A Vintage Getaway in a 1959 Airstream

 
 
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Sitting in a dark and tired studio apartment on this years summer holiday to Greece, I longed to be staying somewhere better. I’d booked our accommodation last minute, and I didn’t care much what the apartment was like because the location was in central Chania. Plus at £450 for the week, it was a steal. But sitting there in that basic studio, I contemplated my dissatisfaction and vowed I would do my best going forward to stay in places that make me feel good, location aside.

Lying on the dilapidated balcony, I hit up Airbnb and selected my criteria - we must have the entire place to ourselves, it must be in the country, and most importantly it must have a hot tub. The weak-flow shower that kept falling on my head in the Chania apartment would not do, and I had been aching for a hot bath – so I thought why not go the extra mile and get a hot tub.

I came across a vintage Airstream caravan (or ‘trailer’ to be consistent and use the American term) called the Tin Can Cottage in Goodleigh, Devon.  I booked a long weekend in for my and my fiancé James without even asking if he wanted to go (I have a habit of doing that…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). If you haven’t guessed from a lot of the content I post here at Private Room, I am a vintage fanatic. I also fantasise about owning and renovating a vintage caravan on a regular basis, in part because I desperately want to be a member of the Retro Caravan Club. So naturally I was drawn to staying in this 1959 beauty.

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Airstreams were made to be lightweight (as ‘light as air’, even), have streamlined movement when in tow, and provide first-class accommodation wherever one is in the world. Founder Wally Byam designed the first trailer in the 1930s, and by the 1950s Airstream had gone for a travel trailer company to a cultural movement. Wally had become synonymous with his work and despite his death in 1962, Airstream are still going today.  

The not-so-fussed-about-staying-in-a-caravan James drove us to Coombe Farm, where the Tradewind Airstream is situated. Parking up we met owner Matt who lives on-site in a big white farmhouse with his partner Lisa. He’d come out to say hello and show how us to use the Dutch hot tub – a wood fired tub we’d soon come to realise takes around 6 hours to heat from cold. He advised patience would be a virtue, but it’ll be worth it. Luckily he’d the lit the fire earlier so it was good to go that evening.

That night, whilst pouring myself a glass of red wine and squeezing on my two-sizes-too-small swimsuit, I lusted over the caravan’s high spec appliances. The kitchen has a SMEG fridge, a Le Creuset whistling kettle and my favourite Denby Halo mugs. The quilt and pillows are duck feather, with linen sheets and of course a memory foam mattress. There’s hammam towels in the shower room, along with big 1litre bottles of Neals Yard products for our use. That kind of high-end yet understated luxury is right up my street.

Once in the tub I was initially disappointed to find it didn’t bubble like the conventional hot tub. On reflection, I don’t think those neon-lit plastic hot tubs with in-built speakers you’d find in B&Q would be something Lisa and Matt would typically opt for. But that said, I grew to love the Dutch tub. Coming from Bristol, the rural quiet was welcomed along with that earthy sense of wellbeing you get from the smell of wood smoke.

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Along with the hot tub, the outdoor area has a trailer which acts as an extended kitchen with a larger sink and a microwave, a sheltered BBQ area for burgers come rain or shine and a fire pit that we lit a couple of times and watched the sun set from (cheesy, I know). Oh and of course, lots of fairy lights - a must for any magical glamping experience.

Our stay was one-of-a-kind in this 1959 gem, and it definitely offers something different than your average rental without skimping on luxuries. If you’re a fellow vintage fanatic, don’t mind sharing half your living space with wild animals, and can hack a six hour wait for the hot tub, you’ll love it.

Click here to book the Tin Can Cottage on Airbnb.

By Pheobe Strange, Editor at Private Room.

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