Combining all the amenities of “glamping” with a commitment to sustainable environmental stewardship, these three luxury camping sites put nature – and comfort – first.
Perched on wooden platforms in a dense forest, three geodesic domes offer a break from the monotony of the day-to-day in the mountainous region of Petite-Rivière-Saint-Françcois. The units are the first phase of Dômes Charlevoix, a sustainable year-round resort that aims to introduce luxury and comfort in a natural setting with as little environmental impact as possible.
In keeping with the conservationist concept, local firm Bourgeois/Lechasseur Architects designed the glamping domes, which are approached by a walking path, to be as unintrusive as possible, placing them on platforms that cantilever into the treetops and required little in the way of forest-floor space. Inside, radiant concrete flooring maintains a uniform temperature even during the winter months, with a fireplace adding to the cozy atmosphere. A large south-facing window provides both ample natural light and views to the St. Lawrence River.
The interior grey canvas walls create a neutral backdrop that doesn’t detract from the stunning scenery outside and a sleek black kitchen and bathroom with a threshold-less shower provide all the amenities of home.
Opened earlier this summer, AutoCamp Yosemite is the third – and largest – location of AutoCamp’s “outdoor hotel experience” (the other two are in Santa Barbara and Sonoma region). Mere steps from the national park and hiking trails, the site features a range of accommodations, from custom-detailed Airstream trailers and tents, to perhaps the most covetable, five compact cabins by M-Rad.
Led by Saskatoon-native Matthew Rosenberg, Los Angeles-based M-Rad designed the 25.5-square-metre X Suites as prototypical mobile units; at Yosemite they are anchored to their lots and accompanied by exterior decks for outdoor dining and relaxing. The black-painted prefab units, which were manufactured by L.A.’s Plant Prefab, blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings with views to the river and beyond. The completely wheelchair accessible cabins are arranged to make the most of the small space and include a bedroom, kitchenette and full bathroom. Windows at either end let in plenty of natural sunlight and a palette of natural materials and colours is a sophisticated update to camp kitsch.
The newest addition to the eco-luxury resort Whitepod, in the Swiss Alps, is the Zen Suite by Montalba Architects. With breathtaking views of Switzerland’s alpine landscape, each of the now-18 geo-domes were built using renewable materials to limit their imposition on the environment. The resort also limits water and energy consumption and recycles waste.
For the Zen Suite, the Los Angeles- and Lausanne-based Montalba Architects took inspiration from Zen philosophy, naturally, and also the five elements of Wu Xing movement theory: wood, fire, water, metal and earth, the five elements (or movements) that are found in all natural phenomena.
Inside the 46-square-metre Zen pod, wooden walls curve around the canvas and steel structure, creating a sleek and uniform backdrop that contributes to the calming vibe. A floor-to-ceiling window in front of the sunken bed opens up views to the mountains, layered tatami mats and a wood-pellet burning fireplace keep things warm and a raised Orfuo-inspired soaking tub, tucked into an alcove for maximum privacy, ups the glamping luxury.
In Quebec, California and Switzerland, these three campgrounds emphasize sustainability and luxury in equal parts.