My latest travel obsession is with luxury camping: I like being close to nature but having plenty of comforts, too, and it seems I am not the only one. At Condé Nast Traveler‘s Reader’s Choice Awards last week, India Beat‘s Bertie Dyer (one of Wendy Perrin’s travel specialists) told me about the new Surya Serai in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, which launches this spring. Twenty huge tents (and even huger beds) will sit in the desert with panoramic vistas of some of India’s most beautiful countryside. There is even a spa in one of the canvas structures so you can get relaxing treatments after camel trekking or exploring nearby villages. The property is poised to be one of the big openings of 2009; you can book a trip through Remote Lands or through Bertie himself.
I also just read about Eco Retreats, an encampment of tepees on a 1,300-acre organic farm in Wales. It’s close to both the forest and the beach, so eco-chic types can commune with the land but come home to luxurious bed linen, organic food, and holistic spa treatments. I am now thinking about how cool it would be to have something similar along the Italian coastline or to at least live part-time in a stylish tent in the woods–not such an outlandish idea if the markets keep going the way they are.
Speaking of which, as promised, here’s my weekly recession special: The Kimpton Group is offering 20 percent off the best available rate to travelers who arrive by train–good economics and carbon footprint reduction in one offer. Participating cities include Alexandria, Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.