Bored with ordinary hotels? There’s no shortage of wacky and wonderful offbeat hotels, no matter where in the world you may be. Some are luxurious; others are rustic; all are unforgettable.
If you’ve got a hankering for thick stone walls or the knowledge that you’re sleeping in a former prison cell, you’ve got choices in England, Switzerland, and Australia, ranging from very un-prisonlike luxury to more Spartan (and wallet-friendly) digs.
Some innovative hotels and smaller bed and breakfasts have done amazing work to repurpose vehicles or buildings that would otherwise be defunct. For instance, you can stay in a cute tugboat bed and breakfast, a covered wagon, or a train car. Repurposed buildings include a windmill, a lighthouse, a grain silo, a water tower, and even a nuclear bunker. If that’s just too ordinary, you can stay in a section of drainage pipe, a former wine cask, or a floating pod that used to be part of an oil rig. If you’d like a sense of control as part of your hotel stay, there’s a crane out there for you.
Ice, Ice Baby
There’s more than one ice hotel out there, with two of the best known being in Sweden and in Quebec, Canada. In addition to being able to say that you’ve spent the night (snuggled with your honey, we hope!) surrounded by ice, you’ll be blown away by the sheer skill that it took to build these.
In the Treetops
If that treehouse you had as a kid never quite lived up to your wildest dreams, try Safariland Resorts, Ariaua Amazon Towers, or the Wild Canopy Reserve. Not only will you be staying in the treetops, but you’re sure to get great views of some truly interesting wildlife.
Want your lodging to walk the fine line between art and life? You can enjoy some very unusual rooms at Propeller Island, stay in a museum, or visit an old opera house for some extra culture along with your stay.
If that’s not enough, maybe an old mine will do the trick.
Many hotels cater to the kid in us (or to actual kids) with fun themes. You can pretend that you’re a hobbit. Want to return to the 1950’s or to medieval times? No problem. Can’t get enough of the Beatles? There’s a hotel for you too. You can also find hotels themed around philosophy or famous detectives. At the Madonna Inn or the Fantasyland Hotel, each room has a different theme. Go ahead, pretend you’re in an English manor or an igloo or ancient Rome.
No matter what kind of experience you seek, there’s a hotel or bed and breakfast somewhere for you. Need gothic witchiness? A haunted plantation? Over-the-top ornate décor? Giraffes? Something…else? You got it.
Built Out of What?
Luckily, these hotels built of sand and salt are more stable than they sound! If they’re a little too gritty for you, maybe you’d like to stay in a house of cards. Key cards, that is—this temporary hotel was built by a professional card stacker for Holiday Inn as part of a promotion. (How do you get to be a professional card stacker? Just wondering.)
For a little underwater novelty, try the Utter Inn, the Jules Underwater Hotel, or the Poseidon Undersea Resort, opening in 2010. If you’re a little more of a landlubber, there’s a hotel for you too, complete with a waterfall cascading down the front of the building. Need some rotation with your flotation? The Hotel Marmara in Turkey has a place for you.
Geek Out, Inside
Stay at the Hotel Sidi Driss, where part of Star Wars was filmed, or come to the dark side with a visit to this “Death Star”-shaped hotel. More space age lodging awaits, or, alternatively, your own galactic suite. Or, stay down to earth with a magnificent view of the stars at the Astronomer’s Inn.
Want to live like a hamster? Now you can.
Amazingly, this list only scratches the surface. We’re sure that somewhere there is a hotel constructed from junked cars, or one inside a former insane asylum or a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. If you know of more unique hotels, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!