This ice lodge in Austria is one of the few places in the world where you can, that’s right, sleep in your very own igloo. Though we imagine the central heating isn’t up to much, it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Perhaps a warmer way to enjoy the igloo way of life is to check yourself into one of these amazing glass domed igloos in Lapland. Open between the months of December and April, these heated igloos allow guests to lie in bed watching the famed aurora borealis overhead.
A much warmer and less exposed choice of holiday destination would be Arkansas, and in particular, the Ozark Mountains. To be more specific, the Beckham Creek Cave Haven, which is built into the side of the mountains, in amongst a series of spectacular caves. With over 500 acres to enjoy, there is plenty to occupy guests beyond the caves. Check out the underground jacuzzi for an original place to take a relaxing break.
If caves are your thing, world’s deepest underground hotel, Sala Silvermine might be right up your street. The hotel is situated 500 feet underground and can only be accessed via a mineshaft. Definitely not for the claustrophobic!
And whilst we are on the subject of claustrophobia, the Crane Hotel in Holland is not only a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare, but if you suffer from acrophobia (a fear of heights), you may want to cross this one off your list.
Sticking with the, um, ‘bijou’ hotel experience, the Capsule Inn in Tokyo is perhaps the most functional of all hotel rooms. Rather unsettlingly like the walls of drawers you see in a morgue, with the aesthetics of your local laundrette, behind each door is a tiny single bed. If you’re worried about missing your creature comforts though, never fear, as these ‘rooms’ each have their very own miniature television, alarm clock and radio.
More small hotel charm comes in the form of the deceptively named Grand Hotel in Eenrum (again, in the Netherlands). This hotel proudly holds the title of smallest hotel in the world, with only one room, which is inside a wardrobe.
If the idea of tiny spaces is more appealing than appalling to you, Holland has its own take on Tokyo’s capsule hotel experience. These bright orange pods were formerly used as escape pods from oil rigs, and are moored along the riverside in The Hague. Despite their appearance, these pods can sleep up to three people apparently comfortably.
It has become something of a fad to repurpose disused items as hotels, as Das Park in Linz, Austria exemplifies. The pods here are made from old concrete sewage pipes (thoroughly scrubbed, of course!) with a door on the front which opens to reveal swish, if compact, modern interior décor. Each pod weighs about 9.5 tonnes, and they are situated on the banks of the stunning River Danube.
From the river to the treetops. On Vancouver Island in Canada, you will find three spherical treehouses, named Eve, Eryn and Melody. Suspended in the peaceful forest canopy, the spheres gently sway with the movement of the trees and are accessed by wooden ladders.
If you like the idea of staying in a forest canopy, then how does the idea of a gigantic tree house in the middle of the Amazon rainforest sound? Featuring four miles of catwalks through the rainforest canopy, this incredible tree house complex is the dream hotel for those of a simian persuasion.
Over in southern Chile, in the midst of the Huilo Huilo Reserve, you will find another jungle habitat for adventure-loving travellers. The Magic Mountain has a waterfall at its peak, and the water cascades over the windows continuously. Though you may find you need to pee unusually often, the unique appearance of the Magic Mountain will certainly make it worthwhile. It’s almost like something out of Lord of the Rings.
And speaking of Lord of the Rings, if you’re planning a trip to New Zealand to visit the breathtaking landscapes that featured in the film, why not go all-out and stay in a hobbit house, too? These incredible cabins are set into the hillside, just like those in the books/movies. You don’t have to be a geek to stay here, but it helps!
Ooh, and while you’re there, don’t forget to visit the jaw-dropping Waitomo Caves and check out the millions of glow worms that make the caves sparkle like a fairy grotto.
If geeking out sounds good to you, then the Library Hotel in New York’s Manhattan will be just the thing to float your boat. Or turn your pages, or whatever. Each floor of the Library Hotel is numbered with the major categories of the Dewey Decimal System, with each room number to its own subtopic. It doesn’t get much geekier than that!
Whilst New Zealand has its bio-luminescence in caves and supplied by glow worms, in Puerto Rico, you can stay at the Casa Triangular at Hix Island House resort. From your extensive balcony, you will be able to take in the magical sight of a bio-luminescent bay. The shallows twinkle and glow with the lights of millions of plankton, whose glow is charged by the energy of the waves lapping on the shore. If this wasn’t poetic enough, the resort is located in the middle of a butterfly preserve.
From the magic of butterflies and bio-luminescence to that of giraffes. Giraffe Manor was set up as a sanctuary to protect endangered Rothschild giraffes, but became a hotel in 1984. Though it still carries out its vital preservation work, you can now visit yourself and enjoy sharing your breakfast with these gorgeous, gentle giants.
There are plenty of places in Thailand and other Asian countries where you can go and spend time with elephants. However, if you value the wellbeing of these majestic creatures, you’ll want to be very careful about where you go to enjoy their company. It is no secret that elephants are very badly treated in some places, but not at the Golden Triangle, where previously abused elephants are given a new lease of life in an extraordinary setting. With activities as varied as elephant yoga, elephant picnics and dining with baby elephants, you cannot ask for a more authentic and ethical elephant experience.
It’s not just land animals that you can experience on a unique holiday. The equisitely luxurious Poseidon Resort in Fiji costs a lofty $30,000 for a week’s stay in its underwater hotel. Mind you, with that, you do get your own submarine.
Whilst the Poseidon is completely submerged, the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is a feat of modern engineering, having been constructed 250 metres out to sea. Floors below the surface look out onto the sub-marine world around, whilst above ground, inside the sail shaped tower, the uber-wealthy enjoy world class service and lavish surroundings.
If all that luxury isn’t to your tastes, then why not try the other end of the spectrum? The Old Mount Gambier Gaol was a prison from 1866 until 1995, when someone had the brainwave of transforming it into a hotel. Only, they didn’t change anything. Apart from putting locks on the inside, rather than the outside, of the doors. Hm.
Another historical building that has been re-purposed as a quirky hotel is the fantastic Quinta Real in Zaratecas, Mexico. This seventeenth century bullring features arches all around the perimeter of the ring, with all rooms overlooking the beautiful mosaic arena.
The Quinta Real hotel might be round, but does it turn around? No it doesn’t, because the only hotel in the world to actually spin (yes, that’s right, spin) is the Marmara in Antalya, Turkey. The hotel is situated within a tank full of 478 tonnes of water, and, driven by six electric motors, makes one revolution every two hours. There’s no point asking for a sea view here!
From one hotel that is round, to another that turns around, to yet another which… gets around! The Exploranter is an enormous hotel on wheels which drives ceaselessly all over South America picking up exhausted adventurers and giving them somewhere to rest their sleepy heads. Whilst the guests/passengers grab some shuteye, the Exploranter drives them to their next destination, where they can start afresh, refreshed and ready to go! With hot showers, over thirty beds and a continental breakfast, the Exploranter certainly gives Harry Potter’s Knight Bus a run for its money!
Whilst the more adventurous traveller may find the idea of the Exploranter like a dream come true, others prefer their hotels to stay in one place. The Madonna Inn in California certainly stays rooted to the spot, isn’t in a cave, a jungle or inside a sewage pipe. However, it has some truly – how do we put it? – ‘ideosyncratic’ interiors. The many individually designed suites and rooms at the Madonna Inn have something of a retro vibe about them, with some truly hair curling carpets and wallpaper. Highlights include themed rooms such as the Caveman room, which looks like something out of The Flintstones.
Themed rooms are a pretty widely appreciated oddity in the world of quirky hotels. Most are aimed more at adult guests. However, the Fantasyland Hotel at Canada’s famous West Edmonton Mall, offers themed rooms to thrill all the family. Situated right next to Canada’s finest amusement park and swimming complex, your only trouble here will be getting your excited offspring to go to sleep!
Some hotels take the concept of themed rooms to a whole new level, such as Propeller Island. This hotel is more of an art exhibition, with thirty custom designed rooms all featuring unique, one-off handiwork. Themes include such mind-boggling notions as mine shafts, upside down rooms and coffins.
If Propeller Island is the art exhibition of hotels, then Maison Moschino is, without a doubt, the catwalk of hotels. From the rice paper poodles in the foyer to the kooky and absurd décor in each and every one of the fairytale rooms, the Maison Moschino is enough to send fashion lovers into fits of ecstacy. Situated inside an old neoclassical railway station, the exterior is as striking as the interior. If you’re lucky enough to stay here, be sure to order the Moskit breakfast, which is served in a delightful little porcelain box.
The Propeller Island City Lodge is certainly not alone in offering artsy hotel rooms. In fact, there are whole swathes of absolutely gorgeous, and completely original, hotel rooms all over Europe. One of these is the Hotel Fox, in which every room is designed by a different artist. From room 121, in which you can sleep in an oversized tent whilst murals of cartoon animals watch over from the walls, to the eerie room 302 which is a kind of Stanley Kubrick meets Moroccan bath-house, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience in the Hotel Fox!
The Panic Room at Au Vieux Panier in Marseille has been doing the rounds on the internet for quite some time, and not without good reason. The Panic Room is a strange 50/50 split between chaotic graffiti (by celebrated graffiti artist ‘Tilt’) and pure white. Other rooms at the hotel are no less bizarre, as you’ll see below.
The art hotel theme continues with Arte Luise Kunsthotel in Berlin, where, just like at Vieux Panier and Hotel Fox, the rooms are designed by different artists.
The 7 Hotel, in Paris, also has uniquely designed rooms. Only, it takes things to another level. At 7, you can choose to stay in a room where the bed appears to levitate several feet above the ground, and blue sky and cumuli nimbus float by overhead. Or, James Bond fans could check in to the 007 Suite. Perfect, if you have a spy who loves you.
So, after seeing some of the most quirky and unique hotels in the world, which one tickles your fancy most?
HolidayTaxis.com would like to thank the amazing UnusualHotelsOfTheWorld.com for many of the hotels featured in this article. The photos also appear courtesy of them, where applicable. You can find many more unusual hotels, and book them too, on the Unusual Hotels of the World website.