Planning a vacation soon? Starting next year, travelers will be able to check into some of the most off-beat, unique and downright quirky vacation rentals on the market.
Airbnb is giving $100,000 each to 100 aspiring builders, architects and designers from 23 countries to bring their most unconventional vacation home ideas to life. Recipients will be able to build their wacky rentals with funding from the platform’s $10 million OMG! Fund, which supports jaw-droppingly original ideas for off-the-wall lodgings.
After announcing the fund in June, Airbnb got tens of thousands of applications; all entrants had to do was simply describe their idea. Then, a panel of judges whittled down the submissions and asked finalists to share more via blueprints, plans and videos.
Eventually, they were able to narrow the field down to just 100 winners. The selected designs range from far-out sci-fi creations to clever recycling solutions—and everything in between.
Per Airbnb, 777 of the ideas involved fruit, 680 were inspired by wine, 509 were reminiscent of mushrooms, 961 incorporated music and 1,214 involved treehouses. Participants were also motivated to make their designs as sustainable as possible: 7,931 submissions included solar panels.
One of the judges is Kristie Wolfe, who made headlines around the world in 2019 when she spent $32,000 to create her “Big Idaho Potato Hotel” vacation rental outside of Boise, Idaho.
“There were so many inspiring stories and destinations that I had never heard of before that I’m now eager to visit,” says Wolfe in a statement. “As a builder myself, I can’t wait to watch these ideas come to life. These are more than just places to spend the night—each one offers an entire experience.”
One winner designed a colorful, multi-story building that looks like a massive cereal box. A farm in Idaho will soon be home to an inhabitable flower pot surrounded by colorful blooms. One submission features a large fossilized dinosaur skull made out of adobe, while another is shaped like a contemporary avocado turned on its side.
The Central Texas Pig Rescue, located in Bastrop, Texas, will soon begin building a structure shaped like a giant pig covered in flowers and grass. That design was the brainchild of the sanctuary’s founder, Dan Illescas, and its director, Tracey Stabile, who hope to engage more people in the organization’s mission through the porcine rental.
“We are sanctuary to a species that’s not really seen sympathetically and empathetically in the world,” Stabile tells KRQE’s Kelsey Thompson. “So, any opportunity that we have to get in front of new eyes and to change new minds and hearts is such a tremendous opportunity for us.”
GT Hill, who spent ten years transforming a former nuclear missile complex in central Arkansas into a vacation property called Titan Ranch, will use the funding to build a full-size replica of a nuclear missile on the property, reports KARK’s Haven Hughes.
With their $100,000 in prize money, husband-and-wife duo Clayton Brown and Kimberly Sullivan will construct a tire-shaped house made out of recycled tires on their rural property in southwest Michigan. Though building structures out of old tires is not a totally novel idea, Brown tells Fast Company’s Nate Berg that he hopes their in-development Airbnb can one day serve as a “proof of concept” for other sustainable projects.
Though these and other off-kilter designs won’t be ready for booking until next year, Airbnb already has a slew of unusual rentals listed under the OMG! Category. These include grain silos, train cars, covered wagons, buses, treehouses and even a repurposed yellow submarine.