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!



joated said...

I'm glad they came up with a new word to describe this trend. 'Cause camping it ain't!

GeorgeH said...

Sounds like an old fashioned safari to me. Teddy Roosevelt would have felt right at home.

Dozens of porters moving ahead of you on the line of march, ariving at the new campsite to find teh tents up, the water in the portable bath tub heated, drinks mixed and a gourmet meal cooking.

Bwanahs, trackers, gun bearers, skinners. . . . . . .