The trend for pop-ups shows no sign of waning, and in any case, demand for them has simply made creative minds come up with more ingenious ways to adapt and evolve the concept. No area has benefited more from this transient model than the hospitality industry – the pop-up has already got dining down pat, but the burgeoning pop-up hotels scene is coming along more spectacularly than we could have imagined.
Everyone already knows about the long-established Ice Hotel in Sweden, which was an early pioneer in the pop-up hotels sphere. When it first arrived on the scene, many curious adventurers sceptically wondered what it’d be like to survive a night in a giant igloo. Nowadays, the annual appearance of this temporary attraction garners over 50,000 visitors and a number of volunteers who help to, literally, get the hotel off the ground by building a 5,500m² wall-to-wall ice structure. Each Ice Hotel is unique and according to those who make the pilgrimage to Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden for this frosty night’s sleep, the sub zero temperatures are all part of the allure.
Conquering the labour intensive building constraints faced by projects like the Ice Hotel is another growing trend within the pop-up hotel concept. The cost effective and convenient method of upcycling old shipping containers has been cleverly reimagined by a number of inventive pop-up hotel brands. Transforming seemingly unsexy 20ft shipping containers into luxurious hotel rooms is the forte of dynamic pop-up mavericks Sleeping Around. Their spaces come fully equipped with all mod cons including in-built personal rain showers, air-con, and iPod docking stations – the rooms are finished so well it’s easy to forget you’re sleeping in a 20ft by 8ft metal box. Not only does it solve logistical issues, but it’s also economical, eco-friendly, and unexpectedly luxurious.
Snoozebox are another company to jump on the pop-up hotels bandwagon. Their concept is simple yet effective: a flat-pack hotel you can set up practically anywhere. Pitched at some of the biggest cultural and sporting events throughout the year, Snoozebox offers a highly attractive and convenient alternative to pricey hotels or shabby B&Bs. Staying in their portable suites means that at many events, such as the British Grand Prix and the Edinburgh Festival, you can literally roll out of bed and into the thick of the action. Each room, though compact, is fitted with en-suite showers, free WiFi and complimentary toiletries to complete the pop-up experience.
The Pop-Up Hotel has taken a different route in their bid to stand out from the crowd: capitalising on the increasing popularity of glamping, they provide a 24/7 service usually reserved for conventional boutique hotels, but with all the fun and revelry of a traditional camping holiday. From fresh linens and toiletries to access to private amenities such as luxury showers and bar service, The Pop-Up Hotel is proving popular on the festival circuit. This year they pitched their tents at Glastonbury for a high-end festival experience, and welcome alternative to the mud.
For those who prefer something a little more Zen (with added ginseng and coconut water, of course), the Pop Up Ashram might just fit the bill. Founder Michael Liss launched the idea after a brainwave at dinner in Mexico whilst in the company of Design Hotel’s founder Suzanne Meinl and CEO Claus Sendlinger. His first venture saw him host a pop-up retreat at the Design Hotels’ Papaya Project in Tulum, Mexico, kick-starting the travelling hotel concept. Bringing together like-minded travellers from across the globe and attracting some of the best Yogis to share their expertise, this nomadic retreat has been a massive success at previous locales including Bali and Italy. We’re eagerly awaiting news of new projects…
Design Hotels have established themselves as gurus of the luxury boutique hotels market, but they’re also well known names on the pop-up hotels circuit. Launching their first pop-up project in Tulum, with a collection of cabanas on the beach a few years ago, the German-based company perfected their concept with their second effort in Greece in 2012. Now they are taking on the tropical climes of Rio to coincide with the World Cup and the Olympics at their Santa Theresa outpost. The bohemian-chic styled guesthouse offers eye-wateringly good views of the city and an authentic neighbourhood vibe.
With more and more people seeking out unique travel experiences and interesting alternatives to big budget hotel chains, could pop-up hotels be the next step in 21st century hospitality?
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