While the kids are off making arts and crafts or perfecting their athletic skills at camp this summer, consider taking a brief hiatus to create grown-up versions of your own campfire memories. Thanks to the variety of luxury hotels that offer chic cabins and bungalows, all-star amenities and concierges to point you in the right direction (think of them as modern-day camp guides), you’ll be able to pack your days with outdoor adventures and retire to a comfortable bed each night. As for the ghost stories, well, those are up to you.
The Lodge and Cottages at Primland, Meadows of Dan, Va.
Southern Virginia’s The Lodge and Cottages at Primland is the only resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains with its own observatory dome for stargazing, but that isn’t the only thing that makes this an otherworldly retreat: There also are luxury tree house accommodations that top off the property’s 44 guest rooms and cabins. The Golden Eagle Tree House, situated in a massive oak, is packed with top-notch amenities including a soaking tub, a flat-screen TV, a Keurig coffeemaker, Frette robes and L’Occitane bath products. The treetop room is so popular that two more tree houses will be added this July. Below their perches, Primland’s 12,000 acres offer outdoor pursuits from ATV tours to clay shooting to horseback riding—you can even bring and board your own horse. The largely organic spa and fine dining restaurant, Elements, round out this luxury summer camp experience.
The Point, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
It’s no surprise that this sprawling Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Point evokes the summer camp of your youth; it was built in 1933 as a Great Camp for the Rockefeller family. Today, the 11-room lakefront property offers a ton of activities, as well as boating, water skiing, fishing, tennis, croquet and hiking on its 75 acres in the Adirondacks—not to mention the experience of dining in the Great Hall at large, round tables that each seat up to 16 guests. Each evening, guests meet for cocktails and then a gourmet dinner and wine pairing prepared by chef Mark Levy before ending the day with a game of pool or nightcaps around the campfire. Evenings at The Point can be such a bonding experience that it’s not unusual for guests who meet there to keep in touch and return together in subsequent summers. Of course, if you’d rather dine in your guest room and enjoy a more private getaway, the gracious staff can accommodate that, too.
The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Pike National Forest, Colo.
When Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Broadmoor opens The Ranch at Emerald Valley in August, it will offer a re-imagined wilderness experience with 10 luxury cabins surrounded by 100,000 acres of national forest. It will be an ideal setting for disconnecting, though there will be enough on-site activities to keep you busy from your 7 a.m. “cowboy coffee” at the fire pit to your 8:30 p.m. bingo game, should you so choose. For even more amenities, ranch staff will whisk you 8 miles away to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs for access to all of its offerings, including the Five-Star Spa at The Broadmoor. Soon to follow in May 2014: The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp, a second remote retreat that will feature 22 guest rooms inspired by the historic timber lodges found in national parks.
Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, Moab, Utah
Set on the Colorado River among green pastures and towering red-rock formations, the cabins at Four-Star Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa are the epitome of rustic elegance. The large guest rooms feature Western décor, porch swings and four-poster beds crafted from logs — but also include modern comforts such as Wi-Fi, kitchenettes and hydrotherapy tubs (a far cry from your summer camp days as a kid). You’ll be similarly spoiled when it comes to entertainment; just ask the resort’s adventure concierge to set up your activities at the equestrian center, on the river or in the surrounding canyons. After dinner at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The River Grill Restaurant, enjoy a signature “Goathead martini”—named after the thorns that spike Moab mountain bikers’ tires—and head to the nightly bonfire to socialize with other guests.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Though the Five-Star Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu has 243 guest rooms and suites, there’s not a single high-rise in sight here. Instead, clusters of two-story, natural-wood bungalows dot paths lined with tiki torches; each bungalow faces the ocean and many come with outdoor lava-rock showers. The Hawaii resort’s mind-boggling list of activities is as rooted in nature and local culture as its design. Active types can rock climb or paddle an outrigger; artsy folks can head to the on-site Ka’upulehu Cultural Center to make leis or play the ukulele. But while the outdoorsy setup and plethora of activities might evoke memories of your days at summer camp, the resort’s luxury amenities are Five-Star Four Seasons status all the way. Swim at any of seven pools (where nostalgia-inducing Otter Pops are served in the afternoon). Golf at the Jack Nicklaus signature course. And book a treatment at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai to experience its unique apothecary.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons, The Lodge and Cottages at Primland, The Broadmoor, Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa