Airbnb’s OMG Fund Transforms Ideas Into Reality: The Floating Coconut Home in Langkawi From Concept to Reality

Hakim Azly, an architect, and his wife Reena Sayra have turned a whimsical idea into reality by creating a floating coconut-shaped home in Langkawi, Malaysia. The inspiration for this unique dwelling came to them during a beach stroll when they spotted a floating coconut. As one of the 100 winners of Airbnb’s OMG Fund contest, the couple received $100,000 to bring their vision to life. This section explores the journey from conceptualizing an idea to winning the competition and embarking on a seven-month construction process.

Quirky Vacation Rentals with Airbnb’s Support

In 2022, Airbnb initiated a competition, offering $100,000 to 100 winners to construct quirky and distinctive vacation rentals. Hakim Azly and Reena Sayra’s coconut home was among the chosen projects. The article delves into the implications of Airbnb’s OMG Fund, how it fosters creativity, and the conditions winners must adhere to, including the exclusive listing of the property on Airbnb.

Building a floating home presented unforeseen challenges for the couple, requiring them to navigate regulatory complexities. This section sheds light on the intricacies involved, including the need for a fish farming license to operate a structure floating on the water. It emphasizes the couple’s determination to address regulatory requirements and bring their imaginative project to fruition.




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The completed floating coconest 

Material Selection and Construction Process

Selecting the right materials for a structure in a saltwater environment posed unique challenges. The couple deliberated between metal and bamboo but ultimately chose fiberglass for the dome structure. The article explores the decision-making process, highlighting the considerations for durability and environmental adaptation. It further delves into the construction phases, detailing the building of the floating platform, the main dome structure, and the deck.

The financial aspects of the project, including budget allocation and adherence, are explored in this section. Although the couple received the prize money in three phases from Airbnb, exceeding the budget by $10,000 required additional personal investment. The article discusses the financial implications and the couple’s commitment to meeting Airbnb’s construction milestones.

The resulting coconut-shaped home, named Coconest, is a one-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling with a wraparound deck. Located in the mangrove forests near Tanjung Rhu Beach, the property provides a unique vacation experience. Guests can book a stay on Airbnb for $135 per night. The article highlights the serene atmosphere, the transportation arrangement to the floating platform, and the recreational activities offered, such as guided paddleboard and catamaran water bike tours.

Reception and Future Plans

Coconest has garnered positive reviews since its opening in August, attracting both local and international guests. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad even paid a visit. This section explores the couple’s future plans, which include building two more coconut homes on the platform and promoting coral conservation initiatives. The article delves into their vision for the project, aiming to strike a balance between attracting visitors to the lesser-known Tanjong Rhu area and preserving its natural beauty.

Beyond a Resort Experience

The couple positions Coconest as a glamping (glamorous camping) experience rather than a traditional resort. Guests are encouraged to bring groceries, enhancing the tranquil and nature-centric stay. This section emphasizes the unique selling points of Coconest, such as its peaceful surroundings, connection with nature, and the couple’s commitment to maintaining the landscape’s beauty.

Building a structure amidst changing tides and weather conditions presented challenges, making it a testament to the couple’s determination. The article delves into the intricacies of constructing a floating home and the couple’s priority to enclose the structure before the rainy season.

The article concludes by exploring the couple’s aspirations to collaborate with a local university for coral conservation. They aim to utilize their floating platform to facilitate educational activities and nurseries for coral planting, engaging both the local community and Airbnb guests in environmental initiatives.

In summary, the journey of Hakim Azly and Reena Sayra in creating Coconest exemplifies the transformative power of Airbnb’s support through the OMG Fund, turning imaginative concepts into tangible and enchanting vacation experiences.