Retro bus turned Airbnb offers ‘old-school’ experience in Sooke

Retro bus turned Airbnb offers 'old-school' experience in Sooke
A Sooke woman has converted her 1969 school bus into a retro Airbnb that's offering guests the ultimate "old-school" experience.

Guests can reminisce about their school days when spending the night aboard a retro bus in Sooke that’s been converted into a one-of-a-kind tiny house.

The bus, now listed on Airbnb as “Old School BnB Sooke,” is located near the Galloping Goose Trail and owner Miranda Aloma says it’s been completely overhauled to offer guests not just a place to stay, but “an experience.”

Featuring a queen-sized bed, a kitchenette and its own bathroom, the bus is quite “old school” indeed, with no Wi-Fi on board and those standing 5’10” and taller having to stoop when inside, according to the Airbnb listing.

Before it opened to the public about two years ago, the bus was “gutted and meticulously restored into a unique space with a retro flare using many reclaimed and salvaged components,” the listing states.

It’s a knack for creative accommodations that extends to B.C.’s capital, where Harry Potter and Friends-themed Airbnbs, included in that city’s approximately 975 active short-term rentals pool, are also turning heads.

In Sooke, Aloma’s listing is packed with history that dates back decades.

“The bus used to be the school bus for Courtenay actually. I’ve had the bus for 20 years. It’s been on my property in different reincarnations — we used it as just a guest house or a space for apprentices,” she told CHEK News.

“It got its latest renovation two-and-a-half years ago.”

But the project didn’t come easy and, as Aloma puts it, took “hundreds of hours” to complete, especially since the bus, built in 1969, was showing its age.

“I mean, a lot of the value of the space is the landscaping I did around it,” she said, highlighting the tiny house’s deck and gardens she calls whimsical.

“Inside, I have a ton of retro books and board games and little features. There’s a real retro nostalgic feel,” Aloma said. “I’ve got old toys, ViewMaster slides, books, magazines, those kinds of things.”

While she had help with a lot of the carpentry work, Aloma says she did most of the design work, including painting and decorating, all on her own only to receive an A+ from guests.

“I have 163 reviews (on Airbnb) and I think they’re mostly five stars. People love the detail, they love the nostalgic feel,” she added. “It’s more than a place to stay, it’s an experience.”

Photos: One of a kind converted 1969 School Bus / Airbnb

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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