About us
An exceptional hotel of containers, an urban winery, a beautiful view and art on the walls. There must be a story behind it!
The idea
What was the inspiration for the most recycled hotel on the American continent? Who comes up with such an unusual idea to build a hotel from containers? The New Zealander Grant Phelps. Grant came up with the idea when he visited his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, two years after the big earthquake in 2011. The city centre was almost completely destroyed, including a large mall, which belonged to a popular meeting place. It would have taken several years to rebuild this mall. This led a young student from Christchurch, one year after the earthquake, to the idea of using containers. And so the new shopping centre was built out of containers in less than a year. This inspired Grant to create the WineBox Valparaiso in its current form.

Container

The idea of Grant and the architect Camila Ulloa was to use containers that had already reached retirement age. But what does retirement age for containers mean? A container has not been in use for more than 60 years, as we humans have. The service life of the containers is approx. 17 years, in which they travel up to 576,604 kilometers/year. After they are out of service and disposed of or recycled. Grant and Camilla selected 25 of these retired containers and had them shipped to Cerro Mariposa, where they could start the whole project.

The Location

The hotel is on the Cerro Mariposa. This Cerro (hill) is in the middle of all 42 Cerros in Valparaiso and therefore has a wonderful view of the whole city as far as the sea. For this reason and several others, the decision to build the hotel was made of the Cerro Mariposa.

The Cerro Mariposa was originally named after the abundance and biodiversity of the insect of the same name in Valparaiso. Today the Cerro Mariposa is a quiet neighborhood where you can relax for a few days and feel like a “Porteño”. However, this does not mean that it is boring and there is nothing to visit. Quite the opposite. Due to its central location, there is quite a lot that you can see right in front of your eyes. From the house of the famous chilean poet Pablo Neruda to the famous Cerro Alegre, everything is within walking distance.

And best of all, on the way from the centre to the hotel, the colorful wine trail full of graffiti from artists from all over south America awaits you. This wine route to the hotel was initiated by the WineBox Valparaiso itself in the form of a graffiti festival. Popular artists from different countries in South America were invited to immortalize their works of art on the Wine Trail.

The Creation

Grant launched the WineBox project in 2013 with the help of architect Camila Ulloa. Once the site had been found, the land purchased and the building permission obtained, the project could begin.

The recycling of old ship containers turned out to be a challenge for the time being. How do you create a respectable hotel with containers stacked on top of each other? And not only that, but also the question of how the guests can actually spend the night? Containers reverberate, they insulate and the Wifi connections from one container to another are cut. So in order for the 25 containers to become a hotel, a lot had to be thought of.

Despite challenges, the basic aspect was to create the whole hotel by recycling if possible. For example, newsprint in the walls, plants and wood are used to reduce noise. Colors and graffiti on and in the containers provide beautiful views. And last but not least, furniture and decorative items are made from recycled pallets, bottles and bathtubs.

To learn more about our recycling, please click on this link and you will be redirected to our “Recycling” page.

The beginnings of the hotel

The hotel opened in 2018 and was immediately a world sensation. It is the first hotel in South America consisting of containers, 70% recycled materials and which includes an urban winery. A must for all wine fans and guests who are interested in architecture, the environment or simply uniqueness.

The winery in the hotel

Grant came to Chile over 18 years ago as a winemaker. It is his great passion. So he didn’t just want to give it up when he built the hotel. Therefore the hotel became, a hotel with an urban winery. It is the first hotel in Valparaiso and probably the whole southern hemisphere with its own urban winery. The wine is produced with the WineBox Valparaiso guests in the transition months to winter. This makes it the first hotel (probably ever) to produce wine with the help of hotel guests. For more information, see the “Urban Winery” page. 

Mission of the WineBox

The WineBox consists of recycled containers, as well as the tables, chairs and other props inside. The mission is therefore clear: to pursue the theme of recycling in all WineBox Valparaiso operations and productions. Furthermore, the hotel wants to spread the message all over the world. The footprint of the WineBox Valparaiso is intended to improve the world by at least a little bit in terms of sustainability.