Bordering the area of drift sand near Bedaf in Brabant lies Holiday park Sandberghe. Here, you have got all the time in the world to relax in luxurious surroundings. This holiday destination exists since the 1950s and has seen a lot of developments since then, and even now developments are still on-going. Meanwhile, Sandberghe has grown into a luxurious holiday park and has purchased beautiful glamping accommodations. Sandberghe is also the first to install our new accommodation: The Supernova. We spoke to Rems Verbossen, owner of Holiday park Sandberghe.
“My great-grandfather started a café at the very location of the present holiday park in 1896. In the middle of the 50’s we parcelled out land for the first time and then we started a nature reserve combined with a camping. Lots of chalets and the odd pitch, and very close to each other as it used to be. But our vision is very different now. In the first place, we now look at what feels good to us, i.e. what is a natural fit with us. Then we explore which type of guest fits best with that.”
Based on this, holiday park Sandberghe has taken many steps. Sandberghe, for instance, has invested all its profits in the company and has changed all the flora and fauna on the terrain. Also, substantial sums have been invested in the accommodations on the park. The accommodations have to bring that outdoors feeling inside, but they also have to be of high quality so that they fit in with the target group. “The people that come here are people that have a conscious lifestyle and are looking for a relaxing vacation. You could think of things such as yoga, meditation, retreats and healthy food. That is part of our vision.”
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Glamping fits perfectly with this. Last season Sandberghe already purchased a few glamping accommodations and started installing on the terrain and during the coming season, it is time for the next step. The current tents have been placed in a large circle so that people can not look into each other’s tents, but they can see each other. In the middle there is a large fire bowl where people can make a fire, everything is illuminated and there is an outdoor kitchen so that people can barbecue together. The Supernova will be situated at the foot of the hill as a kind of king’s lodge.
When we ask him about the experiences of people with the accommodations during the first season Verbossen says: “We have started letting the tents from 15 July onward and soon were fully booked, but after the holidays every single one of them remained empty to our surprise. In retrospect, we think this had to do with too little advertisements. But every guest we have welcomed was enthusiastic and many of them will revisit.”
Verbossen is very happy to add the Supernova to his range the coming season. “I think that we have the perfect location for it at the foot of the hill close to the nature reserve. You can place it anywhere, but there is no better place to put it than over there.” The Supernova has to fit seamlessly with the target group that Verbossen is aiming for. Holidaymakers that are looking for luxury but do want to stay amidst nature. The Supernova is not only beautiful to look at, the inside of the accommodation is also very luxurious. The safari tent has a luxurious bathroom, two storeys, a fully equipped kitchen, and three bedrooms. Also, you can make use of the accommodation’s two verandas to enjoy the outdoors until late in the evening.
It is important to Sandberghe to grow into a luxurious holiday park with a focus on nature and sustainability. “This means: a good catering section accompanied by a lovely playground featuring water and sand play equipment. It is playing with nature and maintaining a good relationship with nature at the same time. An example would be a vegetable garden where children can take the ingredients from to make a soup or to build a hut with sticks and to play games amidst nature.”
When developing the facilities Verbossen also looks at his own family and their holiday needs. “I have two daughters. What would I like when I am going on holiday?” According to Verbossen nature plays an important role. “If you step outside, you are surrounded by nature, but inside the accommodation, you have a luxurious home.”
The developments on the park are on-going. “An entirely new foyer and reception will be built, besides that, we would also like to work towards creating a hotel-like experience. For instance, serving breakfast in these tents for anyone who would like that, freshly made buns on site, wine and beer tastings, someone playing the guitar in the background at the restaurant, etcetera.” These are all examples with which Verbossen anticipates on a few major trends we notice within the glamping sector. More than ever, people are looking for an experience, but also sustainability and a sense of longing back to nature remain important themes.
And yet, Verbossen notices that customer-friendliness and being close to the customer are still the most important. Therefore he says about his holiday park: “What we want is that it’s our backyard that we are proud of, because we live there ourselves, and I would like to have pleasant contact with everyone. I do not want to feel uncomfortable in my own backyard. So, that is indeed guided by emotion and we really do it our way.” The fact that you feel comfortable during your stay at Sandberghe is something we can surely imagine.