The Sissiboo Retreat

Sonya - New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia, Canada

Background: The Sissiboo Retreat began as a family project envisioned by Sonya and her brother. They aimed to create a unique glamping experience on a treed waterfront lot they purchased and developed from scratch. This dream led them to build four glamping domes on their property, two of which are already operational, with the other two set to launch in the summer.

Building The Sissiboo Retreat: Sonya and her family initially attempted to import a 20’ dome themselves, which proved challenging. Learning from this experience, they opted for Phoenix Domes’ 23’/7m 4-Season Glamping Packages for their subsequent domes. The decision was influenced by Phoenix Domes' ability to provide proper certifications required in Canada, such as provincial engineer stamps and fire ratings, along with superior quality compared to other suppliers.

Guest Experience: The Sissiboo Retreat offers a hassle-free glamping experience. Guests only need to bring their personal items, food, and drinks, while everything else is provided. The domes are equipped with elevated decks, and the interior includes a loft for additional space. For instance, the Driftwood dome features a queen bed in the loft and a king bed on the main floor, ensuring a comfortable and spacious stay.

Local Integration and Economic Impact: A key goal for The Sissiboo Retreat is to support the local economy, which has faced significant challenges over the past 16 years due to major industry shutdowns. Sonya partners with local businesses to offer packages such as "stay and explore" with whale watching companies and "dine and dome" meal deals with local restaurants. They also prioritize using local products, from cleaning supplies to welcome gifts, further contributing to the community.

Customer Service and Quality: Sonya rated the quality of materials and customer service from Phoenix Domes as 10/10. The support provided by Phoenix Domes made the dome purchasing and setup process seamless. Sonya advises checking local building regulations thoroughly, as they had to navigate new classifications for their domes. Despite the initial challenges, the result has been highly rewarding.

Lessons Learned: One of the significant lessons Sonya highlights is the importance of understanding local building codes and regulations. They found themselves creating new standards for dome construction in their area, which initially seemed daunting but proved worthwhile in the end.

Final Thoughts: Sonya enthusiastically recommends embarking on similar ventures, noting that unique destinations are increasingly popular, especially with more people opting for local travel due to the pandemic. With proper business planning, such ventures can offer a quick return on investment and provide an amazing experience. Reflecting on her journey, Sonya shared her favourite quote: "I would totally live in a dome, and someday when kids are out of the house and retirement is near, we may just do that!"