STAYCATION SAVIOURS: THE TRAVEL BUSINESS HELPING THE INDUSTRY GET BACK ON ITS FEET
The last year has been catastrophic for the travel industry, but one business is aiming to help it bounce back in 2021.
The Wanderlist is a new online directory of unique getaways in the UK which are just waiting to be discovered once lockdown is lifted.
It is founded by Laura and John Lewis, the husband and wife team behind Squirrels Nest, an award-winning collection of luxury treehouses in rural Mid Wales.
Squirrels Nest was voted Tourism Winner 2020 in the Wales Start Up Awards and now has over 65,000 Instagram followers.
This success prompted Laura and John to set up The Wanderlist to support businesses like theirs, particularly post-covid, by offering commission-free listings to owners who desperately need to make money back.
Laura explains: ‘Having a travel business ourselves, we know exactly the kind of issues business owners are facing. 2020 was really tough, but we’re hoping to make 2021 better by supporting businesses similar to ours.
‘We know from personal experience that business owners can end up losing thousands of pounds a year in booking fees to travel directories who charge up to 25% commission.
‘All we charge is a small annual listing fee. Any money from bookings goes directly to the property owners. Guests find their perfect escape, and owners promote their wonderful getaways and save some money at the same time.’
Cadwollens Treehouse at Squirrels Nest
The Wanderlist launched in August 2020 and boasts over 60 properties ranging from romantic retreats for two, to barn conversions and farmhouse properties which sleep up to 11.
Property highlights include:
Hergest Lee, a Mid-Century cabin inspired by the work of architect Frank Gehry
The Burrow at Dolassey, a handsome hobbitry swept seamlessly into the hillside
Spinks Nest, a finch-size flint cottage with a surprising Japanese influence (a sunken bath!)
Laura and John have just launched a third luxury holiday let on their Squirrels Nest site – Prince Llywelyn Treehouse - which is so new it’s yet to receive any visitors.
The new treehouse, which comes with a freestanding bath and outdoor hot tub (like all Squirrels Nest properties), is their largest yet and can sleep up to seven people.
Incredibly all of the treehouses are hand built by John, who is a carpenter by trade, as well as working on the family-run sheep farm near Llanbister, Mid Wales, where him and Laura live with their two children; Charlie, four, and two-year-old Bertie.
The outdoor hot tub at Prince Llywelyn Treehouse
Surrounded by an open 900-acre hill, Squirrels Nest is as remote as you can get in rural Mid Wales, so there’s no need to worry about social distancing.
Each treehouse is made from eco-friendly materials and the site is wonderfully off-grid, so you can truly switch off from it all.
The farm is also at the centre of some of the finest experiences Wales has to offer.
It overlooks Maelienydd Hill, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, while the breath-taking Elan Valley Dams are just a 30-minute drive away.
Bird lovers can feed the Red Kites at nearby Gigrin Farm. While those with a more adventurous streak can go rally driving, target shooting or go-karting.
Find out more about Squirrels Nest treehouses and the other properties on The Wanderlist website here: https://thewanderlist.uk/