Prison cells, dank caves, doghouses and other magnificent Airbnb listings
When Airbnb revolutionized the home-sharing economy, hotels became a thing of the past. Then, after Kinkbnb allowed its users to rent sex dungeons instead of houses and apartments, ordinary residences suddenly seemed so boring. Today, to keep up with perpetual demand for someplace new and exciting to sleep, Airbnb is upping the ante and offering prison cells, animal sculptures, igloos and even taxi trunks.
These low-cost options provide all the thrill of travel at a fraction of the cost — unless you factor in the loss of living space, warmth, comfort and any and all amenities.
For your next holiday, try one of these five varieties of the strangest Airbnb categories we could find. And don’t forget to bring your own bed sheets … you won’t want to use theirs.
Amenities: cots, squats, and not a whole lot
Price: $23 - $103 per night
Best review: "Super fun time in prison! great vibes among the prisoners, lots of group outings for meals and beach trips. i stayed in the private room and had great luck with hot water for my whole stay, which is a huge bonus" — review for prison in Goa, India
The remains of the prison-industrial complex can be your next vacation spot, from squalid India to first-world Florida, and the horrors of a life in lockup can be your next well-liked Instagram post.
One such prison-turned hotel came from the now-closed Indian River Correctional Institution in Vero Beach, Florida. There, a young fellow named Rob Goodman promised this vacation space for the “utmost privacy.” Though he warns that the archaic rental “is no Marriot,” it can serve as a pleasant camping spot, provided you bring what you need to survive. “The fun part is that you can leave whenever you like!” Goodman exclaims.
For international imprisonment, India and Canada also offer a holiday in lock-up. In India’s prison hostel, owners promise “free lockers,” “attractive prisoners,” “no rules” and “no bullshit.” Staying with other prisoners is preferred, they insist, because solitary confinement can be lonely. Bring your own cellmate — you'll want to know who's behind you when you drop the soap.
Price: $42 - $85 per night
Amenities: Solid metal walls, overhead lighting, full stereo systems, and 360 degree views of the world around you.
Best review: "The van was parked on a dead end street across from an industrial building, a chain linked fence, and a construction zone. I really don't know what [beautiful scenery] other reviewers were talking about unless he moved the van to another location since the reviews were made… I was highly nervous about where the van was located, it felt like a very sketchy area." — review for a taxi / van in New York
In Phoenix, a local man conceived what he calls “The World’s First Tesla Hotel,” in his vehicle’s trunk. While $85 for each day inside a luxury sedan might sound like a bargain, bear in mind that you can’t drive the car — you can just sleep in it inside his garage.
In Long Island, NY, you can enjoy that old car smell all night long from the backseat of retired Manhattan taxi. The 2002 Honda minivan was recently renovated into a swanky living space complete with a junior-sized bed, and depending on where the owner last parked the car, views can include either the Manhattan skyline or construction site porta-potties.
Price: $118 - $200 per night
Amenities: family friendly, private living room, icemaker right in your room
Best review: "It’s way stronger than we thought. We had four or five people in there last night. Even if you bump up against the wall, nothing falls on you. Even if it did fall, it wouldn’t kill you." — review for igloo in Brooklyn
Although a number of igloo-esque geodomes are scattered throughout the Airbnb marketplace, very few are composed of actual ice and snow. Following a New York blizzard, one enterprising Brooklynite caught international attention by building a “boutique winter igloo” and charging $200 per night to sleep in the Manhattan snow. Despite the romantic allure of a sanctuary constructed of only the natural elements, the listing was ultimately removed by Airbnb staff.
For the eskimo experience outside of the Big Apple, genuine ice cube igloos are available for rent in Canada, Norway and Switzerland. Even if you spend the night shivering, it’ll make for a pretty cool story.
A DANK CAVE
Price: $191 per night
Amenities: vaulted ceiling, kitchen, heating, smoking allowed
Best review: "The cave was even better than expected. The photos really don't do it justice. Perfect venue for a party in the woods with your friends."
If you and your posse are ever down under, this massive Australian cave can accommodate up to 16 mates. Guests who play campfire songs find that the den’s echoing walls allow for the perfect acoustics, and the stone ceiling enclosure creates the perfect dark and spooky setting for scary stories. Although sleeping indoors is actually an option, passing out in the dirt is encouraged for the full subterranean experience.
Price: $124 per night
Amenities: free parking, pets allowed
Best review: "This is a one-of-a-kind experience. It's not just a huge dog carving, it's an energy… a dream clearly realized. The owners are charming and they've lived a life with inspirational lessons.... hearing them is worth the price of admission.. We played Beagle-Opoly, read many of the eccentric dog books, enjoyed the breakfast, purchased a wood dog carving & a doggie mug."
In the quiet hills of rural Idaho, this house shaped like a giant beagle offers a dog-gone great vacation spot. Nearly every piece of furniture, every throw pillow, every book and every puzzle stays true to its canine theme, so dog lovers can rejoice in an authentic Idahoan puppy paradise. However, since the dog dwelling is made of wood, there's no barking, no shedding and no soiling the carpet.