Glamping, or high-end camping with luxurious tents, is a growing phenomenon in India, and something you should know about.
Take glamour, put it together with camping, and what do you get? Glamping! Glamorous camping has become the new buzz word in luxury travel. It takes all the luxuries of a five star hotel and transposes it with exotic and scenic locations where little or no basic facilities are available.
Make no mistake; these camps are not for regular backpackers who camp with little or no basic facilities. These mobile sites are replete with luxury that will make you salivate. They have super deluxe tents (about 450-550sqft in size), specially designed to accommodate all luxuries. And this means no camp cots but four poster beds, deluxe baths with hot and cold running showers (not bucket and mug showers), carpeted floors (and not sandy or wet ground), dining tents with silver service and starched napkins (and not cup noodles cooked on a camp fire) and even liveried valets offering their service.
The Ultimate Travel Camp, presently being marketed by many DMCs including Cox & Kings, in India and overseas, set up two such camps – one in Thiksey, Ladakh and the other in Kohima, Nagaland. Both are seasonal camps; the one in Ladakh operates in summer months, from mid-June to September end, while the Kohima camp is set up for ten days during the Hornbill festival in December. “Glamping the new buzz word in camping is a complete outdoor experience with all the benefits of luxury. It involves camping in otherwise inaccessible places with a scenic view and with the added element of luxury,” says Dhun Cordo, Promoter, TUTC. The company goes the extra mile to set up camps to provide all amenities like unlimited wi-fi, a reception tent, 24-hour electricity, a boutique, a library and a private valet throughout the stay.
Needless to say the experience comes at a high price. A per night stay is upwards of Rs 60,000 a night and the cost can cross Rs 1 lakh per night depending on the luxuries you choose, like a chopper drop off at the camp or a presidential suite tent. The target customers are not just NRIs, ex pats or foreign tourists. “There is definitely a market amongst Indians. We have played hosts to many Indians who are looking for that unique experience. This is a feature that a hotel cannot provide,” says Cordo.
While a company like TUTC serves up one end of the glamping spectrum, there are some like Overlander in Jodhpur that provide luxury camping at a lower price, with most of the trappings. Run by two passionate motorist cousins Ajit Rana and Uday Singh, Overlander has leased a piece of scrub country at Luni, a 45km drive from Jodhpur city. The campsite has safari tents which are pitched only from October to March. The setting is scenic with small hillock forming the backdrop of the camp. Although the tents may not be as huge, they have camp cots and toilets with all amenities. A two-night stay including a jeep safari thorough the desert will cost about Rs 35,000 per couple.
There are more still – Camp Chhatrasagar on the banks of the reservoir with 11 tents at Rs 30,000 a night, per person, or Citrus Farms in Hoshiyarpur where you can stay in deluxe tents for Rs 12-14,000 per person, per night.
Glamping has been around in other countries for a few years now. But in India it’s a growing phenomenon. Other than a fixed campsite, most of these companies offer customised camp set-ups, too. Those with loaded wallets get to experience the remote countryside without the tedium of setting up a campsite on their own. All you need to do is show up.