July 18, 2024

Maraname

World Trip Is Really Fun

Spa, lodge, restaurant deliberate for P.E.I.’s Woodleigh Replicas, says new proprietor

Spa, lodge, restaurant deliberate for P.E.I.’s Woodleigh Replicas, says new proprietor

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BURLINGTON, P.E.I. — Ken Dunn solely not too long ago took possession of the previous Woodleigh Replicas, however his huge plans are already in movement.

Dunn is trying to revamp the previous P.E.I. vacationer attraction, rebranding the Burlington property because the Woodleigh Castles Resort and Spa.

“I knew I needed to do one thing in Prince Edward Island,” stated Dunn. “I knew that this was the right location for improvement.”

Dunn is the founding father of Cottage Dream Holidays – an Ontario-based actual property improvement firm.

The Woodleigh Castles Resort and Spa, he stated, are a part of his plan to construct a Canada-wide community of high-end cottage resorts inside the subsequent ten years.

Between 1957 and 2008, the Woodleigh Replicas operated as a vacationer attraction. There are two important buildings on the positioning – miniature variations of the Tower of London in England and Dunvegan Fortress in Scotland.

The property was bought by Bruce and Joanne Richardson in late summer time 2021. The couple had plans to revive it for future use as their retirement dwelling, however in early 2023 the couple was compelled to promote, citing well being points.

The property didn’t final lengthy in the marketplace.

Ron Barrett, co-owner of Century 21 Northumberland Realty beforehand advised SaltWire Community that he had obtained a whole lot of calls concerning the castles, from as far-off as New York, Pennsylvania and Chicago.

Inside days, he stated in a Jan. 23 interview, two individuals had put in presents.

Dream come true

Though Dunn lives in Ontario, he was raised in Nova Scotia and labored in Charlottetown for 4 years within the Nineteen Nineties. Whereas residing in P.E.I., he visited the Woodleigh Replicas quite a few occasions.

“My household … our ancestors have been all British and Irish.

“So having the ability to get a really feel for what these grand buildings and castles have been, proper in Prince Edward Island, it was actually nostalgic,” stated Dunn.

Ken Dunn, founder of Cottage Dream Vacations, recently became the new owner of the Woodleigh Replicas in Burlington. He plans to revamp the property and turn it into a resort and spa, featuring hotel rooms built into the castles as well as a restaurant and cottages. – Contributed
Ken Dunn, founding father of Cottage Dream Holidays, not too long ago grew to become the brand new proprietor of the Woodleigh Replicas in Burlington. He plans to revamp the property and switch it right into a resort and spa, that includes lodge rooms constructed into the castles in addition to a restaurant and cottages. – Contributed

The day the castles have been put up on the market, considered one of Dunn’s contacts despatched him the itemizing – as a joke, he stated.

“(He stated) you’re clearly getting some fairly loopy success in life, I wager you don’t have a fortress.”

However when Dunn noticed the itemizing, he knew immediately he needed the property and that it could possibly be one thing particular. He known as the itemizing agent instantly and, earlier than the telephone name ended, the sale was within the works.

Shortly after, Dunn was on a aircraft to P.E.I. to take a look at the property in particular person.

“It wants a ton of labor, however I’m the correct man for the job,” stated Dunn, including that he plans to solely rent Islanders to assist with the restoration and building.

The plan is to spend the subsequent two years restoring the castles and developing the brand new buildings. If all goes nicely, stated Dunn, the resort ought to be open and operational in early 2025.

Planning and preparation

Dunn advised SaltWire Community of formidable plans for the way forward for the beloved property.

Particularly, within the works are greater than 100 lodge rooms constructed into the castles. Dunn additionally has plans for the development of a spa, restaurant and cottages.

On the finish of February, he’s returning to P.E.I. to satisfy with politicians and designers to debate his proposal.

“We’re going to spend the time to essentially have interaction the group in understanding our plans and getting suggestions from them about what they assume we are able to do so as to add to the worth of the property,” he stated.

Dunn estimates the mission will take about two years to finish and, as soon as operational, might be staffed with 50 to 60 full-time staff.

His hope, he stated, can be for the Woodleigh Castles Resort and Spa to be considered one of P.E.I.’s most well-known resorts internationally.

“I’ve already began placing the phrase out about what’s coming,” stated Dunn. “We’re going to carry unbelievable vacationers from all around the world in to see the resort they usually’re going to see the remainder of the Island whereas they’re there.”


“I’m giddy concerning the mission, I feel it’s superb … It’s going to be one of the vital distinctive and enjoyable initiatives that I’ll work on for the remainder of my life.” – Ken Dunn


Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Business Affiliation of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI) stated that it’s “nice information” to see new investments in tourism within the province.

“Wellness tourism proper now could be actually huge, globally, so we all know there’s a requirement for that. To have extra choices on P.E.I. is phenomenal information,” stated Clemence.

“We had a pair powerful years with COVID, and popping out of the pandemic, to see new entrepreneurs and new enterprise popping up is admittedly, actually thrilling.”

Forward of the renovations, Dunn is worked up to get the ball rolling and desirous to breathe life again into the positioning.

“I’m giddy concerning the mission, I feel it’s superb,” he stated. “It’s going to be one of the vital distinctive and enjoyable initiatives that I’ll work on for the remainder of my life.”


Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She might be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @KristinGardiner.