Nokken Isn't a Tiny House, It's a Business in a Box

Want a hotel in a hurry? Nokken will knock one out for you.

Nokken in a field


There was once a time when there were hotels and there were campsites. According to London branding studio Aylott + Van Tromp, "innovative hoteliers" merged the two to create glamping. Now, the retreat hospitality market is a big trend in travel, with the sector estimated to grow 17.5% over the next five years.

nokken with flowers


Aylott + Van Tromp addresses this booming market with Nokken, a collection of 15 unit designs that range from small capsules to bigger cabins, "individually crafted by skilled modular experts, with every aspect carefully curated, constructed and detailed using only honest ecofocused and premium materials." But it isn't just a cabin design, it's an instant turn-key hotel business.

“Developers can begin small with a handful of units, then scale up to create a small, village-like community. Units can even be stacked vertically to accommodate sites with restrictive physical footprints," said Nokken co-founder James Van Tromp in a statement. "Additional support is provided through our carefully curated network of specialists, to deliver operationally-ready property management systems and full tech integrations. Our partners can provide remote door access, digital check-in, cloud-based property management systems, off-grid digital powering solutions and even e-bike rental integration. We believe this makes Nokken a fully rounded response to what operators actually need today, and what sets it apart from all other offerings currently on the market.”

interior showing desk and chairs


Their eco-conscious pages note that "from incorporating the efficient use of energy, utilising space and selecting the correct sustainable materials, to delivering a low maintenance cabin that can effectively be located anywhere in the world, then depart leaving no discernible trace in nature."

They tell a story of healthy materials, including cross-laminated timber made from FSC-certified wood and wool insulation. The specifications page is a bit confusing, with the exterior walls having larch cladding, "eco-conscious" wood fiber panels, ECOwool between studs, and a timber interior. The roof is a 2.36-inch CLT panel, which doesn't seem nearly thick enough to span 12 feet and then support 8 inches of ECOwool, 2 inches of wood fiber, and a green sedum roof. The specifications are an odd compilation of very expensive but lovely green materials, and the units come complete with lighting, underfloor electric heating, and a beautiful bathroom.

Base unit plan

Aylott + Van Tromp

The base unit plan is lovely too. One rarely sees small units with the entry at the end like this, with a hallway that has storage. The whole package, not including foundations or service connections, is listed at 72,500 Euros, which is at about par with U.S. dollars these days, making it a bargain for the 12-foot-by-26-foot unit. Given the quality of the specification, it seems impossible when compared to American pricing.

Angeld view of desk and bed


Then there is the business platform, explaining that you are not just buying a modular hotel room but a full hospitality package.

"You could call Nokken a hotel in kit form – in fact – Nokken is a whole ecosystem, helping business bloom within the burgeoning retreat sector of the hospitality industry: whether a single unit acting as work-life hybrid, or a whole village community focused around hospitality or wellbeing, the Nokken cabin platform creates the possibility to provide a relaxed place to live, work and socialise with like-minded people while getting connected with nature."
Nokken bike storage on exterior


They offer management, apps, off-grid power, navigation, satellite internet, and even e-motorbikes. It is all a bit daunting. And it is not as easy as it seems to order up a hotel in kit form: There are often those tough and expensive issues of zoning, water, and sewer that have to be dealt with.

On the other hand, there are lots of run-down trailer and RV parks that are getting upgraded these days, and Aylott + Van Tromp seems pretty confident that there is a big market here.

“The retreat based cabin sector is certainly not going to disappear,” says Van Tromp.“The taste for glamping will develop and pretty soon we’re going to see expectation levels increase with the quality of stay and experience becoming on par with an urban boutique hotel.”

woman with coffee


It is all a lovely story: "Having come from a hospitality architecture and design background, Nathan & James - Nokken’s founders utilised their architectural skill-sets in this field and thus created a product purely for this need." They are lovely units, "designed to experience nature like never before." With the fall of the Euro, even the pricing is lovely.

Is there a market for this, and will it get built anywhere? Does the world need a kit hotel for high-end glamping? I am not so sure, but I am certainly enjoying the lovely photos.