This Is What It's Like to Stay at New York City's Only Glamping Resort

Collective Retreats offers a unique experience for those looking to escape New York City... without ever leaving the five boroughs.

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A high-end glamping "Outlook Shelter" on New York City's Governors Island.
The new Outlook Shelters at Collective Governors Island, in New York City, are a high-design spin on traditional glamping architecture. . Photo: Courtesy of Collective Retreats

For many travelers, 2021 has been the year of staycations. And while there are plenty of properties in and around the New York City area for a relaxing stay not far from home, few are as unique as a stay at Collective Retreats' glamping property on Governors Island. With just a quick ferry ride from Lower Manhattan (the island is only 800 meters away, in fact), you'll be transported to an environment with a completely different energy (say goodbye to the hustle of the Financial District), full of lush greenery, history, and city views, should you get homesick.

I visited Collective Retreats' Governors Island property in late August, and the weather was perfect for exploring the entire island with ease (and sleeping soundly in my tent, although each Summit tent is equipped with an air conditioner, thankfully). As someone who's never officially been camping before, I will say that glamping did set a high standard for any future trips. The beautiful tents (we opted for a Summit Tent with comfortable beds, stylish decor, and an en-suite bathroom) feel cozy and protected from the elements, but still allow you to connect with nature. In fact, I'd bet a Collective Retreats tent is one of the few places in New York City where you can be lulled to sleep by the sounds of crickets chirping outside. Our room was equipped with water, glasses, mugs, coffee, tea, and an electric kettle, although it was also the perfect time to grab my thermos (my pick is this one from Stanley) and sit on the porch to enjoy my morning coffee.

Collective Retreats Governors Island
Courtesy of Collective Retreats Governors Island

In addition to the luxurious accommodations, Collective Retreats Governors Island also has a gourmet restaurant and bar serving up seasonal menu items and specialty cocktails. And both hotel and dinner guests can end the night with a complimentary s'mores kit and cozy up by one of the fire pits on the main lawn. Who wouldn't want to take in stunning views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty at night with a freshly toasted marshmallow in hand?

Collective Retreats Governors Island New York City
Timothy Schenck

While staying on Governors Island, I'll admit I could have stayed cozied up in my tent all weekend; however, there's a surprising amount to do on such a small island (just 172 acres in total), that I was rather excited to explore. Each tent comes with handy map that makes getting around easy, whether you're looking for restaurants, food trucks, walking paths, playgrounds, or bike rentals. I must have walked the perimeter of the island at least twice, with plenty of time spent in the space in the middle, filled with greenery and beautiful landscaping. There's even a path you can climb to Governors Island Outlook Hill, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Manhattan, Jersey City, and the Statue of Liberty.

Reservations are available at the property through the month of October, so now's the perfect time to book your early fall getaway.

To book:

Madeline Diamond is a Brooklyn-based e-commerce editor at Travel + Leisure, and she's constantly fighting the impulse to overpack for her next trip. You can follow her on Twitter @madgdiamond and Instagram @madelinediamond.

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