When traveling, sometimes we want to break beyond the expected, to do something completely outlandish. Even resorts with incredible views and amenities can become white noise to the frequent explorer, as can humble, rustic, earthy options. Luckily, the creativity of human-kind is endless, and this is reflected amongst all the out-of-the-box hotels and retreats out there. Made from odd materials, or placed in a surprising location, there are more bewildering lodging choices than one might think. Let’s dive into the best of them.
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Winvian Farm presents luxuriously, with five-star cuisine, a vast wine selection and a world-class spa. Set within some of Connecticut’s most lustrous acreage, there’s more than meets the eye. While polished cottages await to house guests, more unique selections are ripe for the picking, from a beaver lodge with trees serving as the centerpiece, to a 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F helicopter that’s been converted for your relaxation needs.
Tierra Atacama isn’t strange so much for its own appearance, but for the location on which it sits. Resorts often set on the cusp of the ocean, mountains or a lively city, but Tierra Atacama overlooks the Chilean Atacama Desert. Instead of listening to waves lap onto the shore, guests are surrounded by dry brush whipping in the wind, and a volcanic backdrop. It’s actually a quite nice contrast to the suave resort itself.
At Yunessun Spa Resort in Japan, you can have your wine and—soak in it too? Primarily known for its hot springs and kid-friendly water slides, another attraction has made this resort a head-turner. Wine soaking baths, complete with giant, gimmicky bottles seemingly dumping into the pools, are paired alongside other unusually spa experiences. Sake, green tea and coffee are other, eh, pampering options. Don’t forget to dip your feet in the pools of tiny little fish that will clean all the dead skin off your feet. There’s no other pedicure quite like it.
Das Park Hotel in Austria gives guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something you didn’t really think was on your traveling bucket list—staying in an old sewage (okay drainage) pipe. But it’s actually much cozier than one might imagine. The snug capsules are set amongst a lovely park, and feature colorful bedding and design, while being quite tiny. Das Park Hotel aims to be an affordable option for those coming through the area.
Tucked in the ancient cave dwellings of Sassi di Matera, Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita takes a trip to Italy to the next level. One of the world’s best cave hotels, each room features its own look, with rock and stone dominating the rustic appeal. From the retreat itself to the surrounding city, history oozes from every pore. Even the dining room was once an old church. While unusual and totally awesome, Sextantio is far more than a gimmick, having earned prestigious awards and the praise of all who visit.
Hotel des Dromont’s tiered structure and abstract interiors can be found in Morzine France’s Portes du Soleil skiing area. Originally built in the 1960s, the building with optimal mountain views from nearly every room has seen major renovations that have made it a refined option for those hitting the challenging slopes of Portes du Soleil. Rounding out the upscale experience is a relaxing spa and tasty bistro.
From global destinations to Marfa, Texas, El Cosmico puts off bohemian vibes with its pink vintage trailers and quirky offerings like 50 cent haircuts. Lodging options range vastly, from cozy tipis, yurts and canvas tents to other difficult to identify selections. Regardless, it’s an incredibly fun, colorful destination amongst the desert, and close to the attractions of the town. So come enjoy a wood-fired hot tub, some really great people, and lodging that will take you back to a time of peace and love.
Overlooking the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia, Palacio de Sal allows travelers to enjoy the benefits of this miracle mineral, by dwelling in rooms composed of salt themselves. While not the most suave hotel you’ve ever seen, the location and construction have created a unique space for wellness enthusiasts and those who are simply intrigued. Take a swim, indulge in included meals from a dining space with views over the salt flats, and appreciate the individuality of Palacio de Sal.
From the interior, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland looks like your average high-end accommodation, but from the outside, you can see that it’s actually been infused into the earth, at a what was formerly a rock quarry. Rooms peer outward to the rugged terrain that serves as a truly striking perk to staying at this grand establishment. Pool spaces emanate the same sleek charm as the rest of the hotel, and the cuisine is something to write home about as well. One of the top underwater hotels in the world, it also has two underwater floors as well.