Suite-like comforts and wild settings: These well-appointed tents call campers of all adventure levels to lace up boots in the great outdoors.
Nature, a safe and socially distant refuge, has been the balm of the pandemic. Instagram accounts once devoted to rooftop cocktails and luxury suites went full Sierra Club, with images of people-less sunsets, uncrowded hiking trails, and wildflower-filled plains. But for those who feel sleeping on hard ground and rustling up campfire fare isn’t quite “vacation,” outdoors-focused resorts with tented camp and glamping options step in to remove the discomforts and handle the chores, freeing guests to revel in the splendor of nature.
As the following places illustrate, opportunities come in a variety of climates and cultures – from the African bush to the Australian Outback, tropical beaches to temperate rain forests, desert canyons to snowcapped peaks – collectively linked by love of the land.
Camp Sarika by Amangiri – Utah, U.S.
Sharing 600 acres of slot canyons and sandstone mesas with remote Amangiri in southern Utah, Camp Sarika by Amangiri acts as a boutique resort within a boutique resort, with ten tented pavilion dwellings – each with a terrace and plunge pool – and a communal pavilion with a restaurant, pool, and spa. Named after the Sanskrit word for “open space” and “sky,” Camp Sarika invites guests to spread out and steep in desert solitude, whether actively on via ferrata climbs or more pensively by stargazing with furnished telescopes. An added bonus: access to Amangiri’s resort amenities and restaurants a 30-minute hike (or five-minute drive) away. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals and a $100 resort credit.
Dunton Hot Springs – Colorado, U.S.
Originally a mining camp established in 1885 that boomed to a population of about 300, Dunton, Colorado, was a ghost town by 1918. The current owners took seven years to restore the entire town – complete with a dance hall and saloon – as Dunton Hot Springs. Historic buildings house most of the 13 accommodations, with the exception of Christy’s Tent, an all-season platform tent with a gas stove, en suite bathroom, and chandelier hanging from the central beam above the bed. Exhaust yourself hiking in the San Juan Mountains or fly-fishing on the Dolores River’s West Fork, if only to best appreciate the resort’s main attraction: the hot springs in five pools, including one in the original nineteenth-century bathhouse. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals and beverages and a $100 resort credit.
Pro Tip: “Dunton’s outside baths are magical at night, but the indoor thermal bathhouse is just as wonderful, with a wood-burning fire off the corner of the large communal bath to set the cozy and warm mood. I highly recommend the nearby cold plunge.” – Dan Lack, Virtuoso travel agency CEO
The Resort at Paws Up – Montana, U.S.
Space and variety distinguish The Resort at Paws Up, a sprawling 37,000-acre ranch a half hour east of Missoula, Montana, which now has 36 luxe tents in six camps. Choices overlooking the Blackfoot River or its Elk Creek tributary range from the original Moonlight Camp (where Western-chic tents come with complimentary mountain bikes) to three-bedroom tents at North Bank Camp and Cliffside Camp’s honeymoon tents with copper bathtubs. Each enclave has a designated dining pavilion and chef, and guests have access to more than 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, or ATV touring – plus ten miles of prime fly-fishing waters on the Blackfoot. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals, an open bar, a $300 activity credit, a bottle of wine, and round-trip airport transfers from Missoula.
Ventana Big Sur – California, U.S.
Channeling the Central Coast spirit of rugged self-reliance, 15 double-occupancy “glamp-sites” at Ventana Big Sur sit just off the Pacific in a 20-acre redwood canyon where the ocean meets California’s Santa Lucia Mountains. Campers share bathhouse facilities – with teak-enclosed showers and heated floors – but tents offer electric lamps, sinks with hot and cold water, picnic tables, and both wood-burning and propane firepits. Guests can pick up meals, picnic baskets, and s’mores kits from the resort’s two restaurants. By day, explore hidden coves and hiking trails, and catch the monarch butterfly migration and the area’s abundant marine life – including whales visible from shore.
Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge – Vancouver Island, Canada
The 600-acre Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge serves as a base camp for soaking up the surrounding UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island. While the coastal rain-forest location is remote – the only way in is by boat or seaplane – the resort’s 25 newly refurbished white canvas tents skew contemporary-sleek, with welcome luxuries such as heated bathroom floors. Beyond the tents’ waterfront decks, it’s the activities that draw explorers: kayaking the glacier-fed Bedwell River, hiking amid mossy hemlocks and cedars, morning forest bathing, and marine safaris by Zodiac to spot whales, bears, sea otters, and eagles. Menus, too, showcase the Pacific Northwest’s abundance in locavore dishes featuring scallops, salmon, prawns, and more. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals, an open bar, most activities, and a 60-minute massage.
Nayara Tented Camp – Costa Rica
Set within Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Tented Camp frames views of the active volcano from 21 hillside accommodations, each measuring a generous 1,500 air-conditioned square feet, with a plunge pool and outdoor shower. Canopy beds with headboards painted in botanical motifs bring the jungle indoors. Outdoors, guests have access to seven warm-spring pools, a wildlife preserve reforested with more than 1,000 cecropia trees to support its 15 sloths, morning yoga sessions, and an espresso bar offering bean-to-brew demonstrations. Off-property, nature guides lead canopy tours via hanging bridges, treks across lava fields, and visits to local coffee farms. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit.
Pro Tip: “Nayara’s Tented Camp offers the best Arenal Volcano views of any accommodations at the resort. Make sure to visit La Fortuna falls, a ten-minute drive away; I recommend going early in the morning to swim before it gets too crowded.” – AJ Arena, Virtuoso travel advisor
Longitude 131 ̊ – Australia
The sacred sandstone monolith at the heart of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park commands attention from each of 16 white-peaked tents at Longitude 131 ̊ in Australia’s Red Centre. A gateway to Indigenous culture, the resort offers sunset trips to Uluru, gorge walks, and visits to the cave paintings of the ancient Mala people. On the cultural track, guests can learn Aboriginal dot painting; in the adventure vein, they can explore the Northern Territory desert on Harley-Davidson motorcycle tours. When night falls, guides recount the stories of the Southern Hemisphere’s constellations over dinner, and fireplaces on the tents’ verandas invite private stargazing. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals, an open bar, a $50 spa credit, a $50 resort credit, and round-trip transfers from Ayers Rock Airport.
Chamba Camp Thiksey – India
Like the nomadic camps that sustained centuries of traders and explorers in India’s mountainous Ladakh region, the 14-tent Chamba Camp Thiksey sets up seasonally, mid-May to mid-October, in the Leh Valley’s high-altitude alfalfa pastures amid ice-capped mountains, glacial rivers, and cobalt lakes. Operated by The Ultimate Travelling Camp, the experience intersperses visits to seventeenth-century Leh Palace, ancient monasteries, and a village oracle with bird-watching, hiking, and whitewater rafting. Indigenous and colonial cultures mingle in camp, home to a croquet lawn and a globally inspired kitchen, where choices include hearty Ladakhi thukpa noodle soup. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 camp credit.
Capella Ubud, Bali – Indonesia
No trees were cut to build Capella Ubud, Bali, “a 23-tent camp that tiptoes ever so softly on the land,” according to its designer, Bill Bensley. Vintage romance meets Balinese spirituality at the secluded resort on the Wos River, where a Hindu temple offers cleansing rituals. Suspension bridges thread through the jungle highland canopy, connecting one-bedroom suites and the two-bedroom Lodge, each with a pool and styled to tell the story of a shipwrecked Dutch crew at the turn of the twentieth century. Guests can help tend the property’s coffee and cacao groves or hike nearby volcanic Mount Batur, then spend the evening in the social-hub Officer’s Tent. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and one 50-minute massage for two.
Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp – Kenya
Set on the 57,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya and sustainably managed by The Nature Conservancy as a critical corridor for elephants, Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp crowns an escarpment, framing panoramas from the Ewaso Nyiro River valley to distant Mount Kenya from its 12 tents, as well as its dining tent, terrace, and adjacent infinity pool. Three family units connect two tented bedrooms with a private walkway, and one family suite has its own swimming pool. With three square miles of wilderness per bed in the reserve, this is the place to see rare wild dogs and one of Kenya’s most stable lion populations, as well as elephants. Travelers spot wildlife on daily game drives, while the more adventurous can set out on guided horseback, camelback, mountain bike, and walking safaris. A standout experience: visiting the Loisaba Conservancy headquarters to learn about conservation programs and meet the anti-poaching sniffer dogs, followed by sundowners with canapés. Virtuoso travelers receive all meals and house drinks, daily game drives, and a guided walking safari.
Sundy Praia – São Tomé and Príncipe
On the north shore of verdant Príncipe Island, a UNESCO biosphere reserve 130 miles off central Africa’s west coast, Sundy Praia calls all castaways to 15 one- to three-bedroom tented shorefront villas modeled on traditional wood-paneled fishing huts. Sliding glass doors erase the barriers between indoors, where mini-bars come stocked with local fruit, and outdoors, where biodiversity thrives. Guests can revel in nature (this so-called African Galápagos has more than 20 endemic bird species) and active pursuits – beach-hopping by boat, showering in rain-forest waterfalls, and summiting a volcanic peak – knowing wine-paired tasting menus await in the bamboo-framed dining room. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily, one 50-minute massage for two, and round-trip airport transfers.
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