Imagine a glamping tent. Now enclose it, give it 26-foot-high ceilings, 1,000-square-foot windows, in-room telescopes, swinging chairs, plush linens and towels, colorful murals, and deck hammocks. Make it dome-shaped, climate-controlled, and put it within a few minutes of your favorite national park.
Is this still a glamping tent? Or, is it a five-star hotel room? An upscale cabin? Clear Sky Resorts' luxury domes — located just outside Glacier and Grand Canyon national parks — blur the line of traditional lodging, uniting nature buffs and splendor seekers under the same curved roof.
"Glamping today means a luxurious and unique place to stay with direct access to nature," says Hal Feinberg, one of the resort's owners. "So, we definitely meet the definition of glamorous camping." Clear Sky Resorts is simply expanding, if not redefining, the idea — it's the first and only resort concept of its kind in the country.
"Glacier is smaller and has a more intimate feel," explains Feinberg, describing the 16 two-, four-, and five-guest domes bubbling up from the spruce firs in Montana's Flathead National Forest, just 15 minutes outside Glacier National Park. Here, hiking boots and fishing poles should highlight any packing list: Stanton Lake trail, a moderate one-mile trek to the mountain-framed waters, lies mere steps from the domes. Hikers can continue along the lake's west side for panoramic views of Mount Grant, Great Northern Mountain, and Stanton Glacier.
But wilderness isn't just what surrounds the domes. Their structure and décor aim to bring the outdoors inside — one of the resort's true tallies in the glamping column. Book the Stairway to the Stars dome, and you'll ascend a spiral staircase to stargaze from your bed. Plus, every dome at Glacier comes with a wraparound private deck, modern bathrooms with rain showers, and two-story views into the trees.
With 45 domes that can accommodate groups up to seven, the newly opened Clear Sky Resorts — Grand Canyon is three times larger, spreading out across the open Colorado Plateau, just 20 minutes from the park's South Rim entrance.
"This allowed us to have some fun and offer a handful of family-sized domes that have themes such as Space Galaxy, British Secret Agent, and '80s Vide Game," says Feinberg. There's even one that's built entirely of insulated, tempered-glass panels. The one way in which they're uniform, however, may reign supreme: Floor-to-ceiling windows grant panoramic sunrise, sunset, and night-sky views across Arizona's endless high desert.
While you may not be trekking into the forest from these desert domes, the long list of activities on offer here echoes the expansive vistas and family-friendly designs: a glow-in-the-dark frisbee golf course, lit art sculpture walk, and 360-degree movie projection dome, in addition to yard games, fire pits, astronomy and movie nights, live music, and storytelling, which will surely keep your pod busy between canyon days.
And if your national park plans sidestep Glacier and Grand Canyon, know that you may soon be in sky dome territory all the same. "We're in the process now of expanding and have plans to construct resorts at up to 15 more locations near some of the most beautiful state and national parks in the U.S.," says Feinberg. In other words, glamping in geodesic domes may sound like the way of the future, but it's very much so the present.
To book, visit clearskyresorts.com. Rates start at $295 per night. (Note: Clear Sky Resorts — Grand Canyon, in the middle of its grand opening, is offering an early bird discount of 10% for anyone who books by April 10.)
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