MOAB — The most extravagant camping experience in the southwest exists right on the brim of Arches National Park. Surrounded by some of nature’s most bizarrely beautiful structures, this fancy glamping resort tastefully complements some of the most famous scenery in the Southwest.
Moab Under Canvas is a safari-style tent motel ideal for vacationers who yearn for something less predictable than the Best Western but aren’t ready for a bona fide camping trip. On 40 acres of natural desertscape 12 miles north of Moab, 40 tents of various sizes provide a remarkably cozy yet elegant shelter for travelers.
Though relatively pricey — depending on which tent option you select — Moab Under Canvas is an ideal place for those looking for an uber-scenic and memorable lodging experience while traveling the national parks circuit.
Founded on a goal of sharing the outdoors experience with those not-so-nomadic types, these tent lodges include modern beds, housekeeping services, hot water, plumbing and – though relatively rudimentary – air-temperature control in the form of wood stoves and internal mist sprayers.
“We are environmental stewards who are just trying to share the outdoors with people,” the resort’s manager, Daren Cole, said. “Without something like this, a lot of people would never go camping.”
The idea seems to be working. The glamping resort, in its first year, has been sold out most weekends, Cole said. In fact, the mother company, Under Canvas, which runs two other glamping resorts near Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, is planning on opening several more glamping resorts across the West in the next few years.
The actual lodging experience varies widely depending on which tent you choose. The tents span from a very basic tipi to a resort-style, two-bedroom, cabin-sized suite.
The lower-end tipis and ground-level safari tents, though more affordable — $79 to $214 — are crammed in tightly. A stay in one of these options yields less seclusion from other resort guests; neighboring tents are within spitting distance, and bathrooms and showers are shared by the community. However, these options still include housekeeping services, comfy beds and many modern amenities.
The pricey deluxe tents — starting at $279 a night — are much more private, and feel more like staying in a lodge then a tent. Deluxes are mostly on the outskirts of the property; so, although you have neighbors, you are for the most part entirely secluded. Deluxes are also lifted on a wood deck and include a private bathroom, a dresser and a wood-burning stove.
No matter which tent you choose, Moab Under Canvas provides one of the more unique lodging experiences in the Southwest. But remember, it’s not a luxury spa. Guests stay in a tent village outdoors in the wide-open desert.
For those who are hopeless romantics, a little more adventurous, or just lovers of beauty, you’ll adore this place. For those who want your vacation stay to be more like the Hilton, you might be moderately disappointed.
- Although the resort’s backyard is literally Arches National Park, there’s no direct access into Arches without driving
- Prices vary depending on vacancy
- Moab Under Canvas is open seasonally from early spring to late fall – it closes near the end of October
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