It has been -20C or colder for the last two weeks, it is January 21st, and you live somewhere north of New York City and East of Lake Superior. You're dreaming of a Carribean vacation but can't afford the air fare, so what alternative is there? Three hours north of Montreal, within 10 hours drive of millions of people, the Northern Tropical Resort is scheduled to open up this summer, and booking for next winter is already open. Arrive in this enclosed resort in a parka, but leave the parka in your car, get out of the valet parking area in shorts and t-shirt, since it is between 29 and 31 degrees celsius at this resort, year round. Enjoy some of the summer sports available in the enclosed dome of this resort, including a large wave pool, a quiet water river system, lounging pools, volleyball and tennis courts, mini-golf and more. All of this to be enjoyed at this all-inclusive resort that is surrounded by frigid temperatures.
There are domes that already exist on this planet that cover the size of two or three football fields; here in an unpopulated area north of a major city like Montreal, the biggest enclosed area yet will be built. It is an all-inclusive resort where every guest has their personal host to guide them and provide for them. It is a place where in both winter and summer it is tropical and the weather is always controlled, and where in winter there are just as many outdoor winter sports available as there are summer ones. All meals and drinks are included, all activities are free and children enter at half the price. All employees are treated with the utmost respect, room and board is provided to all employees.
From Montreal go north along the 40, exit on highway 31, continue until the road turns into the 131, and then continue on that road until you get to the end. This road ends at the Taureau reservoir with some tiny communities spotted throughout. The location will be somewhere near where the paved road reaches it's end. The site will be situated such that it flanks at least one hill or mountain, but preferably has hills or mounts on more than one side. In this way the support structure for the dome that covers the resort will be at least partially supported by the landscape. While the nearby communities will not have nearly enough infrastructure to support this resort, this resort will act as an infrastructure provider to some of the nearby communities. The road service between the resort and more trafficed highways in the region will also be improved by revenues from the resort.
Like a cruise ship or an airport there will be an entry parking area, only at this resort it is fully valet service for quests. Once guests have arrived, they are met by their personal host who welcomes them to the resort. The parking facility is not under the enclosure, but is enclosed since the environment here can be harsh in the winter and we don't want guests or employee's cars to freeze. Upon coming in the visitors entrance which is somewhat elevated above the lowest plain of the resort, the visitors are first welcomed by the incredible view of the entire resort from this entrance vantage point. The central circle of the dome is filled with the water park which includes a quiet garden/pool combination, a vibrant wave pool area, and a winding slow flowing river pool that meanders around the outer perimeter of the water park. Between the water park and the guest homes are the other games areas including hard court and beach volleyball courts, tennis courts, basketball, mini put, badminton and all sorts of other sports. Around the outer perimeter of the dome are the guest homes and the restaurants. For every ten guest homes there will be a home restaurant where they all go for breakfast and lunch and half the suppers of their weeklong stay. For the remaining half of their vacation, they will have their choice of the half dozen or so specialty restaurants, which they'll need to book on their first day. At various points around the outer wall of the enclosed dome will be access points to the outside. In winter these access points will each lead to a different winter sporting event, in summer, each one leads to the outdoors, including a world class golf course.
To get an idea of how big domes have been built you can check out this Top Ten list from the Buckminster Fuller Institute. The size of this dome would be about the same size as the largest one already built, whatever methods were used to build those would be used for this one. The entire bottom side of the dome will be solid with one or two levels of parking taking up the largest part of the underside of the resort. Above the parking but still below the resort surface is the service level which is open (except for the support beams) below all of the resort and allows for expedient delivery of goods and service personnel.
The water park at the center of the resort will occupy the space of the service level and will allow the water park personel to inspect and manage the water park from both above and below the surface of the pools. Other uses of the service level will be the transporting of luggage from the guests entry directly to their guest home, the movement of food stuffs from the delivery door to the individual restaurants, and towel and bedding services to a central laundry.
Adjacent to the entrance of the resort are the employee's quarters, not enclosed within the dome, but certainly accessible to the dome without the need to go outdoors. Employee's quarters will not be super luxurious, but will not be barren either. Care will be taken to ensure that all employees have a basic quality of home, while higher level employees who have earned their level will also be permitted to have more luxurious accomodations. Any employee is welcome to live off-site in the nearby communities and therefor garner more of their salary, but for the purposes of punctuality and ease of commute, and especially for the purposes of caring for the environment, all employees will be encouraged to live on-site.
Part of the resort complex will include a water recycling plant and waste disposal plant. These large infrastructure needs will be put into place since no local municipality will have them for the size of this resort. The size of these plants will also be larger than what the resort needs so that the closest existing communities can benefit from this new local business. All effort will be made to acquire water recycling and waste disposal plants that have the absolute least environmental impact possible and produce the cleanest and smallest amounts of byproducts possible.
This will be the largest energy consumer and the largest feature of this resort. Since winter goes from +5 to 0 to -5 to -10 to -20, and then back up again into spring, there are some days where the difference in temperature between inside the resort and outside of it will be 50C or more. Inconveniently, the daylight hours are the least when we need energy from the sun the most, so alternative methods of producing electricity will need to be put into place. There will of course be plenty of room in this unpopulated region to install large scale megawatt producing windmills, but will this be enough? Research has shown that across the globe the temperature eight feet below the surface is always constant, varies only be region, and is typically between 7 and 20C, in our northern area, it may by 10C. By drilling down one kilometer, the temperature of the earth at that level would be 10C warmer, by going another kilometer down, the temperature would be at 30C. This method of getting heat is called geothermal, and currently existing geothermal heat pump technology could be used to produce the heat needed to keep this resort warm. The depth and magnitude of this geothermal project exceeds what has ever been done before due to the required application, but it remains possible with current technology.
This same geothermal energy source, combined with electricity producing windmills would also be sufficient for the power required to operate this resort.
Each guest or group of guests, like a couple on their honeymoon, a family, or an individual, will be assigned a host and will get some basic information about their host before even arriving. Anyone who purchases their vacation package at this resort will get in their information package a fact sheet about their host. The resort will employ hosts that have a multitude of language skills so that whenever possible, someone from Germany would have a host that speaks German fluently, someone from France gets someone who speaks french fluently. If there is no perfect match because all mandarin speaking hosts have already been assigned, a second working language will need to be chosen by the guests, usually english, and a person speaking that secondary language will be assigned.
In the case of people who are flying in to the nearest airport, the host will greet them at the airport and travel with them all the way to the resort. During the travel, the host will get to know what the guests are looking for on this vacation, and the guests will get to know their host. For guests who take the train, they will be met at the train station where they get off, travel with the host to the bus terminal, and together take the bus to the resort. Finally, for those who drive all the way to the resort, those guests will be met right at the resort.
Once at the resort, the host coordinates with the baggage handling team to get the guests' luggage taken to their guest home, while this is happening, the host walks the guest to their home. If the host is aware that there is a slight back log in the baggage handling team, the host will take a circuitous route to the guest home, if the host knows that the baggage handling team is on time, they will walk them directly there. The baggage handling team operates on the service level and uses electric carts, so they will have a more direct route since there are no walls on the service level, and they will be moving much faster than the guests and hosts, so the baggage should always arrive at the guest home before the guests do, in time to load the luggage into the home.
All of the adults of the guest group (whether it be a single person, a couple or a family) will get a wrist watch that has the time and a 'call host' button. This wrist watch also acts as a homing device that allows the host to find them if they are calling. It is up to the hosts responsibility to be aware of where their guests are at all times so that they can always be relatively close to wherever the guests are. The host will need to be transparent and invisible if the guest shows evidence that they want to be left alone, and they will need to be with the family or couple for the entire time if that is what the guests want.
At the beginning of the vacation, while the guest and host are first meeting while travelling to the resort, or at the welcome station if the guest has driven, the host obtains from the guest what nights they want to eat in a restaurant, and what nights they will eat in their local one. In this way the host can always be where the guests are for their meal, since it will be the host who acts as waiter for that family for every meal of the vacation.
Each host will progressively learn skills at all of the available activities. If the guest has never played tennis before and wants to learn, the host should be skilled enough to give basic lessons. If the guest has played tennis before and is at an intermediary level of skill, the host should be able to match that skill. The host should also recognize what the guests want when playing; does the guest want to win but not know that the host gave in? Does the guest want a true competition not wanting to win necessarily? What is being described here for tennis also holds true for many of the other skills, but in cases where the skill isn't there, there will always be staff available to fill in the missing skills. Not every host will be employed by a guest for every week. Due to this surplus of hosts compared to guest homes, there will always be hosts who are not actively employed. During these weeks the hosts are paid a reduced salary, but their room and board is still completely provided. Hosts are encouraged during their week off, one week out of every five or six, to hone their skills in any area. This may mean sharpening up their language skills, learning tennis, memorizing any tour guide information they may need to know and so on.
The host should be prepared to service this family at all hours, to be on call for the entire vacation. This may mean a tremendous amount of time with a guest, or hardly any time at all. Motion sensors in the guest home will set off an alarm for the host to know that the host's day has started. Since the host serves supper to the guests, the host will also have an idea of what the guests plans are for the evening, and so will know when their day is done. The host will be allow to languish with the guests if the guests want the host to be with them, the host will also be allowed to languish anywhere nearby the guests if the guests do not want the host to be with them. The sole responsibility of the host is to satisfy every whim of the guest.
The base pay of the host will be the highest salary of all employees at the resort. This is the most important position at this resort in that the host will make or break the vacation for the guest. At the end of the vacation the guest will also have the opportunity to fill out a survey about their host, and based on the results of that survey, the host will be entitled to receive a bonus.
The host's quarters will be on the second floor of the home restaurant of where their guest is staying, the hosts will be the only employees who have their living quarters inside the resort.
Each host will be provided some form of pocket PC or palm pilot that is in constant communication with the central computer that keeps track of everything like tennis court reservations, mini-putt availability and indoor/outdoor weather conditions. When the guest pushes the 'call host' button on their watch, the hosts communication device will beep to tell them they are in need.
This vacation for any guest is to be made exactly as the guest wants. If they want to relax and do very little for their week-long vacation, this will be an easy week for the host, but will be exactly what the guest wants. If the guest wants a quiet morning every morning to wander around and be by themselves, participate in group sports with other guests and hosts in the afternoon, and then party for half the nights and relax the other half, then this is exactly what the guest gets. The guest should never be wanting of anything and should be provided everything they want that the resort can offer without an impediment or reason to complain. Should the guest want to have a tour of the service level, of the energy producing area, or any of the other infrastructure facilities and get a tour of them, the host will be able to provide all of this as well.
The host meets up with the guests at some transportation hub in the city if the guests are not driving to the resort. Whether it be at the airport, the bus terminal or the train station, the host and the guests get into a taxi and drive to where the resort bus leaves to get to the resort. The fleet of resort buses are all high luxury style buses that can transport only fifteen to twenty people which includes the guests and the hosts. Based on the time of arrival of the guests, the correct number of buses will be sent to the terminal in the city. The hosts will be experts in making conversation, in knowing about current events that are worldwide, in knowing at least a little bit about the region that the guests are coming from, and will be able to guage how much interaction the guests want during the two or three hour drive to the resort. The host will have a minimum amount of information that they will have to pass to the guests, including the handing them their wrist watches, the explanation of the how the resort works, what is available to them and so on. It will also be up to the host to try and find out from the guest what kind of vacation they are after, whether it be quiet and uninterrupted, highly active, or somewhere in between. In this way the host will be better able to serve the guests.