Tired of staying at mundane, average hotels when you go away on holiday. Well if you book a stay at one of these very unique accommodations you will have an experience to remember for life. Staying at these places will certainly help you to stand out when swapping travel stories with friends. This is part 3 (the final part, I promise) of this series, so if you haven’t checked out the previous two articles, you might want to do that after reading this. They are a must read in my very unbiased opinion. With that being said let us get into it.
1. Helicopter Glamping, Scotland
Scotland’s most unusual place to stay is now ready for take off! Ever wonder what it would be like to sleep in a helicopter? Well now you can! A Sea King helicopter has been converted into a stunning, luxury, overnight accommodation complete with mini kitchen and shower room. The helicopter takes glamping to a higher level, with fantastic original features, a quirky bed in the tail and a spectacular cockpit seating area with panoramic views over the Carse of Stirling.
2. The Shell House, Mexico
This shell themed house will help you relax in the Mexican sun and the Caribbean sea is just footsteps away if you want to take a dip in the ocean. This house has no corners on the inside and everything is shell themed even the sinks and towel racks. So anyone else want to take a trip to Mexico?
3. Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway
In part one of this series (you should really check it out if you haven’t already, just saying) I talked about the Icehotel located in Norway. So if you have been there and found a strange love for sleeping in cold places, then pay a visit to the Snowhotel next. Every room has a unique theme carved out of the snow, so pick one and let the snuggle sesh begin. You may want to bring a few extra layers though, it gets pretty chilly at night. If you love cold themed hotels you are going to love this next one below.
4. Vatnajokull Glacier Sleepover, Iceland
This is probably one of the most unique and extreme sleeping options in Iceland – and definitely one of the most beautiful ones. Thanks to From Coast To Mountains Tours you have a chance to spend a night in an ice cave of Vatnajökull – the biggest glacier in Europe. Thick mattresses, arctic sleeping bags, hot food and drinks are all provided. Prepare for a bit of cold and 2-3 miles hike to the destination. But judging from the photos – it’s worth every penny!
5. Lion Sands, South Africa
Next up I’m proud to present is a beautiful safari lodge located in my home country of South Africa. Unlike normal safari lodges this one has no roof, walls, windows and doors. You sleep on a elevated platform surrounded by nature and noises of the wildlife. So sit back, relax and enjoy a beautiful view of the starry night sky with your partner. Talk about romantic (Just pray there are no leopards around).
6. Indianapolis Downtown Crowne Plaza, U.S.A
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station is housed within America’s first “union station” in Indianapolis. Offering 273 guest rooms, the most popular feature of this unique hotel is the 26 authentic Pullman train car rooms. Still set on their original tracks, the 13 train cars each house two guest rooms named and decorated after famous personalities from the 1900s such as Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Cole Porter, and Jean Harlow. Each car is furnished with its own unique blend of traditional, yet modern décor depicting the life of its namesake. The hotel is still an active railroad station with trains passing through on a regular schedule. The muffled choo-choo’s and subtle vibrations of the trains as they roll through the building enhances the ambiance of staying in the hotel where travellers can experience the authenticity of living in an active railroad station
7. Viking Hotel, Iceland
Who were the coolest iron-age tribe? The Vikings of course. Their horned helmets, love of pillage and super-fast longboats made them a fiercesome force to be reckoned with in early Europe. Every summer, in a typically unpronounceable Icelandic town, Viking culture comes alive in the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjordur. There are songs and revelry, academic lectures and real sword fighting. It’s easy to feel as if you have been transported back in time 1500 years. Especially when you stay in the Viking Hotel which has a feasting hall carved from timber where food, fit for king Hygelac himself, is served by Viking staff. In a jolly version of what must have been a troubling experience, you can arrange to be “kidnapped” by a ragtag bunch of Vikings and dragged to the hotel’s annex-cave where all kinds of fun games and lovely food await you. You can also go whale watching, relax in the geothermal pool and connect to the free wifi.
8. Houshi Onsen, Japan
Located on the Houshi River in the Gunma Prefecture, the Houshi Onsen Chojukan is the epitome of a traditional ryokan where weary travels can experience Japanese hospitality. Built in 1875 at the source of the hot spring, the Chojukan is a secluded mountain getaway that offers majestic views an insight into the traditional Japanese lifestyle. Modeled after original bathhouses, and adorned with photos of its famous historical guests, it almost feels as if you are stepping back through time. The communal areas boast a handsome wood décor and all guest rooms are furnished in the traditional Japanese style with woven-straw tatami mats, futon bedding, and a low table with seating cushions. Most rooms are equipped with modern electronics, but the oldest rooms appear just as they did when the ryokan first opened. Relax in the hot springs located both inside and outside the building and enjoy life a little bit in this piece of Japanese history.
9. The Cubehouse, Netherlands
The Cubehouse in the center of Rotterdam is a great 2 bedroom apartment with 4 beds. The home is named the Cubehouse because of its unique and interesting cuboid design. The home’s ultra-modern design and chic décor make the building appear extremely spacious and airy.
10. Canopy Tower, Panama
Originally a radar tower built by the US in order to exert strategic control of the Panama Canal and fight the bloody War on Drugs, the tower is now a place for families to watch birds and experience the mighty rainforest. Today you can stay in this repurposed tower. Serious birdwatchers can go out ‘birding’ to prime locations in the local rainforest which are difficult to reach in ordinary circumstances; there they can experience the inestimable thrill of spotting a rare species. In fact, some of the most famous ornithologists in the world regularly come to the Canopy Tower for access to these special spots. There are hammocks to laze-in and an extensive library in the Tower if you wish to have a break from the 360-degree-Observation Deck.
11. Mustang Monument Resort, U.S.A
Embrace your inner cowboy at this eco-friendly, western style ranch resort. Or maybe imitating red Indians are more your thing, so sleep a night in a traditional tepee structure.
The ranch offers tons of outdoor activities to keep you busy . Take a horse ride or hike around the 900 acre ranch and see the 650 wild mustangs that that have been rescued from the wild and now roam the ranch. Archery, rappelling, rock climbing, off-road Tom-Car adventures, and paintball matches are also available. This ranch will get you shouting “YEEEHAA” at the top of your lungs, in no time at all, as you escape to the land of your favourite western movie.
12. Harlingen Crane Hotel, Netherlands
In part 1 (or was it part 2, I can’t remember) of this series I talked about a three story crane (Crane Hotel Faralda) with three different luxury suites you can stay at. This crane hotel only has one room to stay in, not three, but this crane hotel has a very unique feature that Faralda does not. And that is…. with this crane you can actually operate it and move it around. Yip you heard that right, the crane still works, like it was originally designed to. That is very cool if I do say so myself. Is the sun in your eyes? Just head upstairs and rotate the whole hotel to a new angle. Now, can a regular luxury hotel do that?
13. The Blue Lagoon Hot Springs Resort, Iceland
When you think of Iceland, you think of magnificent views, beautiful nature, and exquisite hotels. The Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel is definitely one to visit. The hotel is only a kilometre away from the main Blue Lagoon resort. It is surrounded by lava landscapes and is a mere 10-minute walk away from the Blue Lagoon thermal springs. The hotel’s 35 bright and spacious double/twin rooms are equipped with modern décor. The rooms also offer private bathrooms and a deck with views of the lava fields. The rooms also include HDTVs, Wi-Fi, a refrigerator, and a private geothermal lagoon. You can also spend your days relaxing and healing in the spa and massage rooms. You can go for a shoulder massage in the man-made waterfall, or try one of the saunas and steam baths that are carved in the lava rocks. It gets even better. Try the unique in-water massage with the Blue Lagoon mineral massage oil that will surely do wonders for your body. Regardless of the length of your stay, you are guaranteed to remember your visit to one of the 25 wonders of the world. Remember to book your stay early since the rooms are often sold out.
14. The Manta Resort, Tanzania
Located on Pemba Island in Zanzibar, The Manta Resort has a remarkable jewel in its crown of luxury, an underwater sea room. It’s part of an ingenious floating structure. There are three levels. The landing deck is where the boat drops you off and the location of the lounge and bathroom. The top floor has daybeds and shades for relaxing in the day and watching the stars at night – they say you can see the Milky Way and the planets due to the lack of light pollution. Below sea level is the submariner room, a bedroom bubble where fish glide past your window. There are even fish that have made their homes around the structure; out here you won’t be visited by other guests but by three bat fish and a trumpet fish called Nick. The room is located in a “blue hole” in the middle of a living coral reef so it is the perfect place for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts and also people who just really like The Little Mermaid.
15. House in the Clouds, U.K
This strange looking structure was actually an old water tower, built in 1923, that was converted to a hotel. The original water tower was an ugly structure so the architects had the magnificent idea of making it look like a cottage on top of a 70-foot tower. There are five bedrooms and three bathrooms plus the amazing ‘room at the top’ which used to house the large water tank. From there, you can relax in a charming English cottage while enjoying a view that expands for miles. The “House in the Clouds” is fully functional with all the mod cons and is set in one acre of private property where you can enjoy traditional English pursuits like croquet and lawn tennis. The local Thorpeness Village was built from scratch in the 1920s as the ‘perfect holiday village’ a title that remains to this day.
16. Baumhaus Hotel, Germany
A fan of whimsical treehouses? Then this place is for you. The hotel consists of eight tree houses and a ‘wood settlement’. The treehouses are accessible through spiralling walkways and are decorated in many whimsical ways. The fantasy theme is prevalent with various carved and painted trolls and fairies to delight you and your children. There is a medieval-style theatre where rollicking plays and songs are performed by firelight. There is a small campsite and special meals cooked on an open fire. When you wake up you will see the sun rise over the treetops from your wooden balcony. The location is within a national park on the far eastern side of Germany where there is lots of great outdoor activities to do including, hiking, mountain-biking and a super fun zipwire.
17. Espejo de Luna, Chile
Want to stay in a work of both art and architecture. Well here you go. A hotel shaped like a topsided boat surrounded by beautiful nature on a Chilean island. The area is famous for its wildlife and is an excellent place to spot rare Dolphins and Whales. There are also smaller, less inhabited islands to explore which is perfect for adventurers and wildlife lovers. The lodges are packed with modern luxuries and spaced out in the woods to the extent that privacy is guaranteed. The restaurant and bar are regarded as some of the best in Chile and provide an authentic sense of culture and cuisine of the area. Family run, the staff are attentive and the owners are there to provide fireside laughs in this most secluded of tourist destinations.
18. Jarvzoo Wolf Hotel, Sweden
Now this is something unique! Meet Wolf Hotel, where your closest neighbours will be …well you guess it. Whole hotel was created in a barn inside the wolf enclosure, so you’ll get a chance to watch them through big windows and hear howling at night! Sitting face to face with a wolf with only glass between will be a magical experience for children and adults alike
19. Hippo Point, Kenya
Set on one of two properties in the Hippo Point wildlife conservancy, this is another of owner Dodo Cunningham-Reid’s imaginative creations. This eight-storey, 40-metre pagoda in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by acacia trees, is considered one of the world’s top wildlife retreats, not only because of its luxurious rooms, five-star cuisine and impeccable service, but also its location and spectacular game-spotting opportunities – and because it really is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
20. Seven Hotel, France
If you stay here you can sleep in one of the world’s only levitation beds. It appears to hover a couple of feet from the ground and is under-lit by the glow of LED and above you, a fibre-optic night sky is sprayed over your ceiling. That’s pretty great, right? I mean, even Captain Kirk’s bed didn’t levitate. Your room contains all the usual amenities, free WIFI, and a proper espresso machine (essential for coffee cognisors). There is a decadent restaurant and a wine cellar with a specialty in champagne. Massage therapists are delivered to your door so you can relax after your night out in frisky Paris. You will obviously want to bathe in your incredible floating bath with LED lights and if you want a piece of the traditional, you can step out onto your Parisian terrace and enjoy the views around you.
21. Pelican Point, Namibia
Pelican Point Lodge is one of those hotels that isn’t just accommodation, but a destination in itself. The lodge took its name from the Pelican Point, where it’s situated. It’s a remote peninsula off the coast of Namibia with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Walvis Bay on the other. Being the only inhabited building on the peninsula, Pelican Point Lodge might seem to be a secluded spot. It does, however, enjoy frequent visits from seals, flamingos, seagulls, and even curious jackals so you won’t be lacking company. Housed in a renovated Harbour Control building at the foot of a magnificent (and still working!) lighthouse, the lodge offers only 10 suites making it even more special. With names inspired by the surrounding nature (The Lagoon Suite, The Pelican Suite, etc.), each and every room is unique.
22. Rogner Bad Blumau, Austria
You can find the Blumau Hotel in the clear green hillsides of South-Eastern Austria. It is a unique wellness and design hotel. Some blogs have dubbed it “the world’s largest habitable work of art”. Designed by Austria’s most famous contemporary artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the Blumau Hotel was designed to unleash your imagination. Hundertwasser believed that straight lines work against nature and purposely designed the hotel to undulate and flow just like the shapes you find in the natural world.
23. Arte Luise Kunsthotel, Germany
There’s only one place to be in Europe if you want cutting edge art – Berlin. Artists from all over the world come here to open galleries, boutiques or, in the case of Art Luise, a hotel. The hotel is located in a beautiful neoclassical building built in 1829. It is located close to the Reichstag and other essential sights. Previously home to the rambunctious Mowe Art Club it has taken current owners over 20 years to turn it into its current incarnation. The painstaking detail is clear. Billed as an ‘art gallery in which you spend the night’ the hotel has a number of rooms each decorated by a different artist. Even the staircases are curated by a philosophy professor. He designed them to induce a state of contemplation while on your way to get a sandwich. Nice. Your room is totally unique, just check out these photos, which one would you choose? The restaurant pays homage to the building’s long history and is maintained in the traditional German way while serving a contemporary menu.
24. Kennedy School Hotel, U.S.A
Grab your books, grab your bag, we are going back to school!! This elementary school was built in 1915 in a semi-remote location in Northeast Portland. It closed its doors as a school in 1974 and looked set to be demolished. But it was saved by a group of ex-pupils and townsfolk. Today it has been named the ‘number one quirkiest hotel in the US’, quite a title. So prepare to stay in a room where you can write your times tables (or maybe just just your to-do list) on a real-life chalkboard. They have their own brewery and the bar is located in the old detention rooms, who says the Americans are without a sense of irony? The school canteen is now a courtyard restaurant and there is more dining to be had in the old boiler room of the school. There is a beautiful soaking pool that is energy efficient as part of the hotel’s ‘green policy’ which is good to know. If school was this exciting when I was a student, who knows, maybe I would get all straight A’s (or maybe not, I might get to distracted).
25. ION Adventure Hotel, Iceland
For travellers looking to take in the beauty of the Northern Lights (known as Aurora Borealis to some), trek across some glaciers and explore lava fields, ION Luxury Adventure Hotel is a wonderfully unique place to stay in Iceland. Less than an hour by car from Iceland’s coastal capital of Reykjavík, ION is built of sustainable materials (and was recently recognized with a Boutique Hotel Award in the sustainability category) and surrounded by natural hot springs. Close to Thingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Lake Þingvellir , ION provides easy access to all activities in “the land of fire and ice.” From fly-fishing to exploring waterfalls and active volcanic areas, guests will never be at a loss for things to do. From the 45 luxurious rooms, Lava Spa and magnificent landscape that stretches out to the horizon wherever you look, ION provides a calming atmosphere and premium amenities for travellers to recharge, reflect and rejoice on this small island nation.
26. Desert Lotus Hotel, Mongolia
Located 500 kilometers from Beijing between dunes of Xiangshawan Desert lies a truly unique hotel – Desert Lotus Hotel. Lotus Hotel is a resort that is becoming popular among Chinese tourists. Desert Lotus Hotel is also called “Resonant Sand Gorge” as howling wind here produces singing sounds – but it’s not the only attraction here! You can try sandboarding, camel riding and watch one of many cultural performances
27. Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren, Netherlands
Guaranteed to confuse any alcoholic, in this hotel you are supposed to sleep in the wine barrels. Located in the harbour town of Stavoren which is one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands are these 4 massive barrel rooms. The Hotel has 4 enormous wine barrels it has converted into amazing suites. The wine-soaked wood encases a double or two single beds, a living room, and a toilet/bathroom. Definitely, one of the more unusual hotel rooms for you to check out.
28. Hotel Everland, France
Hotel Everland is not a hotel. It is the subjective dream of a hotel. It is a project by artist duo, Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann, better known as L/B. Part of the ‘Life Art’ movement, the duo creates works that involve the viewer in the moment of art itself. They have created a hotel; the only hotel ever to tour Europe. Everland took bookings online and ran for just over 1000 nights between 2006-2009 in locations in Yverdon, Leipzig, and Paris. Guests could book for one night only. Everland often found its home on the roof of some contemporary art gallery. The hotel is an integral unit designed down to the last stitch. L/B deliberately set out to undermine the boundaries between art and interior design, utilizing 1970s style functionality and modern aesthetics. You could enjoy any number of spectacular views (depending on where the hotel unit was placed at the time), from the Paris skyline to a calm lake in Switzerland. Breakfast was delivered to your door the following morning and when you have checked out, the hotel was re-opened to the public as an art attraction. Now that is a statement piece I could get behind (or in, in this case).
29. Radisson Blu, Germany
Once again we find ourselves in the arty city of Berlin, this time with a 25metre high tropical aquarium, named AquaDom, located as the main feature in the Radisson Blu hotel. As the world’s largest freestanding, cylindrical aquarium, it is home to over 100 species and 1,500 specimens of tropical fish. Access to the two-story glass elevated in the center of the aquarium is possible via SeaLife Berlin to get a closer look. All 427 guestrooms mirror the tranquil and stylish ambience of the hotel. All your worries slip away as you unwind amid the chic décor and take in the stunning views of the skyline on one side and AquaDom on the other side of your room.
30. The Muraka, Conrad Rangoli Island, Maldives
A pioneer in luxury tourism, Muraka was the first internationally branded hotel to open in the Maldives back in 1997, the first to open an underwater restaurant in 2004 (Ithaa), and now, the first to open an underwater villa. The Muraka sits five metres (16.4 feet) below sea level and is held in place by concrete piles. There, you’ll get up-close-and-personal with the sea life via floor-to-ceiling windows in the walk-in closet, bathroom and shower, bedroom and a dedicated viewing theatre at the end of the tunnel.. This place is the very definition of an underwater paradise. At 50,000$ a night though, this place certainly does not come cheap.
31. La Claustra Hotel, Switzerland
Forget about simply visiting the Swiss Alps; now you can actually stay in a former army fortress that is nestled within the rocky face of the mountain. La Claustra in Switzerland is a treasure trove of discovery and uniqueness extended in an area of 4000 meters squared. Here you will find an atmosphere like no other place. Be sure to split your time between soaks in a Jacuzzi bath, meals in a great dining ambiance, and views of the pristine greenery and slate grays rock formations of the Swiss Alps. You can enjoy the scenery of the seasonal pool as well.
32. Traustholtsholmi, Iceland
Once again we come to a beautiful, unique accommodation, in you the land of ice and fire. Iceland never seems to disappoint, especially with these yurt style huts with clear stunning views of The Northern Lights. Take a few days off to unplug, relax and live like a traditional Mongolian in one the most stunning countries of natural beauty in the world.
33. Huttenpalast, Germany
Who says camping has to be in a remote, secluded location to be relaxing? This hotel definitely challenged that idea with an indoor caravan park located in the city of Berlin, Germany (again, I know!). The hotel sets itself apart by offering creatively designed accommodations. You can spend your vacation here sleeping in an old caravan or a wooden hut that provide you with a feeling of summer nostalgia. There are also 6 suites with private bathrooms and the carefully restored classic factory architecture and windows to bathe your room with natural light. Definitely creative and certainly a very unique idea. I’ll have to add it to my ever growing bucket list.
”So with that I conclude “The Most Unique Hotels in the World’ series. Which unique hotel would you like to stay at and which are maybe a bit to weird for your personal tastes? Let me know in the comments. If you wish to read part 1 and 2 of this series it will be linked below. So adventurous souls, remember to never stop exploring, live in the moment and chase your dreams at full speed.
Part 1 – ‘25 of the most unique hotels in the world‘