HOK, a global design, architecture and engineering firm, envisions the hotel room of the future as a flying pod powered by drone technology that can disconnect from a stationary hub in order to allow guests to explore the outside world. The fanciful concept, christened Driftscape, would allow hotel guests to fly over the Great Wall of China or zoom through the fjords of Norway while safely ensconced in their glass-enclosed rooms.

As Leanna Garfield of Tech Insider notes, Driftscape is a finalist for this year’s prestigious Radical Innovation Award, beating out nearly 50 other hotel design submissions from around the world. The decision will be announced October 5.

Driftscape Details


At this point, Driftscape is just a concept because drone technology is not sophisticated or powerful enough to build an actual prototype. However, pundits believe that Driftscape could become commercially viable in the not-too-distant future.

HOK designers envision a core hotel with a main lobby, bar, lounge and restaurant. Surrounding it would be 10-15 200-square-foot mobile pods (called driftcraft) that would connect to the stationary hub. Each glass-enclosed pod would hold two adults, a queen-size bed, a desk and a private bathroom. For larger families or groups, several pods could be attached together.

When they want to go out exploring, the guest would develop a flight plan in partnership with a hotel staff member. At take off, the driftcraft would separate from the hotel hub and the unit’s artificial intelligence system would automatically guide the flight, allowing the guest to just enjoy the trip. A camera mounted on the pod could record the journey.

At the conclusion, the pod would return to the hub where it would reconnect. Driftcraft would be specially designed to leave a light carbon footprint on sensitive environments.

If it gets off the ground, Driftscape holds great possibilities for planners interested in out-of-this-world meetings.