Edinburgh glamping entrepreneur gets Royal Seal of Approval in Dubai

An Edinburgh businessman has launched the first-ever portable luxury glamping pod in the Middle East in an exciting new chapter for his Gampitect business.

Corstorphine’s Calum MacLeod, who previously spoke with Edinburgh Live about coincidence setting up a new branch of their design and consultancy firm Glampitect after going on holiday to Dubai.

It expanded to Dubai from the UK in March 2021 and the business hasn’t looked back since.

Their latest project is a collaboration with engineering specialists Rescom and was unveiled at the Dubai Hotel Show last week.

But what surprised Calum was the visit of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family and CEO of the infamous Emirates Group.

Meeting royalty just three years after starting the business, Calum said: “It was an honor to meet Her Highness and spending time showing her around our pod was truly humbling.

“When we started building this unit, we knew it would be a hit, but we didn’t think one of the richest royals in the world would be among the first to walk through the door!”

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Manufactured in Glampitect’s factory in the emirate, the pods measure 6.7m x 3.3m as standard, and the air-conditioned units have powder coated aluminum tiles on the outside as well as all the latest fittings such as flat-screen TVs and modern kitchens, to make it a real home away from home.

The units are said to be extremely versatile and can be transformed into anything from a home office to a yoga studio or spa room.

They are built on a galvanized steel frame, which allows them to be picked up and moved to different locations, which is another attractive aspect of the product.

The lush interior of the new portable pod.
The lush interior of the new portable pod.

The two Dubai-based companies believe this collaboration will play a major role in accelerating the growth of glamping in the Middle East.

Pods will be ideal for anyone looking to start a glamping business, with return on investment being one of the main drivers to bring people into the market.

Calum added: “The transportable luxury pod is just the beginning for us. The big advantage is that it can be taken in the desert or in hard to reach places, so there is a high degree of flexibility.

“It’s ideal for people looking to set up a glamping site or have some extra space in their home. It’s a lot cheaper than setting up a hotel and a faster return on investment than a hotel, so it will be a big plus for anyone looking to get into glamping.

The team has had a meteoric rise over the past three years.
The team has had a meteoric rise over the past three years.

“We have conducted consumer research into the Middle East market and want to help the region catch up with the glamping boom that is happening elsewhere, particularly in the UK.

“It’s just starting to take off here: the compound annual growth rate for the glamping industry is 14.1% and we’re looking to help accelerate that growth.”

Calum, along with business partner Alisdair Young, run two glamping sites in the north of Scotland at Brora and Achmelvich through their NC500 Pods business.

The pair also advise over 200 glamping venues across the UK and overseas on how to set up their own glamping business through their ‘Glampitect’ arm.

It has been a long process for the business partners as Covid-19 has plagued the tourism industry, but they say their business is doing well and their domestic venues continue to be popular.

The Edinburgh entrepreneur has commented on setting up a business in Dubai in the past, he said: “My advice to anyone thinking of moving here and running their business from Dubai is to do it. TO DO.

“Work hard and work a little harder, and when you find it difficult, really strap in and come out the other side.

“It’s also important to make sure what you’re doing is something you love. So if you love football, work in football. There are a million ways to make money in every industry.

“It was the best decision I ever made to move to Dubai with my partner Tallia. The standard of living is much higher.

“You go out somewhere and everyone is enterprising with the same spirit while at your house in the pub everything can seem a little negative.

“We at Glampitect and NC500 are extremely excited about the future and the team we have built around us.

“Feel free to visit our website if you fancy staying at one of our locations or to access tips on how to start your own glamping business.”