In Style + Design

Introducing The Moveable, Off-Grid Luxury Hotel Room

A new moveable, off-grid luxury accommodation concept in one of South Australia’s premier wine regions is looking to change wine tourism across the state. Adelaide-based company Escapod launched its first innovative and lavish liveable pod in August at The Vineyard Retreat at Blewett Springs in McLaren Vale.

Aiming to match the quality of a five-star suite, the environmentally-friendly abode is designed to deliver an immersive experience among its natural surroundings. Situated at the southern boundary of the Marmont Vineyard, the first Escapod is more than 70 square metres – the near equivalent to two hotel rooms – with a bathroom, kitchen, king-sized bedroom and transformer lounge and dining area.

Escapod Architect Dino Vrynios said the open-plan layout of the pod is intended to offer panoramic views of the natural landscape from inside the main living space, bedroom and outdoor decks.

“We want to give prominence to the landscape and that’s why we really pushed with the large, expansive glazing and other elements like that to make sure that when people wake up in the morning and they lift the blinds they’re instantly reminded that they are in a beautiful location,” says Vrynios.

“Simplicity is an important part of it too, we want the building to be somewhat understated within its environment.”

It’s the luxe finishes that elevate the pods above high-level caravans – think underfloor heating in the bathroom, wood-fire combustion heater, induction cooktop and mod-cons such as automated blinds and double glazed windows.

Vrynios says that pods are constructed off-site and take around 10 weeks per build. With a focus on vineyards and regional tourism locations, the company has an ambitious target to have 20 Escapods fully operational around South Australia by June next year. They also plan to take their pods interstate.

The Vineyard Retreat at McLaren Vale – just a stone’s throw away from the d’Arenberg Cube and other iconic McLaren Vale wineries including Wirra Wirra vineyards – was selected as the initial site to host the new concept, which is expected to be available for bookings later this month. Owner of The Vineyard Retreat Anthea Cross said the pod accommodation provides guests a means to disconnect from the urban cityscape and engage with their environment.

“For us, the Escapod is a more contemporary offering which could potentially attract different clientele,” says Cross.

“It’s a getaway from the city to be amongst nature – you can experience being on a vineyard with hills and nature just in the distance without having to step outside, there’s a lot of glass in the building but there’s also provisions for privacy.”

The cadole also has eco-friendly components such as waste treatment capabilities along with renewable energy systems which provide utilities to the pod.

“The Escapod runs purely on rainwater and all the waste is treated on site and while we are currently hooked up to the electrical grid, we hope to put solar on the property in the future.

“I think people who are eco conscious might be attracted to this type of accommodation who don’t want to rough it.”

The Vineyard Retreat’s luxury pod will be priced from $430 per night.

(Lead and all images: Sam Dickinson)

Published 10 September, 2018