The 28-foot-long, 12-foot-wide and 11.5-foot-tall spud is made of steel, plaster and concrete and offers accommodations for up to two guests per night. (Photo credit: Idaho Potato Commission)
BOISE, Idaho - If you’re planning a trip to Idaho this summer, there's a new hotel opening that is spud-tacular.
The Potato Hotel can now be reserved on Airbnb, with available dates starting in June. The 28-foot-long, 12-foot-wide and 11.5-foot-tall spud is made of steel, plaster and concrete and offers accommodations for up to two guests per night, according to its owner.
The giant potato was originally made in 2012 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Idaho Potato Commission, a state agency that works to promote Idaho potatoes and the trademarked “Grown in Idaho” seal. It was initially only intended to go on tour for one year.
Instead, the 6-ton Big Idaho Potato stayed on the road for several years, traveling thousands of miles on the back of a semi-truck, appearing in countless Instagram selfies and promoting the renowned Idaho potato in towns across America.
“What we weren’t prepared for was how crazy amazing this tour was going to be, and we started getting media requests and appearance requests,” Big Idea Potato Tour Director Laura Martin said.
In 2018, the commission built a slightly smaller, fiberglass 2.0 version of the potato for touring.
“We made it a little thinner,” Martin explained. “It used to be an over-sized vehicle. We decided to make it 10 feet wide.”
The spud's new owner, Kristie Wolfe, toured with the Big Idaho Potato as a spokesperson for Idaho potatoes. She went on two eight-month tours in 2013 and 2014, driving all around the country with the monster spud attending parades, festivals and other quirky events.
Wolfe, who rents an underground Hobbit Hole in Washington state, a bamboo treehouse on Hawaii's Big Island and a fire lookout in the Idaho Panhandle, previously asked for the giant potato if the commission ever decided to get rid of it.
“I had built a tiny house at that time and when I went on tour I figured the potato was more square footage than my house and I could make it into something really cool,” Wolfe said.
When the 1.0 version finally went into retirement, Wolfe was gifted the massive potato to add to her list of unique Airbnb rentals.
In its new life as a short-term rental, the massive potato is eco-friendly, air conditioned and features a fireplace and even music records from country singer-songwriters like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.
According to the listing, it’s surrounded by 400 acres of farm land in south Boise with “breathtaking views” of the Owyhee Mountains and will set you back about $200 per night.
Wolfe, who grew up in southeast Idaho and has lived in the Boise area for the past decade, said she is a couple of weeks away from being finished with the renovations.
“There’s still some fun landscaping additions and the prettiest cow you’ve ever seen who will live at the potato property,” Wolfe said. “I’ve been working on it 'round the clock for the last 30 days.”
Her favorite part may be the bathroom, located in a separate grain silo structure. It features a two-person trough bathtub, heated flooring and a separate shower, which she says will be “pretty unexpectedly nice” for visitors.
Martin said a hotel is a unique way to extend the life of the well-traveled Big Idaho Potato and could hopefully create more brand longevity.
“Being on the road eight years, we were always amazed at how people reacted to this 6-ton potato in a way like they’ve seen Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny for the first time,” Martin said. “To be able to have it where people can still engage with it and still have that 'a-ha moment' or that excitement, or, 'oh my God, I slept in the Big Idaho Potato' feel, that’s almost priceless.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.