Whether you’re intrigued with the idea of building or buying your own tiny house one day, or simply want to sample the tiny house lifestyle for a few nights, a stay at the nation’s only tiny house hotel should definitely be on your radar. Caravan, a tiny house hotel, is located in Portland’s up-and-coming Alberta Arts District, making it an ideal overnight during a grown-up getaway.
Caravan Tiny House Hotel:
Caravan is comprised of six tiny houses circled around a covered, outdoor fire pit and outdoor seating area, within a gated lot in the heart of the Alberta district. Parents can certainly bring kids to Caravan, as several of the houses sleep four or five, but given its location on Alberta Street, lined with upscale eateries, bars, and boutiques, we think it serves best for a couples-only or solo getaway.
The tiny houses at this tiny house hotel range in size, but all are from 120-170 square feet. They’re built by local builders, and have their own personalities. Inside each are design elements that are fun, funky, and creative. Each has a flush toilet and hot shower, electric heat, a sitting area, sleeping areas, and a kitchen (with sink, hot plate or stove top, microwave, mini fridge, and cooking utensils). We stayed in Skyline, one of the larger tiny houses with a queen-sized bed, loft area with couch (that transforms to another bed), kitchen, and bathroom. Skyline was made of 100% recycled materials, which we loved. We had warm linens and quilts at our disposal, as well as an Italian coffee maker and coffee (bring your own creamer if you need it). In the bathroom, fair-trade shampoo and body wash was provided, as well as big, fluffy towels.
The tiny houses are insulated, but since Caravan is in the heart of a busy urban area, there is some noise pollution. Earplugs are provided, as well as a noise machine in each tiny house. We couldn’t get ours to work quite right, so I’ll definitely bring my own sound machine if I make it back! It really wasn’t a big deal…we were in the tiny house on a weeknight, and the street noise settled down early. Out in the communal outdoor space, Caravan’s owners have thoughtfully provided everything guests need to make a fire in the fire pit and roast s’mores (including gluten-free graham crackers and vegan marshmallows). During our stay, only one other tiny house was occupied, so the communal area remained pretty quiet.
The tiny houses at Caravan are popular, especially on weekends (when there’s a two night minimum) so be sure to book well in advance if you want to pick your favorite. Rates are around $150/night, which is a great value. I’d definitely stay here again in lieu of booking a similarly priced standard hotel room in the suburbs. At Caravan, you get a boutique hotel feel with an artistic, creative ambiance in an excellent location.
Alberta Arts District:
Caravan is located at 11th Avenue and Alberta Street, in the northeast section of Portland. This area is across the Willamette from downtown, so couples staying at the tiny house hotel will probably want to leave the car parked and explore Alberta Street rather than drive back downtown for nightlife. And there’s plenty to do within a five block radius. We opted to spend our evening in the Alberta Arts District creating our own ‘progressive dinner’. We started at the Devil’s Den wine bar, where we sampled local and European wines with the assistance of the owner, Tommy. Devil’s Den is perhaps the most unpretentious, low-key wine bar I’ve been in. After a glass of wine, we walked further down Alberta Street, window shopping as we went. Past the Alberta Co-Op are numerous food truck pods, all of which tempted us. But we set our sights on a cocktail and appetizer at Knock Back, near Alberta and 20th. With heated outdoor seating and a killer cocktail menu, we settled in nicely here. If you go, opt for a bowl of their signature popcorn for $3…it’s worth every penny.
After drinks and appetizers, we headed to Bollywood Theater for dinner. This casual Indian restaurant serves full meals or small plates, with a fun, upbeat ambiance and Bollywood movies playing on the walls. Bonsai Sushi is also in the neighborhood (also a contender for our progressive dinner), and many other small restaurants and the aforementioned food trucks. Next to Bollywood Theater was our last stop: Salt and Straw ice cream. Well known throughout Portland and internationally, Salt and Straw makes their homemade ice cream with inventive, artisan flavors like honey and lavender, pear and blue cheese, and strawberry and balsamic.
Needless to say, we practically had to roll ourselves ‘home’ to Caravan after our evening of food and drinks. We made a cedar plank fire in the fire pit and settled in under the protective canopy outside Skyline. In the morning, I slept through the yoga class down the street I’d planned to attend, and we ate our final meal in the Alberta Arts District at Pine State Biscuits, which serves homemade biscuits on breakfast sandwiches, with fried chicken, or smothered in mushroom or sausage gravy.
If you go:
- Book Caravan in advance, though you might luck out with an open tiny house at the last minute.
- Know that room service is available from the Radio Room, located across the street.
- Feel secure with locked gate entry to Caravan’s pod of tiny houses, plus a code on each house.
- Expect free street parking anywhere in the vicinity.
- Plan on a 10 minute drive from the Alberta Arts District to downtown.
- Look for local events and things to do on an outdoor sign by the fire pit.
We stayed at Caravan as guests of the owners, for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.