‘Who doesn’t want to sleep in an overgrown potato?’ Idaho’s odd new hotel goes viral

People across the globe have found Kristie Wolfe’s Big Idaho Potato Hotel a-peeling.

Stories abound about the 28-foot-long Russet Burbank potato-turned-Airbnb-rental southeast of Boise. The Big Idaho Potato Hotel got a lighthearted mention Thursday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” The Detroit Free Press and (NOLA stands for New Orleans, Louisiana) wrote about it. So did Insider, a website “about all the adventures life has to offer,” and Lonny, a home-design site.

“Who doesn’t want to sleep in an overgrown potato?” Melissa Locker wrote on Fast Company. “It’s like ‘James and the Giant Peach’ but with more carbs.”

Boisean Kristie Wolfe traveled the nation with the potato for years to promote Idaho potatoes for the Potato Commission. When it came time to retire the potato and replace it, Wolfe renovated it and installed it on land she owns, put a cow on the property and starting taking reservations for $200 per night (plus $42 in taxes and fees).

Kristie Wolfe, who traveled on the road with the Big Idaho Potato for two years, has taken the retired spud and turned it into an Airbnb rental. It will be available beginning at the end of May for $200 a night. John Sowell

The Idaho Statesman’s story on the hotel has been seen by more than 22,000 people online. Dozens of other outlets also wrote about it.

“We knew this would be something that folks would get a kick out of,” Frank Muir, CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said by phone Thursday. “No one could predict it would be worldwide interesting, but it got mentioned in Ireland, Great Britain and South Africa.”

Guests have snapped up reservations for the first two days the hotel will be available, at the end of May, and for half of June’s dates. Eight other nights have been booked so far from June to October, including Halloween.

Big Idaho Potato Hotel - Farm stays for Rent in Boise, Idaho, United States

Apr 24, 2019 - Entire home/apt for $200. Stay in a 6 ton potato! This is the original potato that traveled countless miles across the country for the Idaho Potato Commission on the back of...

“Adults and tater tots can stay there,” Sacramento resident Richard Ameil wrote on a post on the Facebook page of the Sacramento Bee, owned by The McClatchy Co., which also owns the Statesman.

Former Idaho resident Dede Stafford, who now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, questioned whether it included any potato extras.

“Does it come with complimentary Idaho Spuds candy and those ice cream baked potatoes that I used to get at the Western Idaho Fair,” she wrote on the Idaho Statesman’s Facebook page. “Asking for a friend.”

The Big Idaho Potato Hotel includes a queen-size bed, two easy chairs, ottoman and a chandelier made from elk horns. John Sowell

Dustin Nelson, writing for Thrillist, said the potato had been put out to pasture.

“Like your childhood dog, the potato was brought to a nice piece of farmland to live out its final days,” Nelson wrote.

Andy Bussell, a Sacramento Bee reader, said it “seems starchy. Does it come with cheese?”

Bee reader Doug Shipley said “I’ve certainly been in many pickles, but never a potato.”

Treasure Valley residents were intrigued, too.

Ruby Shreeve Phillips, who grew up in Kuna, poked fun at another potato-growing state: “Another reason Idaho is cooler than Washington!”

Brett Olson, who stopped by to look at the potato digs at Orchard, southeast of Boise, was impressed.

“What an absolutely wonderful and creative hometown getaway,” Olson wrote on Facebook.

Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.