From returning to the sky in new livery to fly for another airline, to being recycled for parts or moving an aircraft boneyard, the possibilities for retired aircraft are seemingly endless.
Some have been converted into restaurants, museums, cafes and even party venues. But this private jet turned luxury villa, located on a clifftop near Nyang-Nyang beach on the Indonesian island of Bali, may be one of the most beautiful aircraft transformations to date.
Formerly part of the now defunct Mandala Airlines’ fleet, the retired Boeing 737 was purchased by developer Felix Demin back in 2021 and transported to its remote location.
Featuring two bedrooms and a swimming pool, the Private Jet Villa by Hanging Gardens, which sits 150 meters above sea level, is available to rent from April, with nightly rates starting at around $7,000.
Demin, also the owner of the Bubble Hotel Bali hotel chain, says that he initially considered purchasing a private plane for personal use, but quickly saw the potential to transform the aircraft into something truly special.
“Even before buying it, I thought that it was possible to convert it into some kind of unique object, and decided to concentrate on creating a villa,” he says, before explaining that he found 20 or so similar planes located around Indonesia alone while searching.
Denim eventually settled on a Boeing 737 that had been bought by an Indonesia investor and agreed to purchase it.
However, transporting the aircraft from its location in Bali to a clifftop several miles away was no easy task.
“We had to take it apart after consulting with the Boeing team,” he explains. “We’ve loosened 50,000 bolts.”
According to Demin, who has been living in Bali for around eight years, the entire process took around two months of planning, while the actual transportation, which involved two cranes, a huge platform, various specialists and a police escort, lasted a total of five days.
“It was the most sleepless five days of my life,” he says, adding that much of the operation took place at night.
“The fact is that Bali has very narrow roads and a lot of wires that hang quite low,” he says. “We had a group of people who used special equipment to raise the wires higher so that the plane would not touch them during transportation.”
Once the plane was re-assembled at the site on the southernmost coast of Bali, he was able to strip out much of the inside to complete the lengthy renovation work. Demin says he went to great lengths to ensure that the interior matched his original vision.
“I want people to experience the ‘wow effect’ from every second of being in this unusual place,” he says.
The villa can be accessed via a staircase leading up along the wing to the main entrance.
Inside, there’s a living room with a bar, a sofa bed and a glass portal, as well as two bedrooms with walk-in closets.
The cockpit has been converted into a large bathroom, with additional portholes added so those inside can see “overboard.”
The property also has sun loungers, an outdoor lounge area and a fire pit.
“Everything was done for the single purpose to get exactly the picture that was originally planned,” adds Demin.
The unique project has been garnering a lot of attention on social media since it was first unveiled, which has led to some rather unusual incidents on the ground.
“One day I came and saw a broken fence and 150 people sitting on our plane,” says Demin, before describing how a paraglider once jumped from the plane’s wing.
While Demin stresses that the aircraft has been through numerous safety checks, its precarious position, as well as the various images shared of influencers walking along the wing or with their legs hanging out of the plane door have certainly raised eyebrows.
Demin explains that a barrier has been installed on the rock for safety purposes. But he says he’s had trouble recruiting someone to install a glass barrier on a wing positioned over a cliff.
“The major issue is the glass barrier along the contour of the wing itself and along the contour of the rock,” he says, admitting that “everyone is afraid to do it.”
“There are certain difficulties with this, in particular, with the wing. But we will do it anyway, as soon as we find someone who is brave enough to implement it.”
After years of painstaking work on the project, Demin is hugely looking forward to finally welcoming guests to the private jet villa, which is on schedule to open its doors in April.
It comes a year after a decommissioned British Airways jet was reborn as a unique events space for hire based at the privately owned Cotswold Airport in the UK.
Meanwhile, the Jumbo Stay Hotel, a former Boeing 747 turned hostel/hotel, opened near Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sweden in 2009.