Poland’s First Off-Grid Mobile Hotel is Made of Upcycled Refrigerator Trailers
We hear a lot about shipping containers being reclaimed and transformed into all sorts of things (sometimes with cool results, sometimes not so much). But rarely are refrigerated semi-trailers converted for a fun new use, especially in a way that keeps their mobility intact. A new hotel project in Poland called Good Spot makes use of a local overabundance of these trailers, giving them a minimalist makeover and allowing them to roam the countryside for comfortable off-grid lodging.
“Every year, huge amounts of isothermal refrigerated semi-trailers withdrawn from the market are imported to our country,” says architecture firm Znamy Sie. “Poland is thus becoming a cemetery for these disused trucks. Our project, prepared in cooperation with Good Spot, involves upcycling, i.e. increasing the value of the material and changing the purpose of cold storage to hotel rooms. By renovating the trailer, we give it a second life!”
The founders of Good Spot hired Znamy Sie to realize their vision. “The idea was born during a kitesurfing trip to Hel, where the key is to follow a good wind,” they explain. “What if the hotel room could move around? What if it could stay in places offering the best conditions and closeness to nature?” Thus, the first mobile hotel chain in Poland was born.
Each portable camper unit began as an abandoned, rusted-out trailer in need of some love. And while shipping containers have thin steel walls, requiring a lot of modification to be comfortable in hot and cold weather, these trailers already had well insulated shells. The architects were able to preserve a surprising amount of finished interior space (about 100 square feet) after cladding the interior walls and adding custom-built wood furniture, including storage, benches, kitchen counters, and a bed platform.
Spacious windows in the living and sleeping areas let in lots of natural light, which bounces off the bright white walls and makes the interiors feel larger than they are. The units offer not just one, but two sleeping areas, one at either end of the trailer. At the center of each one is a bathroom painted bright blue offering a toilet and a large rain shower. A metal gangway leads up to the entrance and doubles as a terrace outside. And of course, the exterior is wrapped in stainless steel sheeting to give it the feel of a more angular classic Airstream trailer.
Currently, only one unit is fully complete, but you can reserve it now on the Good Spot website. Three additional units are currently under construction and expected to be made available soon. Each unit will have a slightly different design and can be moved around Poland to tourist areas that don’t typically have comfortable accommodations. The design aims to “blend with nature without disturbing the landscape – it does not overwhelm with its form and does not compete with the surroundings.”
Good Spot founders Przemysław Kwiatkowski, Paweł Kołtunowicz, and Roman Sokołowski, who run the Hotel Service 24 company, came up with the idea before the coronavirus pandemic, but now say mobile lodging is the way to go in any circumstances. Ideal for vacations, the Good Spot trailers could also be rented by people who work remotely so they can enjoy quiet surroundings in nature and even host small meetings.
The team explains that they “change the former cold stores into three-star hotel rooms. We renovate the entire trailer with a running gear. We renew its technical elements, strengthen the entire structure, and arm its chassis. Thanks to this, each room is reborn and can travel thousands of kilometers on the road. By combining the comfort of hotels with mobility, we shorten the distance to nature as much as possible.”