Quietly tucked away in the hills of New Brunswick’s Kingston Peninsula sits one of Canada’s most unique accommodation experiences, the Ridgeback Lodge. With its glowing domes and wood-fired hot tubs, this is not your typical campsite. Its internet-breaking pictures may have you believe it is a pricey stay yet surprisingly it’s a five-star experience at two-star prices. This is the Ridgeback Lodge, one of Canada’s best glamping experiences.
The Dream Dome
When I was asked if I would be interested in glamping while I was touring New Brunswick I jumped at it, simply because of the pictures of the dome tents at the Ridgeback Lodge. Little did I know that the Ridgeback Lodge is so much more than a nice tent in the woods.
“Anyone can put up a dome tent,” says Robert Van de Straat, owner/operator/tall Dutchman. “It’s the way we do it that makes us unique.”
Not really knowing what this meant I took that thought with me to my tent, and what a tent it was. Upon entering the fenced off slice of paradise I instantly understood. The grounds were immaculate with freshly laid red fall leaves on the pathway that looked almost too perfect, as if placed by hand. Beyond the inviting dome, grey smoke plummed from the wood burning hot tub which was graciously started by Ridgeback Lodge staff to help get it up to temperature in time for a late night soak. Had they not prepared it, no sweat. Just inside the yurt, you are greeted with a tablet loaded with video instructions on how to start the woodstove as well as one introducing you to the Dream Dome and all it has to offer.
Clearly, this isn’t your parent’s camping trip.
Tablets and tubs are not the only high-end items at the Ridgeback Lodge. Inside the dome tents you will find a perfect sanctuary with modern and clean finishings including a small kitchen, gas fireplace, memory foam bed with 500 thread count sheets, and a full bathroom.
This is glamping. No sleeping bags, outhouse, or can of Spam required…although you could still cook it in your kitchenette if that is your thing.
Beyond the Dome
Although it is pretty easy to let a weekend meltaway in the wood burning hot tub and cosy dome tent, there’s much more to explore at the Ridgeback Lodge. A short walk up the hill sits a picture perfect pond with canoes and paddleboard’s to enjoy. Then there are the groomed and rugged hiking trails that start behind the pond. Winter time guests can snowshoe this trail. I can only imagine this would be straight out of a Disney movie complete with singing birds and a talking snowman.
The place is that magical.
Although the Ridgeback Lodge is geared towards glamping couples, there is another trick up their sleeves. The Deluxe Cabin can be rented by a group of friends who want to share this high-end experience. The luxury cabin rental includes a large living space, full kitchen with high-end appliances, wine barrel vanities, and a large walk-in shower…you know, in case the Dream Domes are too rustic for you 😉
The Cabin rents on its own fall to spring and in the summer months, it is combined with the Stargazer Domes, making it a great retreat for larger groups.
Five Stars All The Way
Over a charcuterie board (because glamping) and a game of crib (there are worse ways to wait for a private hot tub to heat up), Erin and I fawned over the ridiculousness of the Ridgeback Lodge. Looking at online reviews of the Ridgeback Lodge, we were not the only ones. From TripAdvisor to Google, The Ridgeback Lodge boasts a lot of stars and very happy customers.
“That’s because you are not a number here, we really care about our guest(s) and our biggest achievement is seeing our guest(s) leave with a smile and hoping to return one day.” Roberts attitude, commitment, and attention to client satisfaction certainly have paid off. “It’s not all about the money, it is a lifestyle.”
Of course, nothing this great comes easy.
Robert and his partner Christel come from interesting backgrounds in the Netherland’s hospitality industry. She grew up working at her family’s pancake house/petting zoo (because Holland?) and he, his family’s car dealership/moving company/undertaking business. Naturally, they both learned a thing or two about people, both the pancake eating and car driving alive as well as the dead. Along with a desire to chase their own dreams away from the goats and donkeys of the petting zoo they took their well-rounded life skills to a quiet corner of Canada to take over a very rundown campsite. To get the Ridgeback Lodge to the pristine condition it sits in today took a lot of love, labour, sacrifice, and skill.
Book now, Thank Me Later
The Ridgeback Lodge’s Instagram breaking pictures do come at a cost. No, not one that affects your wallet, accommodations start at a shockingly low $120/night. I am talking about time. The Ridgeback Lodge only has a handful of these awesome tents. Pair that with its online popularity (Explore Canada shared a picture shortly after my stay that racked up 22K likes) and you have a bit of a wait to experience the Ridgeback Lodge for yourself.
The Dream Domes book about 6-months out for weeknights and a year for weekends. The Stargazer Domes (that run from spring to fall) average half a year as does the Deluxe Cabin.
Again, book now.
I only got in because the property was briefly closed while Robert and Christel were in Western Canada looking into opening a similar property there. Based on my experience at the Ridgeback Lodge in New Brunswick, one can only hope they replicate this paradise.
Until then, book now at the Ridgeback lodge and thank me later. Preferably while soaking in your private wood burning hot tub while coyotes howl in the distance and stars shine overhead.
This is glamping in Canada at its absolute best.
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Although this Ridgeback review was made possible by Tourism New Brunswick / Nouveau-Brunswick,
the experience, opinions, and incredible nights sleep was my own.