Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Ever heard of 'glamping'?
I hadn't either until I read this article. The word means 'glamorous camping'. Essentially one has all the comforts of a five-star-plus hotel - under canvas.
Personally, I don't see the point. I remember many years of camping, as a child, a teenager and an adult. I've been snowed into a mountain cave in the Cedarberg in South Africa; spent stifling nights under canvas in the African bush (where one's principle concern was what might come sniffing around the tent at oh-dark-thirty, looking for a midnight snack); camped beside rushing rivers where one could reach an arm outside the tent and feel the spray from the water breaking against the rocks; watched the sun rise over frozen winter mountains, shivering in multiple layers of clothing while clutching a blessedly hot cup of campfire coffee in both hands; and felt the icy shock of mountain stream water as I've plunged into it, soap in hand, to wash off the sweat and stains of a few days' hike through the hills. Blessed memories, all of them (even if the last-mentioned involved water so cold that I came out with certain portions of anatomy shrunk to the size and consistency of dried walnuts and a [very small] frozen carrot!)
'Glamping', on the other hand, involves only the best of everything, up to and including hot and cold running servants. The article cites Whitepod in Switzerland (from $640 per night in low season); Al-Maha in the United Arab Emirates ($1,100 per night); Aman-i-Khas in India ($1,170 per night); Baines' Camp in Botswana ($575 per night in low season, $1,040 in high season); Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, Canada ($5,900 to $6,850 for three days, all inclusive); Paws Up in Montana, USA ($835 to $940 per night for two people); and Longitude 131, Australia ($990 per person per night, sharing). Click on the Web links provided for a taste of utter opulence - at a price.
Even allowing for different levels of service, numbers of guests and length of stay, those numbers average out to about $1,100 per night across the seven resorts. In my active camping days, that sort of money would buy supplies and pay travel costs for a week to ten days of camping for a party of four, including entrance fees to national parks and all related expenses! We didn't have champagne, masseurs or servants, but we had a pretty darn good time nevertheless.
I don't think you'll find me 'glamping' anytime soon!