Design Hotels launches Papaya Playa Project, a “pop up hotel” in Tulum, Mexico

papaya playa projectTaking glamping and the idea of pop ups to a new level is the innovative hotel group Design Hotels with the launch yesterday of the Papaya Playa Project, a temporary “pop up” camp with 99 rustic cabanas on a 900-meter stretch of Caribbean coastline in Tulum, Mexico.

Starting at just $25 a night for what amounts to a cot on the beach to $675 a night for one of the more luxe accommodations, the rooms will be a mix of private cabanas and casitas and shared, dormitory-style accommodations featuring shared baths and bunk beds.

Lest you wonder about whether or not building such a project wreaked havoc on the area’s natural surroundings – it isn’t. It’s “a spiffed-up campus of cabanas once belonging to three now-shuttered resorts,” according to The New York Times, but it’s the first such large-scale hotel pop up we’ve seen. The only other that exists? Hotels offering limited term “glamping” excursions and a British company called “The Pop Up Hotel” which really specializes in crafting limited-term spaces for events and retreats.

Barring some traveler’s unwillingness to visit Mexico due to continued violence in the country, Papaya Playa seems an easy fit for those looking for alternative travel experiences – a true “glamping” trip that integrates local materials and nature with luxe elements like high thread count sheets and private cabanas, plus amenities like food from KaterHolzig of Berlin’s Bar 25 fame and a spa incorporating Mayan shamanism.

Design Hotels founder and now Tulum resident Claus Sendlinger plans to bring in famous DJs and musicians to perform on the beach’s “natural ampitheater” as well as perks for the luxe seeker including local and sustainable foods plus organic “nutrient-rich food-on-the-go,” plus an on-site boutique with local and international designers.

The only thing we can’t figure out? What Design Hotels plans to do with the space when it closes in May of 2012.

Nine-day, 62-mile traffic jam in China

Before you start the commute home for the day, consider how bad the traffic could be. Sure, you could get stuck behind a bus or on the train for an hour or so, but how about 9 DAYS?! Thousands of motorists have been stranded on the Beijing-Tibet expressway since August 13th as a road work project has stopped up an already-busy road, and they could be stuck for another few weeks until the project concludes. Heavy traffic is nothing new to the highway, as thousands of trucks pass through daily on one of the few routes into the capital, carrying cargo throughout the country.

Some enterprising (and price-gouging) locals have set up shop along the highway, selling food and drinks at steep prices, though police are patrolling the area around the clock and will remain until the congestion is alleviated. Bored drivers have suggested that “concerts should be held at each congested area every weekend, to alleviate drivers’ homesickness” and why stop there? How about a pop-up hotel or a food truck (though a food bicycle might be better to cut through the stalled vehicles) to ameliorate tension and hunger? There won’t be any traffic tweet-ups, as the government has blocked Twitter along with a number of other websites.

How would you pass the time in the world’s worst traffic jam?

[Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons]