World’s Smallest Hotel is in a Vintage VW Beetle … in the Jordanian Desert

world's smallest hotel
Hotels around the world seem locked in an arms race to create the biggest, most opulent, most luxurious experience for their guests. However, a lone hotelier in rural Jordan has taken the exact opposite tack — he’s created what he’s claiming is the world’s smallest hotel.

Known locally as “Abu Ali”, 64-year old Mohammed Al Malaheem has lived in the tiny Jordanian desert village of Al Jaya his entire life. In recent years, many of his friends and family absconded from the area in search of a more modern life. Abu Ali decided to stay and converted a beat-up, decades-old VW Beetle into a “welcome wagon” of sorts for travelers to the town and the country he loves so dearly. Between exploring the ancient city of Petra, floating in the Dead Sea, hiking legendary Wadi Rum, and now the epic 400-mile Jordan Trail, it’s hard to imagine travelers needing yet another reason to visit Jordan. However, al Malaheem deeply loves his hometown and created the “hotel” as a way to draw new travelers to the area.

“This village is my homeland, I was born here, I grew up here, I lived here. I wanted to start a project that improves its situation and places it on the tourism map, because it truly overlooks some of the most beautiful scenery in the region,” al Malaheem tells CNN.

Before opening the hotel’s doors in 2011, his daughter outfitted the Beetle with a bevy of unique, handmade decorative items like pillows, linens, and brightly colored beadwork. The cozy interior (obviously) sleeps just two, but al Malaheem already has plans to expand by adding additional VW Beetles (rooms) to the property.

Beyond the eclectic interior lies the hotel “reception,” situated in a cave where coffee, tea, and snacks are served at check-in. A nearby kiosk sells legit, locally made artisan wares, including jewelry, historical artifacts, and copper souvenirs. Al Malheem also offers every guest the opportunity to sample an authentic Bedouin breakfast or lunch made by his daughters. It’s all a testament to the family’s immense hospitality — a level of service that he promises is a “five-star experience.”

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Germany’s Eh’häusl Hotel as the world’s smallest hotel. With an eight-foot-wide, 173-square-foot floor plan, it’s easy to see why. But, Al Malaheem is currently in the process of usurping that title.

Nightly rates with full board run 40 Jordanian Dinars (about $56).

All images courtesy of Anas Al Rawashdeh/Mohammed Al Malaheem.

Food & Drink

These Countertop Homebrewing Appliances are the Easiest Way to Make Your Own Beer

Meet your toaster’s new neighbor: a box that makes beer.
Living

How to Sharpen a Knife with a Water Stone (Video)

You wouldn’t face a legion of belligerents with a dull sword, would you? Well, neither should you face a legion of tomatoes with a dull knife.
Culture

7 Fantastic Beach Reads for Your Next Vacation

From a harrowing tale of survival at sea to a classic by Steinbeck, we've got all the best beach reads in one place.
Travel

8 Fun and Easy Tips for Planning the Perfect Staycation

From deep cleaning your house to treating yourself, there's more than one way to plan a staycation.
Travel

If You Like It Hot, Scottsdale’s Resorts Serve Scorching Summer Deals

The great thing about summer in Scottsdale is that as soon as the temperatures begin to rise, the resort rates dip, making that dream vacation a total reality.
Auto

How to Live Comfortably Out of Your Car for a Few Weeks

Here’s everything you’ll need to stay safe, sane, and happy when you choose to live out of your car.
Travel

Where to Visit the Real-World Game of Thrones Filming Locations

From Winterfell to King's Landing, here are three ways to see the most iconic Game of Thrones shooting locations come to life.
Living

This Vintage Travel Trailer Just Sold at Auction for a Ton of Money

A perfectly preserved Travelodge Vintage Travel Trailer from 1937 gives us a look at what qualified as luxury travel back in the good ol' days.
Travel

The Best Passport Holders for Any Type of Traveler

From the overly organized traveler to the ambitious traveler, we've got you covered.
Outdoors

10 Best National Parks to Visit When the Weather is Warm

With spring in full swing and summer looming on the horizon, it’s an ideal time to begin exploring the great outdoors. What better place than at one of our many U.S. National Parks?
Travel

The Best Luggage Brands for Every Type of Traveler

You don't need to drop a grand to score a piece of stylish, durable luggage.
Travel

The Ultimate Deadwood Movie Viewing Party Can be Found in the Real-Life Town of Deadwood

If you’re among the series devotees who have been awaiting the Deadwood movie for more than a decade, you should definitely head to South Dakota for the best viewing parties in the country.
Travel

Airlines May Soon Weigh Passengers to Cut Fuel Costs and Emissions

The more accurately they can predict weight, the more efficiently they can fly. However, we can't see this ever taking off in the United States.
Travel

Get Outta Town, Not Outta Cash: Affordable Summer Vacation Ideas

If you're flexible and a bit creative, your next getaway might be memorable, cheap, and lots of fun.