Ecocamp, Patagonia, Chile
If Patagonia’s incredible landscapes of towering mountains, ice-blue glaciers and deep lakes aren’t at the top of your hiking bucket list, you’ve probably written it wrong. One of the best parts of South America’s southern wilderness is the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, and while it’s home to plenty of campsites, the smartest of all is EcoCamp.
Modelled on the ancient shelters of the region’s Kaweskar people, this 100% sustainable dome hotel’s wood-clad geodesic tents make the perfect base for trekking, kayaking and wildlife watching. And if you’re up for a challenge, you can sign up to their guided seven-day Torres del Paine trek.
Price: £1,382 per person for a five-day hiking trip
‘Say what you see’ must have been the ethos behind naming Whitepod, a high-tech eco camp perched at over 1,700 metres in the Swiss Alps. In summer the igloo-like tents sit in a lush green meadow surrounded by Valais’ 5,000 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
In winter, the pods are clad in snow and guests have access to a private ski run of five miles of pistes just for them to ski, snowshoe or husky-mush along. The 15 geodesic dome pods are warm, cosy and full of luxe touches, and each has a wood burning stove, huge bed, hammock and plush bathroom. Perfect for free-ranging families, and the camp is dog-friendly too.
Price: From £3,300 per person for an all-inclusive three-night stay.
Ventana, Big Sur, USA
The iconic mountainous coastal route known as Big Sur is more than just a classic Californian road trip. Instead of speeding along beside the ocean, take it slow in the forests of Redwood trees at Ventana, surely one of the most idyllic luxury camping spots in the world.
Part forest glade, part 20-acre canyon, this hiker’s heaven is home to yurts that are more like hotel rooms than tents, with big beds, picnic tables, firepits ready for a s’mores session and furniture made from reclaimed redwood. Head out on a hike, mountain bike or surf session and Ventana even will do you a wine and cheese picnic basket to take with you. A proper escape from real life.
Price: Double yurts from £217 per night
Homoki Yurts, Hungary
Homoki means ‘sand’ in Hungarian, in homage to the desert prairie known as the Puszta that these gorgeous yurts call home. The unique landscape of the Hungarian Southern Great Plains is criss-crossed with miles of hiking and horse-riding routes and is teeming with wildlife, herds of buffalo and grazing horses.
Homoki’s rather Hobbit-like yurts make the perfect base for exploring this remarkable landscape. Each one is built on multiple platforms, and getting to bed involves climbing up a little spiral staircase. Each tent also has a private terrace and a hot tub, and the big common areas in the main lodge feel like a bit of African safari luxury come to Hungary.
Price: Double yurt from £282 per night
Stuc a’Chroin, Scotland
Glamping in incredible locations needn’t be mind-bogglingly expensive. The lovely Stuc a’Chroin campsite is made up of just three yurts, perched on an organic farm on the edge of the Trossachs National Park in Stirling. Their location makes them perfect for a weekend of Munro-bagging in the Trossachs, known for its ‘wee hills with big views’, as well as exploring Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve or swimming in the local lochs.
The cosy-as-anything yurts are based on Kyrgyzstani designs and built with local materials, and each stands on their own wooden platform, complete with a barbeque. Inside are thick rugs, wood-burning stoves and enormous beds (each tent sleeps four), and there are posh communal bathrooms on site.
Price: Yurts sleeping four from £101 per night
Clayoquot Wild Retreat, Vancouver, Canada
The UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve (try saying that with your mouth full) is the very best of Vancouver Island, a glorious mix of coastal rainforest and rocky shoreline. It’s a remote, rugged place, something reflected in the ephemeral nature of Wild Retreat.
This camp is here for a good time, not a long time – it only opens to guests from May to September each year, but when it does it offers up serious luxury, from the elegant safari tents to the just-caught seafood served in the Cookhouse Kitchen. You can even arrive at the camp by float plane for the full Indiana Jones experience.
Price: From £3,300 per person for a three-night stay