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Glamping Goes Urban

ICONIC LIFE'S list of best urban glamping venues

The Beverly Wilshire

Check out these modern glamping getaways for those craving a nature-inspired sleepover without ever having to leave the city—Los Angeles to Australia.

You don’t just have to head to the woods to experience the great outdoors anymore. In fact, while glamping took the “roughing it” aspect out of camping, urban glamping takes the woods out of the adventure. If sleeping under the stars with spectacular views and (mostly) fresh air is what you’re craving, urban glamping offers the easiest, quickest and most comfortable way to get away.

Glamping has been a trend for a while now, usually involving a canvas tent outfitted with luxuries typically reserved for hotels, like plush bedding and five-star dining options. The whole idea of camping is to escape our stressful lives and engage with nature.

Airstream glamping at The Notel Melbourne

The Notel

Urban glamping has been popularized through the growing use of Airstream trailers as trendy hotel rooms. These retro silver bullets have been popping up on roofs everywhere from Germany to Cape Town. In über-cool Melbourne, Australia, the Notel’s collection of stylish Airstreams sit on top of a parking lot, yet they still feel like an extravagant treat thanks to their angular, boldly-painted interiors and fun, glamorous amenities.

In the U.S., a few big hotel brands have joined the revolution, realizing pitching a tent on the roof is a great use of their often-pricey real estate. As novel as it may be, who doesn’t love lingering on a balcony during a balmy evening with a glass of wine in-hand? Now, imagine you didn’t even have to go back inside, but could fall asleep right there poised on a plush hotel bed, where the only wild animals are perhaps in the hotel bar? That’s the magic of urban glamping.

Glampers, are you ready to pitch a tent on these high-rises and enjoy the starry night? Read on for five stand-out savvy hoteliers who have placed extravagantly outfitted tents in urban settings, from Los Angeles to Australia.

Glampers, are you ready to pitch a tent on these high-rises and enjoy the starry night?

best glamping at The Beverly Wilshire

The Beverly Wilshire

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THE BEVERLY WILSHIRE | Los Angeles, California
Surely no one is more averse to roughing it than the guests of the Four Seasons. But the glamorous Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire, which was once home to the likes of Elvis Presley and Steve McQueen, is betting they can make the great outdoors perfectly posh.

The rooftop tent at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire is anything but a tent. It can only be accessed through the Veranda Suite, a room occupying its own floor. Ten stories up, the stunning rooftop terrace features 270-degree views of the Hollywood Hills and Rodeo Drive. Taking full advantage of this view and Los Angeles’ always warm weather, the hotel pitched a 16-foot tent with 10-foot ceilings on the veranda.

No luxury is spared, as your glamping tent is outfitted with a queen-sized bed dressed in fine Four Seasons linens, a crystal chandelier, and fur rugs. Enjoy dinner on an oversized lounge chair set near a glass-encased campfire, savoring the treats of the hotel’s refined glamping tasting menu. Treats include s’mores made with 24-karat gold leaf, Tahitian vanilla bean marshmallows, and a smoked 55-percent Valrhona chocolate bar paired with a vintage Champagne flight.

In case the great outdoors becomes a bit too much, you can access the adjacent one-bedroom suite and all its marble-clad luxuries. Who knew the great outdoors could be this nice?

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best glamping at The Gwen in Chicago

The Gwen

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THE GWEN | Chicago, Illinois
The recently-opened Gwen is graced with a glamorous yurt perched on the terrace of the 16th floor. The city views are an architectural enthusiast’s dream, offering picturesque skyscapes with striking buildings such as the neo-gothic Tribune Tower. The historic McGraw-Hill building, which houses the hotel, dates from Chicago’s thriving 1930s, but is named after the sculptress who created its façade.

Your glamping-inspired yurt, known as the Lotus Belle tent, is furnished lavishly, including drum side tables with mango wood tops and a copper iron base, hand-knotted macramé seat cushions, and a braided Indian jute rug. You’ll also get access to a two-bedroom suite, airport transport and gourmet treats. Visitors can opt for the glamping tasting menu or enjoy other amenities like the Prohibition Porter mixology service. Available throughout the summer months; this is undoubtedly a unique way to see Chicago.

Collective Retreats

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COLLECTIVE RETREATS | Manhattan, New York
Governors Island is one of New York’s most impressive development projects of late. This incredible redevelopment, completed in 2016, took a disused 172-acre island lying off the coast of Manhattan and turned it into an urban park. Already home to a peppering of historic buildings, it’s only 800 yards from the Big Apple.

The project has been attracting eager day-trippers for a while, but it is now home to a unique overnight experience as well. Governor’s Island is a camping destination for overwhelmed Manhattanites or anyone else who cares to have a view of the Statue of Liberty over their evening glass of wine.

This glamping camp offers an interesting fusion between urban and rural, seeing as the tents are actually pitched in a grassy area. They offer glamping-style tents of different levels of luxury to cater to different needs, with the Summit Tent offering a king-size bed with 1,500-thread-count linens, a down comforter and a designer-curated blanket.

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The Notel in Melbourne best glamping

The Notel

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THE NOTEL | Melbourne, Australia
For international glamping with a twist, the Notel in Melbourne offers a thoroughly modern overnight stay, with impossibly-chic Airstream trailers outfitted in pastel florescent colors, which guests can unlock and access via smartphone. One futuristic pod even has a light-up hot tub outside or, as Notel cheekily calls it, an “Airstream with benefits.”

Owner James Fry sourced the 1970s Airstream trailers from California, stripped them, and brought in interior designers and architects to achieve their impossibly cool look. They’re packed with lots of amenities like Wi-Fi, Netflix and a minibar with craft beer, Champagne and other perks from hip local companies.

Located on the roof of a parking lot near fashionable Flinders Lane, this is one for the Millennials, as it really embraces the urban aspect of glamping by offering a truly unique way to get a sense of the city’s creative and flamboyant personality.

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