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Hilton is betting on 'glamping,' and I can see why after staying in an Airstream at a luxury campground

Brittany Chang   

Hilton is betting on 'glamping,' and I can see why after staying in an Airstream at a luxury campground
  • Travelers can soon use Hilton Honors points at AutoCamp's popular "glamping" resorts.
  • The chain is best known for its high-end Airstream-trailer hotel rooms.

Hilton wants to know: Why stay in a conventional hotel room when you can pay more than $600 a night to sleep in a trailer?

The hotel giant says its members will soon be able to earn and use Hilton Honors points to book AutoCamp's chain of luxury campgrounds, best known for their stationary Airstream trailer hotel rooms.

It's Hilton's first move into the increasingly popular "glamping" — a portmanteau of "glamorous" and "camping" — industry.

As someone who's stayed at two of AutoCamp resorts, I think the mutually beneficial partnership is a great idea.

Like other "glamping" and campgrounds, AutoCamp experienced a windfall in bookings during the COVID-19 pandemic

AutoCamp has seven high-end resorts. Most are near national parks (like Zion, Utah) or popular city-folk getaways (like the Catskills in New York or Cape Cod in Massachusetts).

Two more properties — one in the booming Texas Hill Country and another near Sequoia National Park — are scheduled to open in the next year.

You could say Hilton is late to the high-end camping trend — Four Seasons opened its first $4,000-a-night adult-only luxury tent resort in 2022, after all.

But better late than never: In 2023, campground giant Kampgrounds of America called the industry an "aggressive growth segment," with four in 10 campers expressing interest in glamping that year.

Hilton has yet to disclose how many points it'll cost to book an AutoCamp vacation or when they'll become available, but the glamping company isn't known to be ultra-affordable. In the summer, a weekend stay can range from about $300 to $670 a night.

What it's like at an AutoCamp resort — and why the partnership makes sense

Many luxury campsites have high-end canvas tents or tiny homes. While AutoCamp offers both, its most popular accommodations are its nostalgic, 31-foot-long Airstream trailers.

I've stayed at AutoCamp's Yosemite and Joshua Tree resorts. Although it's been two years since my last visit, I still prefer these fun trailers to any hotel or Airbnb — even ceding time at the national parks to spend more at the trailer-lined properties.

I love camping as much as I love the plushness of luxury hotels. AutoCamp combined the best parts of both to create a high-end concept that could delight even the biggest nature hater.

AutoCamp's resorts are significantly more comfortable and amenities-saturated than most traditional campsites, making it the perfect option for travelers who want the camping aesthetic without the camping pains.

No need to sleep on a dirt floor, forgo warm showers, or "go outside." Every AutoCamp trailer has beds with pillows, bathrooms with high-end toiletries, and kitchenettes with microwaves — not to mention the private outdoor seating and firepits.

Guests also have access to a communal lounge with food and beverage (yes, alcohol) menus, a general store, and a midcentury modern flair. Some locations flex a swimming pool and on-site programs like guided walks as well.

Given these high-end hotel-like comforts, it should be no surprise that Hilton has decided to go with AutoCamp for its first venture into the great outdoors.

The glamping company's properties are the perfect compromise between the invigorating seclusion of camping and the indulgences of a traditional Hilton hotel.

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