When you’re in a relationship, one of the primary goals is to grow closer to your partner over time. But what if we could speed up the process a bit by literally testing those personal-space boundaries? Athena Arnot-Copenhaver scoured the globe to find six miniscule places to cozy up to your main squeeze this Valentine’s Day.
Ammarin Bedouin Camp: Beihda, Jordan
The folks at Ammarin Bedouin Camp, a village located about 6 miles north of Petra in Beidha, Jordan, understand that the nomadic, communal lifestyle is complemented with wide-open spaces. Featuring a number of traditional Bedouin tents with authentic rugs and mattresses, the Ammarin Camp is the real deal.
With a large common area comprised of airy, shady tents and low-rise tables, all campers cozy-up in the evenings for dancing, drinking, traditional music, and local food prepared and served by the Ammarin people. A bathroom area features running water and toilets, meaning you get all the essentials of modern living, but in a tent! You’ll see some of the clearest night skies available on the planet, and then retire to your mattress to slumber snuggled up to your one and only.
Operated under the Beidha Tourist and Archeological Cooperative, the Ammarin Bedouin Camp offers a range of services to its guests. One night camping in a Bedouin tent, with the whole nine yards of entertainment and meals (with vegetarian options!), runs around €115 (about $160) per person, but you can pitch your own tent if you want and pay extra for access to amenities and services. Trekking, hiking, camel pack trips, and tours of the mind-boggling Petra are all available to guests for additional costs—but the more money you spend, the more you support this ancient way of life for the Ammarin people.
The Jane Hotel, New York
Designed with the high-end train cabin in mind, the Jane Hotel in New York City does a remarkable job of cramming luxury into a small pod. Best known as the space where the rescued Titanic crew stayed, The Jane—one a few micro-hotels in the USA—has been revamped into a quirky, modern hotel, with each room packing style and comfort in as if they were meant to be that small. DVD players, iPod docks and free Wi-Fi—among other classy comforts, come standard with each room.
At 250 square feet, the Captain’s Cabins ($209 per night) are the largest available at The Jane, with full, queen or king beds offered for your cuddling pleasure. In fact, the beds are the largest part of the room—aside from the views of the city that can be seen from a private terrace. Captains also squeeze in a private bathroom with rainfall shower heads and marble sinks—not bad for a place you could fit in your living room. Standard cabins, with one single bed and a shared bathroom, run from an easy $79 per night, and the bunk bed cabins (with a shared bathroom) start at $99 per night. www.thejanenyc.com
Clavell Tower: Kimmeridge, United Kingdom
You’ll get an idea of just how desirable this tiny tower is when you try to book a weekend stay… yep, not till January of 2012 is this place available to the two lucky devils who can fit inside.
Sleeping only two, Clavell Tower is a special type of edifice in England known as a “folly,” or, a seemingly random building constructed on someone’s estate purely for the fun of it. Now owned by the UK’s Landmark Trust, a non-profit organization that rescues historically significant or architecturally interesting buildings, Clavell Tower was until recently in a rather derelict state. Dangerously close to the disintegrating cliffs of Kimmeridge, Clavell was tediously dismantled and reconstructed at a safer distance from the precipice.
Today, the happy couple that stays inside this one-bedroom mini-fortress, standing since 1830, will enjoy posh decor, pierced parapets, 12 exterior columns and a wrap-around outdoor viewing area. Split over three modest floors, the tower offers running water, a kitchen, double bed, and sitting room. To get to your wee kingdom, you’ll have to park about 170 yards away and hike up a steep access trail, where you’ll be greeted with 360-degree views of nothing but extraordinarily verdant country-side and rolling seas. Although it’s a self-catering outfit, prices are reasonable: For three nights of isolated, comfortable coziness in your own personal tower, you’ll pay £546 (about $882). And, in typical English tradition, you can bring your hounds.
Free Spirit Spheres: British Columbia, Canada
Free Spirit Spheres, located 18 miles north of Parksville on Vancouver Island, is something even the most imaginative children might not have conjured in their wildest dreams. Slung from a sturdy web of rope, the two spherical tree houses, christened Eve and Eryn, hang above the ground about 13 feet, and are available for overnight rental.
Couples staying here ascend wooden staircases that wrap around the tree trunks, and then pad across a small footbridge before stepping down into the floating, 10-foot, 4-inch sphere. Once inside the wood and fiberglass orb, couples share a modest bed, a tiny table, and spacious windows—all of which combine to create an air of forest nymph romance crossed with a dash of Robin Hood adventure.
While the spheres are more like palatial nutshells, as the owner describes them, than a self-contained hotel room, the larger campground offers sauna facilities, hot showers, clean towels and bedding. Plus, the eco-friendly compostable outhouses are located just at the base of the stairs so a midnight nature hike is not necessary.
If you fall in love with these curvy abodes, you can buy materials to construct one in your own backyard, but if you just want to test one out, Eryn’s rates start at $175 per night for two people, and Eve is $125. www.freespiritspheres.com
Lake of the Ozarks: Houseboating in Missouri
Just two and a half hours from Kansas City and St. Louis, this liquid gem of the Midwest is hailed as one of America’s houseboating meccas.
Three types of houseboats, the largest one totaling 59 feet from bow to stern, with a range of amenities and plush accommodations, are available to boaters. The Deluxe Houseboat has everything your lovesick heart desires, including two refrigerators, a Coffee Maker, a full size range and oven, and two bedrooms.
Whether you decide to sunbathe on the top deck or lounge beside the wet bar, you’ll have your own personal love boat to putter around 1,100 miles of shoreline on the Midwest’s largest man-made lake. Between the two queen beds and queen size sleeper sofa, there’s plenty of snuggle space—even if you take on some stowaways (such as children)—and everything is self-contained. The deluxe houseboat sleeps nine people, with a maximum occupancy of 12, but prices depend on how long your journey lasts, so be sure to call with your ideal trip in mind for more accurate pricing. https://lakeoftheozarksmarina.com
Treebones Resort: Yurts and ‘Nests’ in Big Sur, California
Among the formidable redwood forests and expansive seascapes of California’s central coast lies Treebones Resort, an eco-friendly, yurt-and-tree-tastic getaway for campers in love not only with each other, but with the natural world. With scrumptious dining options including an outdoor tapas and sushi bar, the romance will have to fit into the remarkably comfortable and spacious yurts.
Visitors can choose from 16 different yurts, all of which come with at least one queen-sized bed (from $190 per night), and all the amenities of modern living, but with the rugged, cozy feel of a tent. Each yurt is stacked with a redwood deck where, of course, you’ll face myriad views, including the Pacific Ocean.
“Yurters” will have to walk to shared bathroom and shower facilities, but you can stop at the heated, outdoor hot tub on your way back. Grab a quickie massage if you’ve really exYURTed yourself on one of the day hikes.
If you’ve done the yurt thing before, instead try the fantastically bizarre yet snug, “eco-sleep” experience: the Human Nest, which is, literally, a sleeping chamber made to look like a bird’s nest. The stick and wood conglomerate, which opens at one end and is otherwise fully enclosed, is raised off the ground so lovebirds use a ladder to get in and out. The Nest is situated on its own campsite, so you can bring some friends, pitch a tent, and have a cookout. There is only one nest, so ask ahead of time for availability. www.treebonesresort.com
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By Athena Arnot-Copenhaver for PeterGreenberg.com