IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a retreat experience in North County Wexford to refresh and rejuvenate during uncertain times, look no further than the Wild Rooms nestled between the sea and the trees of Tara Hill.
The brainchild of longtime teleworker duo Ben and Vanessa Wainwright, co-founders of smart work company Abodoo, the Wild Rooms offer insight into future travel and safe stays against Covid.
Combining luxury with fast Wi-Fi speeds, the Wild Rooms offer the option to connect or disconnect and get away from it all in nature.
Since its launch last summer, nearly 500 guests have stayed so far and enjoyed the sunrises, stargazing as well as newly launched activities like yoga, reiki and picnics at the next to Tara-Hill.
Designed for those looking for something a little different and ready to try something, those who stay will be rewarded with an experience for the senses.
Ben Wainright said for him and his wife it was a plan that had been in the works for about four years.
“When we bought this place seven years ago, we had our first daughter and we were wondering what we were going to do next. Back then there was hardly any broadband but we ended up getting satellite and later we dug a trench to get the fiber broadband and that was a huge change for us.
“We thought long and hard about the next step with the earth because we knew we wanted to share it and people would come and experience it. We had to think about how to make a hill work, but we would also like to be part of it ”.
He said the inspiration came when the couple reflected on what they like to see and do when they are away from home.
“What is essential for us is our own space and comfort, but also being among beautiful places, so you can hike or swim nearby. We figured if you could come close to the idea of a beautiful hotel while still being able to literally get out into nature, that was the magic we wanted to create. In recent years, we haven’t found it easy to find these types of places we like to stay, especially in the South East, and that’s what we wanted to create ”.
Vanessa said her motivation was to honor Tara Hill herself.
“The hill has so much history, more than I ever imagined. It is twinned with Hill of Tara and it brings energy as our hill is supposed to be the queen while that of Meath is the king.
“People can walk on the freeway and gaze at it without realizing that it is both beautiful and calm. People are used to the crowds at Ballymoney, but Tara Hill is an alternative that people may not be aware of ”.
Feeling relaxed was also essential in Vanessa and Ben’s thinking.
“There is a mental health crisis and people need a break because we all have a hard time switching off,” Vanessa said.
“We saw last month that many Christmas parties were canceled and CEOs of companies were looking to reward staff with no events. We suggest they give staff a day or a weekend to just be in a new space for their own innovation.
“Today you go to a hotel and they are lovely, but there are so many rules when it comes to Covid and having to hide and book for everything, you are almost destroyed by this experience. We have personalized the car. – registration pack with all the information, so you can come here and go straight in without seeing anyone else if that’s what you want and everything is explained to you.
“We want to give people the opportunity to get away from home and continue working, but to have a premium experience and to get out into nature when it is convenient for them. We will be increasing the workspace within the Wild Room as well as our treatment spaces, so that people should be leaving the grounds as much.
“When Fáilte Ireland came to visit us the team thought it would only be a seasonal tightening, but we are open all year round and the cabins are very solid.
To build the cabins themselves, the couple wanted something sleek and contemporary, but one that also blends into the landscape and is weather resistant.
Following the Custom Path, the Wainrights used British design to combine Nordic traditions with Japanese styles in the Shou Sugi Ban exterior cladding, to create a spectacle. Worked with LEADER funding and the cabins were built offsite in Carlow.
The eight-foot window in every wild room was vital to functioning well, and the couple spent a lot of time considering whether the window would work or even open like a door.
Eventually they decided it was all about drama and creating a frame of a moving picture to hold your gaze and have as little distraction as possible.
Ben said it was weird not to see all of the guests due to the automatic check-in, but feeling safe was more important.
“There is no point of contact with the Wild Room, so it’s safe for Covid, but you’re outside so you don’t have to wear a mask, and the guests we met , we noticed a good conversation because we tend to have the same spirit. They’re here for similar reasons and that’s part of what makes things work.
“Vanessa and I have a very good virtual working experience and have been doing it for almost a decade. Although this is a new company, it did not seem like a huge task for us as we are very used to working together with each other’s strengths.
“The idea of building a space that people can go to and then managing it from our home, we knew our track record was going to help us. We understand the dynamics that are required and while there is a lot to do behind the scenes, we appreciate it.
“All of the technology in the Wild Room is hidden, so when you get started you choose if you’re there to work and hopefully you’ll be inspired and feel creative, or if you’re here to switch off, relax. you simply It is about achieving peace and quiet, as we believe that being surrounded by natural elements permeates the mind, body and soul and can help rejuvenate for a healthier and happier life. .
“Recently we have decided to offer a few other things like freshly prepared breakfasts, baked pizzas and picnic baskets made by Myles Doyle in Gorey and we plan to expand further in the future as well.” .
Although the Wild Rooms are the latest edition of the Tara Hill Estate, a lodge the couple had run for a few years was the catalyst for this next step.
“What we have accomplished in the past six months has exceeded our expectations, but we knew people wanted to stay here as we had returning visitors to the lodge.
“A lot of guests from Ireland have come to try something new and think outside the box. It caters to couples or singles, but we got a proposal here that we weren’t expecting.
“We also had people who showed up very stressed but came to us after their stay to comment on how relaxed they felt, and that’s just as important to us as they thought they could come. here safely in the context of Covid “.
Vanessa said the Wild Rooms are intended for a Dublin market, which she says automatically assumes Wexford will have a bad WiFi connection.
“We have to tell them that with our Abodoo experience we have been working here remotely for years and we have settled down and our connection is as good if not better than in Dublin.”
To take a virtual tour, visit www.tarahillestate.com.