Let’s be real, camping isn’t for everyone. Slogging it out in the humid jungle with a flimsy canvas sheet over your head and a muesli bar as your snack isn’t exactly the idea of a perfect holiday for most of us. Thankfully, we’re enough of an evolved species to invent the idea of glamping or glamorous camping, so we can still stargaze in the wilderness but with creature comforts like air-conditioning and a proper, plated meal.
Glamping can take shape in many forms, and the common sites are those situated in the heart of lush forests. Others, especially those in Europe, envelop you in cold ice igloos – the seasonal Game of Thrones Ice Hotel is one that comes to mind. But being in the desert is where the adventure is at. In the day you’ll feel the full force of the mighty sun bearing down on your human body, while at night the chill can send shivers down to your bone.
Okay, it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, but desert glamping is quite the divine experience. Imagine riding along the Saharan sand dunes on a camel a la Lawrence of Arabia, and retreating to the warm confines of your tent for a hot shower at night. Pray tell, where else can you pay for a camping trip like this?
Whether you’re seeking to jetset off to a far-flung destination like Arizona or maybe a little closer like the Indian desert, here are some of the best desert glamping sites you should consider for your next holiday.
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Oman
Two hospitality stalwarts in Oman – the Anantara group and Oman Expeditions – have come together in a joint partnership to launch a luxury mobile camping experience for guests at the Al Baleed Resort Salalah. The flexible itinerary will have you starting out at one of Al Baleed Resort’s beachside villas before traversing across the world’s largest desert, the Empty Quarter, in luxury 4×4 vehicles to set up camp amongst the 200-metre-tall dunes.
Throughout the trip, you’ll be accompanied by members of the Mahrah, a tribe that has worked the frankincense trading routes since Queen Sheba was still around. Should you wish, interactions and conversations with local geologists, archaeologists, and astronomers can be arranged to help bring your trip to life.
Under Canvas, Tucson, Arizona
There’s just something magical about the Arizonian outback, with larger-than-life cacti and galloping horses on a ranch. That’s what you’ll get during your stay at Under Canvas Tucson, a glamping site located on the acclaimed Tanque Verde Ranch. A myriad of activities besides horseback riding is at your disposal, including mountain biking, fishing, hiking (a must in Arizona) and even yoga just for some zen moments.
The luxury tents at Under Canvas are also no slouches. A Deluxe tent is the most basic and can sleep up to four people and has a private deck for you to admire the stars at night. If you want to splurge, you can go for the Stargazer tent which has a viewing window just above your king-sized bed.
The season for Under Canvas Tucson starts October 3, 2019 and lasts till May 25, 2020.
Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, Morocco
Located strategically in the middle of the Erg Chebbi desert in Morocco is the Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp, nine hours away from Marrakech. It’s a nomadic oasis that one won’t expect to be there, especially not so deep in the desert. Spending a few days here means disconnecting from the grid and basking in the endless sand plains with rides on camels and feasting on Morrocan cuisine on top of a sand dune.
Longitude 131°, Australia
Imagine waking up to a magnificent view of the monolithic Uluru. Well, if you have booked a stay at Longitude 131°, that will be your reality. It’s not every day that you get to be in the presence of one of the most sacred UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but of course, that’s not all there is to the glamping lodge.
A range of bespoke experiences is available for you to partake in. You could visit Bruce Munro’s art phenomenon, Field of Light, that sees 50,000 spheres of light installed at the base of Uluru. Or, you could go on expeditions to Walpa Gorge and Kata Tjuta, a series of ancient rock formations.
Sujan The Serai, Jaisalmer, India
There’s a good chance that the definition of glamping in the dictionary is accompanied by a picture of The Serai. The glamping at the luxury lodge in Jaisalmer, India, is on a whole stratosphere above the rest, seeing as it is inspired by the royal caravan sites of Rajputana.
21 beautifully-appointed tents are sprawled across the private oasis, with six of them having their own private garden and heated plunge pools. The crown jewel of the lodge is the Royal Tented Suite that boasts its own spa, outdoor pool, and separate tents for dining and lounging. Sounds like this is glamping fit for a king.