The 85th annual Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue is out, and among the extravagant items up for grabs is a $75,000 luxury yurt outfitted with custom-made down pillows, a crystal chandelier and hand-painted interior canvas walls. Travelers interested in experiencing “glamping” (glamorous camping) without the sky-high price tag and permanent commitment can get a taste of it at the Southeast’s only “yurt village,” at Wildwater Nantahala Adventure Center’s Falling Waters Resort near Bryson City, NC, about an hour west of Asheville.
A travel trend that’s on the rise according to the Wall Street Journal, glamping appeals to travelers who want to get closer to nature without giving up the comforts of home. Each of the eight yurts at Falling Waters is furnished with French doors, a queen-size bed (and futon for additional guests), as well as a wooden floor, ceiling fan, small refrigerator, CD player, space heater and coffeemaker. With décor themes ranging from the Safari yurt (complete with animal print linens) to the floral Victorian, each insulated yurt has a private deck and close access to a hot tub and private bathrooms.
“It’s fun to see Neiman Marcus include a yurt on its Holiday Wish List. Families, couples and individuals are discovering that yurt camping, or ‘glamping,’ is a great alternative to traditional camping,” says Jack Wise, Wildwater’s general manager. “Since we opened in 1998, we’ve had many people ‘test drive’ our yurts before they bought one themselves.”
In the spirit of the holidays, Wildwater is offering a special 20 percent discount on gift certificates (a great stocking stuffer!), making a “glamping” experience in the yurt village even more accessible. A gift certificate for $125 is $100 if purchased by Dec. 16; the $250 gift certificate is only $200 and the $500 gift certificate can be had for $100 off.
In addition to using them for lodging at the yurts (a one-night stay is $84 plus tax), gift certificates can also be used to enjoy any of Wildwater’s outdoor adventures at any of the company’s locations, including whitewater rafting, zipline canopy tours, guided Jeep® tours, kayak lake tours, scenic train rides and cabin lodging. Adventure packages are also available and carry additional discounts.
Located in the Nantahala River Gorge near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just 15 minutes from the Tsali mountain bike trails, the yurts are available daily through Thanksgiving weekend. The village is adjacent to Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours, which also is open through Nov. 27. Both attractions will close for the season beginning Nov. 28 and reopen in mid-March just in time for spring break. Wildwater opens rafting season on the Nantahala River in April. For more about them, go to http://www.romanticasheville.com/nantahala_river_gorge.htm.