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Photo via HOK

Mindf**k drone-based hotel concept puts you in transparent pods instead of rooms

This seems like the ultimate getaway.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Oct 20, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 6:14 pm CDT

Say what you want about fantastic vacations, but there’s one universal truth when it comes to travel: Many hotel rooms are just plain boring. Design and engineering firm HOK has an idea to make hotels cool again, and it’s all based on drone technology. 


Earlier this month, HOK won the grand prize at the 10th annual Radical Innovation Award competition for its “Driftscape” hotel design, and one glance will make it clear why came out on top. Driftscape can barely even be considered a “hotel” in the modern sense, as it’s more like a series of self-sustaining, flying pods that can go pretty much wherever you feel like taking them. 


The central hub of the hotel is called the Oasis, and it houses the kitchen and lounge areas. The guest rooms, which are referred to as “Driftcraft,” are scattered about the surrounding area—all of the conceptual renderings of the hotel layout are in wide open spaces, rather than cities, which is a crucial aspect of the entire design. 


The pods provide 360-degree viewing of the surrounding environment, and they can be relocated at will. HOK even envisions a future where the pods float on water, creating a sort of ocean resort where your room is also an air-worthy drone. 


It’s equal parts science fiction and real-world engineering, but the concept is far from a production-ready premise. Still, by winning its grand prize, HOK will have the opportunity to further conceptualize Driftscape and perhaps turn it into something much more real. 

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*First Published: Oct 20, 2016, 6:56 pm CDT