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If you like adventure, you may want to stay in a hotel that’s a lot more than just a place to lay your head down at night – in fact, it just might be the highlight of your entire vacation. From igloos to treehouses, caves and even a vintage airplane, these unique lodging options will transform an ordinary stay into an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
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At Hotel Costa Verde in Costa Rica, you can sleep in a luxuriously refurbished 1965 vintage Boeing 727. The airframe has been transformed into a fantastic two-bedroom suite complete with hand-carved teak furnishings as well as a rear bedroom with a handcrafted deck atop the wing. It also features an ocean view terrace where you can relax and watch monkeys, toucans and sloths in neighboring trees. The plane sits upon a concrete podium jutting 50 feet up into the jungle canopy, making it feel as if you’re flying when you look out the window.
Can you imagine sleeping in a room encapsulated within an aquamarine-hued bubble, waking up to watch reef fish swim by? At this underwater hotel, you can do just that. The floating structure offers three levels, each providing a unique experience. At sea level, the landing deck features a bathroom facility and lounge area. A ladder leads up to the roof where you can soak in the sun during the day, or gaze at the star-filled night’s sky after dark – an incredible sight with amazing clarity minus the light pollution. Downstairs, you’ll lie on a soft bed surrounded by glass for nearly 360-degree views of the shoals of reef fish and other fascinating creatures like batfish, trumpet fish and even the magnificent manta ray. Underwater spotlights at night attract some of the more unusual ocean inhabitants, like squid. Sometimes octopus even attaches themselves to the glass panes.
Boston’s famous Liberty Hotel was the former home of the Charles Street jail, whose inmates were the likes of Malcolm X and Boston mayor James Curley. The jail was built in 1851, but closed its doors in 1990 due to overcrowding. Seventeen years later it was transformed into the high-end establishment it is today, while still showcasing much of the original structure. Guests can dine in remnants of the original jail cells at the hotel’s eatery, or sip a drink in the bar that was once a drunk tank. If you’d like to experience what it was like to stay here back in the day, just ask to stay in one of the rooms that include parts of the real jail, albeit with luxurious touches.
The V8 Hotel Classic, located in the heart of Stuttgart’s Meilenwerk, known as an international hub for car dealers, offers an oasis for car lovers. The v8 Hotel Classic features 34 elaborately and authentically decorated rooms with themes based on some of the most famous automobiles. You’ll find a ‘70s Cadillac drive-in movie, a Mercedes-Benz car wash, and even one for “Love Bugs,” with a Herbie-shaped VW bed. The hotel also houses a brewery, cooking school, restaurant and a legend hall with classic cars. Motor World Stuggart is housed here too, where classic car collectors can bring their vehicles for repairs and park them in glass viewing boxes so that visitors can watch. In 2018, V8 HOTEL opened a second, larger location, making the original now the V8 Hotel Classic.
In this Berlin hotel, each room seems to be stranger than the next, with amenities you never really knew you needed. You’ll find a room with coffin beds and one with a bath in a giant plastic bag. Another divides a king bed into two singles by using an oversized guillotine. There’s even a room with a slanted floor that appears to make the bed fly. The most requested room appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, but at a closer look, you’ll see that it’s actually upside down. The furniture is suspended from above, except for a Murphy bed, a table, sofa and television, which all fold out from the smooth floor.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a child’s treehouse that looked like this. Here in Harads, Sweden architects transformed your typical treehouse into something strange and somewhat futuristic. Each is unique, like the mirror cube. This hideout sits among the trees, camouflaged by mirrored walls reflecting its surroundings. The base is made up of an aluminum frame around the tree trunk, with walls covered with reflective glass. Other suites include one that appears to be constructed entirely out of Legos, another resembles a flying saucer.
The Hang Nga Guesthouse has a crazy, twisting tree-like design with animal sculptures all around it that earned it the nickname “Crazy House.” The architect’s inspiration was said to come from the desire to bring people back to nature, and to remind them to appreciate the environment, rather than destroy it. It features animal-themed rooms that are connected by a series of ladders, bridges and tunnel passages. The bizarre fairy-tale like house resembles a giant tree, incorporating elements that represent natural forms like mushrooms, animals, spider webs and caves.
Woodlyn Park is a working farm that also offers a rather eclectic selection of accommodations, including a WWII patrol boat, a converted railway carriage, one of the last Allied planes to make it out of Vietnam – now transformed with two rooms, and a ‘50s polystyrene-clad freighter fully refurbished into two self-contained units, making up the world’s first hobbit motel. The underground hobbit hotel inspired by the home of Biblo and Frodo Baggins from the JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings tales was built two years after the final film’s released, attracting scores of visitors.
You’ve probably heard of hotels made with ice, but a hotel made of salt is definitely something more than a little different. Palacio de Sal is located on the world’s largest salt flat, built from the construction material that was most readily available. It took one million salt blocks measuring 14 inches, mortared together with saltwater to construct it. The walls, floors, ceilings and most of the furniture, are all made of salt. There is also a 9-hole salt golf course.
The Beermoth - Inverness-shire, Scotland
The Beermoth is part carnival camper, part parade float. It was converted from a Commer Q4 1950s fire truck, and after a stint as the Bed & Buckfast stage at the Insider Festival, began hosting guests in its present location on Inshriach Estate in Scotland. It features an over-the-top Victorian brass double bed, an oak parquet floor taken from a Tudor mansion, a fire escape for a staircase, and a wood-burning stove to warm up to on a chilly Scottish night.
This sea fort built in 1867 to repel the French Navy, was renovated for use as a small luxury spa hotel and retreat. Set off the south coast of England, it houses a circular plunge pool and sauna in the former rooftop gun emplacement. The ammunition store is now a wine-tasting room. The historic sea-granite fort opened in 2012 with eight bedroom suites featuring sea views, a bar, restaurant, sunbathing decks and fire pits. The gun ports were converted to windows so that guests can sleep to the “soothing sounds of the waves.” This unusual hotel also provides boat transfers from Gosport and Portsmouth in Hampshire, England.
This hotel not only offers the feel of living like a Sultan, manifesting the concept of “Arabian Nights,” it may be one of the most colorful you’ve ever seen. Its distinct, bright hues and décor makes each room unique – choose your favorite for an unforgettable red carpet experience and five-star luxury. The Sultan’s suite features a four-poster bed and an in-room Jacuzzi.
In the Sassi of Matera, a complex of rocks, caverns and grottoes in Southern Italy, this four-star hotel blends into the landscape, built right into cliffside caves. Each room is uniquely restored and filled with furniture made from antique wood, handmade linens and candle lighting. While you won’t find a TV, you can indulge in a massage treatment right in your own cave-dwelling, complete with soft new age music, herbal teas and essential oils for total mind and body relaxation.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is where you’ll find the famed Igloo Village with Glass and Snow Igloos as well as one of the world’s largest log restaurants. From late August to late April, guests can typically watch the Northern Lights in comfort from their very own igloo, surrounded by spectacular and exotic Lapland scenery. The igloos also offer an incredible peaceful night’s sleep with the snow muffling sounds from the outside world.
BaseCamp Bonn is the only hotel in the world that offer indoor camping in themed caravans, Airstreams and night trains. It features two VW minibusses, two U.S. Airstreams as well as two original night sleepers – all decorated by film set designer Marion Seul. Themes including everything from Flower Power to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Big Ben. They’re housed in and around a former storage facility, creating a very unique, indoor caravan park. It’s also a great place to explore the Cologne and Koenigswinter region.
Ever thought about spending the night in a windmill? This 18th-century accommodation offers two suites in The Windmill tower. While there’s been a windmill on the site for four centuries or so, the current structure dates from 1794 when Thomas Robinson built a new mill. The mill stopped grinding corn in 1927, becoming a bakery at one point, later for storage, but gradually falling into disrepair. It was nearly knocked down for a home development, but in 1985 it was saved, renovated and transformed into a hotel. The balcony suite is accessed by external steps winding around its side, with the balcony offering 360-degree views over Scarborough, including Olivers Mount, The Castle and North Bay.
The Utter Inn is a floating, underwater hotel set in a Swedish lake near Stockholm. The single room lies nearly 10 feet below the surface of Lake Malaren in Vasteras and contains just twin beds and a table. It’s said to stimulate the “most typical of Swedish dreams: to have a small Swedish red house with white garbles on your own island.” You’ll spend the night in an underwater aquarium with panoramic windows in every direction. Guests of the inn arrive at the port of Vasteras, and are then taken on the short journey out to the hotel across the lake, given an inflatable boat, instructions, and are then left alone.
Dog Bark Park Inn owner Frances Conklin says, “This is the only place one can sleep with 26 dogs and still get a good night’s rest. At this hotel dubbed “largest beagle in the world,” guests sleep in the inn that’s shaped like a giant dog. It offers a dog theme throughout, including carved dogs and dog-shaped cookies. In case you’re wondering, real, live dogs are allowed. The establishment states that “responsible pets arriving with their well-behaved humans are welcome to stay with prior approval.”
These treehouse guestrooms located in southern Oregon near the California border, are probably quite a bit more upscale than your childhood hideout. Each one is unique with 18 different designs, are family-sized and come complete with bathrooms, kitchenettes and beds. Some of them can only be accessed via a swinging bridge and network of zip lines. Owner and developer Michael Garnier says he has the biggest concentration of treehouses in the world, claiming, “Nowhere are there as many treehouses in one locale.”
If you’ve ever wanted to be a Lighthouse Keeper, here’s your chance. Located at the tip of the 5-mile long Dungeness Spit in Sequim, Washington, it’s one of the very few that allows families to be Lighthouse Keepers for a week. The Light Station has been continuously staffed 24 hours a day since 1994 by people serving as volunteer Keepers at their own expense in one-week shifts. Maximum capacity is 7, with three main bedrooms, a bedroom in the basement, a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room, living room and two bathrooms.