The concept of upcycling is all the rage these days, and few items seem more purpose-built for upcycling than shipping containers. They’re inexpensive, sturdy, and — for architects and designers — essentially blank canvases upon which to build just about anything. So, it’s no surprise that some hoteliers are using the ubiquitous structures as the basis for their new builds. Here are four of the world’s coolest shipping container hotels.
ContainHotel (Czech Republic)
The tiny Czech ContainHotel is designed to be efficient, functional, and ultimately portable. The entire bi-level micro-hotel is constructed of just three shipping containers which house a maximum of 13 guests in five sparse rooms. On the ground floor is the largest room with four beds, plus shared facilities including a storage and the bathrooms. Upstairs, four modest guestrooms are accessible via a shared terrace. The decor and furnishings are bright, simple, and modern with birch ceilings and walls, plus custom furniture. The real win for guests, however, are the large, floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal lovely views of the Elbe River.
El Faro Beach Hotel (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
Tucked into a steep, lush hillside, El Faro Beach Hotel overlooks one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches in Manuel Antonio. The hotel’s monochromatic exterior is unabashedly industrial, and the start black-on-white rooms feel downright austere. All are outfitted with modern amenities including flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi; some offer wet bars, mini-fridges, and soak tubs. The penthouse suites provide access to a private terrace where the panoramic beach views from the third-floor landing are stunning. Plus, the two pools and large, open-air restaurant with authentic tico (local Costa Rican) fare ensure most guests won’t ever need to leave the property.
Dock Inn (Warnemünde, Germany)
Warnemünde is a bustling German seaport with a distinctly industrial feel. The new Dock Inn embraces the port’s gritty vibe with a bold exterior of glass, brightly painted steel shipping container rooms, and exposed concrete and plumbing throughout. The stacked, staggered architecture has a modern, upscale look, particularly for a hostel. Most of the 64 rooms feature multiple bunk beds, plus two shared bathrooms and a living area with a smart TV. Although it’s billed as a hostel, there’s a surprising number of upscale amenities as well. A rooftop container features a spa with a sauna; a theater container boasts a movie screen; and a gaming container houses a foosball table and a few other games. The hotel is designed to be extremely efficient, relying entirely on solar power. The nearest beach is just 10 minutes away on foot, and every room offers views of the shipyard.
Quadrum Ski & Yoga Resort (Gudauri, Georgia)
For professional architects, the challenge with building from shipping containers is often making an end product that doesn’t feel bland or overly industrial. Quadrum Ski & Yoga Resort succeeds on every level. The one-of-a-kind boutique property sits at an elevation of 7,200 feet in the Republic of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains. Spiral staircases, a soft color palette, rich wood paneling, and chic Euro-minimalist furnishings create a balanced feel that’s warm, homey, and modern. It doesn’t hurt that every guestroom and common area also boasts large, floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of the snow-covered mountains outside.