- Bolt Farm in Whitwell, Tn., is adding Mirror Cabins to its mountainside resort.
- The Bolt Farm property has 2 luxury treehouses, 8 domes and 5 Mirror Cabins
- Mirror Cabins are made from two-way mirrors and reflect their wooded surroundings. You can see out, but not in during the daylight. Cabins come with blackout curtains for nighttime privacy.
Floor-to-ceiling glass-encased hotel rooms have traditionally been found only in urban, high-rise buildings.
Seth and Tori Bolt, owners of Bolt Farm atop Whitwell Mountain in Whitwell, Tennessee, have created the ultimate best-of-both-worlds scenario with their newest endeavor: a Mirror Cabin mountainside village. These glass cabins drop a modern, sleek 200-square-foot hotel room in the middle of the woods with nothing separating the natural beauty of the outdoors from the climate-controlled interior but a sheet of two-way mirrored glass.
What elevates the Mirror Cabins above mere glamping is the seamless environment the unobstructed views bring to the experience, and in this case, the finishing touches the Bolts have become known for, such as engaging all of the five senses with music, scent diffusers and, of course, the breathtaking views.
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Before the makers of these Mirror Cabins, a company based in Estonia called ÖÖD, would sell their mirror pods to the Bolts, they had to come see the property for themselves. Jacque Baumer, head of U.S. for ÖÖD Group and Jaak Tiik, co-founder of ÖÖD Group and the designer of the hotel units, traveled to Whitwell to ensure the setting was right for their product.
“We were impressed with both the beautiful location with its stunning views and gorgeous rock outcroppings, as well as with the attention to detail and the level of care that the Bolt Farm Team put into their guests’ experience,” Baumer said. “We have now sold more than 200 houses in over 20 countries, but we are new to the U.S. market, so it is very important to us that the first locations showcasing our product share our vision of offering quality nature experiences in beautiful locations without compromising on any comforts. After all, being a mirror product, we only look as good as our surroundings.”
She added that while some units have been sold to private customers in the U.S., Bolt Farm Treehouse is the first vacation rental location that will have the company’s mirror houses available for booking.
The other dwellings at Bolt Farm Treehouse, along with its sister property in Walhalla, South Carolina, include treehouses and domes, both offering views of the Sequatchie Valley from the Bolt property atop the steep escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau just outside Chattanooga. There are two treehouses, eight domes and five mirror cabins on the Tennessee property.
“This rift valley we are on, you can actually see it from space,” Tori Bolt said. “Our view is of an identical mountain and plateau 6 miles away on the other side of the valley. It’s really a rare geographical feature and that was intriguing to us.”
Since the Bolts opened their Tennessee location in June of 2021, they have experienced a 97% occupancy rate in the treehouses and domes. The couple recently added 37 acres to Bolt Farm, bringing the property to 55 acres atop Whitwell Mountain, which feels far away from everything but is only 30 minutes from Chattanooga, two hours from Nashville and 2½ hours from Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta and Knoxville.
We spent the day with the Bolts at the Tennessee property and came up with four things you need to know about Bolt Farm and the Mirror Cabin experience.
1. Relax and stay put – or relax and get out
The root of every dwelling at Bolt Farm is to provide relaxation and an opportunity to reconnect with nature. Each unit offers stunning views and as much outdoor patio space as indoor space to encourage guests to sit and read, enjoy the view or seek inspiration. Whether your vehicle of choice is a patio lounge chair, hammock or Adirondack chair, all are available to fuel relaxation.
But if sitting isn’t your speed, the area boasts multiple activities to get you connected to the outdoors via land, water or air. The Bolt property has hiking trails, waterfalls, a cave and an adjoining 5,000-acre nature preserve. Off the property but close by is Flying Camp Paragliding, Savage Gulf State Park, which has miles of hiking trails, Buntlington Farms for horseback riding, ATV tours with Mud Miners, and boat rentals from Hales Bar Marina.
“Some guests come just to stay and to be, to recharge or disconnect,” Seth Bolt said. “We encourage our guests to disconnect from technology because something magical happens when you are overwhelmed by the beauty of nature and you have some quiet time. Some folks will stay during the week and do a little ‘work from dome’ escape and change up their scenery.”
2. You can be a Mirror Cabin pioneer
Seth Bolt, who has traveled the world with his band NEEDTOBREATHE, first encountered a mirror cabin in Scandinavia. He and Tori Bolt stayed in one in Mexico, but the Mirror Cabins at Bolt Farm are among the first of their kind in the United States.
“We view the architecture as part of the experience,” Seth Bolt said. “Our tree houses are five-sided; they are not a box. The domes are a hemisphere. The Mirror Cabins are completely reflective. All of those things are a nice catalyst to allow people to become immediately inspired because of the environment they are in. We are big believers that our environments shape who we are.”
These Mirror Cabins are made of recyclable thick soundproof glass that reflects 97% of UV rays for comfort and energy-efficiency.
3. Cabins come with indoor and outdoor amenities
Once you inside the Mirror Cabin, the space includes a bed, countertop with seating, a small kitchenette, heated floors and a full bathroom with rainfall shower surrounded with mirrored glass, creating the feeling of a shower in the woods. The Bolts have stocked each cabin with an analog record player with Bluetooth speaker, fresh coffee beans, a hand grinder and a French press, and yummy shower soaps and lotions.
The cabin does come with privacy blackout curtains, since you can see in when the cabin is illuminated on the inside after dark. The curtains double as a movie screen for the projector mounted above the bed so guests can stream their favorite movies.
“Part of our process is we live in the structure before anyone else stays in it,” Seth Bolt said. “We make it comfortable enough that we’d be thrilled to live in it full time. That proves to us we know people will have an epic week or weekend living in it as well.”
Outside, the Mirror Cabins feature their own private patios complete with a fire pit, patio seating, hot tub, barbecue grill and pizza oven.
4. You need to plan ahead
The Mirror Cabins are mostly booked through the end of the year.
The Bolts recently opened dates for 2023, so to be among the first to experience this unique woodsy hotel room, you need to plan ahead. Rates start at $395 (excluding taxes and fees) a night and have a two-night minimum during the week and a three-night minimum on weekends. There are also optional VIP experiences that can be themed for romance, birthdays or proposals.
These ‘Elevated Experience’ packages include items such as a pizza kit to make your own wood-fired pizza, Bolt Farm Treehouse scented candle, campfire starter kit, ingredients to make s’mores, bottle of wine and Bolt Farm coffee mugs. Prices range from $149 to $299 for the extra packages.
The cabin kitchenettes come stocked with cooking essentials, but owners recommend arriving with groceries, hiring a private chef to do the cooking for you, or visiting one of the area restaurants, such as Top of The Rock Brewery in nearby Jasper, Tennessee, The Chef’s Restaurant in Whitwell, or Whitebird or Hennen’s in Chattanooga.
The Bolts have created a unique environment that allows guests to be both immersed in nature and surrounded by comfort.
“We understand how difficult it can be to find a travel experience where you can reconnect and have a top-of-the-world experience,” Seth Bolt said. “We’ve done that here with intentional design, epic views and the best Southern hospitality you could ask for.”
Melonee Hurt covers growth and development at The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network — Tennessee. Reach Melonee at email@example.com.