Hotels in Georgia and Duende (Part I)
From the beginning, it was not our intention to become hoteliers. Furthermore, it was definitely not in our thoughts to do so in the Republic of Georgia. After relocating to Georgia, our initial vision was to create a place in Lagodekhi where our family could connect with nature and share quality time together without the noise of our ¨city lives¨. We did not create a business plan, nor do market research, We simply began to build from our hearts for those that we loved.
The idea of sharing the beautiful space where we had built our family cottage, Casita Amor (House of Love), organically became a reality. It began with the suggestion from friends communicating their desire to stay overnight. Very slowly we decided to build small intimate cottages that offered visitors a nest like space to rest in the natural environment. Our hope was that people would experience the true beauty and closeness with nature without feeling like they were in a traditional hotel. We wanted the unique peace we felt when we stayed here to be available for those who desired to also immerse themselves in quietness – this was the birth of the first small boutique hotel in Georgia (2015).
Seven years ago the hospitality sector (Hotels in Georgia) was limited to two types of accommodations. The first type was large brand hotels in Tbilisi and small touristic centers, such as Borjomi, Batumi, or Gudauri. The second accommodation option was room rentals in soviet-style family guest houses littered around the country. There were no private cottages or cabins available for rent. In fact, at the time, there were only 20 listings on Airbnb in the entire country with 12 of them being in Tbilisi.
Throughout the building process we intentionally made every effort to work around the nature that surrounded us. We wanted to preserve her beauty and life. This is the reason why the cottages are elevated, allowing guests the experience of being surrounded by her. We respected every tree, root, and space where she was without disturbing what she had already grown. Not a single plant or tree has been removed throughout the development of this nature retreat.
The first thought for the guest cottages was to hang them in the trees. However, due to the limited engineering and architectural experience, at the time in Georgia, this idea would have been a colossal task to complete correctly (and safely).
Sticking with the desire to offer a birds eye experience, we decided to create the small cottages on platforms with the option to be outdoors or indoors amongst the canopy of nature and the chorus of the birds. The design of the platforms respect the natural flow of both our human movements and rainfall of the Lagodekhi region.
Every aspect of what has been built was intentionally and usually personally connected to our romantic love story or travel adventures. The installation of the hot tubs root from two ideas. First, fourteen years ago, our first date was in a hot tub surrounded by snow. We loved the idea of offering other couples the romance that we experienced on our first date. The second idea came from our desire to soak our tired bodies in hot water after we completed the challenging three day Hike Black Rock Lake. After much thought and several trials, we decided to honor the elements of nature and design a hot tub that is completely sustained by the alchemy of nature – fire, rocks, and water. When soaking in these special tubs, one can feel the slow tender care of the process to heat the water. Most guests agree it is the perfect experience for a long desired deep rest that each of us all need.
Want to learn more about the creation of the first boutique hotel in Georgia, check out Part 2.