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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Carry on Glamping

Glamping down under? There are endless options from Karijini Eco Retreat (take a look here) to El Questro's Emma Gorge (pictured here), however the Australian travel media seems largely to have missed the glamping trend. Except Lissa Christopher who in Carry on Glamping for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald writes: “Glamping is about exploring your positive feelings about nature at the same time as your fondness for linen napkins and turn-down services.” Unfortunately Christopher's story is little more than a cut-and-paste of others cited in previous posts. The result of a trip courtesy of Voyages Hotels and Resorts to Longitude 131 (at least we know she's been there), like the writers of other glamping pieces, Christopher also recommends Paws Up, Montana and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Canada. (Which makes me wonder which of the resorts issued the press release that started the trend.) Christopher quotes the much-quoted Bondick family: “Gigi Bondick and her family, from Massa- chusetts, are glampers. "We're just not the camping kind of people," she says on a US-based blog.” There's no link to the US-based blog. Perhaps because the interview source is a Los Angeles Times/ Seattle Times story by Kimi Yoshino reporting from Greenough, Montana: “When 6-year-old Ethan Bondick told his mom and dad he wanted to go fly-fishing in Montana, his well-heeled parents were stumped. "We looked at each other and said, 'Oh, god, now what?' " said Gigi Bondick, 37, a "reformed" attorney whose husband works as a private-equity partner in Massa- chusetts. "We're just not the camping kind of people. We don't pitch tents. We don't cook outdoors. We don't share a bathroom. It's just not going to happen. This is a kid who has never flown anything but first class or stayed anywhere other than a Four Seasons." Sound familiar? Yoshino continues: "After typing "luxury" into a Google search along with "camping" and "Montana," the couple settled on The Resort at Paws Up... The Bondicks... shelled out $595 a night plus an additional $110 per person per day for food.” Christopher's story continues: “"We don't pitch tents. We don't cook outdoors. We don't share a bathroom. It's just not going to happen." The Bondicks pay about $1000 a night to holiday at Paws Up in Montana...” Stories 'researched' this way raise interesting questions for travellers. If the writer has misled readers here, where else has she done so? How can we trust her recommendations? And if you're about to shell out $1000 a night you want to be able to trust the writer, to know that she's been there or at least done her own research. I guess, at least we know her math's okay.

Pictured here? Our luxury tent interior at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle where we stayed while researching hotels for DK's Thailand guide last October - not nearly as expensive as the Paws Up by the sounds of it!


Anonymous said...

I can't understand this glamping thing - If you're going to pay top hotel prices why not stay in a top hotel and be done with it. Suppose I might be tempted in some East African game park though.

Anonymous said...


I just found your link from a couple of comments you left over on our travel blog. So of course, my curiosity was tweaked . . .

I just recently heard about glamping via a travel media service I just signed up for. It is so cool to see an article on it already.

Signing off now to check out the rest of your blog!

Lara Dunston said...

I tend to agree with you, Heather.

I'm trying to remember the last time I camped properly... it was in the Amazon jungle on one of those 3 day treks tour groups do, and there were 6 of us backpackers, and it was a wonderfully simple trek, with lots of walks, fishing, and swimming with piranhas and that kind of thing, and we slept on the ground under mosquito nets and we still got bitten alive and one night it rained and we even got soaked, but it was such an amazing
experience that we loved it so much, 3 of us went straight out again on another trek deeper into the jungle for a few days and it was even better. We were filthy by the end of it all and we loved our long hot showers.

So, I'm with you, I kind of don't see the point... but I'm yet to try an African safari, so we'll see.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Myscha

You know what I just came across the term the other day too - it was actually a reader and fellow blogger who brought it to my attention. But you know what? It's not new. It first appeared around 2001 - and it was a luxury resort that introduced the idea - but nobody really ran with it then the Brits went with the whole cool camping thing and there was a media frenzy over that phenomenon. But it was 'glamping' that appealed to the North American media more and everyone started writing about it last year.

It's interesting how these trends take off and grow, isn't it? But I find it hard to distinguish between what's media hype (i.e what I'm reading) and what the reality is (what I'm seeing on the road as I travel).

thanks for checking in!


TravelMuse said...

I think the whole glamping phenomenon appeals to that part of each of us that wants to be the British colonials we see in the movies. The idea of sipping tea from fine china in tents is so ironic.

Here in California the latest trend is Yurts.

Lara Dunston said...

Travelmuse, you are so right! I was thinking about that too - I started a PhD years ago, that I'm planning to resume soon - on the connections between film and travel. I was thinking of that, and how the movies have shaped our thinking, in that respect in particular, and I started to come up with a list of films. I'll be seeking your feedback once that's up to make sure I haven't missed any!

Re the yurts trend, I'm always interested to know how much of a travel trend it is, or whether the travel media are just giving it a lot of coverage because they're getting press releases from the yurt manufacturers and yurt camps or whatever saying it's a travel.

Having said that, I discovered a new travel blog the other day and linked to their post on 'yurt research' - they have about 50 links!!! It's amazing. I'll have to explore them when I have time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the yurt research link, Lara. We felt strongly to put it up for others, as it took us forEVER to compile. And especially to find information on the various aspects from decor, to up through the floor plumbing, to under-decking and more.

Looking forward to your film referenced travel series. I think you're right. There is something appealing about being in nature and yet living luxuriously. It really does promote that "best of both worlds" feeling.