New York’s Governors Island Is Getting a Glamping Retreat
Governors Island, the 172-acre, partly man-made teardrop of land 800 yards from lower Manhattan in New York Harbor, has been home to a lot of different things throughout the years. A Native American fishing camp. A holding facility for Confederate prisoners during the Civil War. The launch point for the world’s first over-water airplane flight. For a few years when it was the largest headquarters of the United States Coast Guard, it had the only Burger King in the country that served beer.
In May, it will get a glamping retreat. On a currently undeveloped plot of land between the former army base to the north (now a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service) and the grassy hills of the city park to the south, a cluster of canvas campaign-style tents will pop up practically in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, with views of downtown Manhattan. Operated by Collective Retreats in collaboration with the Trust for Governors Island, the seasonal retreat will be open through October, with plans to run for multiple years.
Collective Retreats CEO Peter Mack says he sees it as the kind of place locals will want to go for a quick staycation (last year 75 percent of the island's 800,000 visitors were New Yorkers, so they're already using it as a place to get away from all the noise and dirt, albeit during daylight hours), as well as a destination for people coming from farther away. "You hop on the subway, take a five-minute ferry and you're there. And it feels completely different from Manhattan on Brooklyn or the Bronx or wherever you're coming from," he said. "For those who stay with us from out of town, we'll have a concierge who'll be able to set up all kinds of activities on the island or in the city."
The company is known for creating “campsites” with full hotel-level amenities (hot showers, electricity, coffee makers, a concierge) in unexpected places with an environmentally sensitive ethos. It currently has seasonal retreats on ranches outside of Vail, Colorado and Austin, Texas; in the Moonlight Basin near Big Sky, Montana; and on an organic farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. Governors Island will be the first site in (the most bucolic possible part of) a major metropolitan hub.
With room for around 100 guests, it’ll be the biggest outpost so far for the company, and a departure from their usual setup. The Governors Island retreat will have the same luxury tents Collective Retreats has at its other locations (with plush king sized beds, chandeliers, and private, fully functioning bathrooms) but it'll also have a more affordable option, with smaller queen and double tents that share bathhouses. Rates for luxury tents start at $650 per night, and select service tents at $125 per night. At least once a month, in an effort to make it more accessible to the larger community, the retreat will do a weekday discounted rate for the select service tents that starts at $75 per night. Later in the summer, it'll introduce a set of modular rooms made out of modified shipping containers, with prices comparable to those of the luxury tents.
At the center of it all will be a “great lawn,” which will be open to the public with an all-day restaurant, picnic spaces, food trucks, and a bar. There will also be a massive indoor-outdoor “lodge tent” for weddings and parties and a performance stage that doubles as a yoga pavilion. You can request a booking through the Collective Retreats website starting today (we have a feeling it’ll fill up pretty quickly, so get on it).
Source: Condé Nast Traveler.