Eco retreat true labour of love

Saturday July 11, 2015 Written by Published in Environment
Luana and Matt Scowcroft pictured outside the stunning ‘Ariki’ safari tent at their new environmentally-friendly accommodation venture, Ikurangi Eco Retreat. The couple say their Ikurangi Eco Retreat will be fully operational by next week and will welcome bookings from July 15. Luana and Matt Scowcroft pictured outside the stunning ‘Ariki’ safari tent at their new environmentally-friendly accommodation venture, Ikurangi Eco Retreat. The couple say their Ikurangi Eco Retreat will be fully operational by next week and will welcome bookings from July 15.

Not many couples are brave enough to build a business in their first year of marriage.

 

But Luana and Matt Scowcroft are not your average pair. The Rarotongan residents are about to open Ikurangi Eco Retreat, the Cook Islands’ first purpose-built eco accommodation and ‘glamping’ site.

It’s nestled on Matavera’s back road with stunning mountain views and Luana says Ikurangi Eco Retreat will be fully operational by next week, welcoming bookings from July 15.

The Snowcrofts found the property in July last year and since then it has been 12 months of hard work, planning and dealing with all the trials and tribulations that come with a new business venture.

And it seems their hard work has paid off.

Today, the Ikurangi Eco Retreat stands proudly with three ‘Are’ bungalows and four luxury safari tents which use a sustainable waste-management system and composting toilets to minimise the impacts of tourism on the natural environment.

Asked whether there were any fights during the sometimes stressful journey to completion of the project, Matt says there weren’t any big arguments.

“We had to sit down and have ‘business meetings’.

 “We’ve only just had our one-year wedding anniversary so we kind of figure that if we’ve got through this then we are probably fine for the rest of our lives together,” Luana says with a laugh.

This is because on top of building the retreat, Matt works as a fulltime lawyer on Rarotonga, while Luana runs the Cook Islands Jobs website. 

“We haven’t had too much free time at all over the last couple of months,” says Matt.

“But over the past couple of months (Ikurangi Eco Retreat) has gone from being a building site to what we envisaged it to be. It’s quite exciting to see your plan come to fruition.”

And at the core of the Eco Retreat is the couple’s passion for environmental conservation.

“We are trying to provide a model to prove that sustainable tourism can work, doing things in more of an ecologically sound way that can actually work commercially as well,” says Luana.

Ikurangi Eco Retreat has relationships with a number of other eco-friendly businesses on the Rock and provides eco-friendly activities and a visitor payback scheme, where guests can make a donation to Te Ipukarea Society on departure.

And five per cent of all profits made by the business will go to local conservation initiatives.

But don’t expect to be roughing it in tents, because luxury is not compromised at Ikurangi.

The retreat has a salt water pool and each safari tent is decked out with all the hotel essentials. The ‘Ariki’ safari tent even includes a lavish clawfoot bath set amongst a private garden, making it the perfect honeymoon getaway. 

For more information on Ikurangi Eco Retreat, visit www.ikurangi.com.

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