Chinese Mini Buses Converted into Boutique Bus Hotels
A great author once said that a good hotel is like a refuge from home life. More often than not, we have an uncontrollable urge to explore and feel at home temporarily in a secure, comfortable abode that isn’t home. Yet, even the refuge from home can start to feel just as monotonous and overly-predictable as home. Do you sometimes get Deja-vu when you stand on a balcony in a hotel room? The collected experiences and memories of so many different, yet similar, hotel rooms and balconies can emotionally aggregate into a singular feeling of so-so samey-ness. Yet, over a third of travelers attempt to book the same lodging at the same hotel or resort on an annual basis. Return travel business is necessary for the health of the travel business. Nothing wrong with that. Yet, it is also good to break out of your comfort zone once in a while.
The owner of the Tai Tai Mountain Park in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China, struck by inspiration, decided to create his own niche hospitality industry. He began converting abandoned mini-buses into cartoon-themed bus hotels. Owner Guolin Han began buying the buses and converting each bus into a boutique hotel room at a cost of $9,000 each.
Each bus hotel has a cartoon decorating theme. One bus hotel may have Hello Kitty interiors while the next one has a Mickey Mouse mural on the outside and Disney inspired interiors. The bus hotel interiors are kitschy, featuring mugs, plush dolls and vibrantly colored sheets and bedding. Each bus hotel room features a bedroom, private kitchen, and bathroom. Han’s business model hopes to primarily cater to adventure travel couples and families. 30 buses have already been converted, with 200 more primed to be ready in July. The bus hotel rooms at Tai Tai Mountain Park currently go for about $43-a-night.
The Road Ahead
Don’t scoff if you find the idea laughable – rooms are steadily booked. If you have an interest, you should inquire ahead and be prepared to take a reservation. Han hopes to creatively expand his bus hotel idea, by converting airplanes, tractors, and trucks into specialty boutique hotels sometime in the future. It pays to spice things up once in a while. Memories are the currency of life, after all. While there is nothing wrong with patronizing the same hotel regularly, a more unorthodox stay away from home every once in a while won’t hurt you either. Because sometimes, regularly or even once-in-a-while, you have to experience the refuge from home in a different way.