Connect with us

Property

Property Watch: Too tents? Back to the romance of nature

Published

 on 

PHUKET: I’m not quite sure what happened to the age-old art of counting sheep, which can effectively – and quickly – put one in a blissful slumber. This was of course in days past, before Xanax.

Looking back at romantic notions – such as the classic folk adventures of Aladdin and Sinbad in One Thousand and One Nights – you can nearly reach out and touch the luminous half-lit canvas walls of a desert tent.

Over the years, travel has slowly transformed itself into more of an institution. The tents are all but gone and space has become restricted. At the end of the day, one has to wonder: Have we lost the sense of what real travel is all about?

Modern travel, with its mini-bars, key-cards, and a thousand and one takes on the same decor motif, has dulled our senses. What happened to the days when kids could pitch a tent in the outdoors, tell stories and listing to the sounds of nature outside. No welcome drinks, no paper and pens with logos, or even, in the case of a more upscale stay – a pillow menu!

These days, thank goodness the travel business is again becoming a little more daring – albeit with the experiences often circumscribed by such marketing hash tags as “authentic” or “experiential”. The walls are suddenly coming down again, and one experience that remains close to my heart is the journey back in the time of tents.

In Africa, tents have been used for generations for all manner of travel. Here in Asia, one of the most noteworthy efforts was the Bill Bentley-designed Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai. This resort demonstrated that there are still travellers yearning to return to the days of old. Yes, there are other fine examples as well, from the Aman-i-khas in Rajasthan to the Amanwana near Bali.

Recently, on a trip to Ubud, I had dinner with Anneke Van Waesberghe of Escape Nomade, who have created a line of luxury tents under the motto “Living Without Walls”. For a number of years Anneke herself has lived by a peaceful river high above the bustle of Bali and has created an impressive line of quality products that are experiencing a revival in the market.

Using organic cotton and with careful attention to craftsmanship, she is starting to receive inquires from hoteliers in places such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the islands in the Pacific. What could be better on an exotic holiday than experiencing some Old World charm?

Part of Anneke’s vision is to create a line of travel accessories, decorative elements – and a healthy dose of imagination – to bring the tents alive for their occupants. Drinking cocktails as the sun sets in the tropical rainforest, my mind swirled with those tales from a time so long ago. In a way, they were more intoxicating than my rather stiff vodka tonic.

As Phuket continues to expand into Phang Nga Bay, up over the bridge where the roads lead to waterways, and the not-so-far-away Mergui Archipelago and the Burma Banks, how fantastic it would be to see new accommodation that provided travellers with a sense of location and place. Forget the TV, find time to talk, relax and enjoy the magic of strange faraway strange.

As for the sheep, let someone else count them.

Bill Barnett is Managing Director of C9Hotelworks. He can be contacted through: c9hotelworks.com and on bill@c9hotelworks.com

See more of Bill’s writing on his hotel industry-focused blog: thephuketinsider.com

— Bill Barnett

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime6 mins ago

Tenant fined 140,000 baht for keeping dog in Bangkok condominium

Pattaya20 mins ago

Speedo-wearing middle-aged joggers in Jomtien cause uproar

Thailand34 mins ago

Thailand No.1 in the world for a wellness retreat

Sponsored2 hours ago

British International School Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Health36 mins ago

Which type of health insurance do you need in Thailand?

Thailand1 hour ago

Gunman wounds 8 in Jerusalem, 48 dead in Israeli Gaza strikes

Thailand1 hour ago

Thailand among top 5 destinations for Chinese travelers | GMT

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Travel14 hours ago

Where to find underrated international cuisines in Bangkok

Bangkok15 hours ago

Chinatown manhole covers to use art, tech to become cultural map

Transport16 hours ago

Man fights Indian Railways for 22 years for justice (and 9 baht)

Events18 hours ago

Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

Crime18 hours ago

Thais cautioned against fake government websites

Thailand18 hours ago

Another Thai boxer dies from brain injury after fight in Malaysia

Thailand19 hours ago

Expats in Thailand, Cartoon characters & Letting Loose | Thaiger Bites

Pattaya19 hours ago

VIDEO: Young Thais have a blast at Pattaya Music Festival weekend 2

Pollution20 hours ago

Anti-Corruption Network complains of smelly wastewater in coastal Thai province

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending