We'll be done by September he said... it's like when people promise that the new house will be ready by Christmas or the new bathroom installed by next week... they're not real promises right ;)
With all of the tearing apart done at Slide View, we are finally getting things back together and doing so with fervour. As winter approached it became increasingly less fun to work outdoors, we had some reasonably essential work to finish outside before we concentrate all our efforts inside.
A wise friend of mine said that if the foundations are solid and the roof is good, everything else is easy. He didn't work in Dawson and would have been horrified at our foundations and moving buildings but I think the point stands. So as well as the roof, we have found some ways to improve our foundations, or at least the ground around them. This spring showed us the full extent of the swamp we are on and how much higher from the ground level we would like to be. But instead of raising the house even further and having to install an elaborate system of stairs and landings to reach the door, we have done some groundworks on the rest of the site to improve drainage and divert water away from the house and the garden (there will be an actual garden at some point). The swamp we inherited is now a compacted pad... not perfect and not how we would have done things from scratch but at least we have a fighting chance to give this place a new lease of life.
So with the major structural stuff taken care of, we wanted to ensure that our insulation upgrades were completed so that we could have a weather proof building. To this end, all of the exterior insulation upgrades have been completed. The weather membrane was installed beneath the new roof tin and has been installed around the walls of the building ready for the exterior cladding to be applied. This year, we will be ensuring the exterior tin is in place on the north and south walls, but the east and west walls will be left with the weather membrane exposed. This is ready for the new extensions to be built next spring.
With new exterior doors and windows in place, we are all sealed up. And that has been an awesome stage to achieve prior to the winter setting in. And we've been able to put the building through its paces. The rear part of the building is finished, with a nice big bachelor pad layout. But we're going to keep the finished pictures a surprise for now... because the internal work on the rest of the building is well-underway. Here is a little sneak peak though... The wood stove is in and doing an awesome job!
In other news, our self-imposed deadline of Christmas for our new spa offers has been well and truly beaten! As of... well, now... we are able to offer additional aesthetic services from #YukonSpa's current treatment space at #DawsonLodge. The laser machine is warmed up and ready to go for a range of clinical aesthetic services including our own take on the carbon gel facial - the #CampfireFacial, laser hair reduction using an advanced #IntensePulsedLight technology, spider vein reduction, #AcneTreatment and what we are sure is going to be popular #LaserSkinRejuvination or the #PhotoFacial. We can't wait to be able to bring these advanced services to our locals and tourists.
We've had such an awesome response to the spa. #RaynorNaturopathicMassage has been immensely popular. So popular that this summer, Lee completed his Raynor practitioner training meaning that we will have more availability for this service. Now that we have 2 fully trained medical aesthetic practitioners and Raynor practitioners in the team, we should be able to have even more flexibility in our appointment schedule. And the discussions are already starting about bringing in new team members to join our spa team and enhance it further by offering practitioners with other backgrounds in health and wellbeing ready for the next chapter in Yukon Spa's exciting adventure!
It would be wrong of me not to mention our first born... We have had an amazing couple of months as summer tourism really kicked in. Our occupancy for August was 94% and on 10 days in August, we could have sold between 2 and 12 extra rooms. People were genuinely disappointed when they couldn't book with us either because they had previously stayed or because the reviews they saw online left them desperately wanting to experience Dawson Lodge for themselves. It never feels good having to turn people away, but it has shown us that our model is working for the vast majority of people who choose to stay with us. July and September were also excellent and in fact we had to reduce our occupancy a little just to be able to stay healthy. Some of our feedback from this summer has included:
"Are you kidding me, this is not a hotel this is a haven. The bed was so comfortable that I want one for myself and I couldn't leave without taking the shower gel with me. I was so grateful I could buy it at the market today"
"Would I stay again, well, if you forced me to answer that question I would say hell yeah. But next time I'm bringing my family because they didn't believe me when I showed them the room on video. I love the tin and I love how you brought the outside feel of Dawson inside the building"
"I didn't love all the information before I arrived, it was a bit much. But I did love that after I had all the information I didn't actually need to see or speak to anyone at a check in desk. I arrived, punched in a couple of codes and that was it."
"Everything was so easy about the check in checkout process. The staff treat you amazing and leave little gifts! The place they give you a breakfast voucher for was closed so instead brought fresh baked muffins to us! 10/5 stars wouldn’t even be a good enough rating!"
"This hotel is the real deal! It was clean, affordable, easy going, and well located. The owners did a great job, can't wait to go back. It's also VEGAN! No way! And super fancy high tech!"
I think it goes without saying that we've been delighted with our reviews. And even the less positive ones have helped us to improve our offer. In some ways we are more grateful when people tell us what isn't working for them as it means we can try to make improvements for the next guest. As a result of some of the feedback we had in the last year we now have:
Cigarette butt recycling at our smoking station at the back of the building.
Recycling bins at the back of the building that are accessible to all.
Hair dryers in the rooms.
More coffee in the rooms (we thought we were addicts!)
Some healthier (but still super tasty) vegan snacks to complement our sweeties.
And we're already working on improving things for our next big summer.