10 of the world’s most weird and wonderful hotels
Fancy an out of the ordinary overnight experience? We've got you covered
Let’s face it, life’s short and we only get to spend a tiny proportion of it on holiday – which is exactly why it’s time you checked yourself into a hotel that’s a little out of the ordinary.
Romantic weekend in a disused water pipe? Not a problem, madam. Room service from a robot? But of course, sir.
Here are ten weird hotels that put the trip in trippy – in a good way, possibly.
Urban House, Copenhagen, Denmark
What’s your idea of the perfect hotel? Maybe it has a Michelin-starred restaurant. Perhaps there’s a world-class luxury spa, or lavish rooms created by a famous designer. Or maybe, what you really want from a hotel is an on-site tattoo parlour so you can get inked before you pop out for a bit of sightseeing – in which case Copenhagen’s Urban House could be for you. And if that weren’t rock and roll enough, if you’re in a band you can apply to play a gig at the hotel and stay for free.
Crazy House (Hằng Nga guesthouse), Da Lat, Vietnam
The pretty Vietnamese city of Da Lat is about as chilled-out as they come, surrounded by forests and lakes and filled with French colonial architecture. But there’s nothing particularly relaxing about Hằng Nga – better known as Crazy House – which looks like a freaky gothic treehouse viewed through a wonky piece of glass and painted by Salvador Dali. Only weirder.
Harlinger Hafenkran, Harlingen, Netherlands
Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way first – yes, it’s a massive industrial crane, and yes, you’ll be staying in the control centre at the very top of it. But before you run off to the nearest boutique hotel, hear us out. Harlinger Hafenkran (or the Harlingen Harbour Crane) sleeps two in style, has quirky and pretty cool interior design, and has panoramic sea views best enjoyed in the company of a large bottle of champagne. Probably the only situation when it’s ok to wake up with a hangover at the controls of a giant piece of heavy machinery.
Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada
If you’ve ever looked at a bauble hanging from the Christmas tree and thought to yourself, “Imagine if I could spend a night inside this,” good news – such a thing exists. These ‘suspended orbs’, dangling in a Canadian forest, sleep one to three people, and contain everything you’ll need for a good night’s sleep. Unless you have trouble nodding off in a small wooden sphere in the middle of a deep, dark forest, obviously.
Das Park hotel, Bottrop-Ebel, Germany
A hotel built on the site of an old water-purification plant, which uses slices of old water pipes as rooms, doesn’t sound very promising, but bear with us here. What Das Park hotel’s spartan spaces lack in frills, they more than make up for in creativity and eco-credentials. Even more unusual than the way the rooms look is the ‘pay as you wish system’, in which guests shell out what they think the room’s worth, or what they can afford. Shame they don’t do that at the Savoy…
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Costa Verde, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Nothing says ‘romance’ like shacking up in the cockpit of a disused 1960s airliner for a few nights – though this is no ordinary flight. The owners of the Costa Verde hotel [lead picture] have taken a pair of old planes, plonked them on a prime spot overlooking the jungle and pacific ocean, and turned them into rooms, including the 727 Fuselage Suite (the front end of an old Boeing 727) and Cockpit Cottage (a McDonnell Douglas, MD-80). There are standard suites, too, if you don’t fancy joining the mile high club – or you’re already a fully paid-up member, of course.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Kakslauttanen, Finland
These fully glass-covered two-person igloos in Arctic Finland put a chilly spin on glamping, with the chance to sleep under the spectacular Northern Lights for 8 months of the year. There are real snow igloos, too, which block out the sky but also block out any noise, so you’ll have the most peaceful sleep of your life. Though there’s a price to pay – it’s a steady -4 to -6ºC inside, so you might find yourself dreaming about central heating and hot water bottles.
Livingstone Lodge, Kent, UK
The trouble with going on safari is that not only do you have to travel thousands miles to get there, but you’ll have to remortgage your house, sell all your internal organs and rob a bank to afford it in the first place. Unless you stay at Livingstone Lodge in Kent – a proper safari lodge overlooking a watering hole where you can watch zebra and wildebeest amble across the 600-acre Port Lympne reserve. Don’t expect authentic Kenyan weather though – this is closer to Maidenhead than the Maasai Mara.
Henn na hotel, Nagasaki, Japan
We’ve seen the future, and it’s a hotel staffed by robots (well, 90% staffed by robots, but who’s counting?). They’ll check you in, carry your luggage to your room and even engage in a bit of robo-banter with you. Still doesn’t sound weird enough? Well, the hotel’s in the middle of a theme park in Nagasaki which faithfully recreates the old-world Netherlands, with windmills, tulips, canals and a Dutch art gallery just like those you’ll find in Amsterdam. What’s robot for ‘I think I’m lost in the red-light district’?
The Liberty, Boston, US
Before it was reborn as a stylish luxury hotel, The Liberty (geddit?) was known as the Charles Street Jail and housed some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. With the dramatic open spaces, barred windows and doors, and sparse bare-brick walls decorated with celebrity mugshots, The Liberty makes a feature of its past rather than trying to hide it away. Though if you’re absolutely desperate to stay in a prison and don’t fancy a trip to the US, we’re sure there are other ways to make your dream a reality. Not that we condone any of them…