20 Nov Staying In Idaho’s Most Famous Spud: The Big Potato Hotel
Where we’re at: I’m jumping ahead to share my trip in late August 2020 with Visit Idaho. I’ll jump back into chronological time eventually!
Honestly, can you you think of a more a-peel-ing accommodation than this?
Groan. Sorry, but I can’t promise that’s the last potato-related pun in my coverage of my trip to Idaho. Punning is of my travel joys, apparently, along with sleeping in the most quirky accommodation I can find — I’ve spent the night in an oversized seashell, in an underwater hotel, in bubble tents and tree houses, and now this… a giant potato hotel outside Boise.
Idaho has been on my radar for ages, mostly thanks to so many of the rad women in my life who have journeyed there and shared their finds with the world.
My girl Katie, an Idaho native, moved back there a few years ago and visiting her piqued my interest as soon as she started posting her adventures in cute downtown Boise. My friends Kristin, Silvia, and another Kristin also have made various trips there over the years to ski, hot spring hop, and pique my interest over this hidden gem — literally nicknamed The Gem State!
Somewhere along the line, Katie went to the grand opening of the The Big Idaho Potato Hotel, and posted about it on Facebook. I am sleeping in that spud if it’s the last thing I do, I promised myself, and in my mind my trip to Idaho went from “will be nice someday” to “put a flight alert on BOI.”
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So when Visit Idaho and I started planning this trip together, I knew exactly where it needed to start. How did the giant potato Airbnb come to be? The main structure was built in 2012 in Weiser, Idaho, to tour the country as part of a program promoting Idaho’s famous potato industry. While it was originally designed to travel for one year, the spud became a smash hit, and was on the road until 2018 when a new model took its place. When it came time for it to retire, the company gifted it to one of their employees, Kristie Wolfe, who long dreamed about turning it into a tiny house in her native state.
Dolly, the resident dairy cow, is an important member of the management team.
“You’re going to laugh when you get there,” warned Katie, who I was thrilled agreed to join me on my trip. Indeed, after picking up my rental car, grabbing a few supplies, and driving just twenty minutes south of Boise, it was quite a sight to see a large potato emerge on the endless plains in front of me — and I did in fact giggle in delight.
Dolly immediately strolled over to greet me, and I while saying hi I glanced around the grounds that held, in addition to the big potato hotel itself, a grain silo converted into a stunning bath house, a set of active train tracks that a few cars occasionally rolled by on, and a few other structures that I suspect are more fantastic future tiny homes in the making.
Tapping the door code Kristie had sent me via Airbnb into the potato, I was in my new hashbrown-inspired home.
What a stunner! I was immediately swooning over every thoughtful detail of this teeny tiny home — though, I should note that if this were a real potato, it would have taken 10,000 years to grow, which kind of puts a new spin on its size.
On each side of the door lies “the kitchen” consisting of two small nooks — one with a wine fridge, sink, and a few basic kitchen tools, the other with a kettle, a set of gorgeous mugs, and a fancy coffee, tea and hot chocolate bar.
In the small “living room” central area there are two chairs, a small table, and a bookcase of oddities to occupy you, from a guest book I could have read all night, some records for the record player (can I start all my mornings listening to Kasey Musgraves on vinyl?), and a few carefully chosen decorative items.
Finally, the “bedroom” — a cozy bed with a built-in shelf on each side holding bedtime books, a noise machine, and a small box with ear plugs and essential oils to help you sleep. Truly, every detail accounted for.
While you’d have to double back to Boise to find a real restaurant (there are some side-of-the-road diners en route) and the kitchen is obviously not equipped for whipping up a huge meal, we were thrilled to have a local delicacy board sourced from my finds at Boise Co-Op.
Every single thing on that gorgeous board above is proudly made in Idaho. Perhaps my favorite product, which we shoved in the wine fridge for breakfast, was a tub of peach goat yogurt from Picabo Desert Farm in Richfield. It had a paper home printer label plastic taped to the top with a poem:
we know the label isn’t chic
but the yogurt inside is the best you’ll eat!
They weren’t lying.
The number one question I got on my Instagram when I shared this place on my feed and stories was, wait… are there windows? No, there aren’t, and honestly that was great for me because it helped me sleep in the next morning and get on Mountain Standard Time!
Plus, if you needed fresh air, there was a whole wide pasture beyond the potato.
Perhaps my favorite part of the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, however, was the bath house. I had seen photos of it online, of course, while booking — but I think I was still rubbing my eyes like a cartoon character in disbelief when I walked in there.
It’s like a posh little spa, in the middle of the plains!
Perhaps the most Pinterest-able interior decorating idea in the entire place was the soaking salts bar on the fireplace. Each jar had a differently scented set of salts, which you could mix and match to create your own perfect bath blend.
And as Katie and I learned when the sun went down and the temperatures dropped, there’s more than enough room for two! (There’s also deliciously heated floors, a true treat for your toes.)
For those who prefer a shower, there’s a rainhead version on the other side of the silo — which I also tried on for size the next morning. And while there are no windows here, either, there is a skylight over the chandelier in the center which lets in a lot of light.
Wondering what there is to do, in the middle of nowhere in a giant potato? Honestly, we were entertained from the moment of our arrival till the second of departure with all the little surprises that awaited us.
And of course, this being a girl’s trip and all — I’d come prepared with coordinating spa treatments for before bed.
I was a little sad to leave the next morning — good thing all of Idaho awaited! Katie, who grew up on a dairy farm, got straight to her morning chores (just kidding, brushing Dolly is anything but a burden.)
By the way, the potato has no wifi, but we had enough phone service to hotspot and take care of a few emails before we hit the road the next day. If you’re planning to watch movies in bed or anything cozy like that, download ahead of time.
Was one night enough? I think if you’re just focusing on the potato experience, yes. If you’re using it as a base to explore Boise and the beyond, sure — but I’d consider splitting your time between multiple stays just to get the full experiences of each. For us, it was a great jumping off point for our road trip down I-84 towards Twin Falls.
Truly, this unique potato Airbnb lived up to all the hype I’d created in my mind… and more. It goes so far beyond just a gimmick — every detail has been thought out with so much care to create a truly memorable, uniquely Idaho experience. Bookmark it for your own future Idaho adventure someday! And don’t forget, you can get up to $65 off if you’ve never used Airbnb before.
My favorite moments? Soaking in the grain silo turned bathhouse, reading through the gorgeous guestbook, listening to Kacy Musgraves records, admiring all the well-thought design details, and of course, getting to know Dolly the cow.
It was spud-tacular.
What do you think, would you stay in a giant potato? What’s the most unique accommodation you’ve stayed in?