The Latest Shipping Container Innovations: Converted Hotels

So far we’ve seen steel containers that you can live in, shipping containers that you can dine in, and even shipping containers which are helping to change the world through conversions that are turning them into much needed sanitation blocks. However it’s only recently that we’ve picked up on a trend for whole hotels and motels which are constructed entirely from these incredibly versatile and sturdy self-contained spaces.

Setting the Scene

Using a shipping container to make a small living space, shop or restaurant certainly shouldn’t be anything new to regular readers of the blog – so it’s probably no surprise that hotels like Marriot International want to get in on the action. They’re running a competition to give one lucky entrepreneur an opportunity to open up a bar at their premises in Washington, providing that they can house themselves within a jazzed up shipping container.

This is a great example of a hotel deciding to use a converted shipping container to add a contemporary edge to their property – however it’s definitely not as ambitious a project as those who decide to use steel containers to create the entire business. Moving one step up the scale, we see companies such as Belgium’s Sleeping Around, who have designed a pop-up model that sees their stack of six recycled containers set up in a new place every few weeks.

Even more ambitious is the UK’s very own Snoozebox who, just like Sleeping Around, have one very important advantage over their mainstream competitors: they’re not fixed in one place. Instead, Snoozebox touts itself as a ‘portable hotel’, one which can be assembled anywhere in the country, turning an empty space into a fully functional hotel of up to 400 rooms in little more than an instant. This convenience certainly doesn’t mean making compromises when it comes to luxury and comfort, as each room is also kitted out with a flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and an en-suite wet room. These have found their perfect home at events such as music festivals and conventions.

Early Adopters and Forward-Thinkers

Way back in 2008, Travelodge became one of the earliest chains to adopt the shipping container structure, creating their Uxbridge location using a total of 86 containers. With bathrooms, plug points and windows all already in place, these rooms could be fitted together quickly and without fuss, meaning that the building process took only ten weeks and gave them a total of 120 bedrooms.

A more recent design comes from OVA Studio, who’s Hong Kong based Hive-Inn looks more like a giant game of Jenga than a traditional hotel, with brightly coloured containers stacked up in such a way as to allow them to be removed and interchanged without threatening the integrity of the overall structure. As well as up to the minute, luxury accommodation, this design offers space for brands to advertise in an unusual and eye-catching way, by making space for themed containers emblazoned with company logos and colours.

The latest word in steel container hotels comes from a company who hope to use shipping containers or, as they refer to them, ‘sea cans’ to build up a motel in Alberta. They’re putting their own twist on the process by using extensive modification to create a structure which shows no evidence of its’ unusual building materials to the outside world.  This is also offering an environmentally-friendly solution to an issue of sustainability – preventing containers from being unnecessarily shipped back to Asia by recycling them into something new.

We hope to see more great shipping container hotels popping up in the future, and if you want to try your hand at creating an incredible shipping container conversion then we can provide the raw materials, with the perfect steel containers to suit your needs. Contact us on 020 8459 6972 for more information!

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