Collective Retreats, a startup based in Denver, Colorado, wants to disrupt the hospitality industry by building where their competitors can't. The company develops luxury camping, or glamping, retreats across the country, inviting guests to reconnect with nature and each other.

"We look for places that you'd really want to be, where traditional hotels wouldn't or couldn't exist — the sides of mountains, the middle of a vineyard, or on the edge of a beautiful farm in the Hudson Valley," Peter Mack, founder and CEO of Collective Retreats, tells Business Insider.

Take a look at how Collective Retreats is rethinking the hotel experience.

Peter Mack spent 10 years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he worked his way up from dishwasher to senior director of sales strategy. "I started to get frustrated because it became very apparent to me that the traditional hotel model is broken," Mack says. 

Most hotels and resorts spend the vast majority of revenue on real estate and upkeep, according to Collective Retreats. Mack and his team set out to flip the model on its head.


Collective Retreats partners with property owners whose land cannot be used for hotel development because of a lack of infrastructure or zoning laws, but are interested in listing it on the hospitality market. The company leases the land and builds retreats there. 

Increasingly, consumers are ditching traditional vacations for "experiential travel," like staying in a tiny home, glamping, or booking a stranger's home through Airbnb.

Collective Retreats is what Mack calls "asset-light," which may be an understatement. The company's retreats feature luxury canvas tents spread at least 150 feet apart.

This is no ordinary camping experience, however. The tents provide access to the outdoors plus the "comforts of a Four Seasons," Mack says. They range from US$500 to US$700 a night.

Every rental has a king size bed, a wood-burning stove, wall plugs aplenty for charging gadgets, and a private bathroom — a necessity of a luxury product, Mack says.

No two tents look exactly alike on the inside. A designer scours estate sales to find furniture that fits the company's Americana aesthetic and is local to the destination.

The company currently operates two locations — in Vail, Colorado, and Moonlight Basin, Montana, outside Yellowstone National Park — and has another three in the pipeline.

Glamping: a new trend merging camping and luxury travel

The Vail retreat sits surrounded by 1,000 acres of working ranch land. Guests can explore the property on horseback or take in the views from the onsite winery.

The Yellowstone location is wedged between two of the country's top fly-fishing rivers. If hiking or boating isn't of interest, guests can always book an in-tent massage.

Both locations have farm-to-table dining. A complimentary breakfast of omelettes, fruits, and pancakes is included, and a three-course dinner is served under the stars.

Plus, guests' morning coffee is delivered to the steps of their tent.

Every guest is assigned a concierge who assists them with booking transportation, dining, nature activities, and even photo sessions to celebrate special occasions.

Before 2017 is up, Collective Retreats will expand to private properties in Sonoma, California; Austin, Texas; and Hudson Valley, located north of New York City.

The company's night rate, which reaches $700 during peak travel time, is steep considering only a sheet of canvas separates guests from the great outdoors. Mack proposes that the value proposition of a Collective Retreats stay beats a traditional hotel experience.

"The whole mission of Collective Retreats is to connect you with places, with people, with yourself," he says. It's hard to put a price tag on that.