Written by: Staff Friday, October 14th, 2011 .
These five unique hotels that originated as transportation in one form or another are compelling for a couple of reasons. First, there is the novelty of renovating the interior of a commercial vehicle into a private living space. The specific shape and dimension of each vehicle requires ingenuity and imagination to pull it off. Secondly, it’s great to see an object that required a significant amount of resources and manpower to build transformed into a useful space rather than left to rot in a junkyard. Furthermore, these hotels are a creative way to experience our material past. Considering the rate at which our technologies change, it’s easy to forget the innovations considered cutting-edge just decades ago.
Controversy Tram Inn
In the Dutch village of Hoogwoud, Irma and Frank Appel have turned the garden of Controversy Farm into a tram hotel. It all began in 2006 with two trams: one from Amsterdam and the other from Germany. They remodeled the train cars in their own idiosyncratic style and named it Controversy Tram Inn after the 1981 Prince album Controversy. Each tram is outfitted according to the nationality it represents: French, Italian, English-American, or Mexican. Probably the most unique feature you’ll find at Controversy is the sombrero -shaped Jacuzzi inside their most recent tram conversion. Then again, you can also rent movies from a UFO. It would seem that Irma and Frank have succeeded in translating the funk of Prince’s Controversy into their own funky aesthetic.
At the Stockholm-Arlanda airport in Sweden, one of the planes sitting on the tarmac is actually a hostel. Called Jumbo Stay, the retired 747-200 is spending its later days in life transporting people to their dreams rather than through the skies. The simple, but accommodating rooms retain many of the airplane’s features such as overhead luggage compartments, signage, call buttons, and even oxygen masks. All rooms except for one are 6-square-meters and economically priced. The one luxury suite is the former cockpit with a sweeping view of the airfield. However, there are plans to turn the engine compartments into rooms, which will be even more secluded than the cockpit suite.
Airstream Rooftop Trailer Park at Grand Daddy Hotel
Cape Town’s Grand Daddy Hotel is similar to most hotels until you get to the rooftop garden. There you’ll find seven refurbished vintage Airstream trailers that make up the hotel’s “trailer park.” Not only is each trailer a fully functional living space, including bathroom facilities, but they feature custom interior design by seven different local artists. Themes range from Pleasantville, designed as a “utopian, 50s-style heaven,” to The Ballad of John and Yoko, where the bed takes up three-quarters of the trailer in homage to their famous “bed-in.”
El Comisco of Marfa, Texas, is another collection of vintage trailers turned hotel, but here they all recall the classic style of the 50s. The brainchild of Austin hotelier, Liz Lambert, these majestic trailers of yore capture the artistic atmosphere of this unique town located in the high Chihuahuan Desert. These desert suites include a 1956 Imperial Mansion, 1953 Vagabond, 1951 Royal Mansion, 1951 Kozy Coach, and 1950 Branstrator. More than just a nostalgic trip to the desert, El Cosmico also offers courses for guests and the local community such as cooking classes and building workshops.
Costa Verde Resort
Easily mistaken for an airplane that crash-landed in the jungle of Costa Rica, this Boeing 727 is actually a luxury suite. The 727 Fuselage Home at the Costa Verde Resort is a beautifully renovated suite that overlooks the Manuel Antonio National Park. Although the exterior looks like nothing more than a 1965 Boeing 727, the entire interior is covered in Costa Rican Teak paneling. One of the coolest features is the covered hardwood balcony on the right wing. And if you get thirsty, head down to the resort’s El Avion Bar, built right inside a C-123 Fairchild airplane.