We’ve seen “pop-up” boutiques and pop-up festivals, pop-up restaurants and even pop-up museums. But we’ve never seen a pop-up hotel. The pop-up concept – a temporary location for entertainment or business, often offered in combination with a larger special event or tourist destination – has grown increasingly popular in urban areas because it embraces the notion that innovative experience design can be sustainable without being permanent. Sleeping Around takes that idea and, with an eye on the very real amenities guests expect when they travel, applies it to the hotel model for the very first time. Using six repurposed shipping containers, Sleeping Around offers four hotel “rooms” with shower and toilet facilities, a breakfast area/lounge, and a sauna that is still under development. The unique hotel is currently on the banks of the Schelde canal in Antwerp, Belgium, and prospective guests can track its next location via the website or even suggest future spots. It is also possible to book the entire Sleeping Around facilities for a private event, something that could be particularly appealing if the containers move to a more exotic locale. Imagine designing the ultimate destination wedding without being bound to a traditional hotel or resort.
The shipping containers themselves were originally built in China before being used to move cargo to ports around the world. Empty containers often remain behind, and in recent years many designers and architects have incorporated them into more permanent installations. Sleeping Around capitalizes on the fact that the containers are easily movable by crane to a flatbed truck. It takes just five hours to set up the hotel once it has arrived at its next destination, and the locations are bound only by the ability to be reached by ground transportation. The canal-front is the third destination for Sleeping Around; previously, the hotel was in the Exhibition Interior in Kortrijk, and before that at the TV Show Villa Vanthilt near the Mas, also in Antwerp.
Sleeping Around is the brainchild of partners Geoffrey Stampaert, Didier Opdebeeck, and Ellen Wezenbeek, who were excited by the challenge of combining comfort and luxury with authenticity and the element of surprise. “We want to offer visitors a unique experience,” says Wezenbeek. “We do not aim at travelers who like two weeks in the same spot to spend, but those one or two nights to experience something exclusive. Something not everyone can say that he or she also has experienced. “ And because Sleeping Around is transient, that opportunity will continue to evolve over time.
The hotel partners are in the process of determining Sleeping Around’s next location, which no doubt involves negotiations with local municipalities and private property owners in addition to simply identifying a potential hot spot for guests to stay. While we also think the idea of a hotel popping up almost anywhere is exciting, the reality is most likely less spontaneous for those on the other side. Sleeping Around will need to demonstrate that its model is appealing to landowners for the pop-up hotel to really transform travel experiences on a larger scale. But for now, if you’re interested in some very unique accommodations that mix comfort and adventure, you might try Sleeping Around. Image source: sleepingaround.eu