Special occasion and dining domes to beat the English weather

The Duende experience was introduced to Oundle in September 2020 by Mayte Botella-Getino and Sheridan Baker. This new venture makes spectacular dining experiences and special occasions possible no matter the restrictions or the weather.

Pronounced “dwen – de”, “the brand name is Spanish, like myself!” said Ms Botella-Getino. “Its meaning is associated with flamenco, and means inspiration, passion, charm. It aligns with our philosophy to deliver unique experiences of passion and inspiration.”

Both Ms Botella-Getino and Ms Baker have school-aged children who had demanding home learning, after-school schedules, and social lives to juggle amidst the pandemic shutdown. The idea for their business came about when trying to arrange events such as children’s outdoor sleepover parties and outdoor cinemas that complied with covid restrictions. They also realised that people were apprehensive about going out to eat. As a result, Ms Baker suggested the use of igloos.

Following detailed research, they found a gap in the local market and concluded that dining igloos were something that people would enjoy. They also considered how they could adapt the use of dining igloos for different themes and occasions that would be in demand after the pandemic restrictions had been lifted.

Duende now caters for a variety of occasions with a range of options including igloos, tee-pees and bell tents for sleepovers, cinemas, private dinner parties, and any other special occasions.

Private igloos can be set up in any setting for anniversaries, engagement proposals and other celebratory events, and come fully furnished and dressed by the company. Each igloo seats six people and is designed with two windows and a large door.

They have also partnered with local restaurants and pubs and set up furnished igloos in their gardens, including Dexters, Oundle, The Old Red Lion, Great Brickhill and The Swan, Stewkley. Bookings to dine in the private igloos are made via Duende’s website.

“We have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from both customers, and our partner restaurants,” said Botella-Getino.

Both Ms Botella-Getino and Ms Baker made good use of the lockdown to come up with creative ideas to expand and grow the business.

For winter months there are themed events for different occasions such as a Valentine’s Experience and an Après Ski Experience that helps take some of the pain away of not being able to actually go on the slopes.

As the community emerges from the year-long covid restrictions, there will be many new opportunities to organise events and celebrations made possible by Duende’s hospitality.

Meagan Iu
May 2021