As glamping trend grows, decked-out airstreams arrive at Lake Tahoe | nnbusinessview.com

As glamping trend grows, decked-out airstreams arrive at Lake Tahoe

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@swiftcom.com

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Imagine being out in nature, the stars overhead as you enjoy a whiskey by the campfire. But as the embers begin to die down, instead of crawling into a two-person tent and burrowing into a sleeping bag, you walk into a yurt outfitted with a heater, queen-sized bed with hotel-grade linens and hip décor.

This is glamping — glamorous camping — and with the rise of Instagram and the millennial-championed notion of collecting experiences, this lodging trend is continuing to grow.

Fancy staying in a covered wagon with stylish interiors? Book two-nights in the Conestoga Wagons outside of Utah's Capitol Reef National Park. In Kennebunkport, Maine, sleep in a safari-style tent designed around themes like "Blixen's Oasis" or "Boho Luxury Nest" at Sandy Pine Campground. Tucked in the coastal hills of Santa Paula, California, spend the night in a teepee at the KOA Ventura Ranch.

And now, at Zephyr Cove Resort in Lake Tahoe, cozy up in an airstream in the woods complete with a queen bed, kitchen, shower, two-flat screens and mountain modern décor.

"It's true glamping," said Brittani Curtis, sales and marketing manager at Aramark, the company that runs the resort. "We really take care of you."

The three airstreams, located at the back end of Zephyr Cove Resort's campsite, sleep four people and offer amenities like maid service, complimentary wood delivery for the fire pit, a propane grill and s'mores kits.

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The airstreams housed their first guests over Memorial Day weekend. Though rates may change based on time of year, Zephyr Cove is currently advertising $399 a night with a two-night minimum.

While Lake Tahoe has a range of lodging accommodations — from hotel rooms to AirBnB cabin rentals — this appears to be the area's first glamping operation, albeit a small one.

But across the country, and especially in California, glamping establishments have been steadily cropping up for years.

"Travelers are looking for more experiential accommodations when they travel these days," said Ryan Miller, chief marketing officer for AutoCamp, which has two California glamping or "outdoor hospitality" operations, as the company calls it, in Russian River and Santa Barbara.

At AutoCamp's Russian River location, guests can choose from airstreams, canvas tents or handcrafted huts all with lush modern interiors, and a shared clubhouse where local wine, beer and other craft goods are for sale.

"Our clientele are very diverse — from young families and couples, to active retirees just looking for that classic Airstream experience," said Miller. "AutoCamp Russian River has also become quite popular with Bay Area companies looking for a new way to do a corporate retreat or event."

AutoCamp, which was established in 2013, will be announcing its third location this summer. Miller said its their "largest and most exciting location yet."

Fingers crossed for the glamping enthusiasts looking for a visit — or staycation — in Lake Tahoe.