Trying to find a hotel abroad can be a headache. The millions of options we have at our fingertips can make it nearly impossible to decide where to stay. Chances are you’re making some concessions no matter where you stay. Many think of the hotel as part of the travel experience, indeed, some seek out unique hotels for the experience alone. What classifies as unique can vary, however. Some accommodations have some original architecture, or modern style, or a theme. Others are UFOs, or they’re made of salt. Entirely. Check out the most unique hotels in the world.
Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi had a great influence on the world with his out-there style, and it seems like the hotel Hang Nga, or “The Crazy House,” took a cue. This concrete mass of a structure looks like something you made in pottery class in school, but with a bunch of big holes (ahem, windows) poked through. Sculpted with portholes, mushrooms, spider webs, and knots of wood, the guesthouses are actually very nice and a comfortable stay for the adventurous traveler. The hotel has 10 rooms.
Attrap’Reves Hotel, France
Have you ever wanted to sleep in a snow globe? Wished your tent was clear? With multiple locations in France, you can sleep in a plastic bubble room. Now your dreams have come true. Complete with a bed, lamp, sitting area, the bubble boasts no pests and no humidity. Not for the modest, it is in fact entirely clear, unless you get the partially transparent bubble.
Kumbuk Hotel, Buttala, Sri Lanka
If you don’t want to sleep in a bubble, maybe you’d like to sleep inside an elephant. This eco-hotel is made of grass and twigs and is two stories tall. And yes, it’s the shape of an elephant. Guests slumber in the elephant’s body, and have easy access to the wildlife reserves, where they can see real elephants, as well as the beach and ocean, known for good surfing conditions.
Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho
Not to be outdone, in Idaho, you have the opportunity sleep in another creature – a massive 12-foot beagle. Better than Snoopy, this pooch was constructed by the inn’s owners, who are chainsaw artists. You can check out the puppy beagle/gift shop just in front, and say hello to the owners who are very normal, in fact. Sweet Willy accommodates four guests. He is pet friendly, of course.
Costa Verde, Manuel Antonio Park, Costa Rica
Want a vacation with a view? Try the Costa Verde hotel, perched high over a cliff overlooking a jungle canopy. The hotel, though, isn’t exactly what you’d call modern, at least on the outside – it’s a 1965 vintage Boeing 727 plane, that rests on sturdy planks and juts 50 feet into the jungle. Inside, however, the plane is decked out in hand-crafted teak wood, with teak furniture to match. At the rear of the aircraft there’s a deck that anchors the plane, and severs as a nice place to sit. If you’d like a cocktail, mosey over to the El Alion, a C-123 Fairchild cargo plane, that serves as a restaurant and pub.
Palacio de Sal, Uyuni, Bolivia
This hotel was built the way it was because the city of Uyuni lacks construction resources. But, it sits on the world’s largest salt flat, so they made the entire hotel out of salt. The walls are salt blocks, and even most of the furniture inside is made of salt. There’s a lobby, bar, 16 rooms, heating and electricity, and honestly, it’s rather beautiful. The restaurant’s specialty is Salt Chicken, no seasoning needed.
The Liberty Hotel, Boston
Spending a night in the clinker is a luxury at this high-end former jail in Boston. Renovated, of course, the architects kept much of the former life of the building’s aesthetic. Though there are newer accommodations added on, many of the rooms are in jail cells, complete with a catwalk looking down to the gorgeous lobby. Windows have been installed, three-stories tall and arched, and are spectacular, so you don’t feel like an inmate, although you’re going to dine at the CLINK and sip a drink at the Alibi Bar.
Aydinli Cave House Hotel, Goreme, Turkey
If you’re going to Cappadocia to watch the hot air balloons, don’t stop there – stay overnight at one of the cave hotels. Popular in the region, these hotels climb high over the village of Goreme, where balconies overlook the valley and town, for a breathtaking view. The rooms are carved out of rock and stone from Cappadocia itself, some of which date back 750 years.
Treehouse Hotel, Harads, Sweden
A lot of kids had tree houses as children, but nothing was ever quite like these Swedish dwellings. These houses perch in the forest not far from the town of Harads and come in a variety of structures – a bird’s nest, a mirror-cube, a UFO, and a traditional cabin. The idea is to commune with nature at the fullest. Most have see-through roofs, which you want because at night you can see the aurora borealis, which is reason enough to stay, even if you don’t want to live like a bird.
Many people like to think they can live off the earth, and nothing takes that idea to the extreme like the Biotectures situated in New Mexico. The Tres Pietras one looks not too different from the Crazy Hotel in Vietnam, or a Gaudi experiment, although it has that gorgeous Mexican influence that creates a truly stunning piece of architecture. Built in the 1960s, the Earthship opened to guests in 1997. Inside it’s composed of pod sleeping spaces. The Earthship runs on recycled materials. Gray water is recycled into drinking water, food is grown on site, and power is solar and wind generated. Not only that, though, visitors get to stay in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, which can definitely feel like another planet, so you get to experience the future. Kind of.
What’s the coolest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?