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June 28, 2012

Are pop-up hotels the future of creative tourism?

The concept of “pop-up hotels,” or temporary buildings that act like hotels, are emerging in cities from Mexico to Tokyo. What are they? Who is building them? And could this become a popular hotel style in the future?

LLOVE Pop-up Hotel in Tokyo | Image via ApartmentTherapy

“The pop up phenomena has become a staple of the restaurant business,” Vagabondish explains. “A temporary restaurant, usually centered around some kind of event provides the opportunity for young renegade cooks or very successful mainstream chefs to experiment and create without the need for huge financial backing or the fear of bankruptcy.”

The boom in food trucks is another example, but we’re also seeing pop-up stores around the world. A few brands that have experimented with temporarily locations include Louis VuittonComme des GarconsCoca-Cola, Target and IKEA. Now the concept is moving to entertainment, travel and tourism, with innovations like pop up nightclubs and temporarily hotels and resorts.

Following are a few examples of pop up hotels from around the world, from Tulum to Tokya, that illustrate the diversity of pop hotels, their design and the visitors they attract.

An Eco-Conscious Pop Up Hotel in Paradise

The Papaya Playa Project in Tulum, Mexico is environmentally-friendly pop-hotel by Design Hotels that was built to open for just five months. The hotel has 85 cabanas and offers organic, plant-based food by 42°RAW, and treatments by Mayan shamans at the So Happy Neo Spa.

“Berlin-based creative agency, Mamapapacola—who are known for their offbeat ideas in advertising, design, and events—has been tasked with filling the five-month pop-up project with memorable stories,” Papaya Playa Project explains on their website. “Their work started with an ideation session in Tulum many months ago, extended to connecting Design Hotels with restaurants and clubs like Kater Holzig and Club der Visionaere.”

Image via

A Pop Up Hotel in an Empty Apartment 

The Quotel in Poland is the brain child of Mode:Lina Architektura and Consulting, and was created as a temporary solution to help house some of the guests who flock to the city for The Poznan International Fair. Everything was created on a budget, with some of the items constructed from plywood, and others bought at IKEA.

“Clusters of light bulbs act as chandeliers in the common areas and recycled shelves and secondhand furniture also add to the character of Quotel, without putting a burden on the budget,” Inhabitat explains. “Since the hotel is in an unoccupied apartment, there are common areas such as a living room and a kitchen, which guests are also encouraged to use.”

The Quotel | Image via Inhabitat
The Quotel | Image via ApartmentTherapy

A Pop Up Celebration of Culturen in Tokyo

LLOVE was a pop up hotel, cafe and exhibition that stood for only a month in the autumn of 2010 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of trade and cultural between the Dutch and Japanese. The theme was called “Still in Llove,” and was designed to serve as an art installation that people could actually overnight in.

Llove Hotel | Image via

What makes the pop up hotel trend particularly hot is the idea of exclusivity and time sensitivity. If you found out that a pop up hotel was open in a city you were just about the visit, would you check it out, or stick to a more well known hotel? What elements in particular might draw you in?