Having become one of the biggest travel trends of the 21st century, truly picking up speed today, Glamping – Glamourous Camping is the new ‘it’ way of camping. You get the luxury, and you get the rustic, hillbilly outdoor experience. The British royal family (let’s forget their feuds for a while!) loves their African safaris in Kenya and other luxury outdoor resorts in the Bush.
In India, travellers who want to do something exquisite and not run-of-the-mill, like a regular hotel stay, are looking at ‘Glamping’ options. Lonavala, Ranthambore, Alibaug, Goa, the countries wild and motley National Parks with all kinds of nature at one’s behest, tea estates, and hill stations, today have glamping options on offer. This is how one gets to live in style and still feel grounded.
Here we list some of India’s greatest glamping experiences. Many times glamping is defined by a range of outdoor accommodation that includes tree houses, princely tents, villas and even residential properties turned into resorts, all set in nature. Take a look and book your Glamping experience now. These give you remoteness and the fresh, untainted air of faraway climes, together. Model Mariette Valsan recently took time out to live out the new trend, at a resort surrounded by hills and lakes, in Guatape, Colombia. Shares she about the property Bosko designed expressly to ‘Glamp’, “Bosko has been named one of the best Glamping sites in the world by Vogue. I have always wanted to experience camping but was reluctant to jump into something like the Mt. Everest base camp trek. So I figured Glamping, which is much more comfortable, is a great way to introduce myself to the idea. The beautiful heated sky pools there were one of my favourite features. With the increased awareness of the need to be eco-friendly and to care for the planet, eco-resorts are on the rise (today)”.
Bohemyan Blue, Alibaug – Former model and now actor and marathoner Milind Soman tied the knot with wife Ankita Konwar here. Started by textile designer Sunanda Gupta in 2013, first beginning as a café and boutique designer shop, Bohemyan Blue is today a complete resort with tented accommodation – luxury tents where the tent fabric has been specially selected by the textile designer herself. Just so that it is airy and gives visitors a roomy experience. The tents are billed as ‘romantic’ and the stay is as glam as they come. Rooms promise hi speed internet, flat TVs and aromatic scents emanating from carefully selected cosmetic products.
Shares Gupta, “At the property we have also planted 3000-4000 plants ourselves. I wanted to build a property that was very lush and surround the place with different plants and flowers. Each tent is handmade. All my chefs are local women, and we are also pet-friendly. Dogs can live in the rooms too provided they don’t sully the mattresses! I don’t know all the modern terms like ‘glamping’, however we are a place without much concrete around, there are hybrid plants here, and also we don’t ask anyone’s marital status before giving them rooms, even if it’s a just a couple!” Website – www.bohemyanbluestay.com
Cabo Serai, South Goa – On Cabo De Rama beach in South Goa, Cabo Serai also allows you to explore nature, Goa’s native heritage and natural lagoons with éclat. Focussed on being eco-conscious, the hotel refrains from using plastic, and has adopted the philosophy of sustainability to the best of its ability. The luxury tents at the nature-decked resort which is surrounded by palm trees and the limpid and sparkling waters of the Arabian Sea offer one most of today’s existing modern comforts. For example hair-dryers, free wi-fi, and a double bed (with premium bedding). And additionally with their tent one gets an area outdoor to lounge and a laptop work space for those who want to take a few days to work from this scenic area.
Shares Mumbai-based co-founder at an art gallery Meghna Mehta Chhabria who visited the undulating resort property in January 2021, “Perched on a hill, this hidden gem is surrounded by lush foliage and is a stone’s throw away from the beach. Our view was sea-facing and we loved the design aesthetic which is luxurious but at the same time eco-friendly. They place great emphasis on wellness and sustainability – be it the organic, home-grown ingredients they use in the kitchen to the copper drinking water pots provided in each room. We particularly enjoyed swimming in the freshwater creek which runs through the property and the highlight was the 4 course private dinner they set up for us on the beach.” Website – www.caboserai.com
Glenburn Tea Estate & Boutique Hotel, Lodge and Campsite, Darjeeling – The tea estate started by the Scottish and now taken over by the Prakash family is a journey to colonial times, but lived in the present century. Started in 1859, the tea estate has colonial style rooms with Burma teak flooring and antique furniture. And what’s more, apart from introductions and walk-throughs into the plantation and the process of chai-rearing, you get the glamourous, laid-back camping experience at the Glenburn Campsite.
Expresses the hotel’s Husna-Tara Prakash, “The campsite experience is rustic with a touch of luxury in our service, food and attention to detail. Our campsite is by the river Rangeet on the border of Sikkim. We use kerosene lamps (not lights powered by electricity) at the site and you can hear the sounds of nature, the rushing river, barking deer, hornbills and other birds while there! Guests who stay at our hotel bungalows can avail of this experience which is already included in our overnight package rate. Set amidst 1000 acres of private forest, the hike down to the camp takes about 2 hours. You can paddle in rock pools, try your hand at fishing for trout and wild mahseer, enjoy a delicious BBQ. There is also a suspension bridge close-by that one can walk to. Ever since the pandemic shut down the world, people are definitely looking for a ‘safe bubble’ to escape to for a while and Glenburn is the perfect destination that provides that….” Website – www.glenburnteaestate.com
Khem Villas, Ranthambore – The luxury tents at Khem Villas on the outskirts of Ranthambore are some of royal Rajasthan’s most tasteful and well-appointed tents. Khem Villas was started by Goverdhan Singh Rathore and Usha Rathore, and Anokhi, the local, Indian fashion brand famous for hand-block printed clothing has provided the comforters, the bed sheets, the staff livery and other textiles and motifs used across the hotel. The luxury jungle camp’s off-white tents along with its king-sized beds also boast bathrooms with showers built from bamboo and wood. The menu at Khem Villas is all-vegetarian where ingredients are sourced from the hotel’s own “organic gardens and farms”.
The experience is made more authentic by wintry campfires and one can even do a Chambal River safari (apart from the customary Ranthambore tiger safari) where groups ride on the hotel’s Bayliner Boat and catch the uncommon gharial and other river species such as turtles, ospreys and skimmers.
Offers Usha Rathore, “Khem Villas is on a 30-acre area and we built it from scratch. It was barren land – we planted the trees 32 years ago and also created water bodies where jungle animals today drink water. It’s like living in the jungle here and the camping experience allows you to partake of the sounds and calls of the jungle. In summer one can see migratory birds here, and today even gharials have become popular among tourists since their numbers have increased. People want to spot them. One loves to see the pug marks of a hyena or a porcupine that has travelled into the precincts of Khem Villas, or hear the sounds of a peacock. Our organic farms provide the wheat, vegetables, milk, yogurt and paneer used in dishes…” Rathore shares that they are just witnessing a sloth bear in the resort’s purlieu, which is rarely sighted, as we interview her! Website – www.khemvillas.com