Mumbai: The Jains who stayed with TUTC (The Ultimate Travelling Camp) in June 2018 wrote, “Luxury amidst nature – Chamba Camp, Diskit has been way beyond our expectations, the service and food being the clear winners. The guides have been so helpful with sharing the history and geography of this raw beauty that is Ladakh. This place has such attention to detail, in difficult conditions like these. We are very grateful for your service.”
Similar ecstatic feedback from customers is normal at TUTC, which has pioneered mobile glamping or glamourous camping in India. It has set up nomadic luxury camps that provide travellers a landscape that is challenging and accommodation that is comfortable while still being respectful of the ecology and environment. Each TUTC campsite is unique and showcases the region’s geography and culture in an equally distinctive way.
They ensure that services offered to the guests are world class – from the time guests touchdown at the airport and a personal guide and chauffer await their arrival, to the Guest Relations Executives (GREs) and Tour Managers who are there at each camp, an entire legion of enthusiastic staff to cater to all the whims and fancies of guests.
To top it all, TUTC guests are accorded a personal butler service. “We offer the best of canvas luxury with adventures in exceptional locations, en-suite bathrooms with hot water and gourmet cuisine made from the freshest ingredients. We have curated experiences that give our guests an opportunity to immerse themselves in the entire experience of the local culture and feel a part of it,” says Dhun Cordo, co-founder, TUTC.
The continued buzz around experiential travel has directly influenced the growth of glamping in India. Comfort, security, great cuisines, expert tour guides, local culture and experiences are certain essential factors for decision making and customers today have started to take these factors seriously while deciding on a holiday. Also, increasing affluence and easy access to wide range of luxury products in India have paved the way for a niche segment like glamping finding many suitors.
In the last five years, TUTC has seen 100 per cent growth YoY, and with some excellent feedback from the guests, the company expects to hit double-digit growth in three years
Glamping is still a very small but definitely growing segment of luxury and experiential holidays in India. In the last five years TUTC has witnessed 100 per cent growth every year and with some excellent feedback from the guests. The nascent segment’s growth is expected to double in the next three years.
TUTC began in 2013 when a small camp was set up for the Maha Kumbh, which was their first foray into the segment of glamping. Later that year in June, the Chamba Camp in Thiksey (Leh Valley, Ladakh) followed and then the Kohima Camp in Nagaland in December 2014, which coincided with the native Hornbill Festival after which tents were set up in Diskit (Nubra valley, Ladakh) in 2015.
Each luxury property weaves in experiences that promote the richness and uniqueness of the destination. While the Chamba Camps ensure patronage to various aspects of the Ladakhi and Buddhist way of life, the Kohima camp that coincides with the Hornbill festival aims to revive, protect and preserve the tradition of the 16 tribes native to Nagaland.
“In December 2017, we forayed into semi-permanent accommodation and expanded our luxury portfolio with the launch of a rebranded luxury lodge experience. Jaagir Lodge Dudhwa, located in Terai, Uttar Pradesh familiarises guests with the thrilling wildlife and conservation initiatives in India’s most diverse Terai ecosystem. We will soon be expanding our reach down South,” informs Cordo.
While all the tents are not of the same shape or size, each one is spacious, comprising a bedroom, bathroom and verandah area. The premium Presidential Suite Tents in the Thiksey Camp have an extra wing which can accommodate up to two extra beds, a bed and seating area or a complete lounge setting. All tents have large windows to allow the guest to enjoy their beautiful surroundings. Air-conditioning and heating are also provided depending on the location and requirement.
All camp sites have a reception tent and a dining tent. The reception area comes with a lobby to meet and greet, GREs and Tour Managers, a handicrafts boutique, Wi-Fi and docking stations, library and indoor board games. At the dining area, fresh, local and organic ingredients are used to prepare international, national and regional delicacies. An in-house bakery and complimentary culinary classes complete the gastronomic experience.
“At all camps, luxury, with guest safety and security, are always at the forefront of our mind”, concludes Cordo.
Guests can indulge in activities as varied as horse polo, archery, monastery tours, river rafting, cycling, hiking, birding, safari and participating in local festivals, depending on where they are camping. TUTC’s client base includes the affluent and the rich, high net income individuals and well-travelled customers from both India and abroad – domestic and international FITs and groups, NRIs and DINK (double income, no kids).
“After eight wonderful nights, we do not feel ready to leave! We have been made so welcome at Champa Camp – Wow what a luxurious set up. Will remember our stay always, especially the warmth of the staff. Nothing missing here. Especially loved our kitchen experience and meal expectations were more than surpassed. Memories to treasure,” wrote M Alcock, from UK, after staying at Chamba Camp, Thiksey.
Chamba Camp, Thiksey: May 15 to October 10, 2018
Chamba Camp, Diskit: May 15 to September 30, 2018
Kohima Camp, Nagaland: November 29 to December 12, 2018
Jaagir Lodge, Dudhwa: December 19, 2017 to June 15, 2018 (now closed)