Luxury Frontiers

HOW ECO-FRIENDLY POP-UP HOTELS ARE DISRUPTING THE WORLD OF LUXURY TRAVEL

In this novelty-crazed day and age, the bar for creative hospitality solutions has never been higher. Whether you seek a treetop hideaway in Italy, a safari-style tent in Costa Rica, or an open-air suite in Botswana, the options for innovative lodgings in exotic, off-the-grid locales are as impressive as they are varied.

And while there’s certainly an aesthetic argument to be made for unconventional dwellings (one need only look to Instagram for evidence of this growing “trend”), there’s also a practical one. Due to their versatile design and light-touch construction, pop-up hotels can fulfill a variety of different hospitality needs, whether it’s delivering short-term lodging for big events (think: weddings and music festivals) or satisfying stringent building regulations in sensitive environments like UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

But those are only a few reasons why pop-up hotels are changing the luxury travel game. For the full list, read on.

Pop-Up Hotels Create Long-lasting, One-of-a-Kind Memories

The modern-day luxury traveler seeks off-the-beaten-track adventures that are equal turns surprising and transformative. And because of a pop-up hotel’s ephemeral nature, it can offer thrills unlike what you’d find at a traditional hotel. At least that’s the promise of 700,000 Heures, “the first wandering hotel in the world,” from hotel impresario Thierry Teyssier. Every six months, the traveling hotel takes up residency in a different exotic locale — whether it’s a Khmer wooden house in Cambodia or a 19th-century stone palazzo in Salento, Italy. And because of the transiency of the concept (a location is never used more than once), guests can pack up knowing they had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Black Tomato is another travel company offering hyper-bespoke, “never-to-be-repeated” pop-up activations. Specializing in super remote locales such as a private island in Myanmar, the Blink travel experience erects temporary accommodations like geodesic dome tents and tricked-out yurts just for you and your party.


Caye Chapel sports a stylish, eco-friendly design. Photo credit to Alexia Fodere for The Wall Street Journal.

Pop-Up Hotels are Environmentally Conscious

Traditional hotel developments can be overly intrusive in fragile natural environments like UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national parks. Pop-up resorts, on the other hand, can responsibly and sustainably support tourist activity while satisfying stringent environmental regulations. At Caye Chapel, a private Caribbean island that’s home to the forthcoming Four Seasons Resort & Private Residences, Luxury Frontiers designed a pop-up resort that hosts potential buyers and media during the property’s construction. Thanks to its sleek look and eco-friendly architecture, the pop up houses guests in the most comfortable and stylish way possible — and preserves the ecological integrity of the island, which is situated near the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pop-Up Hotels Can “Solve” Complex Permitting Problems

Certain destinations present complex permitting situations — like New York’s Governor’s Island, a 172-acre former army base in the middle of New York Harbor. Because of a federal deed restriction forbidding residential development, the island had only ever been a day-trip destination— until last summer, when The Trust for Governors Island and the National Park Service greenlit a tented pop-up on the southern tip of the isle. In a testament to how integrative and adaptive a pop-up hotel can be, the project was approved on the basis that it fit within the overall character of the island and didn’t pose a threat to existing operations. And while plans to rezone the island forecast the eventual arrival of traditional hotels, the pop-up resort will likely enjoy a captive audience being the only player on the island for the next few years.

Pop-Up Hotels Make For Creative Short-Term Lodging

Depersonalized and cramped or, alternatively, decentralized accommodations have become de rigueur at big public events like weddings and music festivals. But the increasing ubiquity of pop-ups at these gatherings signals a brighter (and more comfortable) future. At the 2017 Coachella Music Festival, Marriott wowed festival-goers when it gave a handful of loyal reward members the chance to stay in one of eight safari-style tents. The experience was such a success that the brand repeated the activation in 2018, only this time, offering designer yurts decked out with king-sized beds, private bathrooms, and music studios. Meanwhile, across the pond, the British company Honeybells is elevating wedding accommodations with their pop-up canvas bell tents. An entire tented village can house up to 300 guests at such spectacular outdoor settings as manicured castle grounds or lush “secret” gardens.


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