet in diameter, can sleep two adults and are outfitted with a bathroom, deck, wet bar, and fireplace. “We have been so busy the past few years we decided we needed more units,” said Emily Newman-Edwards, Marketing Manager and Operations Director for Savage River Lodge.

The second is the Four Seasons Hotel with an in-room tent experience for younger guests. “During the summer especially, we welcome a lot of families to the hotel, and we wanted to offer children a unique and memorable experience during their stay,” said Audrey Slade, Four Seasons Baltimore’s Director of Public Relations. “It’s definitely a ‘wow’ when they walk into the room and see the camp amenity.”

BS sc-glamping

Photo: Four Seasons Baltimore

It’s interesting to note that bigger hotels are taking notice of the glamping trend. If in-room camping works out well for this one, you can bet you will start seeing it at more and more hotels. Ultimately the hotels are only responding to what its guests want. It may not be so surprising if hotels start offering in-room camping for adults too, just a thought.

The two cited glamping examples are just the tip of the iceberg; there are ample glamping destinations worldwide. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go on safari in Africa (although you could) to experience glamping, there is likely to be a place close to where you live already.

People who glamp can step out of their tent, yurt, tree house, or hobbit hole and experience the raw and relaxing simplicity of nature. Not everyone wants to sleep on the hard ground. Besides, what is so authentic and great about sleeping with a rock in your back?  You can enjoy the outdoors without ditching the king-size bed. And isn’t that the point–enjoying nature?