10 of the Coolest Upcycled Airbnbs You Can Rent Right Now
How to stay in a shipping container, silo, WWII train car and even a floating wine barrel
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the idea of an “upcycled” Airbnb may have only appealed to a very specific breed of eco-conscious traveler (which, frankly, should be all of us). But thanks in large part to social media — where all manner of tiny home, RV and converted barn/boxcar/schoolhouse routinely garner thousands of covetous likes — that is no longer the case.
We are living in the golden age of the upcycled Airbnb, aka properties that once existed as something else but have been renovated into a livable rental. Some of these DIY conversions are so glamorous, in fact, that you can only find them on Airbnb Plus, the section of the site reserved for “the highest quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail.” They’re cozy, contemporary and sustainable, and they’re everywhere. Want to stay in a shipping crate in Brooklyn? An Airstream in Joshua Tree? A cottage hand-sculpted from local and sustainable natural materials? Well now you can, all while still enjoying the amenities and modern comforts that most quality Airbnb rentals provide.
Below, you’ll find 10 of the coolest repurposed Airbnb properties, from Tennessee to Scotland, available to rent right now.
The Clark Farm Silos
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Vibe: A cross between a luxury yurt and a tiny home, but make it Montana.
Amenities: Very close to the West Glacier entrance. Good views from the bedroom. Quick wifi (noteworthy in Kalispell). Near a market. Complimentary local coffee.
Other things to know: There are five silos available to total, all of which reside on the host’s 20-acre family farm.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This place is exceeded all expectations — absolutely spectacular! It’s one of the most unique and well-curated Airbnb experiences we’ve ever experienced! The silos are super comfortable, and well designed with thoughtful touches (including great wifi)! Alyssa was also an amazing host — very quick responses and super accommodating! 10/10!!!!”
Renovated Boys School Gym
Location: Beacon, New York
Vibe: Your elementary school gym, refurbished and transplanted in Hudson.
Amenities: A spacious loft, which could easily double as an office space. An indoor fireplace. A Peloton. Lots of natural light.
Other things to know: Theres a “surprise space,” or rather a separate studio just outside, which gives the illusion of sleeping in your own, private garden oasis.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This residence is truly one of a kind. Incredible location paired with spacious and comfortable living spaces. Kitchen is stocked with great appliances that make family meals memorable. Spent days reading, exploring Main Street, surrounding museums and trails. Best Airbnb we’ve ever experienced. “
The Green Creek Shipyard Container
Location: Columbus, North Carolina
Vibe: An industrial-style tiny home with an emphasis on outdoor hangs.
Amenities: Five-seater hot tub under the deck. BBQ gas grill. Corn hole and ring toss on site. Lots of outdoor seating. A loft area with a second queen-sized bed.
Other things to know: The ceilings in the bedroom are 5’10”, so … something to be conscious of if you are 5’11” or taller.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Perfect secluded getaway for 2. The layout and grounds were so nicely designed. For a container house, the bathroom was bigger than expected and the additional outdoor spaces were perfect. We felt like we were alone in the wilderness and were never bothered by anyone during our stay. Sometimes pictures can be deceiving about the surroundings but these were accurate.”
Converted WWII Train Car
Location: Maryville, Tennessee
Vibe: If Chip and Joanna Gaines were to get their hands on a WWII troop train kitchen car.
Amenities: Outdoor fire pit, gazebo and BBQ. Fish pond. Close to town. Fully equipped and well-stocked kitchen.
Other things to know: You will most likely be greeted by the host’s six dogs upon your arrival.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This was such an amazing stay! Little piece of Heaven in East Tennessee!”
Malibu Dream Trailer
Location: Malibu, California
Vibe: Relaxing, coastal retreat meets van life.
Amenities: Short drive from L.A. Private deck. Incredible sunset views. Beach access.
Other things to know: This is an off-the-grid property and you are very likely to hear, and see, coyotes, owls, seals, roadrunners, mice, bunnies and also possibly a bobcat.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “This Airstream is the most serene, clean, beautiful place in Malibu. Wish I could’ve stayed more than just one night to catch another sunset, but I will definitely be back soon. 10/10. Loved every moment.”
Converted 1945 Boat Hut
Location: Sutton, England
Vibe: A cozy, mid-century-modern shipwreck washed up in the middle of the English countryside.
Amenities: Located 15 minutes from Ely and 30 minutes from Cambridge. Secluded roll-top bath outside on the deck. Solar powered.
Other things to know: The boat — now the boat hut — was built in 1945 and originally called the Anthony Stevenson. It at one point sailed out of Penzance Cornwall.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Really nice peaceful setting and such an individual quirky experience to stay in a repurposed boat hull. The record player was also a great touch. Nice to just get away for a quiet break and enjoy some Led Zeppelin whilst bathing in the sunshine. Bed was very comfy and all mod cons provided. Light a fire, kick back to some tunes and forget about your troubles.”
Secluded AirShip with Breathtaking Highland Views
Location: Drimnin, Scotland
Vibe: A spaceship crashed down in the Scottish Highlands and got a rustic, contemporary makeover.
Amenities: Indoor fireplace. View of the sound toward the Isle of Mull.
Other things to know: The airship is made of aluminum, which — as one reviewer points out — has interesting thermodynamic tendencies. In other words, it heats up very quickly and cools down equally fast.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Not sure how to explain this one in words. It’s amazing, it’s unique, it’s remote, it’s invigorating. We loved every second there. The walk to Auliston Point is stunning. Our second night we were treated to a memorable sunset. We went out to dinner one night and cooked in one night. And slept great there! Don’t miss this Airbnb.”
Floating Panoramic Wine Barrel
Location: Essex, Ontario
Vibe: A giant, floating wine barrel. That’s it. That’s the tweet.
Amenities: Located minutes from major wineries. Private, floating tiki bar. Panoramic views of the water. Custom outdoor whiskey barrel sink. Access to a 9′ row boat. Outdoor shower.
Other things to know: There’s no hot water onboard, though you can boil some on the BBQ and add this to the air-temperature water supply on deck.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “I am so glad we booked this. It was our most unique overnight stay & such a memorable experience. The location is close enough to drive to Point Pelee National Park & also catch a ferry to Pelee Island. There is plenty to do right at the floating wine barrel too. We enjoyed sitting my the fire, watching the sunset & wake up by the panoramic window watching the sunrise. I highly recommend this experience.”
Wagon in the Woods
Location: Medstead, England
Vibe: If you could visit The Shire in 2021, this is where you would most likely wind up staying.
Amenities: Huge cartwheel wagon window. Barrel hot tub in the barn. Outdoor, saloon-style seating area. Wood-fired pizza oven.
Other things to know: It’s considered a glamping experience (theres no wifi), so do pack and prep accordingly.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “Absolutely idyllic location. Wagon is beautifully done, pizza oven and hot tub are brilliant additions. Very secluded and private, a fantastic escape to get close to nature and relax. Couldn’t recommend enough!”
Tropical Tree House
Location: Fern Forest, Hawaii
Vibe: Your childhood treehouse, if it were a 5-star property and located in the literal jungle.
Amenities: Close to Volcano National Park. Complimentary local coffee. Indoor-outdoor, rainwater shower. 360-degree view of the jungle.
Other things to know: The treehouse is about 15 feet off the ground and is only accessible by “ladder-stairs,” and features a pulley system for hoisting up your bags up.
Actual thing a reviewer said about this house: “No matter how breathtaking you think this listing is, just wait until you see it in person! Pictures can’t capture just how perfect this place is!”
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