Discomfort, with the possible exception of the bill, does not exist at Al Maha, an exclusive conservation-based resort and spa set within 225 sq km of protected desert reserve. Built in the style of an ancient Bedouin settlement, each two-person “tent” comes complete with its own private swimming pool and deck from which to take in the dramatic desert and distant mountain views. Suites are scattered with regional antiques and artefacts together with thoughtful extras such as binoculars and an easel, should you get the urge to pick up a paintbrush. Worried about where to put your butler? Fear not, residential quarters for guests’ private staff are available on request. Activities on offer include falconry, archery and wildlife drives – taking in the region’s first free-roaming herds of endangered oryx and many other indigenous species.
Rooms at Al Maha (04 303 4222) cost from US$1,068 (Dh3,925).
Perched on a gentle slope on the outskirts of the Ranthambore National Park, this intimate safari camp comprises just 10 sumptuous mogul-style tents – their billowing cream canvases providing a sharp contrast to the surrounding rustic scenery. Once a hunting ground for the Maharaja of Jaipur, the park is now a wildlife sanctuary and home to tigers, leopards, sloth bears and a host of other creatures, which can be seen on the twice-daily guided excursions from the camp. Tents are air-conditioned and tastefully decorated in muted creams, browns and whites with cotton drapes separating the spacious bedroom, bathroom and living areas. After a hard day’s game viewing, enjoy a rejuvenating massage in the spa tent before discussing the day’s sightings with fellow guests around the outdoor fireplace, with commanding views of the Aravalli Hills.
Tents at Aman-i-Khas (0094 777 7435 00) cost $875 (Dh3,214) per night. There is also a charge of $125 (Dh459) per person, per day for food and house beverages.
These stylish geodesic tents perched on the edge of Bodmin Moor feature large clear windows from which to view the unpolluted Cornish night sky. Surrounded by a little more than a hectare of wild flower meadows, the pods, as they are known, are conjoined with a bathroom pod featuring bathtub, compost toilet and pump shower as well as a kitchen pod with stove and cool box. More environmentally friendly items such as a portable record player or solar-powered iPod speakers are available on request. After a hard day’s sightseeing, enjoy a soak in the specially designed cedar wood-fired hot tub, with views down over the valley.
Tents at Ekopod (0044 1566 86368) cost from $462 (Dh1,698) for a three-night stay based on two people sharing.
Enjoy first-class luxury amid the untamed wilderness at Paws Up’s Tent City adventure camp, set on a sprawling 14,000-hectare cattle ranch in Montana’s Big Sky Country. Choose from one of six heated and electrically lit safari-style tents, pitched in the shade of towering pines. Tents are designed with a rustic feel featuring wooden furniture, animal skin rugs and cowboy portraits. Children over five years old can make use of the excellent kid’s club, while their worn out parents indulge in well-earned treatment at the camp’s Spa Town, where the only sounds you’re likely to hear are creaking trees, eagle cries and fluttering canvas. Too tired to make it to dinner after a hard day in the saddle? Then try in-tent dining courtesy of your own personal butler clad in blue jeans.
Tents at Paws Up (001 406 244 5200) start from $715 (Dh2,626) per tent, per night based on two people sharing. The price includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
These three, candy-coloured pavilion style tents stand next to a mile of pristine beach where the only other footprints you’re likely to spot are those of fishermen and turtles. All feature muslin draped four-poster beds, en suite bathrooms with running water and hot showers and your own private wooden pier. Nature lovers can take a dolphin cruise with local fishermen and the lucky few can watch turtles come on to the beach to nest between October and February. Prefer to take it easy? Your private hammock, slung between the coconut palms makes a great place to unwind and watch out for otters diving in the mosquito-free, saltwater creek. The only drawback is the approach – a 60m-long bamboo footbridge across the creek, which may prove a little daunting for those nervous of heights.
Otter Creek Tents cost from $407 (Dh1,495) per tent, per week based on two people sharing.
For a one-of-a-kind glamping 1920s style adventure, look no further than Cottar’s Safari Camp, overlooking the Kenyan Masai Mara plains and Tanzania’s Serengeti. A maximum of 12 lucky guests are accommodated in spacious white canvas tents, luxuriously furnished with original safari antiques from the 1920s and incorporating four-poster beds, private en suite dressing rooms and bathrooms with old-fashioned styled tubs, showers and flushing toilets. Dinner is a lavish candlelit affair with silver service and waiters dressed in cotton kanzus pouring fine claret into crystal goblets. For the complete Out of Africa experience, take a game drive in the camp’s authentic, 1920s wooden-bodied hunting vehicle.
Tents at Cottar’s Safari Camp (00 254 20 604053) cost from $490 (Dh1,800) per person per night, based on two people sharing and includes game drives, meals and most drinks.
This futuristic alpine camp, made up of 15 geodesic-dome pods is a unique, green way to visit the Swiss Alps in style. Perched at an altitude of 1,400m and surrounded by a blanket of glistening white snow and panoramic mountain views, Whitepod is only accessible by ski, snowshoe and the occasional dogsled. Each pod sleeps four and features chic decor, thick organic linen, washbasin, oil lamp and cosy wood-burning stove. Ski the seven kilometres of private slopes by day before tucking into hearty mountain food and falling asleep under the twinkling stars, visible through your domed window.
Domes at Whitepod (0041 24 471 38 38) cost from $431 (Dh1,582) per pod per night.
Discover the outback in five-star luxury from Longitude 131, an award-winning eco camp sitting in a premium spot at the edge of Unesco-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Each of the 15 white-domed tents (all named after early Australian pioneers) feature elegant furnishings, swish bathrooms, air conditioning and uninterrupted views of Uluru in all its orange glory from just about any point in the room, including the shower. Try your hand at Aboriginal dot painting, explore the desert by camel or take a helicopter flight over Uluru before returning for dinner – a candlelit five-star feast, served under a canopy of glittering stars by staff who remember your name. No children under 12 years old are allowed.
A two-night package at Longitude 131 (0061 2 8296 8010) from now until March 31 costs $4,040 (Dh14,839) per room, based on two people sharing. The price includes meals and drinks and a return transfer to Ayers Rock Airport.
Sleep among the dunes at this small, private desert camp tucked away deep in the heart of the Sahara. Accommodation is exclusive with room for only six guests and the large, square, marquee-style tents each feature twin beds, cosy blankets for the cooler months and a modest sprinkling of Moroccan wooden furniture and gas lamps. The central courtyard is draped in colourful Moroccan carpets, cosy sofas, tables and chairs and there’s a western-style toilet and hot shower at the end of the camp. Hire a quad bike and enjoy a leisurely sunset camel ride before digging into traditional Moroccan fare. Then after dinner, take an evening walk up the nearby dunes to view a terrific display of shooting stars and crystal clear constellations.
Tents at Private Desert Camp (0044 208 6825000) cost from $3,071 (Dh11,278) per person as part of a 12-night Souqs to the Sahara – Boutique Morocco itinerary with Scott Dunn.