Five Crowd-Funding Hotels Worth Supporting
The backer perks alone are worth it.
In far-flung locations from Redmond, Oregon, to Zaton, Croatia, architecture aficionados are transforming fixer-uppers into desirable B&Bs, inns, and ranch retreats. The only catch? They need your help (and money) to make their dream a reality. Take a look at the five current campaigns below, and if you want to get in on the ground floor, click through to donate.
1. The Runaway in Jamaica
After becoming the world’s first successfully Kickstarter-funded B&B in 2015, the Runaway (above) won over scores of sustainable-minded travelers with its organic rooftop garden, ocean views, and, most significantly, the handmade furniture in each room. The decor is the work of Jeff Williams, a Chicago-born furniture maker who lives on the island full-time, creating one-of-a-kind pieces out of driftwood, bamboo, felled trees, branches, and roots found throughout the island. So popular is Williams’ handiwork that it has sparked a follow-up Kickstarter by the hotel, to launch its first-ever furniture collection. The campaign—set to go live in July—will provide money for Williams to open his own production studio (after eight years of sharing work space and renting tools, it was about time!), so guests can shop the pieces themselves. Backers will be able to pre-order the collection, which includes four-poster beds, dining tables, and full-length mirrors. “This new project is part of our mission to leverage the Runaway as a platform to showcase local makers, and impact the local economy,” says Belizaire.
2. The Chuck in Palm Springs, California
While looking to purchase a new home in Palm Springs, Jeremy Zablotsky stumbled upon this 1948 apartment complex. “I fell immediately in love,” he says. Since taking over the building, Zablotsky has laid down porcelain tile floors, outfitted bathrooms with rain showers and marble walls, and sourced bold, Hollywood-esque custom furniture pieces—like a pink velvet tufted bed—for three of the five suites (once money is raised, the final two units will be completed). “I wanted to create a white canvas,” he explains, “Because then you add color, and it makes the whole room pop.” After checking in, guests will be able to relax by the pool, lounge in their 400 square-foot private patio, or walk the 1.3 miles to downtown Palm Springs, full of lively restaurants, bars, and galleries.
3. Kirtland K. Cutter house in Spokane, Washington
Last year, while researching a book on local architects, Spokane-based photographer Frankie Benka became so engrossed in the work of the Northwest’s favorite builder, Kirtland K. Cutter, that she vowed to create a lasting exhibition to honor his life. Cutter, whose drawings have ended up in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, designed hundreds of houses throughout the west—some more opulent than European castles. He first built his home in 1897, then lost it to foreclosure in the 1910s. The property remained there until the 1960s, when it was demolished and replaced by an eight-story apartment building. Now, Benka, collaborating with local architect Larry Morning, has secured a riverside location near downtown—with its lush parks and microbreweries—to rebuild Cutter’s original Swiss Chalet home as a museum, complete with a library, inglenook, and butler’s pantry. Luckily for travelers, there will be seven bedrooms available to book as a bed-and-breakfast. “Being a house, it seemed like a good idea to allow people not just to visit, but to spend the night there, too,” says Benka. “It would also allow the organization to support itself.” Alongside the rooms, will be two bathrooms, a fully functional kitchen, and two wood-burning fireplaces. Each guest will get to fully experience what life would have been like in turn-of-the-century Spokane—with the modern convenience of flushing toilets.
4. The Admiral in Zaton, Croatia
On the outskirts of Sibenik, a Croatian countryside riddled with old churches, monasteries and palaces, lies the Admiral. The original structure, a socialist hangout, belonged to 1950s ruler of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, but later fell into disrepair. Now, Jonathan Riff and his girlfriend, Megan Horney, are leading an ambitious project to gut, repaint, rewire, and re-furnish the building into a 15-room boutique hotel—a traditional konoba, or restaurant, will be added too. As a thank you, backers can receive Admiral-printed matchboxes ($10 or more), have their names sketched onto a brick in the lobby ($25 or more), or score a free night ($75 or more). Inspiration-wise, Horney borrows from California’s mid-century palaces as well as the hotel's pastoral Dalmatian surroundings. “I call the vibe coastal boho,” she jokes of the light, airy, nautical-themed rooms, which will be available May 1. There will also be the option to book a seven-day coastal cruise, exploring secluded beaches and islands, waterfalls in Krka National Park, and a range of nearby coastal towns.
5. Nirvana Ranch in Redmond, Oregon
In the sunny, sage-scented valleys of central Oregon, utopia is the goal at Nirvana Ranch, an off-the-grid farm retreat. Set on six acres, the former 1900s homestead looks west toward Three Sisters and Broken Top mountains, and has a small barn with chickens. The main house, built in 1949, sits shaded by juniper and poplar trees, adjacent to a seasonal creek; the whole thing is fenced in, so guests can let their dogs roam free. “We want guests to deepen their connection with the earth, and experience simple, sustainable living,” says co-founder Lori Slaughter. As a result, they will offer horseback rides through the mountains. Lodging-wise, a crop of four energy-efficient “tiny houses”—spaced far enough apart to lend a true sense of privacy—will utilize composting toilets, solar energy panels, and aquifer-pumped well water.