You can’t talk about tiny house hotels without recognizing the original. Definitely the first in the USA, maybe even the first in the world, Caravan, The Tiny House Hotel (5009 NE 11th Ave.) is in the heart of Northeast Portland’s vibrant Alberta Arts District. The tiny houses are just as funky and fun as the surrounding shops and restaurants. Speaking of food, if you have young foodies in the family, you’re in luck, as this neighborhood has several of KidTripster’s Top 10 Family-Friendly Eats for Portland. Every effort is made to give you a true Portlandia experience from the Fair Trade soap to the vegan marshmallows for s’mores.
Photo courtesy: Jeffrey Freeman
Where to stay?
Caravan boasts six custom-built, tiny houses which all ring a communal fire pit with inviting Adirondack chairs, a ping-pong table (upon request), and a canopy stretched overhead. Each tiny house was built by a different designer; a booklet inside your tiny house tells each unit’s story. Currently five of the six houses can accommodate three to four people; as of the spring, all of them will be able to fit a family.
KidTripster Tip: If you have a train lover in the family, opt for the Caboose, complete with bunk beds and a cupola loft.
Each tiny house is equipped with a mini refrigerator, stove-top burner, microwave, and Italian espresso maker (and organic coffee), but with the number of fantastic restaurants and food carts in the area, you likely won’t be cooking. The bathroom has a flush toilet and hot water shower. The toiletries are surprisingly high-end and locally-made: soap from Oregon Soap Company and shea butter shampoo and body wash products from Alaffia in Olympia, Washington. The sleeping areas invite cozy cuddles with handmade quilts, abundant pillows, and twinkly lights.
KidTripster Tip: The only thing that you won’t find in your tiny house is a television, but there is free WiFi, if you bring your own device.
And if you want to learn more about Portland, there’s a collection of random travel guides, walking guides, eating guides plus bike maps and books on food carts and tiny living in your tiny house library. Besides Good Night Oregon which is thoughtfully placed on your bed, you should bring your own kid books.
We stayed in the Skyline, a 142-square foot tiny house with a queen-sized bed and a lofted futon that folded out into an additional bed. This particular unit was built almost entirely of salvaged materials. My son and I enjoyed discovering how the recycled metal and wood objects had been repurposed. And the triangular toilet was a conversation piece!
KidTripster Tip: Caravan does warn guests that late night noise from area bars can be an issue. However, you’ll find sound machines and a jar of foam ear plugs inside the units.
KidTripster Tip: Yes, Caravan is pet-friendly for a one-time pet fee of $25.
Rates for the tiny houses that fit three to four people start at $155/night; there’s an extra charge of $25/person/day for additional guests over the age of 10.
Photo courtesy: Jeffrey Freeman
What to do?
The Alberta Arts District offers plenty of shops and galleries to explore. If you visit June through August, you may catch the Last Thursday (on the month) Art Walk right outside Caravan’s front door. And every Wednesday during the summer, Caravan hosts its own bonfire with a local band from 7 to 10 p.m. Neighboring Radio Room restaurant serves barbecue. Cost: Youth (10 and under) Free; Adult $10. And on any night, you can help yourself to s’mores fixings, Portland-style: vegan marshmallows, organic graham crackers (gluten-free, too), and Fair Trade dark and milk chocolate.