Clifton Glamping | Happy glampers

The Covid-19 pandemic squashed international tourism, but Clifton Glamping is busier than ever as home-grown glampers rush to fill the gap.
The business recorded its busiest spring in 2020 and is on track for its busiest summer yet, says Lucia Gordon.  
“After lockdown people just really wanted to get away for a nice experience. It’s been really good for us.
“We get a lot of North Islanders and a lot of locals. We get a really wide range of people: couples taking a break from the kids, honeymooners, couples celebrating engagements and anniversaries, 20-somethings who love to post on Instagram and people in their 70s.”
Guests now have the choice of two sites, after Lucia and husband Tom added the Toetoe Retreat in 2018. Demand immediately rose to meet the extra capacity, Lucia says.
“We got some amazing publicity through Country Calendar and NZ Life & Leisure magazine at around the same time we added Toetoe and we were really busy for the 2018-2019 summer. We’ve managed to maintain similar seasonal occupancy rates since and they’re now increasing.”
Lucia has hired two part-time staff to help “turn around” the retreats once guests leave in preparation for the next ones.
Guests can also now opt to have a private chef cook a gourmet evening meal for them and can request a grazing platter to nibble through while they soak up their surroundings.
The Covid lockdown inevitably meant cancelled bookings for Clifton Glamping but business bounced back quickly once restrictions lifted.
The team at Moore Markhams Hawkes Bay, including director Hamish Pringle, were a constant source of support throughout, Lucia says.  “They were proactive in contacting us and ensuring we were okay, and if we ever needed anything, they were right there.”
Overseas interest in the Clifton Glamping experience remains high, with would-be tourists already making bookings for the 2021-2022 summer. 
A third glamping retreat on the farm is a real prospect; but with their current workloads and two young children, Tom and Lucia feel plenty busy at the moment.  
“This feels like a really good lifestyle now for our family.”
Read our earlier article on Clifton Glamping here.