Part two in a three-part series on "glamping" (glamorous camping).
After two unforgettable nights of “glamping” at Tent City, one of two glamorous campsites at Paws Up Resort in Montana, I was going back to civilization. Or that’s what I thought. My home turned out to be just as remote, in an isolated forest on the resort’s 37,000 acres. In fact, when I arrived to William Clark, one of the ten new Wilderness Estates at Paws Up, I felt as far removed from the rest of the world as in my glam tent at Tent City. But the differences were huge – inside my stately residence for the night, I had WiFi, a surround-sound entertainment system, and five 42" flat-screen TVs. There was even Nintendo Wii in the loft game room upstairs! Granted, I was still so far and remote that my cell phone wasn’t getting any reception. Not that it mattered much . . .
I had only one day and night to spend inside the 3,248 square-feet of my Wilderness Estate, so what was a girl to do? There was so much to sample and so little time. I did manage to relax on the sofa in the expansive great room with a soaring vaulted ceiling; enjoy the jetted spa tub in my own master bathroom outfitted with a spacious slate shower, organic toiletries, and plush towels; feel the evening breeze on my sprawling private deck overlooking a stretching vista of pine forests and meadows; and watch a strip of light slowly fade on the horizon at 10:30pm through the panoramic bathroom windows (so much nicer than looking at my own image in the mirror!). And then there were things I wished I had time to do: soak alfresco in the six-person hot tub on the deck; sleep in under sumptuous bedding of the king-size bed in my master bedroom (one of three inside each Wilderness Estate); space out by the stone fireplace; and make myself a meal in the fully equipped cook’s kitchen.
The accommodations at Paws Up run the full gamut – from stylish tents at Tent City and River Camp to cozy Big Timber Homes, the historic Morris Ranch House, and even a remote encampment in the back woods. There really is something for everyone. But the rustic elegance, total privacy, five-star perks, and marvelous views of the Wilderness Estates are bound to blow your mind. You’re out there in thick woods, yet just a quick ride away from fine dining, pampering spa treatments at Spa Town and a range of activities such as horseback riding, rappelling, river kayaking, ATV riding, skeet shooting, hiking . . . you name it. You even get your own eco-friendly electric car that's so silent the animals won't hear you coming – perfect for a personal safari ride.
Driving around the quiet forest roads was one of the highlights of my stay – with the windows down, taking in the scent of sage and pine – as was my gourmet Americana dinner at Pomp, the acclaimed restaurant at Paws Up. I had an appetizer of heirloom tomatoes from the resort’s organic garden; an entree of grilled elk loin served with golden lentils, snap peas, and grilled black velvet apricot; and a desert of huckleberry ice cream with almond cake.
Rates start at $2,690 per night (based on two people) and include three meals daily and roundtrip airport transfers. To book, call 1-800-473-0601 or visit www.pawsup.com.