Thinking outside the box – Aylott + Van Tromp's adaptable modular cabin is a true game-changer for hospitality operators – Hospitality Net

Following two years that have seen the hospitality industry severely impacted by the global pandemic, contemporary Interior Design and Branding Studio Aylott + Van Tromp has created Nokken; the world’s most adaptable, modular cabin ecosystem, purposely designed to help hospitality operators launch and scale with ease.

Marking itself as a true game changer in the rapidly-expanding modular cabin market, Nokken provides full turnkey cabin solutions alongside a host of business supporting elements, creating the most efficient and economic platform possible for hotel operators and landowners to establish a successful retreat hospitality offering, whether a fledgling start-up, experienced operator or existing multi-national.
Unlike other new-to-market cabin brands, Nokken doesn’t just provide cabins. Aylott + Van Tromp’s unique experience as hospitality designers allows prospective operators to tap into their accompanying network of management services, marketing elements and strategic partners to help propel their operations on a clear path to success.


In the not too distant past there were hotels, and there were campsites. Then innovative hoteliers came up with a way to combine the two: Glamping. Today, the retreat hospitality market is one of the hottest trends in travel, attracting hoteliers and travelers alike, with the sector set to grow 17.5% CAGR over the next 5 years.
However, from remote locations to large dispersed footprints to the increasing demands of guests, running a glamping or retreat site introduces a unique set of complexities.“The retreat-based cabin sector is certainly not going to disappear,” says Nokken co-founder James Van Tromp. “The taste for glamping will develop and pretty soon we’re going to see expectation levels increase with the quality of stay and experience becoming on par with an urban boutique hotel.”


Nokken offers both off-the-shelf designs and bespoke co-branded cabins, providing adaptable functionality and bolt-on options to deliver a product unique to each hospitality operator’s clientele and location. This is further supported by Aylott + Van Tromp’s vast expertise in creating brands and strategies for the likes of Hilton, Choice and Radisson, through the implementation of bespoke hotel branding elements and custom options.
“The modular cabin is advantageous because it allows developers to control the quality, budget and consistency of the product from a single manufacturing location. We have taken this philosophy and turned it up a notch or two by pre-designing 15 base footprints, which through a series of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) can then be infinitely adapted to any need or requirement” says Van Tromp.
“Developers can begin small with a handful of units, then scale up to create a small, village-like community. Units can even be stacked vertically to accommodate sites with restrictive physical footprints. Additional support is provided through our carefully curated network of specialists, to deliver operationally-ready property management systems and full tech integrations. Our partners can provide remote door access, digital check-in, cloud-based property management systems, off-grid digital powering solutions and even e-bike rental integration. We believe this makes Nokken a fully rounded response to what operators actually need today, and what sets it apart from all other offerings currently on the market.”
“We’ve designed many permanent hotel spaces and know it’s not just about the rooms or look, it’s about the whole experience and actually running that day to day as a business,” continues Van Tromp. “Cabin retreats are no different, and Nokken has been specifically developed to enhance the relationship between the guest, management team and surrounding cabin landscape, no matter the location.”

Nokken cabin by Aylott Van Tromp, Mediterranean Edition — Photo by Aylott + Van TrompNokken cabin by Aylott Van Tromp, Mediterranean Edition — Photo by Aylott + Van Tromp
Nokken cabin by Aylott Van Tromp, Mediterranean Edition — Photo by Aylott + Van Tromp

Room Capsules to Super Cabins

Adaptability and scalability are the key to outdoors hospitality and form a core component of the Nokken design. The building structures are based around two main forms — the living space and room capsules — which come in different sizes and scales in order to be fully adaptable to the location and number of rooms required. Each cabin is individually crafted by skilled modular experts, with every aspect carefully curated, constructed and detailed using only honest eco focused and premium materials.
The Standard Edition cabin has dark stained soft-wood paneling and natural soft-wood ceilings and flooring to contrast against the black tones, but bespoke cabins can be produced using an array of materials, fixtures and fittings to best suit an operator’s requirements and location, taking into account factors such as terrain, climate, and positioning on or off-grid.
The units also allow for bespoke spatial configurations, meaning that if a spa, fitness suite or shop is required the floorplans can be easily adapted to suit. Similarly, if a larger scale internal space is needed — to house a farm-to-fork organic initiative for example — this can be accommodated by stitching two large units together to form a comfortable open dining space with an accompanying kitchen.

Faster Build Time

Building modular provides hospitality and leisure operators with a wealth of benefits over traditional site construction, not only helping to control budgets but also helping to get a hospitality business up and running 25-50% quicker than a standard build. Each Nokken unit is delivered to its destination on the back of a low-loader in one single piece, allowing the cabin to be positioned almost anywhere. Once secured, services are simply plugged into the outlet in the base of the unit and the site is ready to go.

Third Hospitality Model

Aylott + Van Tromp typically strategise and create for the larger mainstream market, but through the Nokken brand are keen to utilise their studio’s unique set of skills to create something dynamic that meets the needs of the present day market.
“We know the leisure and tourism industry is currently undergoing significant changes and are beginning to see the tree of the ‘third hospitality model’ bear fruit,” says Aylott. “The successes of the likes of Sonder, Locke, life house, and now the Numa brand, are pushing forward the urban alternative lodging market, however, we have also seen a parallel demand within the retreat and wellbeing sector. Large numbers of private individuals and investors are seeking solutions and looking to take their business base to the great outdoors, where the ROIs are possibly even stronger than urban models. This market especially resonates with younger generations, following the mass resignation exodus caused by the past 2 years of upheaval.”
“Design-led, retreat-focussed cabins have become extremely desirable, yet those that are actually created purposely for the hospitality sector are almost non-existent,” continues Aylott. “Certainly we’ve not really seen any present day hotel designers move across and create a dedicated product for this burgeoning sector. To resolve this we’ve set about creating one from the ground up, to ensure that all operators’ needs are catered for.”

The experience of Aylott + Van Tromp’s founders is unique, with both Nathan Aylott and James Van Tromp’s backgrounds originating in the commercial sector, focusing on brand activation, retail, fashion, product launches, customer engagement, and even automotive design. In 2013 the Interior Design & Branding Studio was formed to harness this diverse skill-set and create a multi-disciplinary offering for the rapidly evolving and changing world of leisure and hospitality design. Bringing something new to what was a traditional and fairly small marketplace, they have always seen buildings and hotels in particular, as perfectly packaged brand spaces. An extension of our lives – you stay in them, you eat in them, you exercise in them, you relax in them. They need to tend to your every whim, whilst always striving to exceed expectations or provide an appropriate emotion. Being firm believers in the need for the hospitality industry to connect with an audience and “be relevant’, the Nokken brand has been a natural extension of their ideals and opened up the opportunity to create something innovative, a step away from the mainstream brands they predominantly work for. aylottandvantromp.com
Kate Baxter
Public Relations Consultant
Aylott + Van Tromp
Hospitality Net membership explained


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