Another 15 unusual places to spend a night
The world is full of luxury hotels and beautiful places to sleep. But even better are the places that stand out not for their opulence, but for their eccentricity.
If you missed our first article on unusual places to spend a night, find it here. Then come back and check out these even stranger, odder, and more memorable places to put your head down.
1. Adrere Amellal, Siwa, Egypt
Think desert palace meets bedrock and you have a vague approximation of what Adrere Amellal is like. This extraordinary eco lodge sits in the middle of the Saharan oasis at Siwa, eight long, dusty hours' drive from Cairo.
Surrounded by endlessly shifting sand dunes 18 meters below sea level, and overlooking a shimmering salt lake, the lodge is built from salt rock and mud. Candles light up the rooms -- there’s no electricity -- and staff waft around in flowing hooded robes, completing the feel that you’ve just stepped into a biblical scene.
Rates: US$460 for a standard single room.
18 Mansour Mohamed St., Zamalek 11211, Cairo, Egypt; +20 (2) 2736 7879; adrereamellal.net
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2. Saugerties Lighthouse, New York, United States
This beautifully restored Lighthouse, built in 1869, sits in splendid isolation as a landmark beacon on the River Hudson, and its operational light tower offers panoramic views of the river with the Catskill Mountains to the west and Magdalen and Cruger Islands to the south.
The lighthouse can be reached either by boat, or by a short walk through a nature trail, so it is advisable to travel light. Offering guests a tranquil escape from nearby New York City, the lighthouse provides overnight bed and breakfast accommodation.
Rates: US$225 per night
168 Lighthouse Drive Saugerties, NY 12477; +1 (845) 247 0656; www.saugertieslighthouse.com
3. Chapel of Rest, Derbyshire, England
This former Chapel of Rest is the perfect place to relax and ponder on your own mortality. Tucked away in the corner of a peaceful Derbyshire graveyard and surrounded by ancient headstones, the Chapel has been given a new lease of life and converted into a cosy little hideaway.
It comes complete with a large snug double bed on the spot that once housed the altar. Romantic when the lights are on, it’s a bit more spooky when they’re turned off and the moonlight illuminates the tombs.
Rates: From £50 (US$68) per night
North End, Wirksworth, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire, United Kingdom; +44 1629 826272; www.theoldlockup.co.uk
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4. Elqui Domos, Paihuano, Chile
This astronomic hotel, set in central Chile’s Elqui Valley, resembles some sort of futuristic, Arthur C Clarke style attempt at survival in a post-apolcalyptic world. In reality it represents a bold new approach to environmentally sensitive tourism.
Elqui Domos is a collection of seven geodesic domes, each possessing two living areas with a removable window in the ceiling to allow unfettered viewing of the clear night sky above. With a telescope in each dome, you never lose sight of the reason you came here.
Rates: From US$120
Camino Publico Pisco Elqui a Horcon, Km 3.5, Pisco Elqui, Region IV, Coquimbo, Chile; +56 51 21 1453; www.elquidomos.cl
5. 1950s Bristol Freighter plane, Waitomo, New Zealand
This plane was one of the last allied planes out of Vietnam, and has now been converted into two self contained motel rooms.
Up to four people can sleep in the cockpit unit and another four in the tail unit. The plane is situated within Woodlyn Park, where you can learn all about New Zealand culture.
Rates: NZ$180 (US$140) for the cockpit, and NZ$170 (US$133) for the tail
Woodlyn Park, 1177 Waitomo Valley Road, RD7, Otorohanga, New Zealand; +64 7 878 6666; www.woodlynpark.co.nz
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6. All-American aluminum trailer, Arizona, United States
Stay in one of nine fully restored vintage aluminum travel trailers at Shady Dell.
Whether it’s the 10-meter Royal Mansion built in 1951 and fitted out with leopard carpet, martini glasses, diner-style breakfast booth and phonograph with a collection of 78 rpm records, or the 1947 Tiki Bus Polynesian Palace with a hand-carved bar, vintage black and white TV and music from the period being played on the radio, the trailers take you back to a time when you could hit the open road in search of the 1950s all-American dream.
Rates: US$92 a night
1 Douglas Road, Bisbee, AZ, United States; +1 520 432 3567; www.theshadydell.com
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7. Kadir's Tree Houses, Olimpos, Antalya, Turkey
On Turkey's idyllic Turquoise Coast at the end of a pine-tree clad valley lies the village of Olimpos, where the hoteliers specialize in a very different type of accommodation -- tree houses.
These simple wooden bungalows set amid the branches have long been popular with backpackers to the region and are growing in popularity. Kadir's, one of the original lodges, now boasts over 100 bungalows, plus a few larger cabins and dormitories.
Kadir's is an unashamedly hedonistic place where people come to party, hard, with the potential for disaster offered by a potent combination of mass drinking and accommodation set several feet off the ground just adding to the fun.
Rates: From 35TL (US$20)
Kadir's Yörük Top Tree House Olimpos, Antalya; +90 (0)242 892 12 50; www.kadirstreehouses.com
8. Blow Up Hall Hotel, Poznan, Poland
This bizarre, interactive art hotel named after the 1966 cult film, allows guests to participate in the creation of the art.
Centred around a video installation, the ultra-modern hotel has 22 suites, and an intriguing collection of contemporary works of art by other artists.
There’s no reception, and no numbers on any of the individually designed room doors. Instead, guests receive an iPhone to open their door by recognition technology.
Rates: From €220 (US$330) per night
Kosciuszki 42, 61-001 Poznań, Poland; +48 500 161 671; www.blowuphall5050.com
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9. Rêve de Bisons, Rouen, France
On rolling farmland near Rouen , you can re-create the Great American Plains experience, by staying in a tepee that sleeps six, while a 200-strong herd of bison roam and graze nearby.
Visit in July, and you may see the bison calves being born; visit any time of year, and you can eat bison meat fresh off the camp barbecue. There are canoeing adventures for those who want to take the Sioux thing a little further.
Rates: €60 (US$82) a night
Terres du Muchedent, 76590 Muchedent, France; +33 2 35 04 15 04; revedebisons.com
10. Trullo Azzurro, Puglia, Italy
Trullos, as these small stone dwellings are known throughout the Puglia region of Italy, are traditionally built without the use of cement or mortar and appear to resemble stone beehives.
Their unique construction makes them seem Tardis-like, much bigger inside than they appear from the outside with very thick walls to keep the interior cool in the heat of summer.
Trullo Azzurro is surrounded by a garden with olive and fig trees, and an enclosed south facing courtyard, perfect for sunbathing.
Rates: £550-650 a week (US$750-890)
For directions on how to get there visit trulli-puglia.net; +39 080 432 4376
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11. Hostel Cecilia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
There’s no getting away from the fact that this hostel in Ljubljana was formerly a prison. Rooms still have iron bars on the windows and the heavy doors clang shut.
But local artists have been hard at work decorating the rooms, so it’s a lot more comfortable than it was in its former incarnation. It’s also in a good location for exploring around town, and you certainly can’t complain about the price.
Rates: From £15 (US$20) per person per night
Metelkova 8, Ljubljana, Slovenia; +386 1 230 97 00; www.hostelcelica.com
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12. Swiss Customs Post, Hauterive-la-Fresse, France
This beautiful old guesthouse in the Jura mountains was formerly the home and workplace of the douanier who manned the border between Switzerland and Franche-Comté.
Set amid lush meadows and pine forests, it offers comfortable accommodation in a beautiful setting, perfect for living out your "Sound of Music" fantasies.
It also marks the frontiers of Le Saugeais, the tiny French republic which has its own president, its own language and even its own national anthem.
Rate: From €80 (US$110) per person per night
Chez les Colin, Maison d’hôtes de la Fresse 25650, Hauterive-la-Fresse, France; +33 (0)3 81 46 51 63
13. Gamirasu Cave Hotel, Turkey
Sleeping in a cave, according to the management of Gamirasu Cave Hotel, is surprisingly comfortable.
The volcanic rock that insulates the cave keeps the temperature at a comfortable level, between 63 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, year round. The 30-room cave itself used to be a Byzantine monastic retreat, dated at about 1,000 years old.
Until recently, part of this retreat was used by Christian monks, and some of the individual rooms were used as cells.
Rates: From €95 (US$130) a night
Ayvali Koyu 50400 Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey; www.gamirasu.com
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14. Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji
Nestled 40 feet below the surface of the clear blue Fijian Lagoon, these 24 underwater suites are reached by an elevator.
With all the comforts of a five star hotel, most of these watery suites suite are surrounded by transparent acrylic walls that allow for spectacular views of the ocean and its fishy inhabitants.
Guests are invited to interact with the surroundings, so at the push of a button the fish are fed, and a flip of a switch turns on the sparkling underwater lights.
Rates: US$15,000 per person for a week’s package, including transport, two nights in an underwater suite, scuba diving, and wine tasting
For directions and contact information, request information at www.poseidonresorts.com
15. Nine Hours, Kyoto
The Nine Hours capsule inn provides the ultimate solution for a city where space is at a premium; a hotel room that is, literally, a capsule.
While the inn provides a public lounge space, including bathrooms, guests stay in a reinforced plastic capsule unit, which have all the usual amenities, such as TV, radio, lighting, and alarm clock access.
Perfect, as long as you don’t suffer from claustrophobia.
Rate: ¥4,900 (US$64) per night
Nine hours hotel, Kyoto teramachi 588 Teianmaeno-cho, Shijo-sagaru, Teramachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City; +81 075 353 9005; 9hours.jp
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