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Glamping destinations that blow your mind (and cash)

Pool-at-Zarafa-Camp

From lush forests to glacial mountains and vineyards, tented camps are the new byline in luxury, and it’s even got its own vocabulary. Gone are the days of dingy tents and flimsy collapsible chairs – glamorous camping, or ‘glamping’, prove that you don’t need solid walls to soak in the riches. Some of these tents literally take your breath – and your cash – away.

Antarctica

While Antarctica may not be on anyone’s romantic destination, but it’s definitely on many people’s bucket lists. If you have the cash, you can splurge it on a private jet (5.5 hours from Cape Town) to the Whichaway Camp on White Desert. Located next to an ice cliff by a frozen lake, the 6 dome pods (made from aerospace material) are en suite, luxuriously designed with an old world ambience. Embark on a number of excursions per day, from rock climbing to kite skiing and polar exploration, or relax in the communal pod. From US$32,000 per person (S$42,400) all-inclusive (4 nights, incl. flight)

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Vancouver Island, Canada

On the westernmost edge of Vancouver Island is the Clayoquot Sound World Biosphere, home to the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. This black bear central, where you can catch salmon and halibut, ride horses, kayak, hike, or go on whale- or bear-watching trips. Accommodation is in elegant safari-style tents – located along the open estuary or in the rainforest – decorated with antiques, king-size beds, rustic wood stoves, and ensuite bathrooms with outdoor showers (some have private cedar hot tubs). The secluded hotel can be reached only via a 45-minute private seaplane transfer from Vancouver, with is included in their 3-7 night packages. From CAD4,800 (S$5,100) per person; all inclusive (4D3N)

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Okavango Delta, Botswana

Okavango Delta’s floodplains is a vast network of natural watering holes, where hippos, zebras, and immense herds of buffalo stop for a drink; it’s also an excellent birding site. Zarafa Camp, located along the Zibadianja Lagoon, comprises four huge tents on private decks, each with separate lounge and bedroom, private pool and outdoor shower. While elephants can be spotted from the veranda, daily guided tours include open-vehicle safaris, hippo-spotting lagoon cruises, or strolling across the floodplains. Canon 40D cameras and Swarovski binoculars are loaned for free. From US$1,865 (S$2,470) per person per night, including safaris and meals

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Torres del Paine, Chile

Set in Torres del Paine National Park, EcoCamp Patagonia features eco-friendly state-of-the-art geodesic domes. To stay here, you have a few options of tours including the iconic W Trek (5 or 7 days), with views of skyrocketing mountains, deep blue lakes, and hauntingly beautiful forests. Hike to gorgeous Lake Grey to marvel at the calving glacier, and climb the steep moraine to the base of the Towers for an iconic view of the three monoliths of Torres del Paine. The domes range from Standard (shared bathrooms) to Suite, boasting sublime mountain views; there are also bar, yoga and community domes. From US$1,850 (S$2,450) per person all-inclusive (5D4N)

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Kilpisjärvi, Finland

Aurora Wilderness Camps has three hotel rooms – each of which are mounted on skis so they can slide you out into the open wilderness area of Kilpisjärvi where auroras appear. Each ‘room’ comes with an extra-wide bed, a bathroom, and a gas stove and heater to keep you cozy throughout the night. Since you’re coming for the views, it’s equipped with a glass roof for staring up the northern lights – during wintertime, there’s a 70% chance of seeing them. The camps are available only until mid-April, and are then put away until January. From US$2,100 (S$7,755) per person; all-inclusive, including transfers (4D3N)

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