Vacation lodging used to mean a room with four walls in a hotel or motel. Today, travelers are increasingly seeking — and easily finding — accommodations that allow them to be more in tune with their surroundings, be it a forest, a beach or a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, according to the New York Times.
Airbnb’s booking data for the beginning of this year suggests that more travelers are interested in spending their vacations in what the short-term rental site calls “nontraditional” spaces, particularly those that allow travelers to be or feel closer to nature. Bookings for nature lodges and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) have skyrocketed since last year. Reservations for yurts and RVs have also spiked.
These are hardly new or nontraditional forms of shelter. The ryokan is centuries old. Yurts have been used by nomads for decades. Yet it seems interest in such lodgings has prompted more places to not only offer them, but reimagine them, too. The latest iterations have modern comforts and deluxe trappings even as they aim to retain some of the minimalism and spirit of their predecessors.
This year, Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, an 82-acre property with cabins and cottages on San Juan Island in Washington state, is opening Lakedale Yurt Village, a wooded area by Fish Hook Lake with seven “luxury yurts” (rates start at $325 a night), each with a pillow-top king bed and en suite bathroom, a flat-panel television, refrigerator, sleeper sofa and private deck with a hot tub, barbecue, dining set and Adirondack chairs.
Interest in yurts and RVs, be they rustic or ritzy, isn’t surprising given the resurgence of camping, which Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), one of the largest privately owned networks of campgrounds, has said is being driven by millennials. Today, companies like Tentrr allow would-be campers to book acres of private land and a fully equipped campsite with a few taps of an app or clicks on its website. And sites like Hipcamp make it easy to book lodgings like tree houses, yurts and R.V.s.
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