I don’t like to camp, but I love to glamp. That is, I don’t want to sleep in a soggy sleeping bag or spend 3 hours propping up a dingy tent while doused in bug spray. But put me in a King size bed called the “Last Best Bed,” pre-heat my tent’s bathrooms’ tile floors, and throw in a camp butler and then yes, I am a glamper or “Glamorous” camper. “Glamping” allegedly originated in the 1900s as well-heeled Brits desired to see the savannahs of Africa without missing afternoon tea and hot British cuisine, cooked nightly but a private chef. Nowadays, glamping has swept the luxury travel market most aggressively in the last five years, offering discerning luxury travelers a way to connect with nature without forgoing plush amenities, such as five course meals and copper hot tubs.
My most recent glamping experience was at The Resort at Paws Up, one of Montana’s very best luxury ranches, self-dubbed “the Last Best Place.” It is. I covered the property last year, from the view of a cabin guest. Leaving the property for the first time last summer, I felt like that kid at summer camp in a fit of tears on the last day of camp. There I was, being dragged away, frantically waving, “I’ll be back! I’ll be back!” Paws Up has that effect on its adult guests. This second visit was my first time at a “Paws Up” camp, and I was certainly sad to depart. Here are a few reasons why:
The Tent: Paws Up offers four campgrounds, each distinctly snuggled into nooks within the 37,000 acres of Paws Up forest. Our camp, Creekside Camp, lines the idyllic Elk Creek, heard faintly from the deck of our 830 square foot tent. A Paws Up “tent” is hardly a few flaps of canvas. Each tent is the mansion Mother Nature would stay in, complete with hardwood and carpeted floors, a stunning heated tile bathroom with Kolher fixtures, seating areas of plush leather chairs, and rustic décor. If it weren’t for the chirps of birds or rustles of pines, I would have never guessed I was “outside.” That’s the best part, too. One night, a thunder and lightening shower rumbled around our tent, filling the cool mountain air with the light hiss of rain while I read a good book under the ultra cozy pile of my pine King-size bed.
The Cuisine: One of my favorite aspects of our camp was the welcoming dining pavilion, a half-outdoor, half-indoor plaza for daily meals. A roaring fire usually welcomed us in the morning, flanked by a wall of stonework and imbedded standard refrigerator, always stocked with refreshments. Leather couches, a bar area, and sturdy coffee table made this a great gathering area. This, in turn, led to the dining tables and an outdoor fire pit rimmed with timber seating. Our on-site chef, a sweet Montanan, could whip up anything in his full-size kitchen. My favorite dishes were the grilled elk loin salad with local mushrooms, thepan roasted quail legs with black truffle sauce, and the country buttermilk panna cotta. It dawned on me that I don’t eat this well even at “indoor” resorts, let alone ones next to a sleepy creek and a carpet of pinecones.
The Fun: A friend of mine asked me, once I returned, “So what do you do all day in the forest?” Ah, this friend is not a glamper, nor a guest of Paws Up. The resort has a list of rustic activities so exhaustive that guests sometimes stay over a week just to cover a significant chunk. Yoga classes, horseshoes, croquet, disc golf, gym access, and pony rides are a few of the included activities with any stay. I particularly like the “geocaching” adventure, a little nature scavenger hunt rewarded with resort goodies for successful uncoverings. For those desiring a body bounce, the new “Bone Rattler Raceway” is now open. Learn the off-road skills needed to sail, swerve, and crush along a challenging off-roading course, while in the resort’s custom built Jeep. Personally, I’ll be back for the Spa Town’s new services, including a huckleberry body scrub and barbed wire body wrap. Also new for next year: Blackfoot Camp, which Paws Up claims will be its largest and most luxurious campsite yet. I suppose the sweet owners of Paws Up, a nice husband and wife in love with Montana, just like the fun of making the Last Best Place even better every passing year.
Looking for the perfect last-minute summer vacation that combines luxury and an unforgettable adventure for the whole family? The Resort at Paws Up in Montana recently unveiled their new Moonlight Camp, taking glamorous camping, or “glamping,” to a whole new level.
Moonlight Camp consists of six spacious canvas tents located at the foot of Lewis and Clark’s famous Lookout Rock and 100 yards from Blackfoot River. Guests have the option to choose between four two-bedroom tents, which are perfect for families, and two one-bedroom tents. Each luxury tent contains an en-suite bathroom, Paw Up’s signature Last Best Bed, gourmet meals prepared by a private camp chef at the tented dining pavilion, and a camping butler to ensure all your needs are fulfilled.
The luxury ranch resort is located on 37,000 acres in the heart of Blackfoot Valley in western Montana and provides endless activities for the entire family to enjoy. Guests can choose daily activities from the largest menu of wildness activities in North America, including horseback riding, river floats, mountain biking, sporting clays, fly-fishing, cattle drives and ATV adventures.
Rates for Moonlight Camp start at $1,025 per night based on double occupancy and include three meals a day for two people. Last-minute stays are still available before the end of the summer season. Moonlight Camp is open seasonally until September 15.
Reunite with nature minus the hassles at The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre luxury ranch in the heart of Montana. Discover a lavish way of camping as the resort expertly blends authentic nature experience with creature comforts. Take in the views surrounding your tent before settling in the finely designed space with its private master bathroom and the most comfortable bed you’ll ever sleep in, known at the resort as The Last Best Bed with 300-count linens, down duvet comforters and over-sized pillows. While at camp, enjoy personalized service from your camping butler and skilled camp chef. Yes, this means gourmet meals in elegant outdoor settings. Resist the urge of getting holed up in your tent; rather, have a go at the wilderness adventures and dude ranch activities. Take your pick from the exhilarating recreations from trail riding to cliff rappelling, ATV riding, whitewater rafting and fly-fishing on the famed Blackfoot River. The resort’s latest addition to its brand of luxury is the Pinnacle Camp, which is truly at the peak of grandeur boasting the camp’s largest tents, en-suite bathrooms with jetted tubs and unparalleled views of Elk Creek and the Blackfoot River. For a romantic touch, book the secluded Tango Point tent featuring a lovely copper tub set in the middle of the bedroom. Before retreating to your tent, unwind and get cozy by the stone and timber fireplace at the Pinnacle Camp’s open-air dining pavilion and lounge. You may book an entire camp for your exclusive use; however, reservations should be placed at least one year in advance. The best time to go is from late May to September for pleasant outdoor weather.
Big Sky Country
Set on a whopping 37,000 acres in the wilds of Montana (where the 1992 Brad Pitt flick A River Runs Through It was shot) is Paws Up, the ultimate luxury tent adventure property in the U.S. There are just 24 specially fashioned tents situated to offer panoramic vistas, ultra privacy and amenities like outdoor hot tubs and 300 thread-count linens. Paws Up even has two restaurants on site—but don’t worry about over-indulging, you can easily work it off on their 120-plus miles of trails.
Justin Bieber is interested in trying Glamping. We think he should come to Paws Up!
The 18-year-old millionaire admitted he is intrigued by the idea of glamorous camping as a means to explore his outdoorsy side.
He told this month’s We Love Pop magazine: ”I heard of this thing called Glamping.
”It’s like glamorous camping. You heard of it? It’s GLAM-ping.”
The pop star went on to explain that he thinks the notion is ”cool” because you can have similar luxuries as being at home.
He continued: ”You sleep on a bed. It’s a mattress bed! In a huge tent with TV and everything. You have electricity and stuff but you’re still in amongst the wildlife. It’s pretty cool.”
Despite being a world traveler, the Canadian teenager is still learning about many aspects of life.
He was recently mocked by a U.S. chat show host when he failed to understand that David Letterman meant Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in The Vatican in Rome when referring to potential tattoos for the star.
He answered; ”I’m not going for the 16th chapel look.”
David joked about his misunderstanding: ”Canadian high school!”
Standup comedian, Laurie McDermott, is an award-winning columnist, travel writer and television host. We love her take on glamping.
By Bee-Shyuan Chang
The Resort at Paws Up – Montana
With 2-3 bedroom fully furnished tents that are cleaned twice daily, the experience at The Resort at Paws Up is more like that of a fabulous safari with the prices to match. (From $1,025, including airport and on-property transportation.)
Why Go: It’s the last word in luxury camping–you’ll find the kind of luxe niceties you might see in a Ralph Lauren ad.
Insider Tip: Try your hand at fly-fishing in Blackfoot River before indulging at the resort’s gourmet dining pavilion.
If it weren’t for the pristine north-country wilderness just outside your canvas door—including the rushing waters of Elk Creek and the Blackfoot River; and the pine and aspen forests, where elk and white-tail deer roam—you might forget that Pinnacle Camp isn’t an opulent mountain lodge. How many American campsites come with their own jetted spa tubs, heated-slate bathroom floors, daily housekeeping service and a dedicated camp butler? In truth, Pinnacle’s six roomy tents are part of an opulent mountain lodge: The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre spread that includes a working cattle ranch, horse stables and hundreds of miles of wooded trails for hiking, riding and scouting a private fly-fishing spot. For roughing it, this sure feels smooth.
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