Travel

TAKE A LOOK | Developer of R2.3m off-grid modular portable hotel rooms opens resort near New York

Business Insider US
Inside a lobby space at Moliving's upcoming Hurley House location in New York.
David Mitchell
  • Startup Moliving is building modular and movable hotel rooms for a New York "eco-resort" opening this summer.
  • This portability allows landowners and hospitality companies to scale room inventories per season.
  • See inside one of the 400-square-foot units, which has three "rooms" and two balconies.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Out with the conventional hotel, in with the quirky individual accommodations.

A Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Meet Moliving, a New York-based hospitality startup that's making portable $150,000 (R2,3 million) movable hotel rooms that'll be available to book as soon as this year.

The living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: Moliving

The New York-based company specialises in what it calls "nomadic hospitality," which allows other hospitality groups and landowners to create and easily scale Moliving-based developments.

A bed inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

And the first iteration will be available to stay this summer in Hudson Valley, New York north of New York City.

Inside a lobby space at Moliving's upcoming Hurley House location in New York.
David Mitchell

The rollout of the new location couldn't have come at a better time: Vacations in atypical accommodations like yurts and tiny homes have been on the rise throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

AJ LaTrace/Insider
AJ LaTrace/Insider

Source: Airbnb

But this doesn't mean it's the beginning of the end for traditional hotel companies.

The Plaza Hotel, which has several condos as well as hotel rooms, in Midtown Manhattan.
Ben Hider/Getty Images

Moliving sees itself as a "compliment to the traditional hotel model" instead of a replacement of the classic hospitality arrangement, Jordan Bem, founder and CEO of Moliving, told Insider in an email interview in 2021.

Storage inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: Moliving

"While a perfect solution for many, we don't see traditional hotels going away," Bem said.

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Unlike other prefab living space makers, Moliving owns all of its mobile hotel units.

Storage inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The actual hotel space serves as a partnership between the brand and the respective landowners, developers, or hospitality companies.

The living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

And once the contract has expired with no intention to renew, Moliving can remove its units and tow them elsewhere without too much impact on the environment.

Inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

This mobility also allows companies to tweak their room inventories to match varying levels of demand throughout the year, eliminating what Bem calls "the biggest pain point for every seasonal hotel."

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

For example, a beach town property can increase the number of units during high traffic summer months, and then scale back during the winter travel slump.

Two beds inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

And unlike a typical hotel building that could take a few years of construction, a Moliving unit can be built in three to five months.

A Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Each unit then starts at $150,000, the company told Insider in an email in 2021.

A Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The initial 60 units for Moliving's first project will be built by SG Blocks, a modular prefab construction company.

Storage inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: SG Blocks

Moving forward, Moliving will partner with local "modular factories" — or factories near the future cluster of Moliving units — to cut back on transit costs and carbon emissions.

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: Moliving

Each customisable tiny home is 45 feet (13,7 metres) long and about 400 square feet (37,1 m²), not including the 120-square-foot (11,1 m²) deck space available on both the front and back of each unit.

The bathroom inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

This indoor space then includes a bathroom, living room, and bedroom.

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The bedroom is lined with floor-to-ceiling windowed doors that open out into the back deck and beds that can be converted from a king to two twin mattresses.

Two beds inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Moving on to the bathroom, which has the typical amenities like a shower, a sink, a vanity, and a skylight according to renderings of a unit.

The bathroom inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

To create a luxurious space, every unit will come with a 55-inch smart television, speakers, charging ports, a bar, WiFi, and electronic shades, to name a few features.

The living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

And all of this will be powered using the unit's lithium batteries and solar panels, which allow the units to run off-grid.

The deck of a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The standalone hotel rooms — which can be stacked to create a multi-floor unit — can also recycle grey water using UV sanitisation, reducing freshwater consumption.

A Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The catch? For now, the Moliving units are only accessible to landowners and developers instead of people looking to buy a unit for personal use.

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: Moliving

You might not be able to buy your own Moliving unit, but by this summer, you may be able to vacation inside of one.

A bed inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The first Moliving products will be at the upcoming Hurley House, a New York "eco-resort" set to open this summer at $259 per night, Tim McKeough reported for the New York Times in 2021.

The bedroom and living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Moliving at Hurley House will have 60 units for guests looking to unplug from life in New York City.

Inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Source: Moliving

Like any luxurious sustainability and wellness getaway, the hotel will have plenty of programming, a spa, and a gym.

A bed inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

The property will also be free of cars. So if you want to get around, get ready to hop on a golf cart or bicycle.

The bathroom inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

Moving forward, Moliving wants to open more developments in locations like Miami, Hamptons, New York, Lake Tahoe, Vail, Colorado, and potentially international spots like Italy and Spain.

The living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

And it might not exist solely as hotel pop-ups: In the future, you might find yourself glamping inside a Moliving tiny home.

The living space inside a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

"Our current focus is on pursuing joint ventures with landowners, national parks, and campgrounds, not just future hotel sites," Bem said.

The deck of a Moliving unit.
David Mitchell

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