Glamping has come to NYC. I took an 8-minute ferry ride to an island in New York Harbour where people pay up to $1,200 a night to sleep in luxe tents and cabins — here's what it looks like.

Courtesy of Collective RetreatsGlamping came to Governors Island in July 2018.
  • Forget Colorado or Montana: Glamping – or glamorous camping – has gone urban.
  • Travel company Collective Retreats opened a glamping retreat on Governors Island in New York City in July 2018.
  • Guests pay between $US150 and $US1,200 per night to sleep in luxe tents or climate-controlled cabins with king-size beds and 1,500-thread count sheets, en-suite bathrooms, electricity, and WiFi.
  • In the new Outlook Shelters, guests can sleep in air-conditioned luxury and bathe in a soaking tub with a view of the Statue of Liberty.
  • While I found the tents and more upscale lodging options to be beautiful, they are decidedly not private or isolated – they’re right on top of the island’s main street.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Glamping, or “glamorous camping,” is a luxurious alternative to camping that can come in many forms, from sleeping in a heated domed pod on the salt flats of Bolivia to staying in a luxurious “canvas cabin” with a soaking tub in the woods of Montana.

But glamping isn’t just relegated to remote locations – you can even go glamping in New York City.

Travel company Collective Retreats opened a luxury campground on Governors Island in New York Harbour, an eight-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, in July 2018 – and they just added an even more luxe type of accommodation.

On a recent summer afternoon, I took the ferry out to the island to get a look at what it’s like to go glamping in New York City.


The glamping retreat is on Governors Island, a car-free, 172-acre island in New York Harbour that once housed a US Army post.

Shutterstock/Roman Babakin


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Governors Island


The island is only an eight-minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan.

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Collective Retreats


The Collective Retreats Governors Island campground is a short walk from the ferry, but I was picked up by a staffer in a golf cart, which brought me to the front entrance in about a minute.

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Collective Retreats


Opened in July 2018, the campground offers a clear view of the Statue of Liberty in one direction …

Patrick Chin for Collective Retreats


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Collective Retreats


… and picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline in the other. The camp offers two types of canvas tents: Journey Tents or Summit Tents.

Courtesy of Collective RetreatsJourney Tents at Collective Retreats Governors Island.


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Collective Retreats


In the Journey Tent, guests have the choice of a queen bed or two single beds, which come with 1,000-thread count linens and down comforters.

Courtesy of Collective Retreats


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Collective Retreats


The shared bathrooms for Journey Tent guests are a short walk from the tents. They have hot running water and full-flush toilets, as well as towels and environmentally friendly spa bath products.

Courtesy of Collective Retreats

The Journey Tents cost between $US150 and $US300 per night.

The tents have electricity and outlets where guests can charge their electronics, and coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and a hot water kettle are provided in each tent.


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Collective Retreats


The Summit Tent is the more upscale version of the Journey Tent.

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Collective Retreats


In the more spacious tent, guests sleep on 1,500-thread count sheets with a down comforter and blanket.

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Collective Retreats


Each Summit Tent has a private, en-suite bathroom with a rain-style shower and Turkish robes “for optimal lounging.”

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Collective Retreats


Guests can drink their morning coffee on their private deck.

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Collective Retreats


At each of Collective Retreats camps, no two luxury tents are exactly the same. Staying in a Summit Tent will cost you $US500 to $US800 per night.

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Collective Retreats


Just in time for Labour Day weekend 2019, Collective Retreats added a new type of accommodation to the Governors Island camp: the Outlook Shelter.

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Collective Retreats


Custom made by Land Ark RV, the Outlook Shelters are the priciest accommodations at the campground, starting at $US595 per night and going up to $US1,200. Each comes with two private decks.

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Collective Retreats


Described on the website as a “transformational hotel room,” the Outlook Shelter is a 300-square-foot, climate-controlled cabin.

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Collective Retreats


On my tour, I found that despite its compact size, the cabin didn’t feel cramped thanks to its large windows, whitewashed pine walls, and smart design.

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Collective Retreats


At one end is a soaking tub where guests can take a bath with a view of the Statue of Liberty.

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Collective Retreats


The bathroom comes with Malin + Goetz bath products, Parachute towels, and custom spa bath robes.

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Collective Retreats


And the mini fridge is stocked with both still and sparkling water.

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Collective Retreats


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at the nearby Three Peaks Lodge …

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Collective Retreats


… or at outdoor tables overlooking the harbour. The dinner menu includes a poached shrimp salad for $US23, an Atlantic Cod main dish for $US36 or roasted chicken with heirloom tomato salad for $US35, and three dessert options for $US13 each.

Patrick Chin for Collective Retreats

Breakfast is $US25 per adult and $US12 per child and includes items like pancakes, yogurt and granola, a breakfast scramble, and French Toast.


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Collective Retreats


The adjacent Three Peaks Sunset Bar, which is open from noon to 9 p.m., sells beer, wine, and liquor, as well as small bites like charcuterie and hummus with vegetables and pita.

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Collective Retreats


Guests can also purchase a “BBQ-in-a-box” to enjoy on the grass, which includes table settings, drinks, all ingredients, and help with cleanup and grilling.

Courtesy of Collective Retreats

Guests can also order from a takeaway menu of sandwiches, salads, and snacks.

The camp has plenty of open space where kids can run around or adults can relax in the grass.


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Collective Retreats


If guests want to venture out of the camp, they can head over to Island Oyster for cocktails, lobster rolls, fish tacos, and of course, oysters.

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Island Oyster


Other activities on the island include renting bicycles, playing mini golf, checking out art installations, and catching an outdoor movie.

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NYG Go


Once Governors Island closes — at 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. on Sundays, guests must stay on the six-acre campground. Collective Retreats Governors Island closes for the season on October 31, when the island closes to the public.

Courtesy of Collective Retreats


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Collective Retreats


While I found that each individual tent was nicely arranged, and the interior of the Shelter Outlook, in particular, was very aesthetically pleasing, what really stuck out to me was how close the tents were to each other — and to the island’s main street, which was full of onlookers.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

If you’re looking for true privacy, this is not the place you’re going to find it. Then again, privacy in a city as busy as New York is admittedly difficult to find.

While being inside the tents might offer a sense of isolation, stepping outside of them immediately puts you in direct view of other guests – and of curious spectators’ gazes. Drinking coffee on a rustic porch with a view of downtown Manhattan seems like a romantic notion, but it’s considerably less so when you’re also part of what the sightseers are ogling.


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Collective Retreats

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