Glamping (glamour + camping) can mean everything from a tricked out Airstream with well-planned meals on fancier plates than typical paper ones to the other extreme, which is Collective Retreats. Collective Retreats may technically be camping, and you do get to enjoy the great outdoors, but in no way are you roughing it, in the least. This is glamour camping at its best. If you want to reconnect with nature in unique, unspoiled places — but still have an actual toilet, in a private bathroom, and sleep in a king size bed with 1,500 thread count sheets — this is for you.
Imagine walking through a vineyard or hiking up a mountain to take in the gorgeous view. These are activities a concierge at an upscale hotel or resort can provide. However, making that scenic place into your actual destination for your getaway is what Collective Retreats excels at. Currently with two locations, in Vail, Colorado and Yellowstone, Montana, this startup company is opening up three new locations soon (as in they are already accepting reservations). Apparently, not-exactly-roughing-it in the great outdoors is highly appealing. New locations will include Hudson Valley in New York, the Hill Country in Texas and Sonoma, California.
I found out about Collective Retreats through my friend, Thomas Bernstein, who stayed at the one in Vail. “It was spectacular,” he shares. “We stayed at the Vail Collective during a wedding weekend for a mutual friend, and the accommodations were just awesome. Amazingly comfortable bed and sheets, great food, fun touches like coffee and s’mores delivered to our tent … it is luxurious, but you still feel wholly connected with nature. Hard to explain until you try it … which everyone should!”
I talked with Collective Retreats’ CEO Peter Mack to find out more …
What was your inspiration behind starting Collective Retreats?
We believe that travel should be inspirational. Unfortunately, traditional hotels are boring and cookie-cutter. My inspiration for Collective Retreats came from years of working at Starwood Hotels and Resorts — I spent 10 years there. While I was there, it was very clear to me that there was a huge opportunity to break away from the traditional model of hotels. I then went to oversee design and customer experience at Tough Mudder. We used to use tents heavily at our events. I remember looking at the tents we’d used for registration, for food and beverage, and I recall thinking, There are no good hotels around here … I wonder if we could put one in a tent?!”
How many tents are at each location?
It varies. When we open new locations, we usually start with five tents and one central dining tent, called Three Peaks Lodge. At our currently open retreats we have five to 12 tents.
Do the prices include meals?
The rates include breakfast, they include our nightly s’mores ritual and evening treats, and they include local coffees, teas and snacks in-room. However, lunch and dinner are additional.
Do you eat as a group with the other guests or on your own?
Our dining works like a fine dining restaurant, so groups of guests usually choose to make reservations and eat on their own schedule. However guests often choose to dine together, which can be fun. They have the choice to have dinner in a private and intimate way, or join up as a group and enjoy it more communally.
We serve a nightly, multi-course, farm-to-table dinner option in which the chef cooks table-side and serves the dishes him- or herself. We source all of the ingredients locally, and it’s a really special option. We also do lots of weddings and special events, which are really popular because of the beauty of our retreats and how special our dining is.
What are some of the activities that your guests can enjoy on their stay?
It really varies per location, as we try to make the most of the unique places we’re located. Flyfishing is a favorite at our Yellowstone location, horseback riding is a favorite at our Vail location, apple picking and checking out the organic farm are favorites at our Hudson, New York location. We really seek to provide the most special activities in the most unique ways at each of our retreats.
Is this appropriate for families?
Yes, each of our retreats is very family friendly. We’ve created activities and offerings especially for kids, and they always have a blast. Our retreats are particularly special for families to get away and spend quality time together. We don’t have hard-and-fast rules, but many weekends we require a two-night minimum stay (and holiday weekends three nights).
What is the price range we’re talking about?
Price varies by location and night, but generally speaking $400 to $600 per night for two people.
Is there a staff who stays on site at all times? And I have to ask, what about bears in Montana?
There is staff on-site and available at all times! We work very carefully to ensure wildlife is not an issue at any of our retreats. In Montana, bears are a huge part of the local landscape, so we do bear education and training with our guests.
If you interested in finding out more about Collective Retreats, visit collectiveretreats.com
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