Over the past few years, campsites have gone upmarket, and managers don’t hesitate to speak about VIP areas, premium accommodation and pitches, hotel-style services, etc. What are they exactly?
Campsite pitches have benefitted from this upmarket drive in open-air hotel services over the past few years. First came the “top-level comfort” pitches with individual access to water and electricity, as well as waste water drainage (dishwater and showers). Some campsites, such as Le Château du Verdoyer in Dordogne wanted to go even further, with individual toilets, outdoor lounges, top-level furniture, etc.
Rented accommodation has taken the same direction and the range of mobile homes and chalets available has widened, with at the top of the range, what manufacturers call third-generation accommodation. They stand out through their often very high aesthetic appeal, the use of attractive materials, top-of-the-range furniture (leather, etc.) and apparently endless facilities. If you prefer to give your holiday a little taste of adventure and wide open spaces or you want to become Karen Blixen or Ernest Hemingway for as long as your stay lasts, manufacturers have produced “canvas lodges” that are every bit as good in terms of luxury, with top-level furniture, real bathrooms, etc.
These top-of-the-range mobile homes or chalets are often grouped together in landscaped “VIP areas” with private parking and specific roads. They offer… VIP services: top-of-the-range outdoor furniture, bikes for all the family included in the price, broadband wifi access, television with VOD, a private spa, etc. This can be completed by “hotel-style services” including sheets and towels, beds made on arrival, end-of-stay housekeeping and full or half board.
The www.les-plus-beaux-campings.com website includes a selection of the very finest campsites in France. Take a look at the campsites with luxury accommodation on offer.
Top-of-the-range wellness area
A wellness area is an increasingly widespread feature in 4- and 5-star campsites. But there are different kinds of wellness areas. Some campsites provide saunas, hamam, spa and a wide range of treatments: massages, waxing, skin care, etc. Others, such as the Mer et Soleil campsite in Cap d’Agde take a sumptuous and even monumental approach. Here we have companies in their own right, welcoming campsite guests, but other customers, too. On top of the usual facilities (sauna, hamam, spa, gym) you can find relaxation rooms where, after beauty treatments, you can spend some time to “unwind” totally, with herbal teas, beauty product ranges, etc. Plus, specialised, professional staff are on hand to take care of you.
Even if the time of the soggy sausage and chips is far away, in most cases a campsite restaurant is at best like an ordinary, good-quality French restaurant with fresh ingredients, home-made dishes, such as pizzas, etc. But a few campsites have decided to provide gastronomic cuisine by hiring chefs, sometimes with Michelin stars, and only using top-of-the-range ingredients. This is the case, for example, of Moulin de David in Dordogne and Soleil Vivarais in Ardèche. Alongside the usual classics (pizzas, burgers, salads), often made with a little personal touch that make them memorable, they have introduced a “gastronomic menu”. While the restaurant is not necessarily a reason for choosing a particular campsite, this “je ne sais quoi”, as the French say, is still often the reason we will remember our stay and want to come back again.
A little extra...
The premium camping offer can also be found in other services (usually as options) on offer to customers. If you are arriving late, some campsites will… fill up your fridge for the first meal. They sometimes have a babysitting service or even real creches for toddlers, giving you a free hours to yourself. Car rentals may also be available, the option to be picked up at the station or airport, etc.