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Guests at Farouche, near Mont Tremblant in Quebec, are immersed in nature while still enjoying a night’s sleep in a chic cabin with a café on site for breakfast.Courtesy Farouche

When Vermont resident Monika Znojkiewicz was planning a short trip with her three kids to coincide with one of their spring breaks in April she knew she wanted to be in nature. Znojkiewicz has taken her kids camping before, but her husband usually joins the trip, helping with the planning, packing and execution of a jaunt in the woods.

So when Znojkiewicz came across Farouche Tremblant, a glamping site a couple hours north of Montreal set in a lush forest with a small beach and river close by, she was intrigued. The property had six A-frame cottages with king-sized beds, a separate bathroom and shower area plus a small shop and café that served light bites and ready-to-heat meals.

“With packing everything, the food and setting up the tent, there’s a lot of effort that goes into camping,” Znojkiewicz says. “At Farouche, we had comfort and luxury while being close to nature.”

Znojkiewicz and her three kids, aged two, four and eight, spent their three-day stay walking the property’s trails and building boats out of sticks which they floated down the nearby river. Their evenings ended with s’mores – a camping favourite for the family. “They provided the wood, lighter and fire starter for the campfire,” she says. “It was easy.”

Wilderness lodges and glamping sites like Farouche Tremblant offer travellers the opportunity to be in nature without sacrificing luxuries like a real bed and hot, running water nearby. Anjuli Bhatia, founder of the Canadian nature-focused trip-planning agency Canada Revealed, says that luxury wilderness lodges make vacations in nature more accessible to those who might otherwise be intimidated by, or unknowledgeable about camping. “It’s for people looking to experience nature, but they still want their creature comforts,” Bhatia says. “Maybe the roughing-it part scares them, or they just don’t know how to do it.

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At Cabana Desolation, an eco-resort in British Columbia’s Desolation Sound, guests can go off-grid but have access to an on-site chef during their stay.Courtesy Cabana Desolation

Remote luxury experiences also make it possible for people with mobility challenges or medical conditions to enjoy the great outdoors with less stress. Bhatia recently brought her 73-year-old father, who has a heart condition, on a glamping and kayaking trip on Vancouver Island with Spirit of the West Adventures. “We stayed in a gorgeous little base camp with beds and down blankets,” she says. “We were waking up to the sound of whales in the morning. They had an amazing camp kitchen set up and they were constantly whipping up snacks and family-style meals for us.”

Despite their far-flung locations, Bhatia says that some wilderness lodges pull out all the stops to create five-star experiences for guests. “I’ve seen really exquisite wine cellars at a lodge on a mountaintop,” she says. Helicopter access-only lodges, like those operated by Canadian Mountain Holidays, offer amenities like saunas and massage services. At Churchill Wild’s three remote eco-lodges in northern Manitoba, on-site chefs cook up meals using organic, locally sourced meats and fish along with wild berries handpicked on the tundra surrounding the properties. The Nimmo Bay Resort, in British Columbia’s Southern Great Bear Rainforest, is only accessible by float plane, yet there’s a full menu of spa services available like facials and scrubs, plus a sauna on a dock and outdoor yoga classes.

It does require some logistical juggling and creative solutions to keep a luxury lodge running in the middle of a forest. After starting a kayak guiding and camping company in 1997, Adam Vallance fielded requests from customers wanting a more comfortable multiday trip option. So in 2014 he opened Cabana Desolation Eco Resort, a kayak-focused eco-resort on an uninhabited island in British Columbia’s Desolation Sound. There are four guest cabanas, a staff cabin for the kayaking guide and on-site chef, plus a kitchen and dining area. “Solar provides power in the dining and kitchen area,” Vallance says. “The chefs are also using mixers and blenders, and one of our fridges operates on solar.” The solar panels also power a central charging area for guests’ devices (the cabanas themselves are off-grid) and a natural spring provides fresh water for cooking, sinks and propane-heated hot showers.

Remote luxury comes with a premium price tag: a three-night, all-inclusive guided kayak package at Cabana Desolation starts at $2,055 a person, while a three-night stay at Nimmo Bay starts at $8,099 a person. A six-night stay with Churchill Wild is priced at $15,195 a person.

Travellers drawn to these experiences also share a common desire for trendsetting among their peers. “In a world where travel has become a thing for the masses, people want to set themselves apart,” Bhatia says. “They want to go to places that their friends or network hasn’t heard of before.”

The writer has been a guest of Farouche Tremblant and Cabana Desolation. The companies did not review or approve the article before publication.

published 2024-06-14 15:58:32