You (And Your Beagle) Can Spend the Night in This Beagle-Shaped House
By Garin Pirnia
Whether you're staying in a treehouse in Atlanta or a seashell-shaped house in Mexico, Airbnb offers some of the world's most unique rental properties. But how about booking a place that's adorable, too?
In 2003, artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin opened the Dog Bark Park Inn B&B (a.k.a. Sweet Willy), a beagle-shaped home in Cottonwood, Idaho (pop. 900), which is located four hours from Boise. The house became a popular stop for sightseers, so a few years ago they started renting it out via Airbnb.
"Stay in a giant dog," the Airbnb listing reads. "That's right, it’s a beagle-shaped one-unit inn where being in this doghouse is a good thing and comfortable to boot!" But it’s not just any "giant dog"—it’s the world’s biggest beagle. In the late 1990s, the couple built a 12-foot beagle named Toby on the property. Then they decided to build a bigger beagle—a 30-foot tall one—and use it as a guest house.
“Toby got some attention, but Sweet Willy put us into the stratosphere,” Conklin told Roadside America. “People just are fascinated when you build a big dog and invite the world to stay in it.”
The five-star-reviewed home looks just like a beagle, right down to the brown and white coloring, realistic eyes, and dog collar. The couple even built a replica of a fire hydrant near Toby and Sweet Willy. To access the house, guests must climb up to the second-story deck. The home fits four guests and has two bedrooms—one in the dog’s belly’s and a loft in the dog’s head—and one bathroom, conveniently located in the dog’s rear. You’re allowed to bring your own dog as long as it’s “responsible” and its humans are “well-behaved,” and the dog must get along with a golden retriever who lives on the property.
Next door, Sullivan and Conklin operate a visitor’s center, their artist studio, and a gift shop, where they sell their chainsaw-cut wooden dogs. (Those same dogs appear on one of the headboards inside the house.) The couple doesn't live in the house—they live up the hill, in a house that looks nothing like a pooch. Since Sweet Willy doesn’t have a kitchen, Sullivan and Conklin provide all their guests with light breakfast foods, like homemade muffins.
There aren't many other houses in the area, so you could eat muffins, gaze out into the prairie and distant mountains, and read the provided in-house dog books in total privacy. But for those guests who do want to leave the house, you can go jet boating on the Salmon River, visit Hells Canyon, or learn about indigenous history in Nezperce, Idaho, a mere 20 minutes away.
The current rental price is $132 per night, but the house is booked through April 17, 2020, and Airbnb stats say the home has been viewed more than 500 times in the past week (so you'd better book soon). But, as Insider points out: If you're determined to find some sort of offbeat lodging in Idaho, you could always crash at Boise's Big Idaho Potato Hotel, which—you guessed it—is shaped like a giant potato.