Doing PodShare Tiny Hotel the Right Way

Airbnb has shown us there is an unending supply of unusual places you can stay, and PodShare in Southern California is one of them. I’ve slept in various “cube” hotels before including a Japanese capsule in Tokyo and a Yotel pod in London, but PodShare is melding together tiny spaces, affordability and community. Elvina Beck opened the PodShare co-living space three years ago and has since hosted over 4,000 “Podestrians”. She said the concept is perfect for minimalist, solo travelers who also want to meet new people. The design of the pods make them different from a typical hostel.

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“I grew up on MTV’s The Real World and thought: what would happen if you put 10 strangers under one roof with technology to keep them busy, but with no privacy to help them stay engaged?,” Elvina said. “PodShare was built to answer that question. I wanted to create a comfortable and safe environment for people to sleep without putting up walls.”

Instead of individual bunk beds like in a hostel, each pod is build like a separate shipping container divided by carpeted stairways. Each pod contains a memory foam mattress, a personal TV, electrical outlets, adjustable nightlight, and a closet with a locker. The pods were built to face each other and each Podestrian can personalize their pod with their name. Guests are provided with a towel, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and WiFi. They also have access to the community kitchen, bathroom, shower, and the computer station. The pods do not close up at night, but the top pods do have safety rails.

“We actually created more privacy than a traditional bunk bed, without closing the face like a Japanese capsule,” Elvina said.

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“When I was laying out the floor plan for PodShare,  I considered building the pods in a circle, so to not box people out, but then opted for rows like displays,” Elvina said. “This layout gives people an opportunity to horizontally work on their laptops, put their backs against the wall, hang their feet over the balcony to face the person across from them, or sit on the steps.”

Eight single pods are available for $50 a night and two queen size pods are available for $70 a night. Elvina said she will explore long-term housing in an additional location and will plan for more drawer space in the pods. Her goal is to build a network of PodShare locations across the country to offer membership-based housing. Guests would pay a monthly rental fee to travel to different pods.

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House, bike and car sharing is now the norm and PodShare also promotes the sharing of common resources—with some personalization. Each Podestrian gets a lifetime pod number and a profile is opened for each guest.

“Since day one, we have created a profile for each guest—sharing a time capsule online helps us get to know the guest and helps the guest realize that they are more than a unique number,” Elvina added. “We believe in the sharing of space, stories, affordability… and curing the ever-growing world loneliness problem. I believe this type of minimalist social travel will inspire innovation and promote openness and discovery.”

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Photos and video courtesy of PodShare

Hotel Living As A Tiny House Option

You wake up, put on your house shoes, throw on last night’s clothes that still lay in a pile on the floor, amble down to the lobby (of course stopping to speak to the college co-ed manning the front desk), grab a paper from the lobby coffee table, and stop at the occasional table behind one of the oversized couches, just long enough to get a cup of coffee and say good morning to a couple other familiar faces. And so begins life as a full-time resident in a hotel. Okay, so the hotel sounds a bit more posh than perhaps what you or I may be able to swing. But it does sound pretty amazing, no?

Adina Hotel

photo of the Adina Apartment Hotel Norwest in Baulkham Hills, Australia

I can easily think of a number of perks that living in a hotel might provide including free and reliable WiFi, on-site fitness room, access to a pool, fresh towels upon request, in-house laundry service, and even an on-site restaurant/bar! The idea of living in a hotel is not so far fetched either. In fact, a number of celebrities have called hotels home though the years.

New York’s Hotel Chelsea – a Queen Anne-style landmark that first opened as an apartment cooperative in 1883 –  served as home for the likes of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Miller. Overlooking L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont has been home, sweet, home for people like Greta Garbo, Robert DeNiro, and Johnny Depp while the St. Regis in Washington, DC counts among its past residents, Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire. And those are just a few.

On a more practical note though hotel living is a style of tiny house living on its own. Most rooms available for long-term lease are only about 325 square feet according to BoardingArea.com and feature a small kitchen, a bathroom (usually with tub/shower kit), a master bedroom (2 queens or 1 king), a sitting area, and some sort of workspace be it a simple desk or a fully dedicated corner. It features the essentials; typically nothing more and nothing less. But is it feasible? Can one truly live in a hotel? Absolutely!

NOTE: The hotels talked about in this post are usually called “apartment-style” hotels. Rates are based on a minimum of a month’s stay (30 days).

POTENTIAL PERKS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • No long term commitment. Perhaps you have been bitten by the traveling bug and have a location-independent job? Maybe you don’t want to build a tiny house trailer or live in an RV or even sublet a room in a house. This might be the best arrangement. It offers privacy, small amounts of luxury, and a lot of freedom.
  • Choice. When I moved to Brooklyn some years ago I was limited to my budget in a major way. I could choose between a 7th floor apartment with only two windows and bathroom at the end of the hall or a garden apartment that literally faced The Garden; a sushi restaurant that was open 24-hours.  Luckily something else came along out of the blue. But when when you live in a hotel you can decide what you want to be close to, what kind of atmosphere you want, and how large/small you want your accommodations. Remember, this is not a long term commitment so it can be changed quite regularly with no penalty.
  • On-Site Services. While most full-time hotel dwellers don’t abuse this service there is still housekeeping and room service available. You can have fresh towels as you need/want them. You can have someone else make your bed. You can have someone replace your dirty dishes. The list goes on. It is important to note though that because you are living there you will gain some sort of reputation (be it good or bad) and tipping is STILL polite. Skipping this and doing things on your own could save you money and make you great friends in the building.
  • Free newspapers, coffee/tea and/or breakfast. This is typically included in your rate so feel free to take advantage of them. No more excuses for running late to your next appointment either!
  • Having your own kitchen. Just like a sticks ‘n bricks or your own tiny house trailer, with a hotel room/suite you have a kitchen or at least a kitchenette which – more often than not – comes with plates, bowls, silverware, glasses, mugs, strainer, chef’s knife, etc. You still have to grocery shop but at least you can cook your own meals whenever you like.
  • Front Desk Support. Looking for a donut shop in the neighborhood? Need a cab to take you to an event neighborhoods away? Waiting on a package from UPS that will arrive just moments after you leave? No worries. The desk clerk is there….24/7!
  • Handyman Support. Your coffee pot is not brewing? Your TV stopped turning on? No problem. Every hotel employs a small staff of handymen and service personnel. Call them. Tip them.
  • Security. This is huge! Between lobby cameras, hallway cameras, key card elevators, etc. security is usually top notch at a hotel.

UPS DeliveryUsing the desk services at a hotel will keep you from ever missing one of these again. 

POTENTIAL PRATFALLS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • Nowhere to call “home”. While it is true that home is where you park it or home is where you hang your heart or a number of other cliches living in a hotel means you won’t have a physical address. While hotels will allow you to have mail delivered there in care of their direct address they – nor the government – will allow you to claim the location as your permanent address.
  • Loneliness. Like living in a campground or other community-type setting there are in-seasons, off-seasons, perk weekends, and quiet times. On normal days and nights it is likely that you won’t see many guests at a hotel so you’re interaction will be limited. Living in a hotel may also keep you at some distance from friends and family unless you are huddled down in your home town.
  • Lack of personality. Don’t like the artwork on your bedroom walls? Does that picture over your bed make you think of clowns parading through lollipop factories singing a chorus of degenerate laughter? Too bed. Without causing damage to the room there is nothing you can do about the overall appearance. The colors, pillows, comforters, and dishware are there to stay. This is however a good exercise in adding personality to your surroundings. You can use colorful scarves, small houseplants, live flowers, digital photo frames, etc to add a personal yet portable comfort to your accommodations.
  • Space. A hotel room/suite is usually a standard, corporate design with furniture designed or purchased to fit in an exact spot. There are few options, if any. If you feel cramped with the desk in a certain spot chances are you can’t move it anywhere because there is nowhere to move it. The space is laid out for you. You are the guest in this situation. The furniture is there for good.

Living in a hotel room or suite is not conventional at all. It is not part of the American Dream so many of us grew up to understand and look forward to. But it is an adventure like no other and could possibly make your next tiny house. Don’t ever be afraid to hang your heart anywhere there is a good cup of free coffee!

 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

 

Inaugural ADU Tour in Portland

Tiny house fans in the Portland area will get a rare opportunity to tour the interiors of 11 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Portland area next month. Kol Peterson and Deb Delman of Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in Portland will be holding the first ADU tour in Portland, Oregon on June 1, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings and her vardo will also be special guests during the ADU networking event from 4-6 p.m. and participants will be able to view the new Caravan tiny rental — the Salsa Box.

walt-quade-ADU

“Part of the goal of the tour is to connect people who want to build ADUs with other homeowners, builders, and designers, who can help explain the actual building process that they went through, so the process seems less daunting.,” Kol said.

ADUs are secondary living units on single-family lots. Portland has seen a six-fold rise in the number of ADUs built since 2010.  This dramatic increase is the result of a 2010 City of Portland waiver of System Development Charges, which reduced the cost of building permits for an ADU by up to $11,000. The tour will be held in partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Portland, and Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area.

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The self-guided tour will consist of 11 ADUs on the east side of Portland including 7 to 8 tiny homes on wheels. Along the route, attendees will have access to homeowners, builders and designers of ADUs and comprehensive, education case studies about the building and permit process of each building. Throughout the day, there will also be workshops presented by experts on permitting, financing, designing and building.

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At Caravan, attendees will also have a chance to tour four custom-built tiny houses on wheels and can earn a special $25 discount to stay at Caravan as well as enter a raffle for a free stay at the tiny house hotel. Early bird tickets for the event are $25 and tickets the week of the event are $30. For more information and to register, visit the ADU tour website.

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Photos courtesy of Accessory Dwellings, Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel and Portland Alternative Dwellings

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]