Whether you find yourself with a screaming kid next to you for eight hours in the sky or crammed in a tiny car with an old playlist, the excitement and adventure should continue beyond the doors of your hotel. Rather than staying at the typical chain hotel, travelers should at times switch it up and consider spending a few nights in more unusual accommodations. These quirkier hotels do not necessarily offer the comforts of high-end furniture and five-star quality dining, but they do provide a unique, unforgettable experience and magical memories. When planning your next adventure, abroad or domestic, consider booking a hotel that is as travel-worthy as your destination.
1. ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
If you are one of the few individuals who love the frigid temperatures of harsh winters, then the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden is the perfect destination for you. Constructed with ice blocks from the nearby Torne River, the world’s first ice hotel melts each spring. During construction in November, the blank walls become an empty canvas for inspired artists, where the designs vary each year, adds a personal touch to the hotel. Before entering the resort, guests will have a chance to empty their duffel bags and don on multiple layers of thermal, thick gloves and winter scarves. The restaurant bar, made completely of ice, offers simple, inventive dishes designed to fuel diners for the adventures of the day. With the ICEHOTEL only open during the winter season from December to April, travelers should plan their trip and reserve their room early.
2. Treehotel, Harads, Sweden
If the ICEHOTEL is too extreme or if you are exploring Sweden during the warmer seasons, the Treehotel offers a truly unique experience to all of its guests. Guests can choose to stay in any of the six rooms: the cabin, the UFO, the mirror cube, the blue cone, the bird’s next or the dragonfly. All rooms are perched high in the sky with stunning views of the pine forest and Lule River Valley. Guests can immerse themselves in the local culture by walking through the village of Harads, or discover the true beauty of nature by zip lining or mountain biking through the forests. Those looking for a little more peace and relaxation might opt for spending time in the tree sauna and outdoor hot tub. The contemporary hotel in the middle of unspoiled nature makes it possible for guests to escape and rejuvenate.
3. Capsule Value Kanda, Tokyo, Japan
Although some capsule inns offer lodging for both males and females, the Capsule Value Kanda, situated in central Tokyo and within walking distance to the Kanda railway station, is male only. Capsule hotels are common throughout Japan because they offer a large number of small rooms at a low rate, ideal for the minimalist traveler. Each compartment is equipped with a television, personal alarm clock and radio. While guests spending more than one night will have to go through the hassle of rechecking themselves in, the 24-hour assured security, clean space and comfortable quality will put them at ease. Capsule Value Kanda is only a ten-minute walk from the Imperial Palce, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan, and the commercial district of Marunouchi. Adventurous travelers should consider spending a night in a capsule, as it’s guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
4. Tubohotel, Tepoztlan, Mexico
In 2010, recycled concrete tube pipes received a makeover at Tubohotel in Mexico, where they now look inviting, cozy, and spacious. Located only 45-minutes south of Mexico City, the Tubohotel is extremely affordable, costing only 500 pesos, equivalent to $42, per night. The T3arc designers’ idea to use tubing for the rooms made it possible to build the hotel quickly and cheaply, as it only took three months to construct. The 8.5 by 11 feet room is furnished with a queen-sized bed and some curtains hanging on the glass door that add extra privacy. Because of the tight space, the architects designed two communal bathrooms that guests have access to during their stay. The Tubohotel is the perfect hotel destination for those traveling on a budget and those interested in becoming one with nature.
5. Aria Amazon Towers, Manaus, Brazil
It’s not everyday that you have a chance to relax in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. The Aria Towers consists of seven towers, with a total of 288 rooms connected via five miles of catwalks. Guests can choose to stay in a standard room with basic amenities, a suite with spectacular views or a canopy level private tree house. The treetop bars and restaurants on site serve regional specialties featuring the catch of the day. Guests will also be able to see the “Meeting of the Waters”, where the Rio Negro and the Solimoes River meet, but due to the density and temperature of the water prevent them from mixing. Other recreational activities include hikes through the rainforests, nightlife animal watching (including spotting alligators), sunrise tours and other nature-filled excursions.
6. The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Zanzibar
Those waiting five years for the Poseidon Undersea Resort should make plans to stay at the Manta Resort off the coast of Tanzania. The Underwater Room, a unique floating structure with three levels, put the Manta Resort on the map. The landing deck at sea level features bathroom facilities and a lounge area, ideal for diving. The rooftop level is best for sunbathing during the day and stargazing at night under the moonlit sky. The floating glass cube places the rooms on the lower floors, immerses guests into the ocean with shoals of reef fish floating by. With all the luxuries of an all-inclusive resort, all non-claustrophobic guests will feel at peace in this tranquil hotel.
7. Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver, Canada
Suspended in the air like hanging Christmas ornaments, the Free Spirit Spheres is a popular hotel destination in Vancouver, Canada. The spherical tree houses, available all-year round, are open to guests aged 16 and older. Sleeping in the middle of the rainforest is significantly more relaxing than you might think, as it’s the perfect escape from the stress of the world. Each tree house is furnished with a bed, dining table, storage space, built in speakers and large circular windows. The magic of the whole experience is enhanced when the gentle breeze makes the spheres sway back and forth.
8. V8 Hotel, Huettenpalast, Germany
Car enthusiasts visiting the automotive region of Stuttgart, Germany would be fascinated with V8 Hotel. This lodge offers 10 bedrooms with 10-different automotive themes such as a cinema drive in, a car workshop and a car wash. Decorated with memorabilia and props, the rooms also feature different vehicle parts from Morris Minors to Mercedes. The history behind the hotel begins with the building itself, which used to be the old terminal of the Boblingen Airport that was once used as a docking station for flights of the Graf Zeppelin during the late 1920s. The auto museum, Meilenwrk, occupies half of the terminal, housing a rare collection of classic, vintage and collector cars, along with other automotive-related artifacts. Whether you have a passion for automobiles or are looking for something interesting to do while in Germany, the V8 hotel’s history will fascinate you.
9. Wanderlust Hotel, Little India, Singapore
In the middle of Little India, where immigrants once raised cattle, Wanderlust is a four-story boutique hotel. The building, once a school and charity administration building, retains its colorful, mosaic façade tracing back to the early 1900s. The 29 rooms are scattered on four-distinctly-styled floors, designed by four-design firms. Walking into the Wanderlust, visitors’ eyes are directed towards the curved wall with a montage of print ads that not only reflect the surrounding neighborhood, but also match the industrial glam theme of the lobby. The rainbow corridor on the second floor guides guests to their capsule like rooms rendered in a single color, designed by phunk Studios. Breaking the eccentric pattern, DP Architects incorporated black and white minimalism on the third floor. On the top floor, guests can stay in one of nine lofts where the “creature comfort” theme is meant to provide them with a friendly monster as a companion. With so much excitement and mystery in this small hotel, guests might find themselves reluctant to leave.
10. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Saariselkä, Finland
The beginnings of the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort trace back to the summer of 1973 when a man named Jussi ran out of fuel on his way back from a fishing trip. In the middle of wilderness, Jussi set up camp and immediately felt at home. Two years later, Jussi had opened up a small café where he would serve customers on their way to North Cape. Known for it’s thermal ice igloos and cozy wooden cabins, the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is one of the internationally best-known travel businesses. The lodge is an ideal spot to admire the stunning northern lights or gaze at the starry night sky.
Located in one of the cleanest, most natural spots in the world, the arctic resort offers its guests sweet, potable water from the nearby streams to quench their thirst and fresh air to fill their lungs. The resort, only a 30-minute ride from the airport, offers an array of activities including reindeer and snow tank safaris during the winter. Guests staying at the resort in the summer can ride an ATV through the safari or handpick the mushrooms and berries that grow in the surrounding area. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, a Christmas holiday or perhaps a wedding, Jussi and the staff at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort are prepared to make your stay memorable and magical.