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Glamping arrives in Acadia at Cielo

Posted on Tuesday May 14, 2019

How would you like to relax in the beautiful nature of New Brunswick while also pampering yourself in accommodations worthy of a five-star hotel? Two Acadian entrepreneurs recently launched Cielo, which offers the latest in glamping, or luxury camping, in a breathtaking location. We met recently with co-owner Pat Gauvin, who explained what makes Cielo different from other next-generation hospitality concepts.

Luxury and privacy in an idyllic setting
"Glamping" is a contraction of the words "glamour" and "camping", which pretty much sums up the concept of these two entrepreneurs. "With the domes, we decided to create a concept for people who love nature and would enjoy having the opportunity to relax by the sea in a unique location", Pat explains. "Every dome has massive windows so you can enjoy the sunsets and the starry skies. Each dome is equipped with a kitchen and full bathroom in addition to a beautifully arranged outdoor space featuring a hot tub and wood-heated barbecue. Our guests also enjoy extra touches, including queen-sized beds and plush duvets. To build the domes, we used local and recycled wood: beams from the family barn of my business (and life!) partner, Émilie LeBlanc. We also approached local artisans to create the furniture in each dome. Overall, we strive to support sustainable local development."

International AND local visitors
The two entrepreneurs wanted to offer a new accommodations experience in an area where the options were limited. "We identified a real need in our region, because before Cielo, there was no one meeting the needs of our clientele. We get a lot of people from Quebec, especially in the summer, but also a lot of New Brunswickers looking to take a different approach to exploring our part of the country. It makes us very happy when people from the local area come to check us out! And when it comes to international marketing, we've started using Airbnb to promote the "Munro Pearl" and our other domes. We're starting to get some outside buzz as well, thanks to coverage like the article "Where to go in 2019" in AFAR magazine (in San Francisco) and the post "The best Glamping getaways opening this spring in North America" on the KUJU Coffee blog."

Savouring fresh oysters direct from the water... On a SUP!
Beyond the accommodations concept, it's the idea of creating a truly unique local experience that guided the owners in this project. "Émilie and I wanted to create something that would help showcase local products and give people a taste of what life can be like here. The domes are inspired by the shape and colour of oysters. And we teamed up with Mallet Oysters to offer a way for people to go harvest oysters from a stand-up paddle board (SUP) and savour them directly out on the water. These are the kinds of experiences that make Cielo a one-of-a-kind destination."

The Hub: Coffee, "sea beer", local products and entertainment
Guests can also visit the Hub, a large building overlooking the water, which is home to Cielo's reception area and where local products are on display for purchase. "As soon as the snow melts, Mathieu Noël, one of our good friends, is going to be opening a coffee house. Within the next month, we'll also be done building the bar in the microbrewery, which we're hoping to have open for this summer. Working with our partner Sébastien Roy from the distillery Le Fils du Roy, we're going to be creating beer recipes using products from the sea like samphire, oysters and even shrimp. We're also going to have a changing line-up of local and Quebec artists performing on-site this summer", says Pat.

Cielo wants to serve as an incubator and accelerator for development of businesses and new local products. It already has partnerships in place with Matthias Werner, a skilled baker, and Madiane Michaud, who creates natural body products and operates Madia Botanica.

Growing this Haut-Shippagan business before expanding
Their collaborative glamping concept could be exported to other regions, but our entrepreneurs prefer to focus on developing their local offering for the time being. "Yes, our little collaborative network with local businesses could be exported, but for now, we want to put our energy into developing our current site."

Advantages of starting up a business in New Brunswick: Support and environment
New Brunswick is an ideal place to start up a new company. "We were able to access funding through sources like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), grants from the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) and the Small Business Investor Tax Credit (SBITC). Of course, I also went to UNI, which helped guide me through the process and gave me some excellent advice along the way. That also felt natural, because I've always been with them."

According to Pat, "To succeed, you need to share your ideas with potential partners and mentors. These are people who can help you develop and fine-tune your project and then lend a hand with the execution."

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