Glisten camping provide luxury camping pods, which sleep up to four adults and two children. They have pods on two campsites, and we went to the one in the Basque Country. It was an amazing location, but more on that later.
‘Pods’ doesn't really do them justice. They’re enormous, and you can stand up everywhere in them (which is one of my pet peeves – along with the accompanying back ache – when we go in our ordinary tent!) They’re separated into three ‘rooms’ via wooden screens – one with a proper double bed, bedside tables and a wardrobe, another with a double sofa bed and two beanbags, and one with more storage and two kids’ beds which hang from the ceiling. They’re still ‘proper’ (mattress, sheets, pillows), but more like sleeping pods, so they feel a bit special and exciting.
Outside the main pod, there’s a covered ‘kitchen’, with a ‘plancha’ grill, microwave, fridge and kettle, as well as all the cutlery and utensils you’d need. There’s also a washing up bowl, sponge and washing up liquid provided, which you can take down to the covered communal sinks. Having things like washing up liquid, salt and pepper and bin bags (as well as loo roll – always essential for camping!) there when you arrive is always such a blessing – exactly the sort of bits and bobs you tend to forget to bring, or even when you go on your first shop. The plancha grill was great – we just chucked anything we fancied on there (meat, fish, veg) to cook, and then sprayed it down with the provided de-greaser. It was really hassle-free, but there were pots and pans for things like pasta too. There’s also a massive hammock on your plot, which was a lovely place to spend the evenings.
Glisten have chosen a really lovely campsite to have their domes in. We’re used to Welsh campsites, which have their charms, but Col d’Ibardin has all those things that make camping so much more pleasurable: spacious plots divided by high bushes for a bit of privacy, proper paths to drive your car down, lots of water taps dotted around, clean, well-maintained showers and toilets, and plenty of them, plus handy touches like baby baths and mini toilets for kids. It also has an restaurant with reliably good food (including pizza which you can take away) and really friendly staff, a small shop and two pools – one full size one for adults, and a kids’ pool with slides and games.
The location is also brilliant, providing you have a car! It’s a short drive to Saint Jean de Luz, which has plenty of restaurants and a nice beach, and about 40 minutes from a hop over the boarder to Saint Sebastian, where you can spend the day tucking into pintxos and admiring the architecture.
Simon, who runs Glisten, was super helpful – he made sure we had everything we needed, and gave us plenty of recommendations. For example, he set us up with surf hire (and we could have had lessons, too) with a friend of his in Hendaye. He also told us about the water taxi from the beach there, so we spent the morning in the sea and then hopped over to Spain in less than 10 minutes for lunch!
It was a really brilliant week. Usually, seven days is my limit on camping, but I could have easily stayed for two weeks. Apart from the communal bathrooms and washing up, it feels more like staying in a gîte, but minus the price tag and plus that lovely camping feeling of ‘living outdoors’. Unlike in a tent, it really feels like there’s space for everything, so that if you don’t quite get round to the washing up, at least you don’t wake up with it centimetres from your nose! Facilities, location and accommodation were all top notch.
Mumsnet was invited to review this destination as a press trip.