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This shiny new capsule hotel has just landed in the Spanish desert

The DistrictHive ‘podtel’ is a hyper-efficient, transportable holiday rental in Granada

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

From the above picture, you might think this article is about some kind of Martian home or desert laboratory. But it’s not. That thing is called DistrictHive, and it’s the first of many ‘podtels’ to be plonked around the world. A ‘podtel’, just to be clear, is a ‘pod hotel’ – but with a shorter, trendier name.

With its reflective exterior and isolated surroundings, DistrictHive does indeed look rather mysterious and extraterrestrial. In fact, one day, it probably could be. The 35-square-metre ‘podtel’ structure itself is designed to be completely transportable – so these things could literally pop up anywhere. Even Mars. 

But this one specifically is in Gorafe (Europe’s only natural desert) in Granada, Spain. It’s a barren but beguiling landscape and – because it has so few inhabitants – is pretty great for stargazing. Just look at this photo. Phwoar.

Photograph: Gonzalo Botet / DistrictHive

But there’s far more to DistrictHive than the fact that it’s in a desert and it looks pretty cool. It’s also 100 percent self-sufficient, meaning that it generates all its own electricity and sources all its own water.

So, how does it do those things? Well, DistrictHive employs some of the most cutting-edge sustainable tech there is. Not only has it got solar panels, but it can store enough battery power for four days without sun. It can also collect water from the surrounding air. We’re not sure how – we’re not that clever – but it just does. On top of all that, it’s intimidatingly efficient and barely wastes any energy or resources.

But all that eco-hype doesn’t stop DistrictHive from being tremendously luxurious. Inside, its four guests won’t feel like they’re in a desert at all, but in a very decent hotel room with exceptional views and without any annoying company.

Photograph: Gonzalo Botet / DistrictHive

The coolest bit, however, might be the fact that it’s all managed by artificial intelligence. All lighting, sound, doors and even interior odour are controlled by AI. It’s a bit like 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000, but you’re in the desert and your iPhone will be your closest friend. Hopefully the AI is a bit less psychotic, also.

If you find all that absolutely thrilling, you can book the DistrictHive through its website.

More cool places to stay:

You can spend the night in this beautiful Irish castle for free

Sweden’s real-life ice palace is back – and more spectacular than ever

Dream holiday alert: you can now stay in this hilltop castle in Japan

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