Best places to glamp

Emily H. Bratcher

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Are you fond of the great outdoors … minus the mosquitoes, the dirt and the whole sleeping bag situation? If so, you might be more of a "glamper": You want to experience the majesty and tranquility of nature, but you don't want to forgo luxuries like a plush bed and privacy when nature calls. These eight glampsites — found everywhere from Montana to Australia — blend pristine natural beauty with luxurious accommodations ("glamping" combines "glamour" and "camp"). So leave your sleeping bag and your tent at home, and get ready not to rough it in the great outdoors.

The Resort at Paws Up
Greenough, Mont.

Not all glampsites offer amenities like butler service and spa treatments, but western Montana's Resort at Paws Up takes extravagant camping to a whole new level. This massive resort houses 30 one- and two-bedroom tents that come with access to a personal butler and chef. The spacious tents, which comfortably house couples or small families, also feature sumptuous beds, private bathrooms and even electricity.

When it comes to outdoor pursuits, the Resort at Paws Up has you covered. The resort facilitates fly fishing, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and hot air ballooning, among other activities. If you'd rather just relax and enjoy the rugged landscape that once captivated the explorers Lewis and Clark, you'll have 37,000 acres to roam.

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Les Cerniers, Valais, Switzerland

Whitepod, in southern Switzerland, bills itself as a five-star summer camp for adults. Each of the large tents — or "pods" — contains a comfortable king-size bed, a wood-burning stove and a private bathroom with a shower. The pods also each feature a mezzanine (or terrace), which offers the perfect perch for gazing at the nearby Alps. Activities like hiking and mountain biking in the summer and skiing in the winter will surely work up your appetite.

When hunger sets in, you can devour a fresh meal at the family-friendly restaurant inside the nearby Les Cerniers chalet. Should it rain during your stay, head to the Pod-house for a game, a movie or even a soak in the Japanese bath. And to ensure every bit of stress leaves your body before the end of your vacation, you can book a "Breuss" massage at the chalet. Whitepod, about 80 miles from Geneva, is accessible by car or train.

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Canonici di San Marco
Mirano, Italy

Less than 15 miles west of Venice, Canonici di San Marco welcomes you with whimsical tents. Think white tulle mosquito nets, big comfy beds, antique armoires and aluminum bathtubs imported from England. Most of these tents are ideal for couples, but you can add an extra bed for a small fee. Just outside your lodge's French doors, you'll find pristine wheat fields and flower-strewn meadows.

In case you're traveling in the high heat or the frigid cold, you'll find that the accommodations are equipped with ceiling fans for the summertime and cast-iron heaters for the winter. Wi-Fi access and mini-fridges are also available, and little touches like soap from France's Provence region and Prosecco from Italy make a stay at Canonici di San Marco a glamping dream.

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Longitude 131°
Northern Territory, Australia

Longitude 131°, located at the entrance of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Australian Outback, is composed of 15 luxury "tents." But don't think you'll be bunking in rustic digs: These accommodations are actually completely enclosed guest lodges that are only made to look like tents. Inside, you'll find everything from iPads and private bathrooms to luxurious beds and bathrobes. You'll also have access to the Red Ochre spa, a pool and the gourmet Dune House restaurant.

But what makes this a glamping getaway and not just another luxurious hotspot is the activities you'll partake in — specifically the guided tours and the walks through the national park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is privy to incredible sunrises and sunsets over Ayers Rock.

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Seithfed Nef
Clynnogfawr, Wales

Seithfed Nef, which means "seventh heaven" in Welsh, sits between the Snowdon Mountains and the Irish Sea in northwestern Wales. Each of Seithfed Nef's four canvas tents is equipped with double beds, terrycloth robes and a wood-burning stove (among other amenities) and can comfortably fit up to four glampers. Although the tents aren't outfitted with private restrooms, there are clean bathrooms with showers located in nearby timber sheds. Outside each accommodation is a large fire pit, where you can roast marshmallows for s'mores as you share ghost stories.

The surrounding landscape provides a scenic backdrop for beach strolls, hillside rambles and fishing expeditions. If you're seeking an extra dose of relaxation, you can book a deep tissue massage as well as a manicure and pedicure. You're almost certain to feel rested and rejuvenated after a "glampout" here. Seithfed Nef gets the highest praise for its hospitality. Husband-and-wife duo Meirion and Karen MacIntyre Huws have nearly perfected the art of making guests comfortable with their genuine warmth and above-and-beyond service.

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Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Tofino, British Columbia, Canada

Located on Vancouver Island's western edge, the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is ideal for luxury seekers looking for an upscale camping experience with a side of adventure. The resort offers everything from horseback riding on forest trails to surfing lessons on a secluded beach. You can even conjure your inner Robin Hood (or Merida) with some archery. After all that activity, you'll return to one of 20 luxury tents, 12 of which are appointed with king-size beds, large daybeds, antique furniture and ensuite bathrooms equipped with indoor/outdoor showers and heated floors. These spacious tents can house a family of five.

When hunger sets in, you can enjoy local gourmet specialties like prosciutto-wrapped halibut or grilled oyster chowder. Whatever entree you select, it will certainly beat making your own campfire meal. You can reach Clayoquot Wilderness Resort via a private seaplane from Vancouver or a short boat ride from Tofino.

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Concordia Eco-Resort
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

The Concordia Eco-Resort overlooks Salt Pond Bay on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You'll find a cluster of accommodations here, but to get the full glamping experience, you should stay in one of Concordia's eco-tents that fit anywhere from two to six people. More of a treehouse than a tent, the wood-framed eco-tents reside at tree-canopy level and offer cooling coastal breezes and pristine views of the bay. They also contain everything from solar-heated showers and private decks but rates ($110-$165 per night) are a fraction of the price you'd pay for a luxe Caribbean resort.

Because the tents are located at the nexus of the Virgin Islands National Park and the glittering waters of the Salt Pond Bay, there is an inexhaustible array of things to do, from hiking to yoga to scuba diving.

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Auvergne Naturelle
Laval sur Doulon, France

Set in the Livradois National Park in central France, Auvergne Naturelle consists of four luxury yurts. Inside, the yurts feature a light, lofty design with king-size beds, private bathrooms and solar-powered lighting. Situated on little decks with breathtaking views of the valley, the yurts also have hammocks and tables and chairs that provide a picturesque setting for morning coffee or evening wine.

Each morning, you can prepare for an adventurous day with a hearty continental breakfast of pastries, fresh fruits and breads. This will help fuel a busy day of hiking through the national park, canoeing the Allier River or sightseeing in the nearby towns of Le Puy en Velay or Brioude. Owner Robert Harrison is a naturalist and leads courses on everything from fire building to archery (a crowd-pleaser among younger guests).

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