These Are the World’s Most Unique Hotels

By Alicia PerssonLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:27:08 PM ET
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Traveling around the world is on many people’s bucket lists. If you’re one of them, why not make your hotel accommodations part of the adventure? Sleep under the Northern Lights, dine with giraffes, snooze in an igloo or rest up high in a real-life treehouse made to satisfy your inner child.

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When it comes to world traveling, Motel 6 and Holiday Inn just won’t cut it. Reserve your spot now at one of the 30 most unique hotels in the world that will give you wanderlust.

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland

You may not want to live in a glass house full time, but Hotel Kakslauttanen gives you the best view of the Northern Lights if you can give up your privacy for a night. This nature-made light show is one of the world’s most enigmatic and sought-after sights, and Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep directly under the magic.

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At this iconic hotel, you can sleep in a glass dome where you can watch the night’s sky right from your bed. Prices per night range between $200 and $400 per dome, which is an incredible deal for such a unique experience.

Inntel Hotel, Amsterdam Zaandam

This delightful stack of traditional Dutch houses is also a steal at just $200 a night, and you might even snag one for as little as $100 during special deals. These hotel rooms embrace Dutch roots by using traditional products and decor while integrating modern-day comfort.

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Overall, this Inntel Hotel is a four-star hotel that unites modernity with nostalgia, offering you free Wi-Fi, a swimming pool, bar and restaurant onsite. Located in Zaanstreek, these accommodations are just 18 minutes from Schiphol Airport, and you can reach Amsterdam Central Station by train in just 12 minutes.

Icehotel, Sweden

This year-round hotel features rooms made of ice that are obviously maintained with extreme dedication and love. The owners have each ice room resculpted every winter with water from the Torne River. Staying in one of the ice rooms is a truly unique experience, as different artists create new designs every year. You literally won’t get the same room twice, even if you visit every year.

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Prices range around $170 in the peak "summer" season. If staying in an ice room isn’t your thing, you can also choose to stay at the hotel’s other accommodations, featuring warm rooms in a permanent structure.

Hotel Whitepod, Switzerland

This little village of igloo-shaped pods is nestled on a quiet hilltop and offers amazing views of the valley near Les Cerniers, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. For around $300 per night, you can enjoy local food at the hotel’s restaurant and cozy up to the fire in your personal wood-heated pod.

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Introverts are particular fans of this hotel because it promises a peaceful stay. Each pod is placed in isolated locations, allowing you to completely unplug from the busy pace of modern life. If you want to take a moment to yourself after a busy day in Switzerland, this is a great place to stay for some privacy.

Nine Hours Kyoto, Japan

Japan has often been a trailblazer in various sectors, including innovations in hotel accommodations. Since the latter half of the 1970s, the country has offered "capsule" hotels, which are basically little pods that provide just enough space for a guest to sleep. Bathrooms are shared, and there are separate sections for males and females.

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This type of hotel provides an economic place for you to rest before getting back on the road. Nine Hours Kyoto is aptly named for the seven hours of sleep, one hour of shower and grooming time, and one extra hour for additional sleep if you need it. At only $50 a session, this option cuts your cost tremendously when traveling in Japan.

Conestoga Ranch, Utah

Fans of The Oregon Trail are sure to love this one! Glamping meets westward expansion at Conestoga Ranch, Utah’s unique luxury Conestoga wagon hotel. Located in Yellowstone National Park, the campsite offers you and fellow glampers everything you need to camp in style.

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This is a great place to stay after a day of hiking and exploring the nation’s most famous park. The covered wagons include fridges, beds and other conveniences you would find in a regular hotel. Learn about the pioneer trail from the Yellowstone Association Institute during your stay to make the experience complete. Prices range between $130 and $200 per night.

The Muraka, Conrad Maldives

Come stay at the first underwater hotel in the world, which opened in November 2018. The cost is pretty steep to stay here per night — around $500 — but the Muraka at Conrad Maldives island resort offers an incredible immersive experience that is hard to resist.

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Stay in a two-level villa on the Indian Ocean, where your rooms are five meters under water. Sleep peacefully in a water-tight glass dome that offers unbelievably breathtaking views of tropical fish swimming around you. You’ll have a front-row seat to the coral reefs too!

Montana Magica Lodge, Chile

Calling all adventurers! Montana Magica Lodge, which translates to "magic mountain," will certainly cast a wonderful spell of excitement over your trip to Chile. This bungalow-style hotel is located in the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve in the Patagonian Rainforest. You can only access the volcano-shaped hotel by a rope bridge, which means that just arriving at the hotel is part of the amazing experience.

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The hotel also spews water to mimic volcanic eruptions (but without the lava factor). The bungalows are amazingly priced around $100 for two adults, and groups of six or more can stay together for around $30 per person. Amazing, right? This hotel is conveniently located near the Museo de los Volcanes, Huilo-Huilo Falls and the Neltume River.

El Cosmico, Texas

This is another great American spot for the adventurous in spirit. El Cosmico is a nomadic hotel and campground located in Marfa, Texas, that offers guests the option to stay in different kinds of environments. Choose accommodations with all the amenities, like the Brite Building, Cosmic Kasita or one of the many vintage trailers on the lot.

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If you prefer to have a more "outdoor" experience, you can reserve a yurt, teepee, safari tent or take your own camping gear. The cost varies between $80 to $130 a night, depending on your selection. Overall, El Cosmico allows you to choose your comfort level and glamp however you prefer. This variety gives this hotel a lot of replay value, as you can select a different type of lodging every time to enjoy a completely different experience.

Knight’s Glamping, England

Camping meets renaissance faire at Knight’s Glamping, where you can immerse yourself in a medieval glamping experience. Things are fairly historically accurate at the site, meaning no modern elements like electricity, but not so accurate that your stay is uncomfortable. Shower facilities are available, for example.

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When you stay at Knight’s Glamping, you get to enjoy a good, old-fashioned roast over the open fire, just like your historical counterparts did. The medieval-style tents, which go for around $200 a night, are located at Leeds Castle, and you have access to visit the castle and its grounds during the day. Adventure awaits as Leeds Castle has a maze, underground grotto and an amazing interior that will send you back in time!

Treehotel, Sweden

Your inner child will leap with excitement at the prospect of staying at this unique "out of this world" hotel. Spend the night in uniquely designed structures positioned high in the trees, just like your very own treehouse, for a cool $500 a night. Sometimes, you may be able to snag a deal and get a room for $400 during the off-season.

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When it comes to room styles, you can choose between the UFO, Cabin, Bird’s Nest, The Blue Cone, Mirrorcube and Dragonfly rooms. With these options, it’s possible to have a completely different experience every time you visit.

Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge, Sweden

Sweden is well known for its unique hotels, and Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge certainly makes the cut. The founder, Marcus Eldh, affirms on the hotel’s official website that there’s "no electricity, no showers, nothing fancy at all, just natural mysteriousness. And that is precisely why you are going to love this place!"

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Kolarbyn’s accommodations are unique teepee-shaped structures made of wood and covered with earth. They are nestled in the forest in Skinnskatteberg and located far off the beaten path to offer a serene experience that allows you to become one with nature. If you stay long enough, you can enjoy canoeing, hiking, foraging, camp fires and checking out amazing local flora and fauna like moose and beavers. Prices are set at $329 for a minimum two-night stay. Each additional day costs $160.

Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, China

This hotel’s architecture is a marvel in and of itself, which is why it easily makes an appearance on this list. The Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort is a complex 27-story arch on Lake Taihu that looks a lot like an electric-blue, partially-dunked donut. It’s truly a marvel in structural engineering, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and ceilings decorated with Swarovski crystals.

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Often called the "horseshoe hotel" for its unique shape, the Sheraton Huzhou is the focal point of China’s largest hot spring spa that contains 26 indoor hot spring pools and countless other luxurious amenities. When the weather is nice, enjoy the private beach on the southern banks of Lake Taihu. Although this hotel looks expensive, its prices are quite reasonable at around $230 a night.

Book and Bed Tokyo, Japan

The capsule hotel makes another appearance, but this time appealing to your inner bibliophile. The Book and Bed Tokyo offers exactly what its namesake suggests: a place to sleep and plenty of books to read. Beds are nestled within bookshelves that offer a diverse selection of book titles to read.

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If you’re an international traveler who doesn’t know Japanese, that’s not a problem. Some books are available in English. Prices per capsule range between $30 to $50, depending on whether you prefer to share a bunk bed or have a twin bed to yourself.

Manta Resort, Tanzania

Not many people can say they have stayed in a hotel room that floats on water. If you stay at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island, you can check that experience off your bucket list. The Manta Resort offers a peaceful, aquatic experience below the waves of Indian Ocean. In the submariner room, you can even watch fish swim past the windows!

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Nature enthusiasts will love the hotel’s location directly in the middle of a living coral reef, which means the sights while snorkeling are filled with beautiful ocean life. This beauty does come at a hefty cost, however. The underwater submariner room goes for $1,000 a night. Wow!

Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica

There’s something about old planes being converted into unique hotels that attracts plenty of interest. Hotel Costa Verde has a refurbished Boeing 727 suite that now serves as a two-bedroom bungalow. What makes a stay here fun is this airplane is hoisted on a 50-foot pedestal in the jungle.

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Just because you’re "roughing it" in the Costa Rican jungle, it doesn’t mean you have to go without modern delights. The suite easily fits two queen-sized beds, two private bathrooms, a kitchenette and a spectacular ocean-view terrace. Prices per suite range between $100 to $200 a day, depending on the time of year and type of room you choose.

The Caves Hotel, Jamaica

Hailed as a "handcrafted Utopia", the Caves Hotel is located on an all-inclusive luxury resort in Negril, Jamaica. Guests stay in rooms located on a cliffside where they have an incredible view of the mountains. Rooms are located just minutes from the white sands of Negril’s 7-mile beachfront.

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Stay in one of the Cave’s cliffside cottages or go for ultimate luxury at the grand villa. On the resort, you can dine in caves and go for a tasting at the Blackwell Rum Bar. The resort also offers modern amenities like a spa, sauna, salt­water swimming pool and more. Enjoying all this unique beauty is pricey, starting at $980 for a minimum two-night stay.

Palacio de Sal, Bolivia

Palacio del Sal or "Salt Palace" takes on the trend of salt therapy and amplifies it to an all-inclusive overnight stay. This first-ever salt hotel is made of 100% salt blocks and wood. Even the furniture is made of salt! Best of all, a stay isn’t going to break the bank at around $150 per night.

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This is a great place to stay for introverts who want to benefit from the relaxing benefits of halotherapy, which includes detoxification. Whether you believe in the benefits of being immersed in a salty environment or not, the peace and solitude you get from the salt palace can certainly be a source of stress relief.

Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Who do you want to invite to breakfast? If it’s a celebrity, maybe you will get lucky someday — but don’t count on it. If your dream is to enjoy a cup of joe with a friendly giraffe, that’s an experience you can actually guarantee at Giraffe Manor. Take the safari back to your lodgings at this unique hotel in Nairobi, where giraffes walk around freely.

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View them in their natural, relaxed environment as you enjoy refreshments on the patio. You might even get a chance to feed one a snack! The giraffes dwell in a protected habitat on private land with indigenous forest. This incredible experience does come at a premium price, ranging between $500 to $1,000 a night during peak safari season.

Cava & Hotel Mastinell, Spain

If your itinerary involves Barcelona, Spain, then make it a point to stay at Vilafranca del Penedès’ Cava & Hotel Mastinell. The hotel, which was intentionally designed to look like a stack of cava bottles on a shelf, is a wine lover’s paradise, and you and your guests will experience one of the most awesome wine tastings of your lives.

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There are nearly limitless samplings and wine-themed services to satisfy your inner oenophile. Care for a wine massage or want to host a special party in one of the six event rooms? The possibilities are endless, depending on your budget. One night’s stay hovers around $300 a night, so make the most of it and enjoy the hotel’s onsite spa and restaurant while you’re there.

Lebua Hotel, Thailand

The Lebua Hotel in Thailand’s capital city boasts the world’s tallest open-air bar on its massive 800-foot rooftop. The five-star hotel is widely known for its amazing food. In fact, the restaurant, Mezzaluna, serves innovative European cuisine and is one of the few two-Michelin Star restaurants in the city.

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You can also enjoy the night sky at the Dome, a collection of rooftop restaurants and bars on top of the Lebua tower. If you’re thinking this luxury experience has to be out of your price range, think again. Thailand has some of the best prices in the world for travelers. One superior suite costs an unbelievably low $120 per night!

Taj Lake Palace, India

If you want peace and breathtaking views of water, the Taj Lake Palace can fulfill this desire and more. This hotel is a wonder of architecture, as the entire palace has been built right on top of Jag Niwas Island and looks like it’s floating on the water alone. To make this place even more enigmatic, you can’t reach it by ordinary means.

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Speed boat shuttles transport you to and from the hotel. This unique experience isn’t too hard on the wallet, although it isn’t a modest sum either at $300 per night. The views from the rooms are incredible, with rippling waves outside and gorgeous Indian furniture and art within.

Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens, Sweden

Don’t let this hotel’s first impression fool you — it’s not an ordinary place to stay! Although the Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens has standard hotel rooms, budget rooms and conference areas, it also has some hidden surprises. How would you like to stay in cute lodgings that look like giant tree stumps or mushrooms?

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Within these unique spaces, you can live like a hobbit for a day or two — or three! Prices for different rooms range between $100 to $300 a night, depending on where you want to stay. This hotel is also situated right next to the scenic Göta Canal, which is best appreciated in the warmer months between May and September.

Happy Nomads Yurt Camp, Kyrgyzstan

Happy Nomads Yurt Camp is a hostel and camp that allows you to stay in a traditional hostel or Kyrgyz yurt in a fun, community experience. Breakfast is complimentary, and lunch and dinner are both prepared over an open flame. Past guests have complimented this camp as being a "very quiet and wonderful place to stay in Karakol, highly recommended to tourists."

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American tourists can communicate with ease, as the camp is run by individuals who speak English. During the day, the staff is more than happy to suggest activities and places to visit locally. At just $71 a night, this place is an affordable destination for a few nights of tours and exploration with local flair.

Azulik Resort, Mexico

Mexico is known for its beautiful resorts, and Azulik Tulum is one that is both gorgeous and unique. It’s located between the Tulum jungle and the Caribbean Sea, creating a gorgeous natural paradise you can’t find in many parts of the world. The resort has an array of jungle villas that are all handcrafted by artisans to put guests into a peaceful state of mind.

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The rooms and the rest of the premises are light-free and only allow candles to keep you in a peaceful mood. Azulik's beach is clothing-optional, and you can explore the contemporary art gallery, spa and boutique as well as enjoy fine dining or simply lounge in a hammock by the sea. At $349 a night, this hotel is a steal of a deal for the memories you make — and the stress you unload.

26. Faralda Crane Hotel, Amsterdam

The Crane is one of Amsterdam’s most iconic buildings, earning accolades soon after its launch in 2014. This hotel has been nominated for various awards for hospitality, technology and innovation in Europe. The building, which is a long rectangular structure that incorporates a crane, stands 50 meters above the NDSM industrial wharf, which is famous among local artists.

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The hotel has just three suites stacked on top of each other: "Free Spirit," "Mystique" and "Secret." All have amazing views of the wharf and most of Amsterdam. Since high demand meets limited supply at the Crane, each room goes for a premium price of $1,300 a night!

Udang House, Indonesia

Get an unexpected peek at colorful fish right under your feet when you stay in one of Udang House’s rooms with tempered glass floors. Udang means "shrimp," and you can actually see live shrimp swim under your hotel room. Located in Bali, this hotel is made for the weary traveler who wants to rest and soak in the beauty of nature.

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It is part of an all-inclusive resort experience, where you can take a daily yoga class, go to the spa, get a massage, dine at local restaurants and enjoy a private candlelit dinner overlooking the valley. The price is just right for the amenities offered, ranging between $225 to $285, depending on the season.

V8 Hotel, Germany

Fans of retro racing and automobiles need to put V8 Hotel on their bucket lists. If you’re a vintage car lover, you can live your grown-up fantasy of sleeping in an upcycled Mercedes-Benz bed in a hotel room decorated with automobile paraphernalia from head to toe.

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Each of the hotel’s 34 rooms has a different car design. No two rooms look the same, which gives a stay here a lot of replay value. If you’re ready for something totally different and you happen to be in Germany, the V8 Hotel is worth a stay, especially since rooms are quite affordable at $110 to $130 per night.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai

Dubbed the best hotel in the world in some circles, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is one of the most luxurious experiences you can get in the entire world. It is a seven-star hotel — yes, there is such a thing — that has a distinct sail-shaped structure. During a stay here, you can dine in the underwater aquarium restaurant, the Al Mahara, and enjoy expensive drinks at the Skybar.

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If you’re rich enough, book your stay in the royal suite, which costs a whopping $23,000 a night! For regular folks, room rates start at a humble $1,000 a night. The hotel is confident in its amazing hospitality and service that has no limits, which even includes a Rolls-Royce chauffeur.

Makanyi Private Game Lodge, South Africa

The Makanyi Safari Lodge contains eight air-conditioned suites that offer an awesome view of the river and wild animals. It’s located on private grounds within the Madikwe Game Reserve, which is home to the "Big Five" wild safari animals: lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos. To ensure quality service, the lodge limits the number of guests to 16 at a time.

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Photo Courtesy: @makanyilodge/Twitter

At the resort, you share open-air lounges, a spa, gym, infinity pool and high-end restaurant. This is meant to be a long-term safari experience and is priced in a way that gets you more for your money with a longer stay. One to three nights costs $900 a night during the peak season, but if you stay more than seven nights, the price goes down to $770 per night.