PARK HILLS, Mo. — When you think of your typical Airbnb, it’s likely that staying in a Native American style tipi doesn’t come to mind. That’s because there’s nothing typical about staying in a Airbnb tipi.
According to the owners (and more than 500 positive reviews left by those who’ve experienced this unique retreat in the woods of eastern Missouri), an overnight stay here is anything but ordinary.
“When you’re in the tipi, you’re connecting with nature in this living structure. You’re on mother nature’s time. When the sun comes up, you don’t have any blackout blinds to block it out,” said Keith Carr, who owns and operates the Airbnb tipi with his wife, Benka.
“The birds are perched right outside the tipi, acting as your alarm clock. The tipi is lit up with the first sunrise. So you’re just connecting with nature on a whole other level.”
The idea to set up a tipi retreat on a wooded property near their home, came to Keith and Benka Carr roughly 10 years ago. A close friend of theirs had a tipi of his own where he would reenact scenes from Native American history for the public.
That’s when the Carr’s decided to create this experience and to share it with others.
But the learning curve on how to build a tipi that could be lived in, was a steep one. It took the couple many years to figure out how to replicate what many Native American’s before them would come to master: A tipi built in nature that would withstand nature’s elements.
“Learning how to build and maintain a tipi is almost like a marriage. You have to be working on it daily because the entire structure, which is built outside, is alive and breathing,” Benka Carr said.
“So you have to be present, there is no leaving. This is not a house, you can’t lock it, you can’t just build it and let it go. The entire thing is constantly evolving. They last only a couple of years, and then you have to build a new one.”
SLIDESHOW: View Photos of the “Magic Tipi Retreat”
The Carr’s have named their Airbnb “The Magic Tipi Retreat” because the experience is more than just staying in the tipi. Guests have access to a private hot tub, sauna, massages, and fine dining.
The description on Airbnb says: “This affordable luxury retreat is your safe place for celebrating special occasions and life at large. It’s best suited for those with discerning taste and sense of adventure.
“You’ll find a private shower in the climate controlled bathhouse. The ‘indoor’ fireplace and heated beds easily makes this experience romantic, mystic, and calming. Just bring yourself and we’ll provide the rest.”
“We give guests the level of privacy that they want. We get them checked in, we walk them through everything because staying in a tipi is not the same as checking into a hotel, there’s some explaining to do, and we walk them through everything,” Keith Carr said.
“But then, if they want to engage with us further, no problem. But the guests won’t see us unless they call us. We make it as personal for them as they want their stay to be.”