As New York swelters, and I melt on the subway platform morning after morning this summer, my mind wanders to the (nearly humidity free) activities that marked my Pacific Northwest upbringing: camping (or at least participating in all camping activities before heading to sleep in a nearby motel), hiking, summer camp—shout out to Camp Namanu in Sandy, Oregon.
Apparently I’m not alone in this, as a couple of hotels have channeled an outdoor spirit with nature-inspired offerings.
In Madison, Wisconsin, a camp-themed suite was recently added to the Graduate Madison hotel. Camp Wandawega is a collaboration between the Wisconsin destination (a location that has been everything from a speakeasy and brothel to a church camp, and was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and Graduate Hotels, and features products from Wandawega’s collection with children’s retailer the Land of Nod. It’s an amusing, vintage-style space that complements the rest of the hotel’s aesthetic.
In the suite, a workstation is inspired by a scoutmaster room is complete with a vintage typewriter and antique Adirondack desk, while authentic camp artifacts—a troopmaster hat, canoe paddles, Faribault Woolen Mills blankets—integrate with Camp Wandawega for Nod décor throughout. In a semi-private room, custom bunk beds abut a wall mural depicting a nature scene, and summer camp-themed movies and a record playing station add to the nostalgic vibe.
“The look and feel of Graduate Madison mixes sophisticated textures with rustic elements realized in unexpected ways,” explains Andrew Alford, chief creative officer for AJ Capital Partners, owner of Graduate Hotels. “This design philosophy is carried through in the Camp Wadawega suite with things such as amber-shellacked pine walls juxtaposed with vintage barkcloth hunting print draperies, while authentic camp artifacts add touches of whimsy and fun.”
Back in the city, the W New York is certainly not a place you’d think to go to get some nature in your life, but the property recently introduced its Extreme Wow Outdoor Glamping suite, where the 17th-floor terrace has been transformed into an urban oasis thanks to a partnership with online design company Laurel & Wolf. Faux grass spans the patio, which through November (weather permitting) features a 12-foot circular yurt dressed in a variety of vibrant fabrics and pillows, hanging rattan chairs (a nod to tire swings), and a firepit made from uplit birch logs, which, controlled by a switch, would make Smokey Bear proud.
“New York is often referred to as the concrete jungle, and we wanted this terrace to stand out amongst the architecture and hustle and bustle to be something completely unexpected,” explains Laurel & Wolf designer Kimberly Winthrop. “An oasis—a destination within the city.” Designers created “sophisticated takes on our favorite aspects of camp,” she adds, like a twist on arts and crafts with colorful string art from Oregon-based artist Renee Laurain, a focal point of the seating area.
Guests of the suite will receive my ideal camping beverage: a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.