Hate the word, love the concept. Glamping, a combination of the words glamorous and camping, is my new favorite way to travel. It’s not cheap, not like real camping. But then again, you don’t have to set up the tent, cook over an open fire, clean up the dirty dishes and find a way to relieve yourself without making a mess in the woods.
One of the glamping resorts I visited, Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, offers prices that if not inexpensive, at least aren’t out of reach for most people. Weekend night rates for the tenthouse suites between Oct. 13 and Feb. 12, the period the resort calls the red wine and a good book season, are $279 and include a full breakfast. Like I said, not cheap, but certainly within reach. And this is definitely a destination that’s worth reaching for.
I’m dreaming of returning to the Secret Cove for a winter vacation. Yes, winter. The tents at this resort have heated slate floors and gas fireplaces, and I imagined luxuriating inside the canvas hideaway while the snow coated the forest. The tents offer king-sized beds with luxury linens, hydrotheraphy tubs with a view of the ocean, and a shower and toilet (I really like this kind of camping). All of the tenthouse suites are situated along a wooden boardwalk that connects to the restaurant and pool, and each has its own deck overlooking the water. There’s even a closet and the toiletries are top notch.
So red wine, a good book, a fire and some snowflakes seem like a fine place for a winter getaway.
The resort will deliver breakfast to your tent. Since there are no doors to knock on, and privacy is paramount, the resort has large bells at the entrance to each tent’s wood deck, where visitors can make their presence known. I like the idea of the gong sounding when the server appears with fresh coffee and muffins.
High-season rates, June through September, are $449 a night. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, rates are $419 for the tenthouse suites. I checked the online reservations site recently, and the tents were available before, during and after the Olympics. A float plane ride to the resort takes about 30 minutes from Vancouver. Or you can get to the resort from Vancouver by car and ferry in less than 2 hours.
And a few other things to recommend this place: the food is outstanding, and last, but definitely not least, the spa without walls. I had the best massage of my life at Rockwater last June. You walk down a path toward the ocean and arrive at a canvas tent just a few feet from the water. The massage table was heated and the therapist was expert at keeping you covered, but the canvas sides of the tents were pulled back to bring the light and smells and sounds of the ocean and forest inside. Definitely no need for a cheesy tape of water and bird sounds. Here you get the real thing. It was hard to say whether it was the therapist or the location that made this my best massage ever, but in either case, I can’t wait to return.
The resort offers many activities if you don’t want to spend your day lounging with a book, including kayaking, sailing and mountain biking. So this place would be a perfect destination for many sorts of travelers.
And…Kids aren’t allowed in the tenthouse suites. I think that’s a good thing. They should first learn to camp without heated floors or king-sized beds.
Disclosure: This press trip was funded by Canadian tourism offices. Be assured our loyalty is to our readers and Galavanting contributors and editors always do our best to give an honest review of all destinations and locations visited.
Terri Colby is a Chicago-based freelance journalist and former Travel and Books editor for the Chicago Tribune. She’s serious about traveling the world but Chicago is the only place she would ever call home. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.