The purpose of this blog is to relay the story of how The Quabbs became the cabin it is (and is going to be). I hope I haven’t mislead you with the title. So get a cuppa and have a read
If you have looked at our website, you will know that Paul and I are avid and excitable travellers. We just love it – we love to get a flight (anywhere!) and leave the rest to chance (mostly). Sometimes we have had an unwanted adventure; I can think of a fair few, BUT you have to take the rough with the smooth, and we have. Those cabins gave us just as much food for thought as the ones we did love.
Some have been off-grid; National Forestry Service Cabins– very basic, but the views and the solitude make it worth ‘roughing it’, some no more than a shed akin to the one you might get from Homebase, others have been fairly fancy in comparison and some have had outside loos (think long-drop shed with scorpions – well I dramatically imagined there would be scorpions) quite a walk away from the cabin – not for me in the middle of the Nevada desert at night, thank you very much! ‘Been there, done that’ is the phrase I might coin for that one.
Grizzly bear cabins
In all of this time there was only one which we refused. We arrived at around 2:00am in the middle of a forest in Montana’s grizzly bear country – I’m talking 90 minutes on a winding mud track, through a forest, without seeing another single residence or car. We fought our way through the undergrowth, opened a rickety gate (with a ‘mind the grizzly’ type sign on decorated with bullet holes) and reached the creaky door, surveyed the massive open-plan room which was without curtains and had a row of metal beds – reminiscent of a sanatorium (and a 1990’s budget horror movie). It was a firm and immediate ‘no’ from me and we were out of there giggling like teenagers, at the thought of what horrendous doom may have been bestowed upon us that night! I will just put a caveat in here, as I know when Paul reads this he will say ‘actually, YOU just stayed in the car and shone the torch out of a barely-open car window, whilst I opened said gate and door, before walking in with your blunt refusal’ That’s another story, but sleeping in the back of a rental car at the side of a railroad was a welcome, if not uncomfortable, alternative that night.
No cabin or accommodation, whatever or wherever it may be just becomes good or better; it is down to a number of factors, which begins with the hosts themselves. No matter how amazing the view, the amenities or comfy the bed, if the hosts don’t care about their cabin and their guests, it is surely doomed to fail. We have seen loads of fabulous and attentive hosts, some mediocre ones, one incredibly abrasive one, some we didn’t meet at all (think what you will about this) and once we were actually given our cabin key by a man from Badlands, South Dakota I who was wearing just his underpants – to be fair, it was very late, very hot and he was very pleasant! These people set the tone for your stay – you make a connection, which can only be positive. Just in case you were wondering, the Badlands host? He was fully dressed the next time we saw him!
We have had many, many conversations whilst sitting on the porch of our cabins often admiring the view – sunset and sunrise are our favourite reflection times. What we love, what we would take away (not in the physical sense!) and how we might do things in a similar or different way. These years of travelling and experiencing have given us so much knowledge in all sorts of ways. They have helped us to frame The Quabbs exactly how we want it to be – from the minds and experience of two travellers who have thoroughly enjoyed the extensive ‘research’.
I’m not here to name names of cabins or to say which was best or otherwise, I am here to tell you what we have learnt and how this looks for The Quabbs.
Yes, there are some funny stories – a selection above, but there are also lessons learnt.
If you were here and hoping for me to say ‘I had the toilet-roll holder idea from Sweden’ or ‘I loved the cushions from Alaska’ or even ‘after seeing the cabin in Costa Rica, I know I need to dust the tops of the doors’, then I afraid I have disappointed you. This is more about our do’s and certainly do not’s along the way and how we will frame our business and therefore, our dream.
However, this is what our mission is, as a couple to provide (as a minimum) for our valuable guests. After all, we want you to be so happy you’ll want to recommend us and come back again and again.
We think we know that these are non-negotiables:
- Up-to-date website / working links – lots of useful information available
- Easy to book online and see availability – clear pricing structure
- Good communication, right from the start. Approachable and friendly
- Any problems dealt with as soon as possible
- Sustainability at the forefront of our business
- Friendly hosts to welcome you and know this is your well-earned break
- A clean, warm and welcoming cabin the moment you walk through the door
- Something different, individual
- A fair price for your experience
- An honest description on the website
- A gallery of photos
- Comfy bed – quality bedding
- A good shower / bathroom facilities – nice towels AND I can’t stress this enough: towels which are not designed for a very, very small child – ones you can actually wrap around you…
- Indoor and outdoor spaces to sit and unwind
- Personal touches
- Not paying for ‘extras’ such as fire wood
- A good corkscrew / bottle opener
- Those little ‘extras’ which let you know you are our special guest
- The feeling that your feedback has be listened to / acted upon
- (And of course a fully dressed host, some curtains and an indoor toilet – without scorpions)
This is what we won’t offer:
- Over-bearing hosts
- Hosts who didn’t welcome you
- Poor communication
- Things that don’t work as they should
- To pay extra for basic things
- Lumpy pillows!
- Miniscule towels
If you have got to this point, well done and thank you. I really do hope that at some point we are able to host you in our little part of mid-Wales. We look forward to seeing you.
Keep following the Instagram page and the blog!