This Glamping Resort Just Opened in a Popular Illinois State Park — With 11 Chic Tents, a Restored Airstream Bar, and Great Hiking
Driving two hours south on I-55 or I-80 out of downtown Chicago to Starved Rock State Park is a favorite weekend adventure for many Midwesterners.
Now, visitors to one of Illinois' most popular state parks — the 2,630-acre park attracts 2 million guests annually, according to Tripadvisor — can sleep under the stars at a new glamping spot nearby.
With 11 safari-style tents — each with king-size beds and private baths — the 96-acre Camp Aramoni opened last September on the grounds of a former 19th-century brickyard and launched its first full season on April 29.
"When guests arrive at Camp Aramoni … we want the spot to bring a feeling of peace, excitement and renewal," co-owner Jennifer Bias told Travel + Leisure. Bias is living her retirement dream through this hospitality venture with her husband Tim. The couple took five years to plan the concept, inspired by their travels and the glamping explosion they saw in Europe. "Spending time in the beauty of the outdoors … creates an incredible sense of awe and allows our guests to explore its natural therapy," she said.
Beyond bunking in their private tent, guests can book massages in their tents and reserve bicycles or canoes to further explore the area, or get to know other campers through lawn games and morning yoga classes. Live-music shows are also hosted at Camp Aramoni. And chef-driven, farm-to-fork breakfasts and dinners in The Barn "incorporate lots of local produce, meat and even honey from an apiary I run on-site," Bias said.
For a sweet, post-dinner treat, s'mores with gourmet fixings are at the ready.
And an on-site restored 1971 Airstream Overlander RV, dubbed The Burlington, is more than eye candy: the mobile bar serves up coffee and espresso drinks in the morning, and well-crafted cocktails at night.
Hiking trails, ponds, wildflower fields, and walks along the Vermilion River also help immerse guests in nature.
"Tim and I created Camp Aramoni to be the marriage of all that we love about nature and the outdoors with the comfort, hospitality and amenities that we enjoyed in luxury hotels," Bias said. "We wanted to bring in elements of our community and what makes the Midwest unique."
To that end, a monthly guest-chef series will bring in local culinary talent, including Gale Gand, host of the Food Network's Sweet Dreams; three-time James Beard Award winner Paul Kahan; and Rick Gresh, named a "Rising Star" by the James Beard Foundation. Guests will also be able to taste local wines, beers, and spirits at Camp Aramoni's restaurant, where they'll enjoy wood-fired pizza nights, phenomenal brunches, and a stellar breakfast and dinner menu.
Camp Aramoni is now open for the season — book your glamping accommodations here.