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Idaho is home to two of Airbnb’s top ‘wacky’ rentals, including Big Idaho Potato Hotel

UPDATED: Sun., Aug. 29, 2021

By Michael Deeds Idaho Statesman

BOISE – Looking for someplace unusual to rent on your next vacation?

Airbnb just shared its top 16 “wacky roadside Americana stays” across America.

Naturally, two of the possibilities are in Idaho.

Why naturally? Not just because Idahoans are proud oddballs. Also because Boise is home to entrepreneur Kristie Wolfe, who’s made a career out of creating off-the-wall Airbnb properties.

Airbnb’s collection of 16 “roadside curiosities” includes jaw-dropping spots ranging from “a luxury dome in North Carolina” to “an eccentric tree house in Florida that has been wish listed over 28,400 times within the past year.”

But none is quirkier than Wolfe’s world-renowned Big Idaho Potato Hotel southeast of Boise – or as she calls it on her website, “the five-star darling of Airbnb.”

Before it became a “hotel,” the 28-foot Russet Burbank was a promotional tool for the Idaho Potato Commission. Working as its spokeswoman, Wolfe traveled the United States with the six-ton “potato.” Hauled on the back of a semi, it visited 48 states over seven years.

Instead of retiring it after the tater tour, the commission gave it to Wolfe. She converted it into living quarters and planted it on a piece of land with a cow.

City slickers were smitten. That Big Idaho Potato Hotel – available for $207 a night – has been featured in all sorts of media nationwide and drawn attention across the globe.

A-peeling as the potato might be (yes, that pun is stolen), it’s difficult to top another of Wolfe’s visions: the sky-high Crystal Peak Lookout, which Airbnb also considers one of its elite curiosities.

A former fire lookout tower in Washington state, it was relocated to Fernwood in North Idaho. “It has since been repurposed as an immersive deep-forest getaway,” Airbnb gushes, “surrounded by 13 wooded acres and complete with its own wood-fired sauna!”

It’s got a pretty sweet outhouse, too.

Finding distinctive places to stay is something that an increasing number of Airbnb customers want. Guest searches for unique spots have exploded as much as 10 times since 2019, Airbnb said:

• Yurts (1,701%)

• Islands (1,668%)

• Huts (1,379%)

• Earth houses (1,285%)

• Barns (1,068%)

• Farm stays (1,055%)

• Houseboats (1,015%)

• Tiny homes (791%)

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