When Mark Sorrill was a schoolboy growing up ten miles from the site of the Glastonbury Festival he used to “roll in the mud” with the other music lovers camping on Worthy Farm.
Now the 53-year-old property developer is behind the most luxurious glamping site near the festival, with guests such as Guy Ritchie and Steve Coogan given access to a private swimming pool and wood-fired hot tubs built in a farmer’s field a short stroll from the festival gates. This year’s new addition is a private helipad.
Richie Norton, a wellness coach whose clients include Orlando Bloom and Gary Barlow, is running breathwork classes for guests to “re-energise and recover”.
“No other festival I know has had a set-up like this ever,” Norton said. “I guess that is what makes it a premium experience because this is a rehabilitation space for hard hitting Glastonbury. You can order room service to your tent and get a coffee and breakfast bap at your door.”
On Tuesday night guests were treated to a five-course midsummer feast hosted by Fortnum & Mason and the award-winning Watergate Bay chef Emily Scott, serving monkfish roasted over coals and scallops baked in their shell.
Sorrill, who grew up in the village of Street, Somerset, also offers the rich and famous wood-fired saunas, spa treatments, a private bar and fine dining. Showers, flushing lavatories and a pamper room are available for those without ensuite facilities in their tents, which range from £3,000 to £25,000.
The luxury yurts range in price from £3,000-£25,000
The pop-up hotel was all built in four weeks in a farmer’s field used for the rest of the year to grow fodder for a local dairy herd.
Guests who arrive by helicopter are chauffeur-driven from the helipad to their luxury yurts and tents by a fleet of electric BMW X7 SUVs provided by the German carmaker.
“We feel we have to raise the bar each year and keep it as high as possible,” Sorrill said. “I think the swimming pool and spa and private helipad this year have done that. The other shared helipads in Glastonbury are central or east side and with us being on the west side it’s important we have closer access. It defeats the object of flying in if it then takes an hour and a half to get here through the traffic.”
• Friday at Glastonbury 2023 live
When The Times visited the glamping site, the only drama in the day was when two helicopters came in to land at the same time. Behind a high hedge the chic restaurant and lounge area, spread under a canvas roof, felt a million miles from the throbbing energy of the festival camping fields, where pup tents fight for space in a mass of criss-crossing guy ropes.
The pop-up hotel is as far as you can get the mass of tents, long queues and dubious toilets on the Glastonbury site
It will cost you a bomb, but for the well-heeled the pop-up hotel is worth splashing out on
The most expensive accommodation at the pop-up hotel is the four-bedroom Tipi Tenthouse Suite, setting you back £25,000 and boasting four double or twin bedrooms surrounding a carpeted living area with sofas and a dining table.
Coogan, the comedian and actor, stayed in a safari tent last year to watch Sir Paul McCartney headline the Pyramid Stage. He left a review saying: “Great atmosphere. Plenty of space to chill out and great food. I will be back!”
Aidan Turner, the Poldark actor, Millie Mackintosh, the Made in Chelsea star, and Ritchie, the Hollywood director, have also been guests in the past.
The 20-strong team of hair, beauty, yoga and holistic therapy specialists from Soul Circus, the spa partner, offer glamper reiki massage, reflexology and ear acupressure to cure their hangovers and aching bodies.
Guests are given an array of luxury health and wellbeing products made by Sea Magik, including pink Himalayan salt shampoo, bars of Dead Sea mud soap and argan oil balm.
The four large “healing hot tubs”, two saunas and three massage yurts are a stone’s throw from the bar and swimming pool.
Mark Sorrill, owner of the Glastonbury Pop Up Hotel, grew up near Worthy Farm
Sorrill, a father of three who sold property in the Cayman islands for 12 years before returning to Somerset, started with 17 tents in 2011 but his pop-up hotel now boasts 200 over a ten-acre plot just off the A361 near Pilton.
Despite the luxury on site, Sorrill says the fact his guests are camping in bell-tents, yurts and burts — his new hybrid tent creation — means they are still getting the Glastonbury experience. “If you came to the festival and went back to a hotel each night and sat next to a photocopier salesman it would ruin the experience,” he said. “What we are providing is an experiential stay and letting our guests stay in that moment for as long as possible.”
His guests were “typically older clientele who have the income available to cover our price point but I think they still have the spirit of Glastonbury”, he said, adding: “It’s an escape. You might be a doctor with an extremely stressful job but for five days you can remember what it was to be young.”
Rich and Sarah Hill, 50 and 48, from London, polished off glasses of hibiscus tequila after arriving at their £3,000 bell tent on Wednesday.
Rich, senior vice-president financial planning at Sony Music, said: “I’ve not been for 15 years and last time I was here I was in a tent amongst everyone in the mud. It was an absolute swamp and I promised myself I’d never come back.
“So this is a real treat. The trouble is, now you’ve done this, where do we go next time? We don’t want to go back to what we did before.”
Neil, an arable farmer, and Sandy, a manufacturing company owner from Cambridgeshire, spent just shy of £10,000 for their accommodation and hospitality tickets. “This is glamping in the extreme,” Sandy said. “Our wives aren’t quite into the music so they could chill here. For them a bottle of rosé and a chill would be fine.
“To have a private bar and the pool and spa, it’s everything you need. Glastonbury is almost incidental.”
published 2023-06-26 12:06:41