By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel

Seeking a strange hotel experience? Try sleeping in a “luxury” 20-foot shipping container.

Now, I know you’re thinking ‘Hang on, Ken, I don’t want to be human cargo and illegally smuggled out of China inside a suffocatingly hot metal hell crate that features lovely amenities like squalor, anguish, and death’.

But this hotel swears it’s 100% legit.

It’s a deluxe ‘pop-up hotel’ that’s cheekily entitled Sleeping Around because it’s roaming around the world. According to the hotel’s Norwegian braintrust, Didier Opdebeeck, Ellen Wezenbeek, and restauranteur & hotelier Geoffrey Stampaert, they’ve created a “pop-up hotel [that] travels the globe according to user-input demand.”

In other words, you decide where this mobile hotel travels next. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure story, but starring steel crates made in China.

Crate hotelCurrently the hotel is located at a shipping pier called Scheldekaai in Antwerp, Belgium next to Waagnatie (to find it, enter Rijnkaai 150 to your GPS).

The hotel consists of seven refurbished shipping containers. Four of the containers are hotel rooms that include a box spring bed, high quality linen, walk-in shower, Rituals amenities, rain shower [I presume this isn’t a literal rain shower], iPod docking station, and air conditioning [again, I trust this is actual electrical AC and not just a hole in the roof].

Plus the hotel comes with a dining room, kitchen, and sauna. The current nightly rate is 149 Euros ($201 CDN) and includes breakfast which I’ll trust is not a tin of hobo beans and a steaming cup of leather vagrant boot soup.

Alas, there’s no hotel gym, StairMaster, or treadmill. But depending on where the hotel’s currently located, you can get a great workout by defending yourself from pirates, bear attacks, biker gangs, or cells of radical, Kalashnikov-toting extremists. Just don’t fire a weapon inside your hotel room. If the ricocheting bullets don’t kill you, the echoing gunshots will deafen you.

Via their website, you can recommend a cool new site for the hotel that offers “unique views or fantastic hidden locales.” The hoteliers say Sleeping Around “can take refuge in the countryside or thrive in a stimulating city center.”

So far, the Sleeping Around hotel has set up at three locations including “weeks on the banks of the Scheldt in Antwerp with a view of St. Anna’s beach”. In the handful of months since it’s been open for business, Sleeping Around has accommodated over 100 hotel guests.

On their site, you can discover if the hotel has moved to a location you love, and then enter the location into your GPS device so you can find the hotel in person. Cool, huh?

Hotel roomBut if you do want to find them, you’d better move fast. Sleeping Around can be set up and fully functional within five hours of arriving at a location…and just as fast, it can pack up and move to a new locale.

What do you think…would you enjoy sleeping in a steel shipping crate? And could you convince your spouse/lover/offspring to come protect you?

— Ken Hegan


Bing: Unusual hotels in Europe

Read more of Ken’s travel stories here  

Follow Ken on Twitter: @KenHegan

Photos courtesy Sleeping Around