Glamping has come a long way, even in its most recent guise as the festival love child of Huckleberry Finn and the River Cottage. We seemed to have it all: comfortable Bell Tents, Wooden Pods and Mongolian Yurts. Secluded wooden settings, clifftop sea views, floating decks, fresh organic eggs in the morning and wood burning pizza ovens.
Celebrated chefs have popped up at glamping sites to create secret feasts and designers have fabricated treetop wonderlands with eco architecture forging a new off-grid style. It’s been an extraordinary explosion on the native landscape. Wild nooks and crannies are sprinkled with hidden tipis, grand estates are dotted with shepherd huts and traditional hotels are opening up their tree lined drives to guests wanting a 5* night under the stars.The glamping market has of course always been characterised by the addition of creature comforts. The balance has been to make sure the outdoor experience is enriched not sterilised. It seems far from it. Luxury is redefined by the harnessing of our landscape’s most dramatic settings, and the new era of architect designed accommodation evokes an appreciation of nature whilst conveniently attending to our more basic forms of human nature. Which brings us to the en-suite.Your own bathroom is an altogether different sort of luxury, and no glamping site now would be worth their weight in bath salts if they didn’t offer some en-suite options. Perhaps even camping purists wouldn’t sneer at a hot shower, running water and loo. A simple triumvirate of ablutions that avoids the daily trek in the wet grass to the portaloos or shower block.
At Yurtel our Luxury (Ensuite) Suites, and Ensuite Huts are always the first to sell out. They are the most luxurious and most comfortable canvas accommodations we have. The gateway drug to a new audience, wanting to dip their toes into the bewitching world of glamping where normal rules don’t apply: where time unfurls at a slower pace and the clarion call of nature is just at your well washed fingertips.But it’s interesting that the ensuite is now being seen as the bellwether for luxury: a recent phenomenon that entices the hardiest of hotel visitors. Ensuite glamping probably had its original heyday in the African safari camps at the turn of the 19th century, when hundreds of porters carried every conceivable luxury across the wild landscapes for westerners looking for adventures and new trophies. Being portered and pampered were part of the course Even if there was a hiatus, this growing trend has hugely widened the marketplace. So popular is the fully fitted private bathroom that experts are starting to mutter that the less bespoke side of the industry could reach saturation point in the future. And if it doesn’t match the environmental criteria than it doesn’t stand a chance. Eco-friendly structures not only appeal to a more responsible traveller, but give holidaymakers access to protected landscapes where hotels would never get permission to build.There is no doubt that the luxury option of an en-suite offers a great introduction to life under canvas for thousands of people each year, and therefore tempts more people into spending their holiday time outdoors. The market has set a new benchmark and anyone booking a glamping trip will soon expect an ensuite as a given. Free standing copper baths, wood burning heated hot tubs and spa treatments could make the generic pod look a little lacklustre.
It’s a good time for those booking trips in the UK. Glamping sites will be tripping over themselves to come up with a stylish oasis that is definitely more inhouse than outhouse.