The farthest reaches of the country may seem treacherous for the luxury traveller, but glamping, a portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’, lets you experience the outdoors with the style and panache of luxury living.
The regal lands of Rajasthan play host to Aman-i-Khas; ten white, air-conditioned tents set against the dramatic landscape of Ranthambore National Park. The tents are generously spaced across the property to ensure privacy. Inside, they offer modern trappings with classic touches, the highlight of which is a light-filled bathing area. A personal butler is on hand to attend to your every need, from arranging musicians for your dinner to ensuring food on hand for your ventures into the park. The property offers safaris twice a day into the park, giving you a chance to spot the tigers Ranthambore is famous for. Pocket pinch: From R1, 12,700 a night
Special mention: While Ranthambore is widely known for its tigers, the safari expeditions offer you the chance to see crocodiles, leopards, jackals, sambar deer and over 300 species of birds.
CHAMPA CAMP, LADAKH
At the base of the dramatic Thiksey monastery lies the indulgent Champa camp. 14 tents imported from Africa feature four-poster beds, en-suite bathrooms, writing desks and air-conditioning. A 24×7 butler attends to your needs. The property also features a bakery, an organic garden, a handicraft shop and a library. Adventures in the dramatic landscape of Ladakh are organized for you, including trekking, rafting, and cultural tours. Catch a game of Ladakhi polo, to complete the experience.
Pocket pinch: From R58, 999 a night
Special mention: The food is extraordinary; expect fresh, authentic Kashmiri cuisine cooked to your specification.
FOREST HILLS, TALA
Set against a gorgeous landscape of greenery, fresh water and picturesque valleys, Forest Hills is designed for travellers looking for a taste of the rugged countryside. There are multiple options for accommodation, including container villas, tent houses, glasshouses, desert cabins, tree houses and mud huts. The forest living experience is built with a series of activities, such as organic farming, fishing, mountain biking and ATV rides. For city mice, this is a good soft introduction to farm life and camping. Pocket pinch: From R15, 000 a night
Special mention: The exquisite designs of the rooms are the highlight of the property. From the glass house – a modern glass-walled interpretation of a thatched hut – to the camel cabin – a version of mobile desert tents – you will be very busy Instagramming.
SAMODE SAFARI LODGE, BANDHAVGARH
Styled after the jungle lodges of Africa, Samode Safari Lodge offers luxury in the wilderness of Bandhavgarh National park. Twelve spacious private villas, made from an earthy combination of stone, brick, and mud, are adorned with tribal sculpture and Gond art. The in-house naturalists have a genuine relationship with the local tigers and will help you catch a glimpse of them. The common areas of the lodge capture the very essence of the classic colonial lodge while maintaining a tasteful modernity.
Pocket pinch: From R66, 650 a night
Special mention: The interior design of the rooms and the common areas is worthy of highlighting. A fusion of styles comes effortlessly together in a contemporary and eclectic menagerie.
JAWAI LEOPARD CAMP, BISALPUR
Nine tents sprawl across this slice of untouched wilderness, each resplendent with subtle opulence. The property is symbiotic with the ecosystem around it without sacrificing comfort, and you can easily slip from rigorous excursion to indulgent relaxation. Meal times follow the rhythm of the safari outings; there is no set time when the guests must eat. Dinners are held around a campfire, offering a stage for travellers to meet and interact.
Pocket pinch: From R84, 000 a night
Special mention: A top-of-the-line wellness team takes care of you in harmony with the outdoors, to create an ideal balance of mind, body, and nature. The practices you learn at Jawai are designed to be straightforward enough for you to continue to do them back home.
GRASSROOTS, WAYANAD, KERALA
Nestled in the Western Ghats amidst lush greenery and ambling hills, Wayanad captures the essence of ‘God’s Own Country.’ The property is limited to five tents, which produces an intimate, personalised environment. The food is prepared on order and is simple yet rich in flavour, much like Wayanad itself. You can push yourself with trekking the Ghats or choose to relax by lazing by the river which wraps around the resort.
Pocket pinch: From R4, 000 a night
Special mention: Wayanad is made by its surroundings. Take a trip to the nearby coffee plantations, where you can sample the delightful, fresh local product.