Photo courtesy of Vail Collective Retreat
It’s part glamorous, part camping, part mishmash of accommodations -- otherwise known as glamping. For people who harbor ambivalent or uneasy feelings about camping, this is the answer to their prayers.
Although the term has been around since 2005 when it first appeared in the United Kingdom, the actual activity dates back to the 16th century. According to sources, the Scottish Duke of Atholl erected lavish tents during his travels in the Highlands that included all the comforts of home.
That tradition has carried into the 21st century in the form of safari-style tents, yurts, tepees, tented cabins, regular cabins and airstream trailers. In some states, treehouse glamping is available! Designed to allow maximum exposure to Colorado’s great outdoors yet include the necessities (and more often over-the-top amenities), glamping is a popular alternative to staying at hotels, condominiums or campgrounds. These accommodations allow immediate access to some of the most spectacular areas of the Rocky Mountains, and guests will relish the civilized quarters to come home to at the end of the day. And best of all, there is a guarantee of a comfortable mattress, refuge from bugs, a real toilet and running water …. well, most of the time! Stretching from Cortez in the southeastern corner of the state to the northern Rockies, there is an incredible array of glamping opportunities throughout the state. The rates are equally diverse, ranging from under $100 per night to over $600. There are several websites that deal exclusively with glamping accommodations.
Some of the details you should check when planning your Colorado glamping adventure are whether the accommodations are available during the winter months, if there is running water, electricity, heat and “real” toilets. A few properties are all-inclusive, patterned along the lines of a dude ranch; the majority do not.
In the case of Vail Collective Retreat’s glamping location in Wolcott, 20 minutes west of Vail, be prepared to be pampered at a celestial level. From the 1500 thread count sheets to the en suite toilet, they leave no detail unaddressed. But beyond the 5-star accommodations, appointments and service, the goal is to provide an overall experience you’ll never forget. Vail Collective boasts six luxury tents with private decks, 24/7 staff, the Three Peaks Lodge (where meals are hosted), communal area and nightly campfires, complete with s’mores.
“We are focused on experiential travel, providing people with an opportunity to get to know the area and the people you are traveling with or the new people sharing the same experience with you,” said Chloe Todd, marketing manager for Collective Retreats, a Denver based company that has operations across the country. “We want to provide more than a bed and food. People who come to our properties will have a wonderful experience -- all the staff is committed to that. We customize and personalize the stay so that people have the best possible time when staying with us.”
After a decade in the hotel and hospitality arena, founder and CEO Peter Mack wanted to provide travelers a different experience outside of the traditional hotel stay. Focusing on the entire experience, he found coveted locations that don’t offer traditional hotels and incorporated luxury, unparalleled views and amenities, and the best of the Colorado outdoors.
“Our guests have access to Vail, Edwards, Eagle and all the outdoor activities; yet are secluded on the grounds,” said Todd. “It’s a chance to connect with nature, relax and rejuvenate. It’s a real retreat with plenty of privacy.”
Below you will find some of the best glamping opportunities in the Centennial state.
Located just 20 miles west of Vail, this stunning mountain retreat offers a remote escape in an easily accessible location. Tucked away in the Colorado mountains, overlooking 1,000 acres of beautiful ranch property, the Vail Collective Retreat offers the unique experience of connecting guests with their natural surroundings, while providing five star, luxurious comforts. The tents are outfitted with signature appointments and furnishings carefully placed by the Collective Design Team, featuring a plush king bed, outdoor private deck with Adirondack chairs, and a private bathroom. Each tent is spacious and enjoys breathtaking views of 4 Eagle Ranch and the Sawatch Mountains. A locally sourced, hearty, table-side, chef prepared breakfast is included and served daily at Three Peaks Lodge, including fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, and wellness options. In-tent breakfast is available upon request. They offer a private chef and farm-to-table dinner options upon request. Along with your reservation, you will be invited to nightly sunset campfires with evening drinks and s’mores, as well as weekly farm-to-table dinners.
This is the ultimate in glamping with tents in a mountain setting as well as along the Dolores River. These luxurious accommodations feature eight tents, prospector/safari style, sitting on a 640 square foot wooden platform anchored to the bedrock. Each tent has all the amenities you would expect in a luxury hotel, however you are in an actual (albeit very large) tent. You even have your own bathroom with a six-foot long soaker tub, shower and on-demand hot water, double vanities and even towel warmers, which make getting out of the tub so much more relaxing. Each tent comes with two private mountain bikes so you can explore the trails and roads, or you can go on amazing hikes from the property or drive to local trailheads. You can immerse yourself in nature and disconnect from the daily grind but still be able to freshen up, have a nice cocktail by the fire-pit at the farmhouse and enjoy a wonderful dinner with friends or newly made friends. All meals and beverages are included in the price.
Since 1919, C Lazy U has been the preeminent luxury guest ranch in Colorado. Located seven miles outside of Granby, you will stay in beautifully-appointed, spacious rooms or cabins that guarantee first-class comfort and solitude. You won’t find the safari-style tents but you’ll adore the stone fireplaces found in most accommodations, western style furnishings and personal touches that will make you feel perfectly at home. This all-inclusive family vacation includes daily housekeeping service, nightly bed turn-down during the high season months, plush robes, coffee, tea, cocoa and snacks replenished daily. C Lazy U ranch offers 40 guest ranch accommodations, including individual rooms and full private cabins, varying in size and décor, all within walking distance of the Main Lodge. One to three bedroom cabins are available and children’s rooms offer twin beds or bunk beds – perfect for your Colorado family vacation. C Lazy U guest ranch has remodeled or renovated all of its cabins over the last few years in order to maintain the five-star standards and western elegance guests have grown to expect in a Colorado guest ranch vacation. All cabins have refrigerators, daily housekeeping service, plush robes, new beds and decor, Keurig coffee, tea and cocoa machines, and snacks. Best of all, C Lazy U has almost every imaginable activity available to make your vacation memorable -- horseback riding, fly fishing, trap shooting, archery and much, much more.
If you’re looking for the Airbnb or VRBO of glamping, this is the source you’ll want to peruse. In addition to tents, you will find a variety of individual cabins, yurts, airstreams and tepees listed in Glamping Hub. Some of the offerings are very basic; others features over-the-top cabins. You’re sure to find something that suits your budget and lifestyle. This site is nicely displayed with properties detailed on the left side of the screen while a map of Colorado is shown to the right. Using your computer cursor, you can hover over the map and get a thumbnail introduction of each property,
This website also includes a good selection of glamping opportunities and includes TripAdvisor reviews and ratings. It allows you to sort by types of accommodations (i.e. tents, cabins, yurts, etc.) and you can see on a map where the properties are located.
Wherever you end up, you’re bound to talk about your winter or summer glamping in Colorado experience for years to come.
Posted by Pat O'Connor
Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.Facebook LinkedIn Twitter