Pitch perfect: 9 luxury camping experiences around the world
Inspired by Africa’s classic safari camps, a new breed of intimate tented retreats is offering exclusive ‘luxperiences’ in some of the world’s most remote – and beautiful – wilderness areas.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
As if Sri Lanka couldn’t get any more Insta-glam, this teardrop-shaped island off the coast of India has raised the luxury retreat bar once again. Located next to Yala National Park in the country’s southeast, Wild Coast Tented Lodge features 28 suites, each with vaulted ceilings, four-poster beds and handmade copper bathtubs. With a design inspired by the surrounding landscape, four beach-facing suites offer private pools; 16 others are perched around natural watering holes, attracting a variety of animals at sunrise and sunset. Wilderness guides are on hand to escort guests to remote corners of the park for sightings of elephants, leopards and exotic birdlife.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand
Recalling the halcyon days of 19th-century expeditions, the luxury tents of Four Seasons Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai are located where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. The hideaway offers 15 tented suites and a two-bedroom Explorer’s Lodge, with handcrafted furniture, hardwood floors and thatched roofs. A founding member of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, the camp delivers an array of activities, from cooking classes to jungle picnics and elephant research.
Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos
The former capital of the Lan Xang (‘Land of a Million Elephants’) kingdom, and later home to the Laotian royal family, Luang Prabang delivers a majestic backdrop for this alluring hideaway. Surrounded by mountains and swathed in dense jungle, Rosewood Luang Prabang offers 23 spacious retreats, including six hilltop tents featuring the vivid colours, textiles and patterns adopted by the area’s indigenous hill tribes. A fusion of Lao tradition and French colonial style, each tent has an oversized daybed and balcony with panoramic views.
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Fringed by coconut palms, aquamarine lagoons and coral reefs in Indonesia’s remote Anambas Archipelago, Bawah Reserve has the barefoot feel of a Robinson Crusoe hideaway with all the luxury add-ons of a five-star resort. The all-inclusive retreat’s 19 beachfront suites offer a stylish safari-style experience, with tented ceilings stretching across private verandahs to create shady areas for daytime reading and lounging – or a romantic dinner at sunset. A few steps and you’re onto the beach and into the cool, clear water, cocktail in hand, of course.
Longitude 131°, Northern Territory
Set amid ancient dunes in the spiritual heart of Australia, the iconic Longitude 131° takes glamping to a whole new level. A jewel in the Baillie Lodges portfolio, this unique resort features 16 tented pavilions and a communal Dune House, all delivering breathtaking views of Uluru. The Red Centre’s ever-changing colours unfold at the end of your king bed – or from a cosy swag unfurled in the cool night air on your private balcony – turning the property into a magical retreat. Baillie Lodges has announced a series of artists-inresidence visits this May, July and October, offering the chance to see top Indigenous artisans at work.
Capella Ubud, Indonesia
A masterwork by international designer Bill Bensley, Capella Ubud is an ultra-indulgent tented camp paying tribute to the spirit of adventure of early European settlers. Cradled between rainforest, rice paddies, the sacred Wos River and the Balinese artist village of Keliki, this spectacular hideaway features 22 individually styled one-bedroom tented retreats and one two-bedroom lodge. Relax with morning coffee, afternoon tea and cocktails in The Officers Tent, followed by dinner in the camp’s elegant dining room, and swap tall tales by the camp fire.
Suján Sher Bagh, India
A pioneer of luxury tented camps in India, Sher Bagh allows guests to stare right into the eye of the tiger. The family owners behind this award-winning Rajasthan retreat have been at the forefront of conservation efforts in Ranthambhore National Park since 1974, helping to restore the park’s resident tiger population. Inspired by the grand Indian safari encampments of the 1920s, Sher Bagh offers 12 luxurious tented suites, gourmet cuisine and big cat, bear and birdlife safaris.
Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica
Scheduled to open in the second half of 2019, Nayara Tented Camp will create a new standard in eco-luxe accommodation in the wilds of Costa Rica. Perched on a jungle-shrouded hillside within a protected sloth sanctuary, and with panoramic views of Arenal Volcano National Park, the camp will feature 18 private tents – 12 of which can be linked to create a two-bedroom suite for two couples travelling together or a couple with four children – as well as plunge pools fed by natural hot springs. A gourmet dining room and terrace overlooking the rainforest, not to mention an array of eco-experiences, will bring guests close to this pristine wilderness.
Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia
When a tented camp blends world-class design, cuisine and hospitality with vital conservation and community outreach programs, it’s something to celebrate. The new Shinta Mani Wild – the latest in leading designer Bill Bensley’s burgeoning collection of luxe retreats – is located within a postcard-perfect wilderness corridor between Phnom Bokor and Kirirom national parks in Cambodia’s southwest. Set alongside a river and waterfalls and featuring 15 custom-designed tents, the camp offers guests the chance to immerse themselves in an untamed setting with all the comforts of a five-star resort. The Shinta Mani Foundation is also a champion of employment, education, training and environmental initiatives for the local community.