Prefab cabins lend themselves well to building a more equitable tourism industry, at least in theory. Their affordability—in buying and building—mobility, and localized construction make them natural contenders for any would-be hotelier or landowner, who can simply put one up and list it on Airbnb. Plus, by principle, prefab construction tends to be environmentally friendly. Add off-grid capabilities to the equation and you have something that's completely in-line with post-2020 travel trends.
New York City start-up Moliving recognizes the prospects of prefab, and now aims to use it to make hotel development possible for those without hedge fund backing. Portable, prefab hotel rooms/cabins are key to the formula. With them, the company helps new hotels open up in months instead of years and, once up and running, Moliving helps properties scale their inventory according to seasonal demand.
Here's it how works. Moliving partners with landowners interested in leasing cabins, forming a joint venture with them. When an agreement is reached, pre-existing or new units are shipped via road or sea to the future hotel property. If new units are needed, they're built in a factory, ideally as close to the property as possible. Voila, a new cabin hotel now exists. Eventually, the agreement term expires and the land owner can choose to extend or terminate. If it's the latter, Moliving collects the cabins from the site-leaving behind minimal environmental impact-and ships them off to a different site where travelers can enjoy them.
For now, the company offers its flagship model, a 400-square-foot cabin designed to act as a blank slate for a variety of interior styles. At 45-feet long, the cabin features 120-square-foot decks on either end, a bathroom skylight, large floor-to-ceiling bay windows, and a king bed that can be split to create two twin beds. The open floor plan contains a bar and enough space for a living area, but as of now, no kitchen area. Off-grid capabilities like solar panels and water tanks for greywater systems are available, or a host can hook them up to amenities on site. Units begin at $150,000.
The company plans on unveiling its own property, Hurley House, in Hurley, New York before the end of 2021. Hurley House will feature 60 Moliving units at $237/night. Moliving isn't stopping there though, as the company is already seeking partners in popular outdoor destinations like Joshua Tree, California and Lake Tahoe, and internationally in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
The Moliving concept aims to be a symbiotic relationship for all involved parties, including Miss Mother Earth. If all goes well, it's essentially like reusing, and recycling entire buildings-a practice that ties into the conversation around future-use architecture and a hospitality model we hope works out for the best.