The 6 Most Unique Hotels in the World
Want to stay overnight in a jetliner, a snowcat, or a luxe glass globe dangling off a cliff? You can.
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Travel enough and most hotel rooms begin to look the same. Want something different? Venture off the beaten path and you can sleep in a converted train caboose or a grain silo. You won’t have to sacrifice comfort, either. From Montana to New Zealand, most of these quirky hotels have all the perks and amenities you’d find at a standard hotel—but with a whole lot more brag-worthy flair.
Sleep in a Snowcat
La Plagne, France
La Plagne ski resort, in the French Alps, has transformed one of its snowcat grooming machines into a luxe roaming suite. The vehicle will pick you up at the base of the mountain at 9 P.M., and a driver will whisk you and your hotel room up to an overlook before leaving you to your night’s rest. The heated grooming machine comes equipped with a queen bed, coffee maker, and minibar, and there’s an enclosed bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and spectacular views of Mont Blanc. ($336)
Stay in a Silo
Little River, New Zealand
In 2013, Kiwi designer and innovator Stuart Wright-Stow turned a harebrained idea to convert former grain silos into energy-efficient hotel rooms into SiloStay, a collection of eight suites in Little River, 45 minutes from famed adventure hub of Christchurch. Cook meals in your silo’s ground-floor kitchenette, then ascend a steel staircase to the second-floor bedroom, where a massive skylight allows for stargazing. Bring your own bike and hang it from the built-in, personal storage rack, or rent one on-site to peddle the 31-mile Little River Rail Trail, adjacent to the property. (From $138)
Spend the Night on a Cliff
Reaching Skylodge Adventure Suites' glass-and-aluminum globes, which hang like a portaledge above the ground in the Sacred Valley, requires climbing over 13,000 feet up a via ferrata. Inside each of the 24-foot-long suspended capsules, you’ll find bedding for four people, a dining nook, and catered three-course dinners and breakfasts to enjoy as you take in an unprecedented view of the region. You’ll depart the next morning by rappelling or zip lining back to the ground. (From $411)
Overnight in an Airplane
Quepos, Costa Rica
Sleep in a 1965 Boeing 727 that’s been moved on-site and carefully retrofitted to house a two-bedroom suite, or book the cockpit of another vintage jetliner at Hotel Costa Verde, both of which are perched on the edge of Costa Rica’s 4,014-acre Manuel Antonio National Park. You’ll get ocean views from the plane windows, morning yoga classes on the outdoor pavilion, and surf lessons at nearby Manuel Antonio Beach. If sleeping in a downed airplane isn’t your thing, the hotel also has standard rooms, studio apartments, and three-bedroom bungalows. (From $107)
Get Cozy in a Caboose
Thirty miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park, the Izaak Walton Inn has traditional lodge rooms and cozy log cabins. Or you can stay in a renovated train caboose or luxury railcar. As a national historic landmark, the lodge prides itself on its historic character, so you won’t find cable TV, air-conditioning, or telephones in your rooms, and there’s no cell service for 30 miles. Don’t fret: there are phone booths and Wi-Fi in the inn’s lobby and coffee and food in the dining car. In the winter, over 20 miles of maintained nordic ski trails await outside your door, and in the summer, you’ve got all of Glacier National Park to explore. (From $169)
Post Up in a Prison
Mount Gambier, Australia
Gaol is Old English for “prison,” and at Old Mount Gambier Gaol, in South Australia, that’s exactly where you’ll be staying. Rooms inside this defunct 153-year-old jail, which was turned into a family-run, hostel-style lodge in 2013, aren’t fancy—you won’t find room service or a spa here—but they’re way more comfortable than the former cell blocks, thanks to nice linens, a shared kitchen, and revamped decor. Or you can book the cottage that once housed wardens and prison staff. The region is home to dormant volcanoes and a water-filled crater aptly named Blue Lake. (Bunks from $21; private rooms from $65; cottage from $135)