An Indianapolis woman and her company unveiled plans for a boutique hotel made of shipping containers she’s planning to open in the Haughville neighborhood this summer.
Robin Staten-Lanier, a new hotelier, is the owner of Tiny Urban Escapes, a hidden micro resort that would comprise of four semi-glass private luxury suites and private event space — all converted from upcycled-shipping containers.
The hotel will be located at 2214 W. Michigan St. near the Indianapolis Public Library Haughville branch. Tiny Urban Escapes is a Black-owned, female-led enterprise.
“This goes beyond hospitality,” she said. “The intent is to transform communities, but also to use this space, almost as an igniter of additional economic development in this community.”
Construction is tentatively expected to be completed in the summer. Twenty-foot shipping containers will be converted into suites while the event space — called “The Scene” — will be made from a larger 40-foot shipping container. Each suite will have access to wellness and culinary experiences and on-demand concierge service.
Reclaiming shipping containers and transforming them into custom modular building projects has been a trend for some time. The containers are considered affordable, durable and eco-friendly construction materials.
They’ve been used to create restaurants, classrooms and offices. Shipping container hotels exists in states such as Texas and California. Staten-Lanier was drawn to use repurpose shipping containers because they are green and sustainable.
“We are aware of the impact that hospitality has on the environment,” she said. “One of missions that are part of our work is the lessen that with regards to being green in hospitality.”
Repurposing shipping containers shortens the construction timeline and makes it more feasible to bring a product to the market, Staten-Lanier said. The project is estimated to cost about half a million dollars. The project has received funding from LISC, a nonprofit that works to help community development organizations transform distressed communities.
“These are modular buildings so they can be built off-site and brought to site once the land is prepped and ready to go,” she said.
The Tiny Urban Escapes boutique hotel will be enclosed greenspace similar to a Parisian garden. She is hoping to draw in guests and travelers looking for urban escapes or workers seeking a unique remote work experience.
An all-female design team from Chicago-based Siren Betty Design designed each suite to have a focus on the types of individuals who would gravitate to one kind of suite versus another. The four suites have different styles.
For example, there’s the “Bold,” a suite aimed at those who are fearless and chart their own path. For those more in tune with nature and natural elements there, there’s the “Naturalist” suite and there’s a luxury suite for those “who spare no expense when it comes to their happiness and peace.” Prices range from $179 to $329 per night.
Each suite will have queen-size beds, luxury amenities, classic literature and journals to share their thoughts or reasons for travel. The suites will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but you won’t find TVs.
“The idea of Tiny Urban Escapes is just that an urban oasis — a true urban escape,” Staten-Lanier said. “So to be able to have this enclosed green space, which has a courtyard that promotes wellness, tranquility, and an opportunity to self renew is what we really focus on.”
The hotel will operate as a self-service hospitality site, guests will check themselves in and out of the property. Guests will also have access to private experiences. They book plants to care for during their stay or bring private chefs. Throughout the summer, programming will include private artist shops, yoga wellness retreats. Staten-Lanier also is exploring the possibility of hosting private corporate retreats on-site.
Born and raised in west Indianapolis, Staten-Lanier said she wanted to bring luxury amenities to that side of the city and Haughville.
“We can use this location, or any location we decide upon, to be an intersection,” she said, “not only for the community but also for individuals outside of our community, to bring them in, so they learn about the history of these neighborhoods, the people, and the culture here.”