[trip style = camping + glamping]
Ever considered forgoing a hotel stay to indulge in the understated comfort of a yurt, tee pee or canvas tent? Alternative lodging is making a comeback, not only evidenced by the ultra-hip Ace Hotel Palm Springs using yurts for some of their spa treatments, but according to Oregon State Parks, yurts are "a quickly-growing national phenomenon." Not sure if it's because the recession caused people to think twice about how much they spend on travel, or if it allows people to get away from it all with a little more comfort than nylon tenting; either way, alternative camping-like lodging is where it's at.
Low-End Pampering yourself in a permanent-esque shelter at provincial, state or private campgrounds provides a happy medium between fumbling with tent poles and staying in a hotel. What's great about this type of accommodation is you can partake year-round: most yurts---even those at campgrounds---have heating. Two years ago my husband and I had our first yurt experience in mid-November when we went surfing with friends in Oregon. At first I was scared that the cold weather and chilly waters of the Pacific would never allow my body temperature to reach normalcy, but within minutes of getting back to our yurt, we were warm and toasty thanks to its heating system. > Renting yurts and canvas tents at campgrounds ranges from $35 in low season to $89 in high season.
High-End Don't be fooled, luxe camping isn't always cheaper. Some hotels offer this type of accommodation at a premium for people who want an authentic rustic experience in the wild, like at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, which is glamping at its best. Speaking of glamping, at this time last year I was about to fly to Africa to stay in a luxury canvas tent at the Fairmont Masai Mara (see my hotel review here). My experience there was the most glamorous camping I've ever encountered: a gorgeous off-white canvas tent avec mesh windows and an attached front deck overlooking the hippos in the Mara river. Our tent sat on a concrete platform covered with browny/copper-toned rustic tiles, accompanied by a cozy 4-post bed, brown leather directors chairs, shower, bathroom and area to get ready. Heaven. > Prices for high-end camping vary; however, luxe camping can be much more expensive than staying in a hotel.
Resources If you don't want to go as far as Africa to glamp, here are a few local options: - Whistler, BC ~ yurts + cabins at Riverside campground - Interior, BC ~ canvas tents at Kumsheen's campground - BC Parks' Yurts ~ Mostly in BC's Interior - Oregon ~ State Park cabins + yurts - Washington ~ State Park cabins + yurts
Tips for Staying in Yurts or Canvas Tents - most yurts are outfitted for year-round stays, especially those on the temperate West Coast - bring earplugs---the rain can get loud at night - yurts usually sleep 4, canvas tents 2-4 - often pets are not allowed
[images by diamondmountain, dave and @tripstyler]