By Chadd Cawson Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Calling all glampers. Winderdome Resort is bringing wonder to those ready for a unique glamping experience. Dave and Debra Kotowski own a 20-acre property at 1535 Windermere Loop Rd in Windermere, B.C. It includes three animal-themed domes in which residents can stay. A grand opening event was held late last month. Cougar, bear, and wolf domes are strategically designed to each predator found on the traditional territory that runs along the Columbia River of Secwepemc and Ktunaxa first nations. All three domes sleep four people and come with a kitchenette (including a fridge, freezer, kettle, toaster, and induction plate). Outside each one is decked out with a lounging area, gas fire tables and floor nets 2o feet off the ground which allows one lay beneath and gaze at the stars. Winderdome had their official grand opening for these domes on June 18.
“We literally finished everything up to our standards on June 11, as we had a guest coming,” Debra Kotowski, Winderdome Resort owner and Dome Keeper, said. “For this resort I created the tagline, ‘Where stillness meets wilderness.’ I’m hoping people will come and literally rejuvenate, especially after COVID. The pandemic destroyed a lot of people mentally and they need that chance to re-energize and reconnect with themselves and or their families.”
COVID-19 impacted a lot of people and their careers. Debra Kotowski was among them. The Kotowskis moved from Calgary to the property they bought in 2019. Debra was working remotely as a professional speaker. “I’m a speaker, nobody was booking speakers, there were no conferences,” said Kotowski.
After recently putting in a pool outside their home on the other three acres of their property, she began to think outside the box. Kotowski decided to dip a toe in the business pool when it was suggested by a local family friend to let people take a dip in theirs and rent out the pool for aquacise classes. Their pool became a popular rental for locals, nearby campers and for all types of celebrations. The rate to rent the pool with a fully glamped-out deck is $110 per hour, with a minimum three-hour booking.
“When we first extended renting out the pool outside of aquacise classes it was three to five families all with kids that would come and share the cost. The concept was all private. It was hugely successful because of COVID, oddly. Last summer, we had a lot of private bookings which was great,” Kotowski said. “That’s how it all started. It was a dream for retirement that got bumped up early out of necessity but, in hindsight, we hit the mark as far as timing goes despite COVID because our brand is privacy. This was a place where people could be in their own cohort and I’m a meticulous cleaner and sanitizer, so I was the perfect host for this type of venue, which is why the pool area was such a success in year one.”
The success of the pool rentals and from the imagination of Debra came the idea and décor for Winderdome and the three domes one can rent vary in price depending on the time of season. “I’m Clark Griswald from Christmas Vacation,” Kotowski said. “I always envisioned having cabins or cottages on the back 17-acres and manage them in the retirement season of my life. I began researching glamping to find out interest had gone up 200 per cent. I have always had an interest in these domes. Some think they look like spaceships, but I’m okay with that.”
While it took a year to get the permits and ensure agricultural zoning, it was worth the wait, as all three domes and the pool were booked this past Canada Day long weekend with future bookings coming in. “We have a bachelorette weekend coming up. All three domes are booked, and they booked the pool for the whole weekend, and we have our first wedding of 120 people with their ceremony around the pool coming up in the first week of September,” Kotowski said. “So that’s exciting.”