Luxury resort previews a much glampier future for KOA camping
Earlier this year, KOA turned its annual camping survey data into a futuristic vision of how campgrounds will evolve to meet the demands of millennials and the generations to follow. While aspects like cliffhanging RV pads and underwater cabins seemed pretty far out there, the company noted that the futurization of campgrounds had already begun with simpler additions like solar parasols. That transformation continues as KOA launches Terramor Outdoor Resort, a "first of its kind" glamping resort combining safari-style luxury tents, onsite recreation, a bar and restaurant, equipment rentals and more into an experience that's part all-ages summer camp, part upscale hotel resort.
The year 2030 is just a decade away, but visions of what camping might morph into make it feel centuries in the future. Hymer imagines outdoorsy travelers zipping around in on-demand, custom-outfitted glamper pods, while KOA thinks we'll be enjoying traditional outdoor activities in very different settings – like skyscraper rooftops and tree canopies.
Whether we end up so far so quickly or not, millennials are showing a clear penchant for seeking out new, unique camping and travel experiences. KOA and other camping businesses are responding by broadening their definitions of what camping is and how it's done, mixing structures like teepees, tree houses and covered wagons into the more traditional infrastructure of tent pads and RV hookups.
Given the changes going on in camping preferences, KOA this year issued a North American Glamping Report, separate from its more established annual camping report. It found that 30 percent of North American travelers have glamped within the past two years, and 63 percent of those who had glamped or were interested in services and amenities not available with more basic camping. Offerings like social activities, Wi-Fi, and full kitchens and private bathrooms scored particularly highly. In other words, a more resort-like style of outdoorsy overnighting.
KOA experiments with such a resort-like style of outdoorsy overnighting with Terramor, a pet-friendly resort conceived directly from its annual survey data. The property sits on 60 acres of prime Mount Desert Island real estate just outside Acadia National Park, one of America's top 10 most popular national parks. Once complete, a series of 64 safari-style canvas tents will fan out around a central lodge, each tent outfitted more like a slopeside ski chalet than a car camping tent. In place of flapping ripstop and rumpled sleeping bags, thick canvas clinging to exposed wooden beams will wall in plush beds wrapped in premium linens, en-suite bathrooms and lodge-style furniture. Just outside, each tent will include a furnished private veranda and campfire ring, and some will tack on a private open-air shower for soaking literally and figuratively in the golden rays pouring through the leafy white birch canopy.
The glass-encased lodge at the heart of Terramor will house a restaurant set to serve seasonal and local specialities and a bar with a rotating selection of regional craft beers and seasonal wines and ciders. The restaurant will also offer lunches to go, encouraging guests to enjoy a picnic on their outdoor adventure of the day. An onsite outfitter will provide equipment rentals and trip planning services.
Also planned are a pool and hot tub area styled in accordance with the surrounding scenery and an open field for events, games and general socialization. Concerts, stargazing hikes, lectures and other events will fill out the calendar once things are up and running.
Terramor is slated to open in summer 2020, and as you might expect after reading to this point, prices are much more "nice hotel" than "roadside campground." Reservations opened last week, and a quick search of late-June to early-October dates shows prices ranging from US$218 per night for a tent without bathroom to $273 per night for one with a bathroom, no pricing alteration between months. That's certainly pricy compared to more basic camping, but so long as you don't mind substituting canvas for concrete or drywall, the experience seems much closer to a hotel resort than a rusty travel-trailer corral.
Source: Terramor Outdoor Resort