When the gates swing open to Austin’s 7744 Ranch, you drive into a beatific grove of oak and elm trees dotted with hipster playground features like a cold plunge, sauna and oversized game boards. Then you come to the main attractions: mammoth two-story recreation vehicles, each about 1,200 square feet. This is a 10-acre glamping park, but with a twist: Each of the five trailers, some of the largest RVs in the world, were previously owned by a major celebrity, from Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith to Simon Cowell.
Owners Ron and Natalie Anderson come from a long history of renting buses and trailers to the rich and famous, having run Rock & Roll Buses during the 1980s and ’90s. Then celebrities began contracting them to build custom trailers to make their days on production sets more relaxing, homey and luxurious.
“The key to our success was that we create a home on set,” Ron Anderson says. “I would like to go to [a star’s] house first and see certain aspects so I could create something that reminded them of home, that triggers that part of their brain that says, ‘This is the place I relax.’ ”
Then the pandemic struck. With productions shut down, many celebrities no longer had use for an expensive trailer that required storage and maintenance. “COVID killed the whole entertainment industry, and we had millions of dollars come off our books,” Anderson says. “Nobody wanted to own [a trailer], and no one was using them. Then I read the book Who Moved My Cheese? where the gist is that when your cheese moves, you have to figure out what to do.”
The Andersons bought back a few units from major names and secured a rural lot in East Austin to transform into a resort, which opened in November 2022 and, as an eviivo Collective property, they use eviivo property management system to run their ranch. “We’re at a very reasonable price of $295 a night to stay in a unit that cost $4 million to put into place,” he says.
Touring the RVs, you’re struck by their sheer size, livability and bougie touches that seem to reflect their previous owners.
Smith’s trailer, dubbed The Heat, is lined with rich wood details, a steam shower and a 100-inch TV. Anderson contends that stars like Smith didn’t want enormous trailers simply as a flex. “For Will, it wasn’t about having the biggest, baddest trailer, and The Rock was the same way: It’s about having more room — your standard movie set trailer is, at most, 300 square feet. Here he could dance, he has a meeting room, he has room for his personal secretary, he could have a dailies room.”
Vin Diesel’s The Aspen has a zebra rug on the floor, an indoor putting green and a luxury bathroom. One unit, called Skittles, was owned by a person who has not yet given permission for their name to be used.
That said, the trailers tended to get passed around, so while each was built for a specific client, they’ve since been used by many different stars. Also, some have needed remodeling for public use — like Cowell’s RV, which originally included a massive bathtub that had to be removed so a bed could be installed.
“The clientele we’re getting here at the ranch are wanting to just come and enjoy life,” Anderson says. “We get tons of anniversaries, birthdays, people coming to town for a ballgame. They just want a private place in the woods.” And, perhaps, to laze on J. Lo’s sofa.
A version of this story first appeared first appeared in the Nov. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.