© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Chad Daybell's murder trial has begun. Follow along here.

Before it was an AirBnB, this giant Idaho Potato went on tour

The outside of the Idaho Potato AirBnB. There are stairs leading up to the giant tuber and the door is open. The potato sits on top of a mound of dirt and it is surrounded by dirt as well.
Otto Kitsinger
AP Images for Idaho Potato Commission
The Big Idaho® Potato Hotel, a 6-ton, 28-foot long, 12-foot wide and 11.5-foot tall spud made of steel, plaster and concrete, is firmly planted in an expansive field in South Boise, Idaho with breathtaking views of the Owyhee Mountains on Monday, April 22, 2019. The replica Russet Burbank potato traversed the U.S. from 2012 to 2018 aboard the Idaho Potato Commission’s Great Big Idaho Potato Truck until it was ultimately recycled into a unique retreat that can now be reserved on Airbnb. (Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for Idaho Potato Commission)

If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway, you don't have to go coastal or tropical to find something unique. A stay in a giant potato would certainly set you apart, and you can do that right here in Idaho for $207 a night, in the Big Idaho Potato Hotel just outside Boise.

The six-ton potato used to be part of the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour truck, where it traveled to 48 states over the course of seven years promoting the "certified heart-healthy Idaho Potato," according to the AirBnB posting. But how did it go from the back of a truck to a vacationable-spud?

An aerial view of the Idaho Potato AirBnB and the plot of land it sits on – a green parcel in the middle of brown dirt.
Kristie Wolfe
An aerial view of the Big Idaho Potato Hotel.

Kristie Wolfe was a member of the "Tater team" that traveled with the Big Idaho Potato Truck for two years, according to a news release from the Idaho Potato Commission.

“The Big Idaho Potato Hotel allows people to experience Idaho in a unique way,” said IPC president and CEO Frank Muir. “The IPC was happy to let Kristie convert a hallmark of the Idaho potato brand into a permanent destination that can be enjoyed by visitors from all over the world.”

Wolfe is no stranger to the short-term rental business – in addition to the potato, she owns four other AirBnBs, in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii. Wolfe got started on this journey by building a tiny home before most people knew what they were and before they were all “tricked out,” in her words. She said hers was basically a shed on wheels.

“I wasn’t making a lot of money at the time.I did shift work in a factory, but by building my tiny house and buying a very cheap piece of land on the outskirts of Boise, I had eliminated nearly all of my bills, and I thought maybe I could do this again,” said Wolfe.

A woman wearing black paints and a pink shacket stands in front of the faux giant potato on a patch of grass.
Kayte Schroff
Kristie Wolfe stands in front of her Idaho Potato AirBnB.

So, she bought land in Hawaii off of Craigslist and built a treehouse.

“If it rented for eight days a month, that would replace my factory job and worst case scenario it didn’t work, my friends and family would have a vacation home!”

Wolfe has now been doing AirBnB management full-time for about 10 years. She said she doesn’t have very many typical days in her line of work, but usually makes time to hike with her dog, Patsy. The rest of the day is spent either driving from build to build, working on the properties and doing computer work every few days.

Whatever build she is working on, Wolfe gets to spend a lot of time there. Last year, she got to live on the Oregon coast for about five months working on the Cocoon Cottage. Wolfe's mother did a lot of pretty extensive DIYs in their homes growing up, so she had a good base knowledge.

“Even though I had many other jobs, I always had a remodeling project on the side. Building my first vacation home is what made me be able to go full-time.”

As far as the Potato goes, it is booked out two to three months in advance, but cancellations happen from time to time. Wolfe said she loves the creativity her guests bring to the space.

“They come in costumes. Sometimes they write poems and sonnets. It’s really cool to also see people celebrate special occasions. I’ve had engagements, weddings and even babies conceived at all my properties.”

And worth a mention: If you stay at the Idaho Potato Hotel, you also get a really cute, fluffy guest.

A cute brown cow staring over a wooden fence. The cow has fluffy ears and a white spot around its black nose.
Kayte Schroff
The adorable brown cow that lives on the property.

Right now, Wolfe is in Salmon, Idaho reworking her first family AirBnB which she calls the Shipwreck located on a high Mountain Lake.

I’m a social media enthusiast here at Boise State Public Radio. I help improve our social media presence and build an audience on different platforms. I study analytics to make adjustments to strategy and try to reach as many people as I can with our content.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.