Armadilla surfing a wave of success as it supplies luxury accommodation pods to Wavegarden Scotland

Left to Right: Andy Hadden, founder of Tartan Leisure, Ross Hunter, Armadilla chief executive and Archie Hunter, Armadilla managing director.

ARMADILLA, a manufacturer of eco-friendly, outdoor living and working spaces, is supplying luxury holiday accommodation units to Wavegarden Scotland, the country’s first inland surfing destination, in a deal worth around £1.75 million.

In a boost to its growth plans, Armadilla is manufacturing and supplying two types of self-catering units to Wavegarden Scotland  from its hospitality range – 11 ‘Pods’ and eight ‘Waves’. This comes as Armadilla targets annual turnover of around £5m annually over the next two to three years from the pre-pandemic level of £2m.

The Scottish family-owned firm Armadilla, based in Midlothian, started building and supplying luxury pods to hotels and hospitality groups more than 10 years ago. It was a 2020 winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its innovation. The expanding business officially received its Queen’s Award when Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian, Richard Callander, visited its manufacturing site last month, where he viewed its pods and met employees.

Major construction work on Wavegarden Scotland’s £55m landmark leisure and staycation facility in Ratho on the outskirts of Edinburgh got underway last month. It is due to open in summer 2024 when it is expected to create 130 jobs, generate up to £11m for the local economy and attract more than 180,00 visitors annually. It will be set within a 60-acre country park offering waterside accommodation ideal for all groups from families to surfers and international visitors.

Archie Hunter, Armadilla managing director, said: “A number of factors attracted Wavegarden Scotland to working with us to provide luxury self-catering accommodation at its unique facility in Ratho which is sure to attract visitors from far and wide.”

“We’re a local business and they were keen to support local suppliers. We’re flexible and happy to personalise our pods for clients. For example, we’re adapting our pods for this unique destination to include such features as secure areas for holidaymakers to store surfboards, along with outdoor showers.  Our offering is on a par with what guests would expect at a four- or five-star hotel. And we have always put sustainability at the heart of our design and manufacturing processes, which was another important consideration for the team.”

Armadilla’s units have natural timber cladding with a 50-year warranty and materials are sourced with the circular economy in mind. They are constructed using the principles of Passivhaus buildings. By creating a fully enveloped, well-insulated structure, energy consumption is dramatically reduced. Smart technology including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is also used to maintain temperature, humidity and CO2 at optimum levels.

Mr Hunter added: “Another advantage of our accommodation units that helped seal the deal with Wavegarden Scotland is their low power demand. This feature means that they can focus the power on the site to its wave machine. This isn’t the first time that our low power use has proved to be a winner with customers.”

Andy Hadden, founder of Tartan Leisure Ltd which is developing Wavegarden Scotland, said:  “Armadilla is a market leading brand, offering world class, environmentally friendly luxury accommodation.  As we create Scotland’s newest leisure and staycation facility, it’s important that we work with dynamic local businesses, so we are thrilled to be Armadilla’s flagship project for Scotland.”

Archie Hunter added: “Along with the prestige that comes with being involved in the Wavegarden Scotland project, all our Armadilla employees were give a big boost by the recent visit of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian Richard Callander. This was a reminder of the significance of our success in winning a Queen’s Award two years ago. This award gives us great credibility in the global marketplace and is definitely helping us attract new business.”

Armadilla was founded in 2010 by Archie Hunter, who has a background in farming and hospitality, and his son Ross Hunter, chief executive, a design engineer. It now supplies clients from diverse sectors across the UK and overseas and employs 35 people.

On the hotel and hospitality side, its clients including Jason Vale’s spa retreats in the Algarve, Glamping GMBH in Germany, Riverbeds in Ballachulish and new hotel contracts are in the pipeline. Armadilla has identified growth potential across Europe. It is currently part of a market research project supported by Scottish Development International (SDI) to help companies develop business in Europe.

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