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If there was one chorus that Heather and I couldn’t stop repeating to each other during out time at Tomorrowland, it was how insanely overjoyed we were with our decision to camp at the Dream Lodges in DreamVille. I mean, can you blame us for occasionally tossing around the idea of foregoing the festival altogether and just chilling here all day?

Dreamville Dream Lodges Tomorrowland

It had been a decision fraught with a fair amount of hand-wringing. Part of the reason I’m writing this in-depth post is to help others looking for DreamVille information in the future. Trying to find clear information about Tomorrowland and/or DreamVille is like attempting to get a live person on the phone regarding your flight rerouting during a major storm at JFK on Thanksgiving weekend — you might as well just light yourself on fire now and save yourself the frustration. Oh, and unless your goal is doubled over laughter at the the true depths of failure to which customer service can sink, don’t attempt to reach out to anyone at the Tomorrowland help desk.

So, we were somewhat in the dark about our choices. While of course there is always the option to stay in a hotel in Brussels or Antwerp and shuttle into the festival each day, or even take advantage of one of the handfuls of rooms rented by enterprising Boom residents, we were set on staying on site with 35,000 of our fellow ravers. Here are the options in DreamVille.

• General Camping: This option allows you access to the general camping zones of DreamVille. You must bring your own tent and camping gear. This is the only option available for solo travelers who don’t want to pay double — all other packages are sold by tent or by room rather than by person, and are meant for groups of two or four. You can buy a group camping pass which will allow large groups of friends to stay together in a special area. We did not consider this option as we were traveling internationally to the festival and did not want to deal with acquiring the necessary supplies upon arrival in Belgium. Cost: €52.50 or $67 per person.

• Easy Tent: This option allows you to rock up to DreamVille with a Tomorrowland-branded tent all set up and ready to go — there’s even a light inside. Easy tents are contained in their own special area slightly closer to the festival grounds than general camping. Tents are available for two or four people. We considered this option, but were concerned about how we’d feel either leaving our valuable unlocked or trudging to the campground lockers every time we needed something, and as two photographers we were concerned about charging our devices. Cost: €137.5 or $175 per person.

• Relax Rooms: Relax Rooms and Dream Lodges are contained in their own luxury compound in DreamVille’s closest edge to Tomorrowland. Strangely similar in appearance to storage containers, the Relax Rooms boast comfy beds, lights, power outlets and a clothing rack with hanging shelves — and of course, a lockable door. We considered this option but were concerned it would be stuffy inside once the sun came up. Cost: 475 or $603 per person.

• Dream Lodges: In the same plush suburb of DreamVille as the Relax Rooms, Dream Lodges were a new option in 2014 and so we were made somewhat nervous by only being able to reference digital renderings. Still, they promised plush beds, lighting, power outlets, a locker, and a cozy looking porch with two relaxing chairs and a table. Dream Lodges are available for two or four persons. Cost: 525 0r $661 per person.

• Mansion: There are no prices listed and as my Dad always says, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Didn’t consider.

Note that it is impossible to buy a DreamVille pass without a Tomorrowland ticket, the price of which is not included here. Specific bracelets meant only those registered to the special camping zones — Easy Tents and Relax Rooms/Dream Lodges — were allowed in those areas. Security was tight.

Dreamville Dream Lodges Tomorrowland

Relax Rooms Tomorrowland

Eventually we narrowed it down to Relax Rooms or Dream Lodges — we realized our enjoyment of the festival would be multiplied tenfold if we could lock up our laptops (we both work online and were on long-term trips so having them there was non-negotiable), charge our cameras and phones, and sleep on a real mattress at night. After roughing it at Burning Man I was ready for some creature comforts and considering how hard it is to get tickets, we realized this was probably a once in a lifetime experience and thus something to splurge on. We were a bit confused however since the online descriptions indicated that the Relax Rooms had access to better facilities, despite being cheaper. In the end, though, fate made the decision for us — by the time we got through to the purchase page, only Dream Lodges were left as an option.

And we couldn’t have been luckier for it.

From the moment we checked in with a pink-toga-and-flower-headdress wearing receptionist we knew we were in for something special. Dream Lodges and Relax Rooms shared the same reception and communal spaces, including a private gourmet dining room, an on-site masseuse and hair team on call for pampering, bathroom areas boasting warm water showers and flushable toilets, and a friendly — and flamboyantly costumed — staff and security team.

Dreamville Tomorrowland

Dreamville Tomorrowland

So how much did I love camping at the Dream Lodges? Let me count the ways.

1. Home Sweet Home

While a few things weren’t quite as implied — the promised power plug was not a socket but just a USB port and the locker was laughably too small to fit dSLR cameras — we were pretty wildly in love with our little tent. The beds were insanely comfy and the set up was very communal, which meant we made fast friends with our neighbors over long chats in our deck chairs.

Every morning we woke up to a Tomorrowland newspaper on our porch, often accompanied by a little gift, like burlap bags of chocolate-covered almonds or cold bottles of Tomorrowland-branded water.

Dreamville Tomorrowland

Dreamville Tomorrowland

Dreamville Tomorrowland

2. The Middle Party

All three days of the festival followed the same formula for us — venture in during the day and have a few hours of sun-filled fun, retreat back to DreamVille for what we quickly dubbed “The Middle Party” (who needs after parties?) and then head back out into the night, recharged and ready to rage. Goofing around at our campsite and getting silly with our fabulous neighbors — we couldn’t have lucked out more in that department — ended up being some of my favorite memories of the weekend.

Dreamville Tomorrowland

Dreamville Tomorrowland

3. All The Small Things

There were so many things I loved about our Dream Lodge that I didn’t even know to appreciate until a few days in. When I heard general camping residents complain of endless lines for cold showers — that they had to pay extra for — I said a silent thanks for our free warm showers, free shampoo, and never having to wait a single second before waltzing into one. We also didn’t have to pay extra for lockers, since we had our own (albeit small) ones in our tent, and security in our ‘hood was tight.

One benefit I didn’t even consider until we arrived was our commute. From our tent to the Tomorrowland gates was under a ten minute walk — for those in the far reaches of the sprawling general camping area, that walk could be almost forty minutes. This map gives an idea of the general layout — you don’t want to be in the pink camping!

And while I realize to many this would be a bummer instead of a blessing, I loved that our neighborhood was nice and quiet after hours. If we wanted an after party, we could easily venture into general camping, but when we needed to switch off, sleep came easily.

Dream Lodges Dreamville

4. The DreamVille Marketplace

Tomorrowland wasn’t the only place full of surprises. The adorable DreamVille Marketplace boasted a supermarket, a bakery, Dreamville Radio, Tomorrowland boutiques, frozen yogurt stands and more all with matching false shop fronts. Regrettably I have none of my own photos of this twee-ness because, hangover, but here you go. While we did have our own fancy catering options going on in the Dream Lodge village, the prices in the communal marketplace leaned more towards standard-festival-ridiculous than the this-is-just-insulting levels we were talking.

Dreamville

Dreamville

Best part? Oxygen bar! For a mere 6, we exhaled away all our bad decisions from the previous days. That is how it works, right?

Dreamville Oxygen Bar

Dreamville Oxygen Bar

Dreamville Oxygen Bar

Dreamville Oxygen Bar

5. The Gathering

One of the biggest benefits to camping at DreamVille is extending the Tomorrowland experience by an extra night. While for some the festival may be a Friday through Sunday affair, DreamVillers start on Thursday night an exclusive but informal little rave right in the campsite. It’s quite the way to celebrate unpacking. Being in the Dream Lodge village meant we had access to the VIP stages for The Gathering.

A fun detail about The Gathering is exclusively features up and coming Belgian acts — a nice nod to the festival’s host country.

Dreamville The Gathering

Dreamville The Gathering

Dreamville The Gathering

Dreamville The Gathering

Room for Improvement

As I’m sure the higher ups at Tomorrowland and DreamVille are waiting with baited breath for my suggestions on how to improve the experience for next year, I’ve compiled a convenient list!

• Clear up confusion about the facilities between Relax Rooms and Dream Lodges — it should be made obvious that these are shared communal spaces. Also give more details about the details of the rooms — make clear the locker size, and explain that the power plug is a USB port (thank goodness we arrived with cameras fully charged!). Finally, consider adding some form of storage or organization in the Dream Lodges — the hanging shelves in the Relax Rooms were the one major benefit we saw to that option.

• Our first night at the campsite we were pretty horrified by the condition of the porta potties closest to us. It changed our lives weekend the next day when we discovered that every single other bathroom area in the Dream Lodge village had gloriously flushing toilets. When we mentioned this to a security guard, he sheepishly admitted that it had been a mistake on the part of the set up team. Also, on the topic of toilets, I personally think I would have wept if after paying so much for a luxury camping experience I was in the row of tents directly facing the toilets! Surely there must be a way to arrange things so no one had to sit on their porch and watch people do the potty dance.

• Sell ice! While we were overjoyed at being able to bring in as much food and booze as we pleased into DreamVille (the only no-no was glass containers), we were not so thrilled at serving our mimosas warm. We were pretty shocked that ice wasn’t sold anywhere in DreamVille, and our neighbors couldn’t find it in Boom’s local supermarket when they ventured out, either. A few times we lucked out and got a friendly bartender from the dining tent to dole us out a few cubes.

• We loved that every trash can in DreamVille had a twin recycling bin right beside it, and that a trade-in token system for re-usable cups reduced plastic waste. We also appreciated that security handed out trash bags to us every morning and picked them up at night while we were sleeping. Personally, we were careful to separate our recyclables and carry them outside to the recycling bins ourselves, but it would be great if along with the trash bags, recycling bags of a different color were handed out to ensure that no one tosses their cans and bottles out of convenience.

• Throw an opening night cocktail party before The Gathering on Thursday night! While we immediately bonded with those in the tents around us, it would have been nice to have a mixer to get to know those who might be staying on the other side of the village.

Dreamville Tomorrowland 2014

Dreamville Tomorrowland 2014

DreamVille exceeded our wildest dreams! Now tell me, are you more of a camper or a glamper — or an I’ll-see-you-at-the-hotel-er?

Also in this series: Once Upon a Time at Tomorrowland How Much Does Tomorrowland Cost? Tomorrowland Tips and Tricks

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136 Comments...
  • Janice Stringer
    October 3 2014

    Hi Alex,
    You look like you had fun!
    Love camping – whatever form it comes in 🙂
    Janice Stringer recently posted..An Independent Guide to Solo Travel for the 40+ woman

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      I’ve been a slow convert! And I think it would be a tad hard to go back to regular camping after this one… 🙂

  • Ashley | Ashley Wanders
    October 3 2014

    I was shocked when I first saw the prices for the Dream Lodges, but after seeing what’s included, I can see why you chose to stay there! And the oxygen bar is a genius idea.
    Ashley | Ashley Wanders recently posted..Friday Foodie Photo

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      Festivals are definitely not known for being cheap! But yeah, we talked ourselves into upgrading pretty quickly 🙂

  • Katie
    October 3 2014

    Looks like such a cool experience, and I love when fate decides things for me, I’m seriously indecisive! It looks soooo worth the cost!!
    Katie recently posted..Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (that time I ate a lot of balls)

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      Ugh, tell me about it. Our ticket-getting process was such a nightmare, I was so relieved when it was all over — and the outcome couldn’t have been better!

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    October 3 2014

    That looks like so much fun. I’ve never actually been to a proper festival but think I’d have a hard time not locking everything up – did the tents have locks once you zipped them up?
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..This is India! (eighteen)

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      No, they didn’t — but we felt super safe in our camping area. There was tight security to enter the Dream Lodge village, and a fairly constant patrol of good-natured staff inside (they mostly would just stop to chat with us and hang out, though technically they were working “security” 🙂 ) I would definitely not have felt the same way in the general camping zone.

  • becky hutner
    October 3 2014

    this post was so very fascinating to me. of all the fests i’ve been to, i’ve never had such hyper-organized accommodation as you enjoyed in DreamVille. a night-before mixer? masseuses and hair people, what???

    personally, i’m past camping. i either do a condo rental situation with a bunch of people which works out to be amazing value or camper van it & park in the designated onsite area. Camper vans beat camping for me but downsides include a way longer walk to the fest & still an “ick” factor — emptying the septic tank, plus things get messy in a camper van with a bunch of boys, FAST!

    now glamping on the other hand with everything set up when you arrive is VERY appealing. but it would be hard for me to justify the cost. and compared with glastonbury & coachella glamping, i think dreamville is even on the cheap side?! funny that festivals with their bohemian image are so damn expensive!
    becky hutner recently posted..BEST OF: New York Fashion Week Spring ’15

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      I have no clue how this would stack up to glamping at other festivals but I would be fascinated to know! As it was just the two of us, we felt staying in a hotel would be somewhat isolating, plus the idea of the commute back and forth each day had zero appeal (and Boom itself has zero hotels). RVs and campers aren’t allowed at DreamVille, either, but I am hoping I can go that direction for Burning Man in 2015!

  • Kristen Noelle
    October 3 2014

    I can do the outdoors to a degree — I’ve never been too much of a camper, so I think glamping would be riiiight up my alley. It sounds like Dreamville/Tomrrowland was beyond worth the expense and the heartache it took to make happen! This whole experience is near the top of my travel to do list now. How did you guys end up locking up your dslrs and laptops?
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..Charmed by Lisbon & the Feast of Saint Anthony

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      The locker was really shallow so we were able to stack our laptops and slide our passports and iPhones in the side (when we didn’t have the phones with us) and lock it from there. But the rest of it — our dSLRs, my point and shoot and my GoPro — all ended up being just hidden in the tent and left behind! Obviously it wasn’t our first choice but after the first 24 hours or so we realized the Dream Lodge village was super secure and we didn’t really stress about it anymore. In general camping I never could have felt the same.

  • What a unique and fun experience! Looks like you made the right choice (even if it was by fate). The whole idea of luxury travel doesn’t usually appeal to twenty-somethings but this seems to be the rare case where it is perfectly suited!

    I have the same question as some of the other commenters though, how did you end up securing your laptops and cameras?
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..Big Island One Week Itinerary

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      See my response to Kristen 🙂 Yeah, glamping at a crazy technicolor Belgian rave is my kind of luxury! I was actually shocked by how generally young the Tomorrowland audience seemed to be, considering the cost of tickets. I guess there’s always something people are willing to splurge on!

  • Chris
    October 3 2014

    Wow, that even looks a level above Glamping!

    Insane, although a few of the things you referred to as nice touches, for $661.00 per person, I think it only reasonable that you got more than just a nice tent! 🙂
    Chris recently posted..Mexico City: Part 2 – Something New

    • Alex
      October 3 2014

      I mean, I definitely wouldn’t have complained if they threw in a free breakfast… 🙂

      • Chris
        October 4 2014

        Now you’re talking!! 😀

        We finish our Open Water accred this morning. Been so much fun! 😉

        Also been very cool to have an instructor with a Caribbean accent…
        Chris recently posted..Mexico City: Part 2 – Something New

  • Rick
    October 3 2014

    Great coverage of this event we’ve heard very little about. The promoters seem to have really gone the distance to make it work on all levels.
    BTW – you look fantastic in rubber boots 🙂

    • Alex
      October 4 2014

      I’m glad I can share some Tomorrowland love with the world, Rick! And thanks — the boots were a necessity on the muddy main stage!

  • Aaaah this looks amazing! I’ve been to New Years Festivals at home in NZ but never anything on this scale. The ‘glamping’ looks utterly luxurious, what an experience!

    • Alex
      October 4 2014

      I won’t be forgetting any of it anytime soon 🙂 Splurge of the year — or decade!

  • Justine
    October 3 2014

    I have to say that your tent looks amazing. I would absolutely love to camp in it! Plus, after partying hard all day it’s always nice to have an actual bed to crash out on. But holy crap, $661 per person is crazy! But this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I probably would have made the same decision to splurge 😉 That being said having an outlet and a usable locker were two of the main reasons you booked that tent. I would have been mad that those features weren’t as advertised!
    Justine recently posted..Flying Solo: A Visa Run to Penang

    • Alex
      October 4 2014

      Honestly, as much of an amazing time as I had at Tomorrowland, EVERYTHING about buying tickets, getting there, figuring out logistics, etc., was such a struggle, I was not even a tiny bit surprised by the misinformation. I think because the desire for tickets is so high they don’t really have to try to make things easy for people, which is frustrating for the money. In the end I was fine with both those details — I was more riled up by the fact that the porta potties closest to us were the disgusting general camping variety, considering it was an admitted error and we had paid quite the pretty penny to have something a bit nicer.

  • Steven
    October 4 2014

    I would of loved to have went for an upgrade in camping this year, but I decided to opt for the Global Journey package (travelling from Scotland) instead of upgraded camping, I couldn’t afford both unfortunately. One of the deciding factors was that I thought I would feel a little “cut-off” from the rest of the festival and I thought it may be quite difficult to meet other people if I had a designated camping area. By the sounds of things this wasn’t the case at all so I might try this option next time! Great blog!

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Thanks Steven! We were really grateful to luck out with our tickets (I’ll explain how in an upcoming post!) because we decided that Global Journey just wasn’t worth the additional cost for us. This however, was the perfect splurge! We definitely didn’t feel cut off, but perhaps that was because we really bonded with a couple of the tents right around us.

  • Martina
    October 4 2014

    Hey Alex 🙂

    Oh, man, I love the way you write. “you might as well just light yourself on fire now and save yourself the frustration” – I’m sitting here in a cafe in Suva, Fiji, laughing out loud and possibly drawing some strange reactions from passers by!

    And WOW, now THAT is camping!!! I an NOT a camper myself – while I do cherish some memories of primary school camp, generally to me camping is synonymous with cold, uncomfortable, and boring. But what you did? I would do that in a heartbeat, it looks amazing!!

    Good on you for trying to provide others with info next time, too. It’s a great way to support other travellers and festival goers, cos it can often be really hard to find the right info before you go. I’m trying to the same thing in some of the posts on my blog, provide information for other travellers, because blog posts can be some of the most helpful things in understanding actually how to do certain trips, and to set your expectations at the right level.

    Looking forward to the next post. I think you’ve got me hooked haha. 🙂

    Martina

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Yes, especially after coming from Burning Man, where there was almost an overwhelming amount of information and people willing to help around each corner, it was shocking how hard it was to navigate Tomorrowland planning. Hoping my posts will be helpful to others in the future — and glad to hear I got you laughing all the way in Fiji 🙂

  • Stephen
    October 4 2014

    Haha looks like completely insane fun! I’ve done many middle parties in my day 🙂

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Yeah, our “after parties” basically involved wonderful nights of sleep after twelve hours of partying! Middle parties on the other hand were a bit more lively 🙂

  • anna@shenANNAgans
    October 5 2014

    After reading your last post I firmly put Tomorrowland on my bucket list, this is a must do for me, so all this extra info is super good. Thanks guys.
    anna@shenANNAgans recently posted..The Sparkling Brut

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      So welcome Anna! There’s more coming up, including a survival guide and a cost breakdown, so stay tuned 🙂

  • Marcello
    October 5 2014

    This sounds amazing! Makes me want to go, definitely adding it to the bucket list!

    Oh and I can totally relate to this – “reading guidebooks to countries I have no immediate plans to visit.”
    Marcello recently posted..Oktoberfest in Munich

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      It is one of my favorite hobbies, and the reason I could place 10-15 Brazilian cities on a map despite never having set foot in the country. 🙂

  • Dreamville sure does look like a dream! Many festival tent sites in Northern Europe are so poor that I wouldn’t even consider going. It’s great when they make an effort to make people feel at home!
    Miriam of Adventurous Miriam recently posted..There’s a little place called Gili Trawangan

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      I really loved all the creativity and whimsy they put into it 🙂 Really impressive!

  • Leah
    October 5 2014

    This looks amazing! I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to camping…I’ve “roughed it” in general camping, and I’ve also “hotel-ed” it and driven to the festival every day. Each has its perks, but I do enjoy the decidedly more social nature of camping (or glamping, in this case). When I make it to Tomorrowland I’ll probably follow in your DreamVille footsteps!
    Leah recently posted..Friday Snapshots: Flowers of Costa Rica

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      OR, even better, we could go to the Brazil edition TOGETHER! 😉

  • Julia
    October 6 2014

    Hi Alex

    We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay at one of our Dream Lodges! Lovely to read your comments and your experiences at Tomorrowland.

    you can follow us on
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Sheep-Productions/136106896442357

    Black Sheep Productions, maker of Dream Lodges.

    • Alex
      October 6 2014

      Hey Julia! Glad to see this post caught your attention — you guys did great work! Hopefully you’ll consider my suggestions for next time 🙂

      • Julia
        October 22 2014

        Hi Alex

        Will do, we try to improve our Dream Lodges for the next edition. So we’ll put your suggestions on our TO-DO list 🙂

        Are you going to Brasil as well?

        Julia

        • Alex
          October 23 2014

          Unfortunately not this year… but hopefully next!

  • Fabiana
    October 8 2014

    I am dying to stay in those tents. They look really cool.
    Fabiana recently posted..A Guide to Hiking Snowdonia

    • Alex
      October 8 2014

      I wouldn’t say no to returning to them 🙂 In love!

  • Uttam Sharma
    October 10 2014

    Hi Alex,

    If i am a solo traveler and want to go for easy tent then will they provide this tent to one person. What can be the cost difference between staying in a hotel in boom and staying at easy tents??

    Thumps up to the in depth information you provide with your blogs. Thanks a lot…:)

    • Alex
      October 11 2014