If sleeping in a bed of ice or camping off the edge of a cliff sounds like your type of holiday, check out this list of unique accommodation
1. ICEHOTEL, Sweden
You can’t beat the ICEHOTEL in Sweden when it comes to cool accommodation. Located 200km (124 miles) from the Arctic Circle, this sub-zero-temperature retreat is built from scratch every year with ice from the Torne River. Each suite hovers between a chilly -7 and -5°C (19 and 23°F) and comes fully furnished with a frozen bed, specially commissioned ice artwork and thermal sleeping bags. Guests can also book traditional warm chalets between the first and last night of more extended visits. Although these rooms don’t include whimsical ice sculptures or reindeer skins on the beds, they’re incredibly toasty after a day of dog sledging. Days of frosty fun can also be concluded in two of the hotel’s charming restaurants or the below-freezing ICEBAR. If you’re interested in a wedding with a glacial twist, you can book the magical ice chapel.
The ongoing impact of global warming means that this hotel might not be around for very long, so don’t hesitate booking your trip: www.icehotel.com
Before you go, check out the Sweden travel guide.
2. Jerome Grand Hotel, Jerome, Arizona
Sleepless nights aren’t uncommon at Jerome Grand Hotel, a former mental asylum built in Arizona in 1926. It’s believed that the 9,000 patients who died on the premises of the United Verde Hospital still haunt the corridors to date. If you can handle the spookiness, the former padded wards have been transformed into elegant, comfortable suites with modern features and balcony views over the magnificent Verde Valley. You can forget anything served on a metal tray, as the award-winning Asylum Restaurant is all about fine dining in a sophisticated setting. The only thing that might put you off your meal is a fellow hotel guest mentioning that they heard the voice of the phantom “Head Nurse”.
If you don’t believe the rumours, pack your holy water and prepare for a visit: http://jeromegrandhotel.net/
3. Quinta Real Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico
Have an unusual night in a bullpen in Zacatecas, Mexico. When this former bullfighting stage, built in 1866, faced demolition in 1975, Quinta Real Zacatecas took the property by the horns and transformed it into a 49-suite luxury hotel. Stone arches from the ring’s original structure now house opulent bedrooms, complemented with marble bathrooms and Mexican expressionist art. The beautiful 17th-century architecture has also been preserved, including the terraced stadium seating and a mosaic stage floor. However, instead of matadors and bullfighting, you can expect a refined bar and a restaurant with a stunning view.
Unlike the bulls of the past, a restful vacation here certainly won’t have you seeing red: www.quintareal.com/
4. Cliff Camping, Estes Park, Colorado
At this adrenaline inspired accommodation, beds are exchanged for portaledges (deployable hanging tents), and you can forget about en-suite bathrooms. Thrill-seekers and cliff campers venture to this Colorado rock face for an exhilarating escape, not an indulgent getaway. And once suspended in the air, you’ll realise that no presidential suite can surpass the views from Estes Park’s rigid cliff sides. With the help of Kent Mountain Adventure Centre (KMAC), hikers of all backgrounds can strap in and climb to the top of the cliff for the day, before falling asleep under the stars, hundreds of feet above the ground. Sleeping bags and climbing equipment are provided for this 24-hour adventure, which you can book every year from May to September. Despite the lack of room service, you won’t go hungry, as guides from KMAC will prepare high-quality, nutritious dishes on a vertical grill.
Explorers looking for an overnight adventure will find that this takes camping to another level: http://kmaconline.com/directory/cliff-camping-colorado/
5. Book and Bed, Tokyo, Japan
Avid readers will revel in the concept of this book shop-inspired hotel. Hidden away on the 7th floor of a soaring tower, this stylish haven of industrial concrete floors, exposed walls and rows of shelves crammed with hardbacks promises a peaceful spot. Guests can sleep in the cleverly designed ‘bookshelf beds’, tucked into cosy carved out nooks, covered by a dark curtain and accessible by a metal ladder. The collection of literature on offer was carefully curated by Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers – one of Tokyo’s best independent creative bookstores. Although many of the books are in Japanese, around a quarter are in English along with some design and photography books. The delightful decor also gives the nod to the theme, with book installations hanging from the ceiling, and signs printed on the pages of old novels.
If you’re looking to leave the crowds of Tokyo behind and read the night away, Book and Bed is just the place to settle down with a real page-turner:
6. The Canopy, Queensland, Australia
Take to the treetops for an enchanting holiday at this 100-acre private eco wildlife sanctuary. Tucked away in the middle of a rainforest in the Cairns Highlands, The Canopy ensures the most serene sanctuary. Surrounded by lush vegetation and a fantastic array of Australian animals, this award-winning accommodation draws wildlife enthusiasts in search of platypuses, cassowaries, possums, bandicoots, parrots and more. On the ground, guests can experience boat excursions to crater lakes, guided treks through national parks, barramundi fishing trips and hot air ballooning over the region. The six timber tree houses, designed to blend in with the environment, encompass luxurious features, balconies, hammocks and BBQs.
With a backdrop so blissful and nature so close, you can truly escape from city life: www.canopytreehouses.com.au/
7. Gamirasu Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia’s summers are tremendously hot while its winters are bitterly cold. The answer to these temperature extremes is underground accommodation. The locals of Cappadocia have been living in temperate cave houses carved into the rock for years, and this hotel is following in their footsteps. Located near Urgup, the Gamirasu Cave Hotel offers 35 exquisitely restored cave rooms, housed within a former Byzantine monastic retreat. The interior of each room combines old and new elements of Turkey with antiques sitting alongside modern amenities and Jacuzzi bathtubs. This hotel is set in Ayvali Village, far from any tourist traps, with historical remnants from churches, settlements and villages adding to its authentic feel. You can immerse yourself in local customs during your stay: watch a whirling dervish dance show, help locals to harvest produce or learn how to make stone-baked bread.
By going off the beaten track and underground, this traditional accommodation guarantees a culturally enriching stay: www.gamirasu.com
8. The Witchery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Situated down a cobbled street and in a historic building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery offers the most romantic weekend away, complete with a complimentary bottle of Champagne and fluffy bathrobes. This award-winning hotel referred to as the “perfect lust den” is indulgently opulent with decadent, low-lit interiors. Nine theatrical suites are adorned with antique pieces, warm oaks and sumptuous velvet furnishings while the bathrooms feature marble showers and expansive baths. The dining experience is equally as splendid, and you can sample the best of Scotland’s produce by candlelight in a baroque background. Afternoon tea is also a lavish affair with freshly baked sweet and savoury treats served alongside pots of loose-leaf tea and glasses of bubbly.
Given the boundless enticing elements of this Scottish accommodation, the nine suites can book up months in advance: http://www.thewitchery.com/accom.html
9. The Walled Off Hotel, Bethlehem, Palestine
Artistic rebels and daring history geeks gather at the Walled off Hotel in the holy city of Bethlehem. Fully financed and designed by the anonymous English street artist Banksy, this rebellious art hotel is moments away from the West Bank barrier, which encloses Palestinian land. The wall limits Palestinian travel and many consider it a violation of international law, but the area is open to tourists. Artists like Sami Musa, Banksy, and Dominique Petrin have created en suite rooms with windows facing the 10-metre high (32 ft) graffiti-covered concrete from the window. If the political decor in the Banksy-commissioned suites is too subtle, the vandalised paintings and gas mask-wearing angels in the piano bar illustrate the real message. During your stay, you can learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the hotel’s museum and art gallery or check out a book from its library, which features every published title on the wall.
To understand the story of Palestine’s people and this controversial wall, this hotel is worth a visit: http://www.walledoffhotel.com
10. Celica Hostel, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Formally functioning as a military facility and operating as a prison in the 19th century, Celica Hostel is now a terrifically colourful and art-inspired accommodation. More than 80 international artists came together to redesign Celica, so that no two rooms are the same. The 20 prison cells now feature one-of-a-kind murals, wood craftsmanship, family portraits and more. However, remnants of this hostel’s former life remain with padded walls and metal bars covering all the windows and doors. The amenities in Celica are far beyond those of an average hostel. You can spend your time wandering around the art gallery, gazing at the pieces that rotate monthly or check out the Museum of Solitary Confinement, commemorating the building’s grim history. Luckily today, you are free to roam as you please, be it in the Asian-inspired eatery, the lovely garden terrace or the beautiful meditation room.
Unlike other nights spent in the slammer, this pleasing prison guarantees a much more enjoyable experience: http://www.hostelcelica.com
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