Lonely Planet Writer

Why Portland Oregon is fast becoming the Tiny House Hotel capital of the US

Portland, Oregon, best known for its food carts and quirky characters, is quickly becoming the tiny house capital of the US. As of this week, the city and surrounding region now boasts three tiny house hotels.

Portland is becoming the tiny house hotel capital of the US.
Portland is becoming the tiny house hotel capital of the US. Image by Getty Images

When Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel opened three years ago, it was the first of its kind in the United States. Tiny Digs, opened this week, and Mt Hood Tiny House Village, opened near the Mount Hood National Forest, an hour outside of Portland at the start of the summer.

Caravan Tiny House Hotel opened three years ago.
Caravan Tiny House Hotel opened three years ago. Image by Jeffrey Freeman.

Marcus Hibdon, a tourism PR official, isn’t surprised that the quirky lodging spaces are finding a place in and around Portland. “Oregon is a leader in the tiny house movement and Portlanders love being a little different so it makes sense to see the tiny house hotel movement grabbing a foothold here,” Hibdon told Lonely Planet News. “Our DIY mentality, entrepreneurial spirit and individualism allowed the city to really become the capital of tiny house hotels.”

A sleeping loft in one of the Tiny Digs cabins.
A sleeping loft in one of the Tiny Digs cabins. Image by Tiny Digs

The newly opened Tiny Digs hotel is currently made up of six tiny houses, each with a unique theme and layout.

The Bamboo tiny house is said to be is an expression of appreciation for Asian-influenced design.
The Bamboo tiny house is said to be is an expression of appreciation for Asian-influenced design. Image by: Tiny Digs

All houses are on wheels, with a deck, air conditioning, a sitting area, a kitchen and a queen size bed. The Tiny Bamboo house has an Asian-influenced design, with bamboo featuring heavily on the exterior and interior.

Tansu stairs lead to the sleeping loft.
Tansu stairs lead to the sleeping loft. Image by: Tiny Digs

At Caravan, owners Deb Delman and Kol Peterson say about 10,000 guests have stayed in their tiny house hotel over the past three years, some trying out tiny house living and others merely seeking a unique place to stay. A stay at Caravan is indeed unusual: the six little houses are situated in a circle around a common area with a fire pit and Adirondack chairs. This being Portland, the outdoor space is covered for protection from the rain. It’s a great place to spend the evening, enjoying the fire and unlimited S’mores. And, being in Portland, you know that the S’mores are made with vegan marshmallows, organic or gluten-free graham crackers and fair trade dark or milk chocolate.

Pacifica is a wheelchair accessible tiny house.
Pacifica is a wheelchair accessible tiny house. Image by Jeffrey Freeman

Pacifica, the most expensive of the houses, is wheelchair accessible. Inside, a queen size lofted bed overlooks the main level space featuring a sofa that turns into another bed. A beautifully colored and elaborate tile sink is the showpiece in the kitchen area.

Inside a Caravan tiny house hotel.
Inside a Caravan tiny house hotel. Image by Jeffrey Freeman.

Delman and Peterson’s latest addition to their tiny project is an even smaller abode:  teardrop camping trailers that offer comfortable mattresses, televisions and mini kitchens to take on the road.