Deep Dive: The Alternative Eco-Cabin Concept

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

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Hey folks! – Daniel here! I’m one of two cousin co-founders bringing our unique Alternative Eco-Cabin Concept to the Isle of Cumbrae in early 2022.

I’ll be taking you on a deep dive into this next-generation tourist accommodation concept, what it’s all about, and our journey so far in developing it.


The Jacks Alt-Stays Concept

First of all, we’re not in the glamping game… We think that glamping pods are old news. We’re in the game of creating Unforgettable Travel Experiences.

Our unique eco-cabin concept combines quirky interior design, smart-home tech, and the great outdoors, with environmental peace of mind.

Jack's Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin

^ Looks awesome, right?

If you think you’re getting shared wash facilities and woodchip toilets in a shared garden shed, think again…

We’re talking individually themed cabins, each with their own unique story, one-of-a-kind, theme-inspired wall mural, and living green wall on the outside. That’s before we even mention the outdoor chill-out space, wood-fired hot tubs, cosy Netflix nights, and the ‘fully immersive sensory experience’. More on that later…

The eco-cabins are being built locally using sustainable materials. The best part? They will be powered by 100% renewable energy. We’ll also have 10 trees planted via ecologi.com for every single booking made. Check out our Climate Action Plan.


Introducing Eco-Cabin Theme 1: The Hive 🐝

Why not take a trip to The Hive? It’ll be some buzz.

Get stuck in, enjoy the nectars, and treat yourself to a stay that’ll be sweeter than sweet. 🍯

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

The Hive is a space inspired by all sorts of bee, honey, and hive-related elements and is based on the colour amber.

It’s kitted out with a luxurious double bed with Eco-friendly OceanBlue duvet and pillows, made with SocialPlastic® fibers from recycled ocean-bound plastics.

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

You’ll find a wood-fired hot tub, fully equipped kitchen, and all sorts of entertainment, from Netflix to unique board games. If you’re up for a boogie to our Bee-inspired Spotify playlist, we’ve got you covered.

Jack's Alt-Stays - The Hive Eco-Cabin

The one-of-a-kind wall mural is designed by the Scottish artist, and good friend of ours, Katie Forbes (@kfrbs). It will be the focal point of the interior space and individual cabin theme.

 

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There are FOUR more themes to be announced soon! Sign up to be the first to hear about them!

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A Unique, Smart-Home-Tech-Enabled, Sensory Experience

We’ve conceptualised a dynamic space where you can ‘enter The Hive’ via the latest voice-activated gadgetry.

This then kicks off a sequence of smart-LEDs, electronic blinds, mood lights, scent emitters, and Smart TV events, essentially ‘immersing’ you into the cabin’s theme – all under the backdrop of the one-of-a-kind, theme-inspired wall mural. Top this off with the honey snacks, and all five senses have been triggered.

Now if that’s not a unique tourist accommodation experience, I’m not sure what is.


How is it Eco? 🍃

As cheesy as it sounds, the environment really is at the heart of every decision we make at Jack’s.

‘Eco’, to us, means cabins a local build, locally & sustainably sourced materials, energy-efficient, powered by green energy, sustainable suppliers, responsible recycling & waste management, and a lasting legacy of tree planting.

Jacks Alt Stays Eco Cabin

We promise to have 10 trees planted for every booking made, through our partnership with ecologi.org. We’ll also be carbon-free cycling into work each day (and off-setting the unavoidable carbon footprint from ferry travel).

We’ve laid out our 11-step Climate Action Plan long before we’ve even launched our business. That’s how much the environment means to us.

Here’s our impact so far:

Jacks Alt-Stays Ecologi Climate Impact

13.13t Tonnes of carbon reduction equates to one of the following:

Jacks Alt-Stays Ecologi Climate Impact

A Local, Sustainable Cabin Build Process

We’re working with local architects and builders to bring our Alternative Eco-Cabin concept to life. They are being built locally in North Ayrshire. Fewer logistics = Fewer CO2 emissions

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

The eco-cabins are being constructed by RDK Construction, a company with a real focus on sustainable build processes. We set out a design & build brief for a truly environmentally sustainable eco-cabin, so our guests can stay with environmental peace of mind.

They are being built from locally sourced (where possible), sustainable materials. This applies to materials such as the structural timbers, external larch cladding, birch ply wall finishes, and many of the fixtures and fittings. 

And we’re really proud of this one… They will be powered entirely by 100% renewable energy! 

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

We’ve opted for market-leading EcoTherm® insulation, resulting in a highly efficient thermal performance.

We have also carefully selected the eco-cabins’ fittings, lighting, appliances, and contents of the cabins, based on efficient energy performance. The chosen Herschel infra-red panel-heaters are market-leading, use 30% less energy than standard electric heaters, are thermostat controlled, and can be controlled remotely. Low-energy internal and external LED lighting has been specified. Again, all electrical features are powered by green energy. We don’t do fossil fuels.

The bathroom flooring and wall supplier, Multipanel UK strive to be at the forefront of new environmental manufacturing technologies, material developments and recycling possibilities in every product they design and produce. The fiber within the selected Dacron Aerelle Blue duvet and pillows is made from SocialPlastic® – a recycled ocean-bound plastic. These are just a few examples of our eco-conscious decisions.

Partner & Supplier Eco-Credentials

We’ll also be making sure that anyone we work with has their eco-credentials in place.

For example, the linen hire supplier,’ PLS Laundry’, has recently significantly invested in improving their environmental performance. Our guest consumables suppliers, ‘Hotel Supplies Ltd’ and ‘Kingdom Coffee’ offer sustainably sourced products in recyclable packaging. ‘ECOLAB’ provide their most environmentally friendly cleaning product range in fully recyclable packaging.

Wood-Fired Hot Tubs – “Surely They’re Not Eco?”

Wood is in fact a natural and renewable energy source. Although, we acknowledge that when wood combusts (or rots) CO2 is released. However, carbon is also absorbed from the atmosphere whilst trees grow. The key is to ensure our wood-burning practices are sustainable, responsible, and their footprint is more-than offset.

We wrote a full blog on this. Check out:

Wood Fired Hot Tubs - Eco Environmental

Local Community Environmental Initiatives

Both Adam and I are passionate about the environment and see our environmental duty extend beyond our own site’s boundary.

We get involved with beach clean initiatives, such as the FSC’s recent Kames Bay clean, with a view to champion these in the near future.

 

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In the near future, we’ll be getting involved with local tree-planting initiatives. We’ll also become ambassadors for the local water refill campaign against single-use plastic bottles. We also intend to campaign for street recycling facilities in Millport.


Where Will The Eco-Cabins Be Located?

We’ll be launching our eco-cabin business on the scenic Isle of Cumbrae in early 2022. The island is only an 8-minute ferry ride over from Largs on the North Ayrshire coast.

Millport The Coig

You’ll find our eco-cabins just outside the scenic town of Millport. Our location will be secluded enough for a relaxing island retreat, but still within walking distance to Millport’s bars, restaurants, and experiences – a perfect balance. We’ll be announcing this exact location soon.

Millport is super easy to get to and there’s a tonne of unique things to see and do. Check out:


A Collaborative Approach

We’re working together with fellow local tourism businesses.

At the point of booking, we will offer guests the option of add-on local produce packs, such as the gin tasting package from the local distillery, a breakfast pack from the local family-owned butcher, and an eco-essentials pack from the local zero waste store.  We’ll also encourage guests to engage with the local tourism experiences such as bike hire and boat tours.

Not only will this enrich the guests’ overall Isle of Cumbrae local experience, but supports our fellow local tourism businesses by sharing the love.

Cumbrae Gin Distillery


Who are the Brains Behind the Concept?

Well, we are two cousins who share a passion for adventure, quirky stays, and the environment – Daniel Jack and Adam Jack.

Daniel Jack and Adam Jack - Jacks Alt-Stays

After staying the night in some weird and wonderful places in Scotland and around the world, we set out to bring it home to North Ayrshire.

Between us, we’ve stayed the night in re-purposed shipping containers, a shepherd’s hut in a driveway, glamping pods, a Santa Monica beach house, and camped in the valleys of Glencoe.

We’ve taken a few notes, but nothing has quite hit the spot when it comes to the perfect night away. We’ve also decided that glamping is old news, and we’re on a mission to create a space for unique and unforgettable travel experiences.


How We Got To This Point

Both Adam and I went to Strathclyde Uni to study Entrepreneurship, Tourism, and Marketing. Not a bad combination for a venture like this, right?

We realised that the whole glamping craze has been around for a while now and your standard glamping pods are now a bit… meh. We thought that there’s definitely an opportunity to create something quite special here.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco-Cabin Build Progress

During my final year, we began working on this ‘quirky tourist accommodation’ idea. Originally we looked at converting used shipping containers, but as we did our research, we really began to understand what people liked, what they didn’t, and what was feasible, and what wasn’t.

The concept evolved over the next few months into the eco-cabin we have today. I must say, I’m really proud of what we’ve come up with and I genuinely think we have something really exciting and unique to add to Scotland’s tourist accommodation offering.

Jacks Alt-Stays Alternative Eco Cabin Concept Evolution
Evolution of the eco-cabin Concept

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