There’s no place like Dome
Calling all glampers. Winderdome Resort wows those ready for a unique glamping experience. Dave and Debra Kotowski own a 20-acre property at 1535 Windermere Loop Rd in Windermere, BC. It features three animal-themed domes that residents can stay in. A grand opening event was held at the end of last month. Cougar, bear and wolf domes are strategically designed for each predator found on the traditional territory along the Columbia River of the Secwepemc and Ktunaxa First Nations.
The three domes can accommodate four people and are equipped with a kitchenette (including fridge, freezer, kettle, toaster and induction hob). Outside, each is equipped with a seating area, gas tables, and ground netting 2o feet off the ground, making it easy to lie below and star gaze. Winderdome had its official inauguration for these domes on June 18.
“We literally finished everything to our standards on June 11 because we had a guest coming in,” said Debra Kotowski, owner of Winderdome Resort and Dome Keeper. “For this resort, I created the slogan, ‘Where stillness meets wilderness.’ I hope people will come and literally rejuvenate, especially after COVID.The pandemic has mentally destroyed a lot of people and they need this chance to recharge and reconnect with themselves and/or their families.
COVID-19 has impacted many people and their careers. Debra Kotowski was among them. The Kotowskis moved from Calgary to the property they purchased in 2019. Debra was working remotely as a professional speaker. “I’m a speaker, nobody was booking speakers, there were no lectures,” Kotowski said.
After recently installing a swimming pool outside their home on the other three acres of their property, she has started to think outside the box. Kotowski decided to dip a toe into the company’s pool when it was suggested by a local family friend to let people swim in theirs and rent out the pool for aquacise lessons. Their pool has become a popular rental for locals, nearby campers, and for all types of celebrations. The rental rate for the pool with a fully furnished deck is $110 per hour, with a three-hour minimum reservation.
When we extended the pool rental outside of the aquacise lessons, three to five families, all with children, came to share the cost. The concept was completely private. It was a huge hit because of COVID, oddly enough. 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 was overtaken early out of necessity but, looking back, we hit the mark as far as timing despite COVID because privacy is our trademark. It 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 that type of venue which is why the pool was such a hit the first year.
The success of pool rentals and Debra’s imagination came up with the idea and the setting of Winderdome and the three domes that can be rented vary in price depending on the time of the season. “I’m Clark Griswald from Christmas Vacation,” Kotowski said. “I always imagined having cabins or cottages on the back 17 acres and running them for the retirement season of my life. I started researching glamping only to find that interest had increased by 200%. I’ve always had an interest in these domes. Some think they look like spaceships, but I agree with that.
Although it took a year to get the permits and secure agricultural zoning, it was worth the wait as all three domes and the pool were booked over the Canada Day long weekend and future bookings arrive. “We have a singles weekend coming up. All three domes are booked, and they’ve booked the pool for the whole weekend, and we have our first 120-person wedding with their poolside ceremony taking place the first week of September,” Kotowski said. “So that’s exciting.”
Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer