Are you planning to visit Sweden or Chile, and looking for a pretty unique hotel to stay in? We’ve got you covered! Check out these six strange hotels!
You don’t quite have to stay at the Hotel President Wilson in Switzerland or at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai – two of the most expensive hotels in the world – to enjoy a luxurious and unique holiday. In fact, you don’t have to pay an entire year’s worth of salary; the most expensive room on this list starts at $655 per night and it’s unlike any you’ll ever stay in.
From Sweden to Bolivia and New Zealand to Kenya, there’s something for everyone here, and no two experiences are the same.
#1 Icehotel, Sweden
From 5560 SEK (about $655)/night
The Icehotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden is a hotel made entirely of – you got it – ice blocks taken from the nearby Torne River. The hotel first opened in 1990 and is rebuilt every year because, naturally, ice melts. Each year, artists are invited to create different rooms and sculptures made of ice and upon completion, the hotel features 55 bedrooms, two restaurants, a bar (where even the glasses are made of ice), four meeting rooms, a reception area, a main hall, and even a chapel that is popular with marrying couples.
One of the most expensive hotels in the world, Icehotel obviously features no heating and the bedrooms’ temperature remains below freezing at 21 °F. However, beds are bedded with reindeer furs and guests are given polar-tested sleeping bags to sleep in. Moreover, there’s no plumbing but the hotel does have its own sauna and hot tub (located outdoors, of course).
#2 Montaña Mágica Lodge, Chile
The Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve in Chile was created in 1999 and includes some 232 square miles of native forest dedicated to wildlife conservation and tourism. The reserve features the longest zip line in South America and 430 meters and is located northeast of the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano in the Los Ríos Region. You’ll also find the Montaña Mágica Lodge here, also known as the Magic Mountain Hotel.
A waterfall cascades from the hotel’s roof and accommodation ranges from 12 rooms in the main lodge to secluded forest lodges. A welcome drink, breakfast buffet, and tickets to various self-guided activities within the reserve are all included in your reservation, and while you will find free WiFi in all common rooms, the hotel has a Disconnection in Bedroom Policy: meaning, there aren’t any TVs or a WiFi connection in rooms.
#3 Palacio de Sal, Bolivia
The Palacio de Sal in Bolivia is made entirely of salt – from walls to floors and furniture to sculpture, everything. Located at the eastern edge of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, the original building had 12 double rooms and a common bathroom, and was torn down in 2002 after about four years of operation due to serious environmental pollution.
In 2007, the self-proclaimed first salt hotel in the world was rebuilt with about 1 million 14-inch salt blocks, and quickly became a popular tourist destination. The 30-room hotel, meanwhile, has a very peculiar rule: no wall-licking. While this is to prevent their degradation, it makes you wonder what led to the rule’s introduction.
#4 Giraffe Manor, Kenya
From $550 per person/night
The Giraffe Manor in Karen, Nairobi is probably one of Kenya’s best luxury hotels. It was constructed in 1932 by Sir David Duncan and later purchased by Betty Leslie-Melville in 1974 whose son opened the manor as a small hotel in 1983. Each of its six suites are elegantly furnished (complete with four-poster beds) and while the hotels boasts a stately façade and verdant green gardens, the most interesting thing about the manor is the herd of friendly Rothschild giraffe that live there.
In fact, most of your stay here will be spent feeding the tall creatures (who often poke their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat). The hotel/sanctuary is home to a dozen giraffes which are traditionally named after the individuals who have contributed significantly to the work of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (whether financially or otherwise), and all proceeds are donated to the AFEW.
#5 Null Stern Hotel, Switzerland
From 250 CHF (about $255)/night
Located in the remote region of Safiental at a height of 6,463 feet above sea level, the “room” at the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland has no walls: just a double bed, two nightstands, and 360-degree views of stunning landscape. In other words, you’ll be sleeping under the stars. You’ll also have your very own personal butler who will serve you coffee and organic salami sandwiches in the morning. And because we know you’re wondering about where the toilet is, there isn’t one; if nature calls, well, you know where to go. However, if you prefer a more luxurious peeing experience, there is a public toilet and washroom at your disposal – some 10 minutes away.
The open-air hotel is the brainchild of twins Frank and Patrik Riklin – whose first hotel, a room in a former nuclear bunker, was ranked among the top 100 hotels in Europe by GEO magazine in 2010 – and availability extends to the end of August. Reservations can be made over at the Sofiental Tourism website (German only).
#6 The Hobbit Motel, New Zealand
The nearest thing to a real-life Shire from the Lord of the Rings universe is located in Woodlyn Park, a hotel complex in Waitomo, New Zealand where you can stay on a military transport plane, a ship, or – yes – a Hobbit hole. Woodlyn Park is the brainchild of hotelier Barry Woods and started with the purchase and conversion of an old train carriage. In 2005, the 35-hectare site introduced an underground Hobbit motel to its lodgings.
True to JRR Tolkien’s vision, the motel features circular doors and windows, and low ceilings, the self-catering lodge is by far the most unusual and unique hotel complex we’ve ever seen. The park is located about two hours away from Auckland and a mere two minutes from the Waitomo Caves.
While these unique luxury hotels might be a little on the expensive side, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should overlook them entirely. From the Icehotel in Sweden to the Hobbit Motel in New Zealand, each has its own unique identity and a memorable experience to offer.
Have you ever stayed in any of these hotels? Perhaps you stayed at another unique hotel you’d like to tell us about? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!