Sweeping cliff top views. Idyllic pathways lush with greenery. Calm waterfront breezes. While Lungovita Beach Retreat may only be a half hour drive from Windsor, the little slice of paradise feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of city living.
“Lungovita was designed to help people extend their life by reconnecting with nature and disconnecting with the busyness of their day-to-day lives,” says co-owner David Haas.
Located in the heart of wine country, Lungovita (pronounced “loon-go-vee-ta”) is Canada’s first adults-only ‘glamping’ retreat. With nearly 40 fully furnished geodesic domes and tents, a gorgeous in-ground pool, hot tubs, and cedar barrel saunas, the sprawling 16-acre property offers the amenities of a hotel in the natural, open air setting of a campground.
“People are so amazed that something like this exists in Essex County,” says Haas. “It’s a super unique property that’s not developed and just wide open with 600 feet of beach front. It’s also on an 80-foot cliff overlooking Lake Erie. There aren’t many places around here where you can soak in a view like that.”
The park’s name means “long life” and its unique concept was something Haas and his business partners Andrew Facca, Craig Higginbottom, and Chantal Vallée had been dreaming up for years before it came to fruition last summer. After scouring the globe for the perfect piece of land to suit their vision, the ideal space presented itself right in their own backyard when the former Caboto Park went up for sale in late 2020.
“We’d been holding in mind this idea since the creation of AirBnB,” says Haas. “This property was a perfect fit because it was already zone as a campground so we could do exactly what we had in mind.”
The group took possession of the park in May 2021 and worked quickly to update the facilities; completely renovating the bathroom and shower facilities and erecting 23 ‘glamping’ tents complete with queen size beds, seating areas, and space heaters.
Haas says upgrades to the property are ongoing. By the end of this summer, they hope to have 42 geodesic domes and 20 ‘glamping’ tents available for nightly rentals. In addition to the pool, saunas, and hot tubs, they also offer bike and kayak rentals for those wishing to explore the natural beauty of the area.
“We’re just going to keep adding,” Haas explains. “Our plan is to continue to make this place as beautiful as we possibly can with as many amenities that are all in the realm of relaxation.”
The property also offers a shared barbecue area and is dotting with picnic tables, hammocks, bonfire pits, and green space for visitors to enjoy.
“We’re also allowing the 30 foot perimeter around the park to go back to nature so eventually it will be just like a forest and we’ll be able to host forest walks,” he adds. “We want people to walk around barefoot; put their feet in the grass, put their feet in the sand.”
Lungovita will also eventually host a variety of spiritual healing retreats and workshops. Both Haas and Facca work as Certified Coaches, helping people heal, achieve their goals, and realize their true potential.
“We were always renting out venues for retreats and thought, ‘why not create our own?’” says Haas, noting they’ve already had several other coaches book events at the site as well.
“We’re attracting a lot of like-minded people that are interested in helping get people back to nature and reconnect with their true self so they can become the best version of themselves.”
“We’re so ‘connected’ these days with technology and social media, we don’t really take the time to actually disconnect,” says Haas. “It used to be that you’d go to the office 9 to 5 then you’d go home and have some peace. Now the emails come at all hours of the day and we feel a sense of obligation to reply quickly. Now, that time you used to spend in nature or with your family, you’re no longer present and it’s detrimental to our health because we’re constantly in this state of fight or flight.”
For those wishing to unplug for the day without staying overnight, Lungovita also offers $20 day passes.
“We have day passes available where people can come and enjoy all the amenities: they can use the bikes, use the kayaks, swim in the pool, hang in a hammock, and just enjoy the park,” explains Haas. “It’s a great place to bring your friends out for the afternoon and have a little picnic.”
Haas and his team are thrilled that the community has welcomed Lungovita with open arms and credits the Town of Essex for supporting their vision.
“They really see the value in what we’re doing,” he says. “We see this as something that will attract people from all over Canada and the United States.”
“The great thing is that we’re completely complimentary to everything that’s around us too,” he explains, noting that they’re in the process of creating special package offers with some of the other local businesses. “We want people to go to the restaurants and the wineries and explore everything the area has to offer.”
“Ultimately, we want people to come to Lungovita for the weekend and have a transformational experience.”