There is a lot to re-think about the hotel industry these days with the disruption of AirBNB and VRBO, as well as a new emphasis on creating special experiences—the kind of sparkly sunset photo ops millennials like to share on social media. One new player has responded by taking an old concept—luxury safari-style camping—and giving it an Americana spin.
Simply put, Collective Retreats takes guests to scenic locales where brick-and-mortar hotels are unable to go. Accommodations are roomy canvas tents with real beds, antique furniture and an antler chandelier. Bathrooms are an adjoining teepee with flush loos and rain showerheads. Unlike the recent Fyre Festival debacle, this is “glamping” in a more thoughtful interpretation.
Collective’s locations started in the West and are rapidly expanding. They are in or near: Vail, CO, Big Sky, MT, and—opening in June 2017—the Hudson Valley, NY. More are planned to open soon in Texas’ hill country and Sonoma County, California.
The business model keeps an asset-light footprint (economically and environmentally) by partnering with property owners who have something to gain from a micro-boost in tourism. For example, Collective Vail is situated on a bluff above 4 Eagle Ranch, a recreational enterprise that offers access to horseback trail rides, ATV tours, a zip line course and a winery. The ranch has long been a day-trip destination for those staying in nearby Beaver Creek or Vail, but now has a direct source of on-site customers—thanks to Collective Retreats.
From the guest’s perspective, staying at a CR gains you access to waking up in a picturesque, natural place, with a gourmet chef who prepares breakfast, lunch-in-a-box and dinner with locally sourced ingredients. Before you arrive, a concierge will plan activities ranging from an historical walking tour, to a horseback ride, to an in-tent massage. (Activities are booked separately.)
The retreats are intrinsically intimate and romantic, inspiring visits from couples, birthday parties, bachelorettes, and, unexpectedly, elopers looking to wed and honeymoon all at once.
What is next up for the Denver-based start-up? CEO Peter Mack reports they are starting to think beyond the tent with geodesic domes, tiny houses and treehouses (all in the research stage.) Yet the company’s primary feature is the specialness of their locations. In scouting potential sites, Mack has accessed properties by canoe, cross-country ski and helicopter. “We want to go to places people day-dream about while in their office,” says Mack. To which we say, giddy-up.
$500 per night. www.collectiveretreats.com.