Everyone’s heard of recycling, but you might not have heard of upcycling. Whereas recycling extracts waste materials from something in order to be used again in the same way, upcycling is the process of using those waste materials to create something even better than what it was before. The graphic below from Hipcycle.com shows the difference between recyling and upcycling with a classic waste product—a wine bottle.
Upcycling is a great way to minimize our impact on the planet, as well as create something new and exciting, and our Glamping Hub hosts definitely agree. We have properties around the world that are crafted from a variety of different and unexpected materials—from a vintage Boeing airplane to repurposed boats that double as an ever-evolving art installation.
Check out some of our fantastic upcycled accommodations that will give you a creative way to embrace ecotravel.
Upcycled Shipping Container Transformed into Luxury Accommodation, Florida
This creative accommodation in Florida is the perfect place for a truly unique glamping experience. It is made up of three, ocean-going shipping containers that were no longer able to be used and which would have otherwise been melted down. The exterior has a rustic feel, but the interior is anything but—with comfortable beds, a fully-equipped kitchen with a breakfast bar, and French doors that overlook the beautiful Loxahatchee River.
Eclectic Eco-Friendly Vacation Rental for Five in Round Top, Texas
This upcycled shipping container in Texas goes the extra mile by using old lumber from a Kentucky distillery, salvaged glass from a Philadelphia school, cabinets from a Brooklyn laboratory, and countertops made from old bowling alley floors in Texas. The host, Matt, has been antiquing from young on and has a fascinating story to tell, which we captured when he was our Host of the Month last October!
Amazingly Unique Getaway Made from Repurposed Boats near Shoshone, California
Located near the Mojave Desert in California, this accommodation is actually an ever-evolving art installation created by a collective of artists, whose purpose is to combine luxurious interiors and fine art using repurposed materials. Promoting sustainable design, visitors remark that staying here is like entering the mind of one of the artists.
As well as being visually impressive, guests can stay in comfort here, with features such as comfortable beds for four guests, Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen TV, and a charming outdoor space to enjoy the Californian sunshine. It was also featured in the music video for Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s song "One Kiss," so head to YouTube to check it out!
Cozy Lofted Rental for Four in Repurposed Barn near West Jefferson, North Carolina
This gorgeous cabin tucked away in the woods of North Carolina, near the Cherokee National Forest, is made from a refurbished barn. This accommodation is unique both for the history that runs through its walls, as well as for the natural spring found nearby.
Discovered in 1883, the local farmers found that after drinking from the spring, the poison ivy sores on their hands disappeared. Soon, the spring was receiving as many as 300 visitors a day, rumored to cure all sorts of ailments, from rheumatism to indigestion. Nowadays, the farm is still running, providing beef, pork, and poultry to the local area, and guests can even help with the daily farm chores!
Converted Grain Silo for Unique Glamping Accommodation in Alvin, Illinois
Dating back to the 1950s, this getaway used to be a storage container for grain for the Illinois farm upon which it’s located. The container was used up until the 1970s, when it changed location to be used on a different farm, though it’s recently returned to its original location, albeit no longer needed for its practical use.
Today, the grain container is a beautiful rural getaway, featuring a sleeping loft, a comfortable front porch, and an upper deck that offers vistas of the most incredible sunsets. An added bonus to staying at a farm-based upcycled accommodation? You’ll not only be helping support U.S. agriculture—you’ll also be staying on a piece of living history.
P.S. Over in Tennessee, we have another accommodation made from a not just a grain silo, but also a 100-year-old barn!
Stunning Riverside Cabin Crafted from Recycled Materials near Cockaponset State Forest, Connecticut
Located in Chester, Connecticut, between the Connecticut River and Cockaponset State Forest, this stunning, riverside cabin has been crafted from 80% recycled materials. The wood furnishings of the interior, coupled with the large amounts of natural light let in by the windows, give a warm and cozy atmosphere and an authentic cabin feel.
The crafted cabin is situated beside the Pattaconk Brook and features a breathtaking waterfall, giving guests the chance to really reconnect with nature. Although the cabin boasts incredible natural surroundings, the cities of New Haven and Hartford are reachable in under an hour, and offer cultural activities like museums, theaters, and music venues, as well as opportunities for shopping and dining. For those looking for something a bit more relaxing, the coastline of the Long Island Sound is a 15-minute drive to the south.
Unique Pipe Accommodation in Glamping Resort near Mexico City
At this resort, old concrete construction pipes have been used to create little glamping pods, fitted with queen-size beds and storage units. These pipes would otherwise have been crushed up for their raw materials, but we think this is a much better idea! Not just a cool and original place to stay, they’re also fantastically located just a few minutes away from the center of Tepoztlan, about 45 minutes south of Mexico City, on the other side of the mountain range. Other cool features that guests will love are the speedy Wi-Fi and an amazing infinity pool.
P.S. Check out these similar accommodations in Cambodia!
Unique Refurbished Vintage 1965 Boeing 727 Airplane, Costa Rica
One of our most unique accommodations, this two-bedroom tree house suite is made from a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727, which in a previous life shuttled travelers around the globe for a South African and then Colombian airline—until its final resting place in San José, Costa Rica. Decommissioned and wasting away in a hangar, it was taken apart piece by piece, transported to the tropical jungles of the Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s south coast, and reassembled in the tree canopy 50 feet above the ground.
At this height, guests can enjoy ocean and jungle views from the deck and try to catch a glimpse of sloths, toucans, monkeys, and more! Inside, from cockpit to tail, the interior and furnishings are made from luxurious teak, and up to six guests can stay among its two bedrooms. Guests will have access to a nearby hotel’s swimming pool, all while being strategically located to enjoy the best of Costa Rica’s fantastic biodiversity.
Unique Campervan-Style Vacation in a Converted Vintage Truck near Coimbra, Portugal
This great little accommodation is located in the back of an old Bedford truck. Bedford Vehicles stopped operating in 1987, so it really is a vintage accommodation! The back of the truck has been converted into a cozy living area, but it has much more than just a bed. You’ll also find tables and chairs to relax in, an oven and a stove for preparing meals, and a heating unit to keep things toasty. The walls are made of canvas and can be rolled up to let a cool breeze roll through, and there is also a fire pit a few meters away to ward away the cold at night. (Head’s up—this isn’t a mobile accommodation, despite its appearance.)
Charming Cottage Made from Recycled Materials for a Unique Getaway on Madeira Island, Portugal
This charming cottage on the stunning Portuguese island of Madeira is itself a piece of art—every room boasts a unique touch. Beauty is combined with sustainability, with walls made of car glass, wine bottles, tree branches, and various types of stones. At sunset, the rays of the sun shining through the different colored glass creates a mesmerizing effect.
Outside, there are also many private areas and gardens for glampers to explore. Guests are welcome to enjoy the communal areas, which include a barbecue for some al fresco cooking, dining, and socializing while enjoying the enchanting mountain views.
Be sure to check out all of our eco-friendly collections for more incredible ecotourism options!