Imagine a plush room on an abandoned island. You’ve eaten a gourmet meal. From your designer bed, you gaze on the Manhattan skyline or the Statue of Liberty.
This isn’t a high-end New York hotel. It’s a luxury tent on Governors Island, the latest outpost for “glamping,” or glamorous camping. Glamping allows comfort-loving adventure seekers to experience God’s creation in remote parts of the world—without worry about bugs or backaches.
Peter Mack is CEO and founder of Collective Retreats, a glamping company. He selects stunning, one-of-a-kind locales for his tent sites—“places where traditional hotels simply can’t exist.” The company has retreats in Colorado, Montana, and Texas. And there isn’t a leaky tent, musty sleeping bag, or can of beans at any of them.
Collective Retreats tents provide all the features and services of a luxury hotel. These include electricity, wifi, comfy beds, and massages. No cookie-cutter, mass-produced décor either. Tents feature upscale touches like antler chandeliers, Oriental rugs, and antique side tables.
This summer, Collective Retreats opened a base on Governors Island. The 172-acre plot of land lies just 800 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan. The island is known for stunning views of the New York City’s Financial District, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. Formerly used by the U.S. Army and Coast Guard, part of the island is a national monument. But New York maintains most of it for public use.
Governors Island is accessible only by ferry. It is home to abandoned houses, churches, and other buildings, including a library, a theatre, and two late 18th-century forts.
At the Governors Island retreat, visitors staying in 27 smaller tents share bathroom facilities. Those staying in 10 larger tents have private bathrooms plus spa robes and a campfire s’mores kit.
At night, once the ferries have stopped running, guests must remain in the campgrounds. Hosts encourage outdoor games and show movies under the stars. In the morning, tenters may explore the island until the boats start operating again.
A luxury campground made perfect sense to Michael Samuelian of The Trust for Governors Island. Glampers pride themselves on portability of their luxe lodgings. Erecting tents and communal bathrooms is simpler than building a full-scale hotel.
Travel industry insider Simon Turner says, “Today’s travelers are craving new, authentic experiences that are closely connected to and enriched by their destination.” Glamping caters to that craving—be it in a yurt, treehouse, tipi, trailer, barn, wagon, cave . . . just about anything just about anywhere.