The Resort at Paws Up, located on a 37,000-acre working ranch in western Montana, calls itself the Last Best Place, and its landscape of lush valleys, majestic mountains and the mighty Blackfoot River make it easy to see why.
As reported by Fox News, the resort’s owner came under fire several years ago when he tried to trademark “Last Best Place,” which Montanans have held dear for decades. But there’s little debate that Paws Up was first at something else: glamorous camping, aka “glamping.”
About a year after it opened in 2005, Paws Up added three upscale tents to its lodging options. Like the high-end safari camps in Africa, the spacious canvas tents boasted king-size beds, robes and slippers and gourmet meals – touches you’d expect from a five-star hotel, but all nestled in the pristine wilderness.
The tents were so popular, Paws Up couldn’t build them fast enough. It now has 30 tents across five camps, with extras like heated floors in massive en-suite bathrooms and camping butlers who cater to guests’ every whim, from making the perfect s’more to planning the next day’s hike.
Properties and outfitters around the country took notice, and glamping quickly grew from a trend to a travel mainstay. There now are roughly 3,000 properties around the world with some kind of glamping component, says Ryan Hutchings, general manager of Glamping.com.
“It’s definitely here to stay, and it’s a big hit with consumers,” said Hutchings, who says he’s contacted every day by property owners asking him to list them on his 3-year-old website.
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