Whether you’re looking for a wild and crazy getaway, or you simply want to experience a night or two unlike anything you can find in your hometown, we’ve discovered the top ten most unusual hotels on the planet. Hoteliers around the world have stretched their imaginations to cater to your fondest—and perhaps even bizarre—dreams of a night or two like no other.
Unlike ordinary hotels where you board an elevator to your room, each room of the French Bubble Hotel room is a transparent, inflatable spherical bubble that nestles outdoors in nature under the stars. Enter through a zip-open door and you’ll find a spacious bed and custom furniture all oriented to give you a view of the alluring French countryside and, at night, the Milky Way galaxy. To complete your star-gazing dreams, the hotel provides a professional telescope. But that’s only the beginning. Bubble rooms come in several styles, including those with opaque walls, except at the top, for those who prefer a bit more privacy. The hotel attends to your every wish with a variety of packages including those with catered gourmet meals, an outdoor hot tub and with bubble models known as Zen, Love Life, Glamour, 1001 Nights of Love, and Chic & Design. Some even have manicured grass floors that bring the ultimate joy of living in nature.
Planning a trip to Quebec City anytime between January and the end of March? Book a night at the Hôtel de Glace where the room temperature is kept between 28 and 23 Fahrenheit at all times. What would you expect at a hotel made entirely of ice? But fear not. Even though the queen sized beds are made of ice as well, the hotel provides every guest with a plush mattress—well, actually it’s more like a mattress pad—and an arctic sleeping bag rated to keep you warm and toasty even at -22 degrees. Before you retire, take time to visit the ice restaurant, or enjoy a cocktail at the ice bar served in a glass made of ice. Then, from 9AM to 9PM, revel in the Nordic relaxation area, complete with outdoor spas and saunas.
Only 90 minutes by car from the Geneva airport, nestled at the base of the Swiss Alps in the quaint town of Les Cerniers, the Whitepod Eco hotel offers 15 stand-alone luxury pods bearing Buckminster Fuller’s design concepts, mingled with luxurious king beds, custom furniture and thoughtful amenities. An en-suite bathroom and shower complete each pod, making them neither grandiose nor pretentious; but simply charming. Fifteen pods, each with a deck overlooking the valley below, are a fifteen minute walk from the check in lobby. Not to worry, though. The thoughtful staff provides each guest with a backpack containing everything you’ll need to make the trek to your personal pod. Crampons, a necessity during winter months, are included as well as walking sticks, flashlights, maps and umbrellas.
The magic of Bali, an Indonesian island with forested volcanic mountains, beaches and coral reefs, is home to the five-star Hanging Garden Resort cradled deep in the Indonesian rain forest. With 44 private suites spread over nearly eight acres, each guest villa boasts its own thatched alang alang thatched roof and a private granite infinity pool. Perched well above treetop level, the view takes in the Ayung River gorge with a view to the ancient Dalem Segara temple. If your own private pool seems to secluded, be sure to visit the stunning two-level infinity pool suspended high over the jungle so you’ll feel you’re swimming above the treetops. To experience the ultimate immersive rush that comes from being in the world’s most famed swimming pool, take time to enjoy the lower level and the waterfall that cascades upon you from the level above.
If an African safari is on your bucket list, you couldn’t do better than the Botswana Orients Express Safari Camp. Recently renamed “Belmond Safaris,” this extravagant getaway has three different venues throughout Botswana, each with luxurious stand-alone cabanas that include king sized, mosquito-netted beds and private decks, complete with the hammock you’ll crave after a day in the Savannah. Whether you choose a walking safari, a motorized safari drive, or even a helicopter safari, the hosts and local experts will show you the “old Africa” few tourists have experienced. Then, at the close of each day, you’ll have the option of enjoying their crystal-clear pools, partaking of culinary treats, or grabbing a cocktail and joining the boma—the gathering around a campfire—to share stories of the day and to hear your guides recount their most exhilarating stories of the African bush.
About a thousand miles south of Mumbai India, the Maldives is a tropical nation consisting of hundreds of islands and 26 coral atolls—a diver’s, surfer’s and angler’s paradise. The Cocoa Island resort is surrounded by pristine white sand and a warm blue sea that offers one of the best dive sites in the Maldives. If you tire of living in a richly appointed villa, choose one of 33 dhoni-style thatched houseboats moored along planked walkways. Each offers elegant bedroom suites that flow into spacious lounges with glass walls opening onto private verandas. From there all you need do is slip into the warm waters beckoning below. Then, later, return up the steps and luxuriate in the wooden whirlpool bath, or delight in feeding the rainbow-hued fish below.
Only the Brits could conceive a hotel so opulent, so rich and sumptuous that it takes three different venues to express its wonders. You may want to sink into a deep arm chair to enjoy Havana cigars and Zacapa 23 Rum, or attend a Vampire’s Ball at Halloween that bring contortionists, burlesque, magic and blood-red cocktails together in celebration. The end of summer Garden Party barbecues 500 lobsters for the enjoyment of its guests, while pool parties and sushi-making tutorials are accompanied by the England’s most rocking DJ’s.
When you’re ready to leave this world without leaving the USA, Fantasuite gives you twenty fantastic room choices. Choose rooms with a sci-fi flavor, such as the Space Odyssey room, a re-creation of the Gemini space capsule with its spacious 10-sided bed. For a more romantic overnight, the Cupid’s Corner room is complete with a whirlpool, heart-shaped bed and mirrored ceiling. For a family experience, try the Wild West suite with a whirlpool and two separate sleeping areas; one with a covered wagon bed and another with a teepee bed.
If you thought Iran was mostly desert and sub-tropical, think again. Situated in the foothills of the Alborz mountains, northern Iraq is home to mountains that top 1,800 feet and provide superb skiing from November through April. The Barin Ski resort rooms suggest the artful curves of a wind-swept, snow-covered mountain. The lobby, halls and each room receive natural light from skylights crafted into ceilings, while the flowing walls and halls remind you of a snowy bank, perhaps even an artfully designed igloo.