Camping has seen a resurgence with people (myself included), who thought they’d left their days of sleeping in tents in fields behind them during their drunken festival days, willingly pitching up and giving an alfresco holiday a go. For most of us, this is the second year of the stay-cay and by the end of 2021 alone, I will have holidayed in the great outdoors three times.
But my latest trip was camping with a difference. I was lucky enough to be invited by David Lloyd Clubs to spend two nights at its luxury all-inclusive, glamping retreat in one of its most scenic locations in Hampton, London.
Nestled on the side of the golf course and a short walk from its premium clubhouse, six cool bell tents, complete with a double bed and up to three single beds, cosy bedding and a sprinkle of fairy lights provided the perfect camping experience.
But what made Glamp @ David Lloyd Clubs even more special is that the breaks were only available to those most deserving through nominations from the public and beneficiaries of The Captain Tom Foundation.
From a young boy with cerebral palsy who walked 100m in his garden to raise money for the NHS, to exhausted medics who were astonishingly frank about the impact the past 18 months has had on their wellbeing, the chats around the nightly campfire were fascinating and humbling.
Steph Holland, head of lifestyle products at David Lloyd Clubs says:
'As part of our commitment to community, health and wellness, it is important to us to extend this first-time experience to deserving people who have been seriously impacted by the events of the past 18 months. Whether they have been hard hit financially, or have gone above and beyond for their community, we wanted to reward those most deserving.'
Campers were invited to stay up to two nights each during the week-long pop-up and had access to all of the resort’s amazing facilities including a luxurious spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, kids club, tennis, a 9-hole golf course, a state-of-the-art gym, a packed class schedule, plus all-inclusive dining and cocktails.
I kicked off each day with a tough gym session while my children, Zak, 9 and Nell, 5, had the time of their lives in the kids club. One highlight was lounging around the outdoor pool reading a book while Zak and Nell were entertained by the staff in the Family Splash Time. A delicious BBQ was served each night in the outdoor restaurant and the very attentive pool bar manager Anthony tried his very best to get me to like gin (I still don’t).
The family-friendly facilities at all David Lloyd Clubs are exceptional; my trip felt like a five-star holiday but without the need to quarantine on return.
But what made it one I’ll never forget is the people I met. We all have a different story to tell from our pandemic experience but for some, it’s been much more gruelling than others. Well done David Lloyd Clubs for creating a bit of sparkle and fun for those who deserve it the most.
And the good news is there are plans to roll the retreats out to the general public next year. Camping in a top-notch country club: what’s not to love?
A stay at Glamp @ David Lloyd Clubs cannot be purchased, they are gifted to those who deserve them the most. Do you know a family who has been hit hard by the past 18 months? Or a frontline worker who deserves a two-night retreat? Nominate them here.
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