Cladich Pavilions offers bed & breakfast accommodation in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. The three contemporary, Australian-style pavilions are unique in their design: built on three levels using Colorbond® and glass, they flow like water along the hillside, melding in with their bushland surrounds. The pavilions are adjacent to the family home of owners Helen and Andrew McArthur, enabling them to provide a high level of service that’s been recognised by numerous state and regional tourism awards.
WHY RUN A B&B IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS? WHAT WAS YOUR MOTIVATION?
I’m a fourth-generation Adelaide Hills resident, and my husband Andrew also comes from a rural background – we both have a deep love of the bush and its inhabitants. In the 1960s we bought a little cottage in Aldgate in the Adelaide Hills and named it “Cladich Cottage,” in honour of the place in Argyll, Scotland, where the McArthurs originally came from. We were blessed to be surrounded by picturesque bushland, and had a vision very early on to build an Australian-style bed and breakfast within it. We wanted to be able to share with others the wonderful environment in which we live, and in 2002 we were finally able to turn this vision into a reality.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE SUPPORT OF YOUR FAMILY WHEN RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS?
It’s incredibly important. Our son, John, has supported us with our marketing and assisted in our submissions for various tourism awards, while our daughter, Kate, helps with the day-to-day running of the business. This also enables us to take holidays, which keep us brimming with fresh new ideas to bring back to Cladich Pavilions. It’s great to have input from a different, younger generation – and the fact that our children are so involved also means there will be a smooth succession transition when we retire!
AS AN ACCREDITED AND AWARD-WINNING BUSINESS OVER THE YEARS, TELL US WHAT YOU DO FOR SERVICE EXCELLENCE AND HOW YOU EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS?
Offering superior accommodation in a beautiful location is a great start! The magical bush setting offers a unique backdrop for photos, so we’re popular with wedding parties, and our international guests have been delighted when they’ve been lucky enough to spot a koala in the surrounding trees. We have a very strong service ethic, and just genuinely like people. We want to ensure they have a fantastic time and enjoy their time in the Adelaide Hills so much that they come back again. We like to take the time to discuss their interests and make suggestions we think they’ll appreciate. And once they’re settled in we’re always on the end of the phone – and just a few steps away – if they need us. We can organise special requests like in-room massages or cheese platters and Champagne if desired, and homemade biscuits and caramels are waiting for guests when they arrive. If I say so myself, they’re pretty good. We’ve even had guests say: “Come for the caramels; stay for the night!” We also like to use local products as much as possible. So you’ll find Jurlique products in the bathrooms, and breakfast baskets filled with Beerenberg jams and pastries from local bakeries. We’ll occasionally drive guests to nearby restaurants so that they can enjoy some of South Australia’s brilliant wines – and I’ve even been known to do washing for guests when they’ve returned dusty and exhausted from a trip to the outback!
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?
Hard work; listening to people; loving what we do; and truly enjoying the interaction with people from all over the world. The tourism industry is a demanding one, but we’ve received a lot of support from the SATC and regional tourism marketing managers. We’ve also built a really user-friendly website that highlights the accommodation options at Cladich Pavilions, plus the many local experiences that make a stay here so special.
IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Can I have three?! 1. Make sure you have professional photos which showcase your property – the difference this will make in all your marketing materials cannot be overstated. 2. Work closely with the SATC, as their support is invaluable. 3. Love what you do. In my mind, this is the most important thing to ensure success and happiness.
Andrew and Helen McArthur