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updated 6/13/2008 12:11:38 PM ET 2008-06-13T16:11:38

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through 2008

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The Deal
Camping trips are a summer tradition some of us love and some can live without. Unless you’re such an outdoor enthusiast that you need to rough it to have a good time, we suggest an entirely different breed of lodging in nature: luxury camping! We found a selection of unique properties that combine the best of camping with the best of creature comforts, from California and Australia to Thailand and Mongolia. So forget about lugging a heavy load of outdoor gear for pitching a tent! What awaits you at these oases of luxury are plush perks such as maid service, comfy furniture, delightful meals, and more. And all of that from only $80/night!

Costanoa in California
For a trip back to basics luxury-style, check out Costanoa eco-adventure resort just south of San Francisco. On a beautiful stretch of California's coast, a stone’s throw from the beach, this property features a 40-room lodge with a restaurant and a spa as well as four configurations of tent bungalows. These come with waterproof canvas walls, electricity, sliding windows, and heated mattress pads. Three comfort stations are available to tent guests, each equipped with restrooms; hot showers; heated floors; a dry sauna; and an outdoor fireplace. Nightly rates for these tents start at $115 on weeknights ($130 on weekends) and run up to $175 for family-style tents ($190 on weekends).

Australia’s Longitude 131°
For a deluxe wilderness escape in the Australian Outback, the award-winning Longitude 131° is a top choice. Set atop an isolated sand dune close to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, this exquisite retreat of 15 palatial linen-canopied tents offers five-star perks and private views of the sun rising and setting over the legendary Uluru/Ayers Rock. Activities and tours include gourmet dining under the southern night sky; the Uluru sunrise walk; and discovering ancient Aboriginal lore at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre. Two-night packages start at $1,745 per person, all-inclusive.

Thailand’s Four Seasons Tented Camp
For an exotic camping experience, we suggest Thailand’s Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Reached by riverboat through lush bamboo jungles, this extraordinary property showcases 15 tented units.

Condé Nast Traveler writes, “The canvas-covered, 600-square-foot accommodations are ultra-private and have generous decks, pillowtop beds, outdoor rain showers, and copper bathtubs.” You can enjoy a four-night package for $2,103/night. It is a hefty price tag but includes luxurious tent lodgings; all meals and beverages; one spa treatment per person; full program of activities; and airport transfers.

Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
To really get off the beaten path, book a sojourn at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia’s legendary Gobi Desert. Sheltered by a 47-million-year-old volcanic outcrop, this luxurious wilderness camp is situated in Gurvansaikhan National Park. Travel + Leisure writes, “The 50-acre camp features 30 private gers (nomadic tents made of felt and wood) with wood-burning stoves and hand-painted wooden furniture. Guides lead guests through Mongolia's varied terrain — lunar landscapes, mountain valleys, and the red sandstone Flaming Cliffs.” Rates start at $80/night per person, with all meals included.

More Notable Luxury Camps

The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

Mille Etoiles, France

Hoopee Yurt Hotel, Spain

Pansea Ksar Ghilane, Tunisia

Kirawira Camp, Tanzania

The dollars
See details above. The rates don’t feature any special discounts but each of these sojourns is so unique that the quoted costs are positively worth covering.

The catch
Don’t forget to pack a flashlight! You are camping, after all.

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