Some of us dream of escaping into the outdoors, but without all the twisting of tent poles, all those roots and rocks pressing against your spine. Here we present seven places that take most of the rough edges off the camping experience — then throw in things like private pools and claw-foot tubs, just for good measure.
Rajasthan, India — Any time you see the Aman name you can be sure you’re not going to be roughing it. Though tented they may be, the ten suites are heated and air conditioned, with ceiling fans and all the fixings. All the same, Aman i Khás brings Ranthambore National Park practically to the foot of your bed, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, tigers and all.
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Greenough, Montana — Backcountry living in the remote American West is typically a rugged affair, but the five-star camping in Paws Up’s Tent City (or the trail’s-end Encampment at Bull Creek) is plush enough for presidential-suite types. Best of all, when you wake, you’re surrounded by countless acres of pristine Rocky Mountain wilderness — through which a river, we’re assured, does indeed run.
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Kruger National Park, South Africa — When it comes to luxurious safari camps, the private game reserves around South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park are in a league of their own. Honeyguide’s two camps, on land owned and managed by the local Mnisi tribe, combine the many requisite comforts of the area’s high-end tented camps with an unpretentious, community-oriented atmosphere.
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Galapagos, Ecuador — The elevated tents at Galapagos Safari Camp, each with its own balcony, hammock and en suite bathroom, are a whole other world from those cramped ship cabins where most travelers to the Galapagos spend their nights. The camp’s setting is land-before-time magical, and any time you want to take a stroll and gaze at the flora and fauna, it’s all just outside your bedroom.
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Yulara, Australia — Placed on stilts above the fragile bush of Australia’s Red Centre, the tented cabins at Longitude 131 are situated to maximize views of Ayers Rock — with a little extra drama added by remote-controlled blinds and screens, so you can reveal the scenery (and let in the breeze) at the press of a button.
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Dolores, Colorado — Four miles downriver from the much-lauded Dunton Hot Springs is its new offshoot, Cresto Ranch, where eight outsize canvas tents are spread across a scenic alpine clearing in the Colorado Rockies. Each comes with a private porch and views of either the mountains or the (highly fishable) Dolores River, plus access to Dunton’s 1,600 acres of rather stunning wilderness.
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Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates — Though many of the canopied villas at Banyan Tree Al Wadi are designed in the style of traditional Bedouin homes, you may not feel terribly nomadic after settling in by your private pool. Daybeds, loungers and fluffy white towels make the standalone tented accommodations feel like little resorts of their own, and private poolside barbecues under the stars put them over the top.
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Valle de Bravo, Mexico — Located in a lush mountain valley far from Mexico’s well-known resort towns, Rodavento’s hillside villas with tented roofs come with decks overlooking the property’s pine forests and private lake. Forget campfires and cold showers; wood-burning fireplaces and claw-foot tubs come standard.
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Rajasthan, India — Set on a hundred-acre estate in the medieval city of Jaisalmer, a desert way station that’s been welcoming traders and travelers for the better part of a millennium, the Serai’s airy tented suites start out lavish and only get better from there, culminating in a royal suite that, with its own separate dining and entertaining tents, truly lives up to its name.
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