Unprecedented Shipping Container Hotel

You may have heard the term shipping container house before. But I am sure you have never heard of a hotel made of shipping containers before. Seah Liang Chiang, a Malaysian IT specialist, decided to give up his years of work after watching a program called Tiny House Nation and decided to do his big project.

Seah Liang Chiang – Image Courtesy of Insider

This unusual shipping container hotel in Singapore was built by combining four shipping containers. It is estimated that Chiang spent about $700,000 on the hotel, which took two years to build. Let’s take a closer look at this impressive house.

Image Courtesy of Insider

Shipping Container Hotel in Singapore

In 2020, Seah and his wife Lorraine established the Singapore Shipping Container Hotel network, with their first hotel opening in a neighborhood in the heart of Singapore. The two then made the decision to build a new hotel in Singapore’s well-known hell theme park. However, unlike conventional hotels, both hotels were made of shipping containers.

Image Courtesy of Insider

On the other hand, these two hotels were not enough for Seah’s vision. He was looking for something much bigger, so he decided to build a luxury hotel using four two-story shipping containers. For Seah, recycling shipping containers is not as cheap an experience as one might think actually, the resulting structure can be extremely luxurious.

The “Garden Pod” in Gardens by the Bay, a 101-hectare site with views of Marina Bay Sands, is the third hotel that Seah and his wife have opened. Building the hotel took close to two years.

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Construction of the Garden Pod

First, Seah started by buying the shipping containers that form the skeleton of the hotel. To this end, he purchased ten containers from a warehouse in western Singapore.

Placement of shipping container on top of the steel structure on the ground floor. – Image Courtesy of Insider

Seah then collaborated with Laud, a local architectural firm, to design the structure. In the first quarter of 2020, Seah began working with architects and engineers to materialize his dream shipping container hotel.

Shipping containers are cut for window areas. – Image Courtesy of Insider

On the other hand, Seah spent approximately $5500 on each shipping container, which is 2.4 meters (7.8 feet) long. So, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is estimated that $700,000 was spent during the construction of the shipping container hotel. This is equivalent to approximately 1 million Singapore dollars.

The Construction Process of the Shipping Container Hotel

First, the team decided that to make the steel containers habitable, they needed to make sure they were robust. So, the containers were cut open, and steel beams were placed inside to reinforce them.

As a second step, frames made of aluminum were placed in the open part of the already cut containers. This way, when the containers were lifted into the air, they were fitted with glass that could withstand the pressure.


The area was leveled to make a smooth platform on which to set the containers. In addition, the ground was supported with slabs and steel rods so that the bottom could endorse the weight of the containers.

About Gardens by the Bay Park

Opened in 2012, the park has welcomed nearly 50 million visitors since its opening in Singapore’s city center. The park also boasts the world’s largest glass greenhouse. As such, it is very understandable that Seah and his wife strategically chose this park for their hotel.

In addition, Seah must pay rent to Gardens by the Bay in order to run the hotel in the park. However, it is not known how much this rent is. However, the Garden Pod is one of the most significant structures that fascinate visitors to Gardens by the Bay.

The park owners, who support visitors to have impressive and new experiences, have stated that they are open to commercial partnerships such as a container hotel project.

Image Courtesy of Insider

Highlights of the Garden Pod Hotel

One of the most striking features of the shipping container hotel is that it is not a permanent structure in the Gardens by the Bay Park. More specifically, Seah thought that the hotel should be built in a modular way. Thus, the hotel can be rebuilt in another location.

Image Courtesy of Insider

Another remarkable hotel feature is the spiral staircases that access each penthouse. Seah compares these stairs to sculptures. After the hotel’s first floor was constructed, a total of four stairs that are visually stunning ascend to the rooftop.

Of course, the hotel’s features are not limited to these. Thought to be totally constructed of shipping containers, the hotel’s first floor is really composed of metals that resemble shipping containers. This situation makes the hotel even more intriguing.

However, the base of the shipping container hotel was built with metal beams instead of shipping containers.

Thus, the structurally more stable hotel is a haven even in strong winds. Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, Seah built the hotel entirely out of metal, without concrete, to be sustainable and portable.

Security Measures for the Hotel

Seah and his team, who carried out elaborate work for the interior of the hotel, stated that the hotel has fire-resistant walls and ceilings according to the guidelines issued by the Singapore Civil Defense Force.

However, electrical cables are hidden inside the walls to avoid fire hazards at the hotel. The team also laid Rockwool over the cables, softening the weather conditions as much as possible in a tropical place like Singapore. In this way, Seah and his team say that the shipping container hotel is extremely safe, even though they built it temporarily, despite the strict requirements of the Singapore government.

Image Courtesy of Insider

On the other hand, Seah has installed solar panels on the hotel roof, not only as a security measure but also for sustainable living. Working with experts from PV Foundry, a local company, Seah chose only thin and flexible panels to ensure that the hotel’s electricity is mostly provided by solar energy.

Shipping Container Hotels Interior Design

The hotel interior design is a separate issue that needs to be mentioned at length. The interior design of each loft is designed in an entirely modern way. Marble countertops are preferred in the hotel, and windows extending from the ceiling to the floor provide the opportunity to watch the view. However, some guests may feel that the full-length windows will interfere with their privacy.

Image Courtesy of Insider

The lofts, every 70 square meters, have a large and spacious veranda, a comfortable bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, a cozy living room, and a dining area. As I mentioned before, each room has its own patio. All of these patios have different views. So, the next time you visit the hotel, you can stay in various suites and enjoy an entirely different landscape.

Image Courtesy of Insider

The bedroom has a relaxing atmosphere with the collaboration of wooden walls and large windows. With a minimalist design, this room has a double bed and a sofa bed thus, guests can start the day fresh. What’s more, rooms have dark curtains for privacy-conscious guests.

Of course, staying in such a luxurious hotel is not as cheap as one might think.

A group of four people would need to pay $415 to stay at this hotel. But no matter how high the price, Sean is building these hotels so that people can get away from city life and experience living in minimalist homes. So, you should definitely be part of this experience.

If you’re thinking about living in a container home, be sure to check out our huge selection of designs for inspiration. You’re sure to find something that suits your needs and taste.

So if you’re interested in learning more about shipping container hotels, be sure to check out the Living in a Container today! What are your favorite shipping container hotels?

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