Minimalist hotel made of recycled concrete tubing
An innovative new hotel in Mexico is made out of recycled concrete tubing, giving guests a creative place to lay their head at night.
Tubohotel is in Tepoztlan, a popular tourist destination an hour south of Mexico City. It opened in December and features guest rooms made out of individual concrete tubes that are brought in by crane, said Robb Anderson, who owns the hotel with his wife, Ana Garcia, a renowned chef who has been featured in major magazines and on TV. The couple also owns a nearby traditionally-built hotel, La Villa Bonita.
"The idea isn't that people are staying in the tubes like a regular hotel room, the idea is that it's very social. You hop out and meet new people. You're sitting out in the orchard — we left all of those traditional fruit trees in the orchard in place — and placed the tubes in a U-fashion; and so the idea is so that you're not tubed up the entire time. You're out innature," Anderson said.
"It's a hostel concept as far as the social element, but you still have your privacy," he said.
The idea for the hotel originated with a concrete tube that Garcia and Anderson retrofitted to use as the bathroom of a restaurant they own called Café 5. The restaurant is in a constructed building, made with recycled products, while the bathroom is separate in the recycled tube.
The hotel was designed by T3arc and was built in just three months. Each room includes a queen bed, desk light, fan, computer hookup, towel rack and storage under the bed. Some of the modules are arranged in stacked pyramids of three tubes, with a ladder leading to the top tube, while others are separate.
There are separate bathroom houses for men and women, and they are traditionally-built structures. Anderson said they plan to build more tubular hotels and, in the future, the bathrooms will also be made of tubes, as well as a cistern. Each room is $47 U.S. per night.
"Basically the idea was to have a hostel that you could create anywhere without a lot of digging and rearranging and taking out trees. We're using cement, so there is a carbon footprint there, but sometimes you have to pick your battles," Anderson said.
"We retrofitted this first one with already-made industrial tubes. We put the tubes on the property and retrofitted there. The idea for the future is our own tubes that we will create onsite. A lot of the cost for us is really the crane and the movement of the tubes and all of that," he said.
As for the couple themselves, Anderson is a former lawyer from Iowa, while his wife is a native of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Anderson said he hopes to see the concept used in other ways, such as for flexible housing used at concerts, where the tubes are installed, and then removed after the event and moved elsewhere. He also hopes to build them at other culturally significant tourist destinations in Mexico.
"We've been getting a lot of attention. It's been done in a limited fashion in Austria where they've placed some tubes on the edge of a river. But this is kind of the first real hotel," he said.
A slideshow of Tubohotel images shows the layout of the hotel and room views.
Topics: Building Green
Teena Hammond Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.