GLAMPING, GLAMOR CAMPING IN TULUM THIS WINTER 2015

Glamping, which combines camping and glamor, gets more chichi every year. The reason? Travelers are looking for luxury lodgings that meld all the aspects of five-star roughing-it and expect way more than just a spruced-up tent. These days, in-the-know excursionists often skip the tent entirely, opting to stay in tree houses, thatched-roofed palapas and cave-style homes, in destinations like Tulum, Mexico, to Cappadocia, Turkey. The idea is to take in the great outdoors, of course, without leaving too many modern amenities behind. If you want to stick with tradition, however, make sure your tent is at least grounded somewhere spectacular, with a private chef on hand for all the luxuries of a five-star hotel in a far-flung locale…

…Come winter, Tulum, Mexico is the playground for the fashion set, with models posting pics on Instagram of their high-end eco retreats. While there’s plenty of super chic hideaways in this beach town just an hour south of the more party-central Playa del Carmen, there’s still a few bare-bones spots that are much more than a step up from camping, yet still lacking modern luxuries like air conditioning. A few miles down the beach road Carretera Tulum, you’ll feel like you’ve made a wrong turn until you stumble across Papaya Playa, hidden down a dirt path with only bicycles out front marking the entrance. What started as a pop-up hotel four years ago has turned permanent, with the allure being that at any moment the oceanfront palapa-like cabañas can be dismantled and disappear, so the rugged coastline will once again look deserted. While the spot claims to be “no frills”—which means no power outlets in the thatched roof, open-air rooms lit by just a few lights and candles—you’re still oceanfront, waking to the sound of the waves, with furnishings like hammocks swaying on your personal terrace (things get more ritzy with private Jacuzzis, if you happen to be in one of the newer beach houses). The point here is to be as close to nature as possible, with just the slightest hint of luxury thanks to the pristine location and authentic cuisine served in hanging beach beds…

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