Remember Mother Goose? Alice in Wonderland? The old lady who lived in a shoe? Sure you do – those stories, let you imagine what it would be like to be immersed in a different world. As adults, these dusty fairytales spark an innocence lingering from our youth, back when maybe we believed (for a nano-second) that we could fly; that magic was real… that any moment, anything could happen.
That’s the feeling that guests have when they visit the Jester House Café and the Boot in Nelson, New Zealand. And the innkeepers wouldn’t want it any other way.
“The idea for the Boot came about after a conversation about building a teapot and then deciding the boot would be more fun,” explained Steve Richards in an email, as if a teapot were ordinary too. Steve runs the lodging and café with his wife, Judy.
The Boot is a cottage; and yes, it looks like something straight out of a fairytale. It’s two stories. Downstairs there’s a lounge with a comfy couch in front of an open fire. There’s also a kitchenette with a minibar where you may make coffee and tea. There’s also a tiled bathroom and a shower built for two.
Go up the spiral staircase and you’ll find the bedroom with a regal queen-sized bed, dark curtains, and a Juliet balcony with views into the courtyard and across the pond.
The courtyard itself is a sheltered outdoor space surrounded by a garden, ideal for soaking up the regional Tasman sunshine or enjoying evenings of alfresco dining. Breakfast of your choice is delivered to your door each morning.
The boot, the café, the landscape, the life-sized chess ‘board,’ and the eels are quite popular. “We get lots of international visitors coming to dine at the cafe and enjoy the gardens and eel feeding,” said Steve. The snakelike fish with a slender elongated bodies are part of the family, so-to-speak. They naturally live in the creek and the people Steve and Judy bought the property from in 1991 said they would feed the eels “so we made that one of the attractions when we opened the cafe.”
Eels are in critical decline in New Zealand so feeding them is the couple’s way of helping their numbers by making it easier for them to get into good condition to go to breed.
Together the elements create an alternate reality that’s landed the property on many international newspapers and top news sites. Its location – near beaches, the Abel Tasman National Park, wineries, galleries, golfing, and sightseeing in the city of Nelson and other quaint villages, make it a real get away, one where real life seems suspended.
In addition to instantly piquing one’s curiosity, Steve and Judy do a great job at finding new ways to entice both old and new guests, as well as press. They host various events throughout the year, like high teas, they’re active on social media, and they’re always up to something. Steve’s latest endeavor is building a 52-day exhibit of card houses.
So, what childhood dream is the most vivid to you? Perhaps there’s a way to incorporate it into your marketing plan?