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Top 10 of the World's Most Unusual Hotels

Last Updated Apr 10, 2017 · Written by Craig Gibson


Looking for somewhere different for your next getaway? If you are allergic to bland apartment hotels and Holiday Inns then there is no better time to spread your wings and stay somewhere slightly different.

How different? Well, this list of 10 of the world’s most unusual hotels includes a sewage drainage pipe (we kid you not), cave and a capsule slung over the side of a mountain. Unusual enough for you?

And you never know, the construction methods, design or materials in one of these buildings might just inspire you to include it in your next renovation, extension or new build.

1. Ice Hotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Ice hotel Sweden

Address: Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Star rating: Chilly
Average cost per night: ‎AUD $338

Why visit?

If you can only sleep at -5 degrees then the Icehotel should be at the top of your bucket list. Billed as the ‘world’s first hotel made of ice and snow’, the setting is ever so slightly remote at 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Here luxury suites, an ice bar and an ice gallery await. The Icehotel is made from sculpted blocks of ice taken from the frozen Torne River during Spring. If the cold is not your thing then you can still visit in the summer when solar panels keep the ice from melting. The closest you may get to this in Australia is by cranking up your air con when summer mercury rises.
 

2. The Hobbit Motel, New Zealand

Hobbit Motel New Zealand
Image - Tripadvisor

Address: 1177 Waitomo Valley Rd, RD7 Otorohanga, NZ 3937
Star rating: Cosy
Average cost per night: ‎AUD $159 - ‎AUD $227

Why visit?
If the Lord of the Rings or anything vaguely Hobbity is your thing then definitely get yourself over to this cosy homage to Tolkien’s little people. Set on a working farm, they can also accommodate you in a plane, boat or train carriage if you don’t fancy living like a Hobbit. The motels are made from a combination of natural and recycled materials, with some being ex war planes, navy boats, and working steam trains. The underground Hobbit cabins feature natural timbers and materials for the curtains.

And if you are wondering about the dimensions of your bed, these are ‘regular’ sized so you should sleep as soundly as Bilbo Baggins with a ring around his neck. Want the LOR experience in your backyard? Then chat to Peter Jackson or your local landscaper for ideas on creating Bag End.

3. Huruvalhi Island Resort, Maldives

Hruvalhi Island Resort underwater dining

Image - https://vimeo.com/176504254

Address: Lhaviyani Atoll, 20187 Kuredu, Maldives

Star rating: The works
Average cost per night: US$ 649 - US$ 1,945

Why visit?
Chic beachfront villas with private infinity plunge pools, stairs into the sea, internet access, wine fridges, espresso machines and champagne bars are not that unusual at a luxury resort. But the underwater restaurant is the real showstopper at this adults-only getaway. So go before you get hitched or ditch the kids for a dinner with a difference at 5.8, the world’s largest all-glass undersea dining experience. Made out of reinforced glass, this feature might be slightly challenging to replicate at home but new windows could just be the next best thing.

4. Dasparkhotel Ottensheim, Austria

Dasparkhotel Ottensheim, Austria

Image - Wikicommons

Address: Rodlstraße 21, 4100 Ottensheim, Austria
Star rating: Circular
Average cost per night: As much as you can afford or want to pay


Why visit?
Ok, this one is ever so slightly quirky. First off your room is a recycled concrete sewage pipe, though you will be glad to know it comes with a bed. Second, there are no set rates or pricing, you simply pay a donation. How cool is that! We also love their philosophy on life, ‘It is necessary to have a place to be alone, to hide from the new and strange voices when they get to be too much. dasparkhotel would like to offer a temporary comfortable uncomplicated home for a certain time.’ If a sewage pipe is a little too rustic you could opt for a concrete kitchen benchtop or polished concrete floor.

5. Desert Cave Hotel, Australia

Desert Cave Hotel

Address: 1 Hutchison St, Coober Pedy, South Australia
Star rating: 6 rock
Average cost per night: AUD $145 - AUD $295


Why visit?

Unless you are claustrophobic then a night or two in the quiet, cool, dark rooms of the Desert Cave Hotel will allow you to experience how our Neanderthal ancestors lived, with all the modern luxuries like electricity and flushing toilets of course. Constructed from, or out of, natural stone, getting there is easy. Simply head north of Adelaide on the Stuart Highway for 846 km and you will reach Coober Pedy, population 1,695. And if you want to live like the Flintstones, a stonemason could be just the person to make this happen.
 

6. Bodega Marqués de Riscal, Spain

Bodega Marques de Riscal, Spain

Image - https://www.flickr.com/photos/hansbrinker/2140271654/in/photostream/

Address: Calle Torrea Kalea, 1, 01340 Elciego, Álava, Spain
Star rating: Avant-garde
Average cost per night: US$440 - US$938

Why visit?

There are a ton of reasons to visit Frank Gehry's creation besides the avant-garde architecture. Set in the heart of Spain’s Rioja region, you could sample the local wines, tuck into the fare on offer in the hotel restaurant, check into the spa or simply spend the day staring at that gravity-defying roof constructed from steel and conrete. You might not be able to get the plans for Gehry’s design through your local council, but your local roofer can advise you on the most suitable material for your home.

7. Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica


Hotel Costa Verde, Costa RicaBy Gotanero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica
Star rating: Cloud 9
Average cost per night: US$ 217 - US$ 328
 

Why visit?
For the chance to sleep in a refurbished 1965 vintage Boeing 727 of course!  Your personal aircraft houses a two-bedroom suite with deck, and is perched looking out over the jungle. And if that isn’t quirky enough for you the resort has more monkeys than people. What are you waiting for, get yourself to Costa Rica already! And while an aircraft in your backyard is a little fanciful, a solid timber deck definitely isn’t.
 

8. Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Address: Langata, Nairobi, Kenya
Star rating: Tall, really tall
Average cost per night: US$ 646 - US$ 912


Why visit?

To spend time with giraffes of course. The resident herd of wild Rothschild giraffe visit morning and evening, and if you are really lucky they may even poke their head through a window while you have breakfast. Set in 12 acres of private land in an indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Giraffe Manor’s neoclassical facade is fashioned from weathered masonry, evoking an era that Hemingway called his own. If a flight to Kenya is out of your budget, an interior designer can help bring a touch of safari style and glamour to your life.

9. Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru

Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru

Image - https://www.flickr.com/photos/lunasinestrellas/28047306825

Address: Pista 224 km. Urubamba-Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru

Star rating: A billion or so
Average cost per night: US$ 435


Why visit?
For the views of course! And the stars at night. Your bedroom in the Skylodge Adventure Suite is a transparent capsule hand crafted out of aerospace aluminum and weather resistant polycarbonate, hanging off the side of a 1200 ft mountain with a 300 degree view of the valley below. Each suite comes complete with four beds, a dining area and a private bathroom. Not recommended if you are the slightest bit scared of heights. Want a view of the night sky at home? Then chat to a skylight installer about your options.

10. Henn-na Hotel, Japan
Henn-na Hotel, Japan

Image - Wikicommons

Address: 〒859-3243, Huis Ten Bosch Machi, Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Star rating: Digital
Average cost per night: AUD$ 201 - AUD $445


Why visit?
Want an idea what the near future is going to be like? If you are tired of grumpy receptionists and hotel staff then head to the Henn-na hotel, which bills itself as the world’s first staffed by robots. Be warned, your porter may be a velociraptor robot. And if you want a home of the future, a home automation expert can help make some of these features a reality.

Want to build something special or unusual?

Feeling inspired by these ten unusual hotels? If you want a home that is truly different then get yourself an architect, building designer or builder.. Be warned, custom homes don’t come cheap and you also have to get your local council to sign off on your project.

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