If you are looking for unconventional stays (and we do not say so lightly!) to carpe diem, these stays offer nothing short of an adventure-filled holiday for intrepid travellers. By Akriti Sharma
From underwater luxury resorts in the Maldives and vertigo-inducing cliff-hanging resorts in Peru to futuristic capsule hotels in Japan, these 12 unique and unusual places to stay around the world deserve a place on every adventure enthusiast’s travel bucket list.
Bond Island Windmill Norfolk, England
Imagine staying at a 300-year-old windmill and waking up to gorgeous views of Norfolk Broads. This industrial-themed mill houses a telescope for stargazing, a Bond-themed lounge area, an entertainment system and board games. It also offers a 360-degree view of beautiful scenery and wildlife.
You can enjoy al fresco dining with martinis and panoramic views from the decking area overlooking the glorious countryside sunset. You will also have the option to use boats for private mooring and enjoy fishing. The property is dog-friendly and ideal for a laid-back holiday in a utopian setting.
To top it off, this unique property was once owned by late James Bond actor, Sir Roger Moore.
Seaventures Dive Rig, Borneo, Malaysia
Would you believe it if we told you that you can enjoy a resort-like stay in an oil rig? Seaventures Dive Rig is one such unusual place to stay near Mabul Island. Decommissioned in 1985, it was renovated as a hotel in Labuan. In 1997, the rig was placed in Mabul, which is one of world’s top diving locations.
The five-star diving resort offers a range of padi courses and diving packages to learn the tricks of professional scuba diving in the pristine waters.
Its rooms are akin to cabins but have a cosy feel to them with hot showers, air conditioning, entertainment and housekeeping services. Enjoy unlimited diving in the mornings and witness a myriad of colourful coral reefs, and relish al fresco dining on the main deck while watching the setting sun.
The Muraka, Conrad Maldives Rangali Islands, Maldives
Conrad Maldives provides quite a few options for a stay. You can either choose The Muraka, a private underwater architectural marvel about 4.8 metres below sea level in the Indian Ocean, or the villa and spacious suites above the water.
While the underwater aquarium comprises a dome-shaped master bedroom and state-of-the-art tunnel viewing theatre to witness marine life, the other accommodations include infinity pools, an outdoor jacuzzi, a private butler and—not to mention—spectacular views of the Maldivian sunset.
You can make the most of your stay with fun diving courses and scuba experiences at the Ocean Dive Centre and get your adrenaline pumping with a range of ocean water sports such as paddle boarding, scooter-snorkelling, jet skiing and X-jetpacking.
Gondel Gisela, Schluchsee, Germany
Gondel Gisela is located at the camping grounds of the Black Forest in Schluchsee. This glamping site offers a sustainable stay in the opulently lush forests ringing with natural sounds and fauna.
Apart from the usual teepees and tree tents, you can stay inside a gondola pod and take your glamping experience up a few notches. Previously used in a French ski resort, the gondola pod comes equipped with an oval-shaped double bed, a kitchenette and a private patio.
In addition to your stay, you can also enjoy hiking, bicycle rides, evening campfires, water-sports in the lake, and shopping at Edeka market.
Luxury Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado, Tokyo, Japan
Ideal for frugal travellers, this capsule hotel offers one of the swankiest and most unusual places to stay in Japan. The minimalist capsules are square-shaped, a deviation from the traditional round shape to offer more space.
The squeaky-clean capsules offer amenities like LCD TV, charging plugs and quality headphones. The 24-hour front desk, personal lockers, fire alarms and security cameras ensure that your stay is comfortable as well as secure.
With a luxurious mist sauna, an artificial hot spring and premium toiletries combined with décor furnishings from Bali, you will be teleported to the tropics in no time.
Ice Hotel/ Hôtel de Glace, Québec, Canada
This dreamy hotel made of ice is the ultimate way to experience Nordic winters and create memories of a lifetime. Located in the Village Vacances Valcartier, it is open to tourists every year from January till March before the entire structure begins to melt.
The 21 ephemeral hotel rooms are carved out of ice and adorned with unique décor, ambient lighting and mythical sculptures that are constructed fresh every year. You can also get married at their chapel and raise your wedding toast at the Ice Bar with glasses made of ice.
Guests can enjoy open spas and hot saunas under the starlit sky before retiring to their cosy rooms with thick and insulating mattresses. There is a provision of a fireplace in their premium suites.
La Balade Des Gnomes, Durbuy, Belgium
For a truly unique and unusual place to stay, head to La Balade Des Gnomes in the wilderness of Ardennes. Ideal for a romantic retreat, it is an architectural marvel with themed rooms inspired by myths and legends.
Teleport to a whimsical fantasy world with their 11 quirky rooms, such as The Monk’s Despair, The Legend of the Trolls, Macquarie Island and The Trojan Horse, to name a few. All rooms come fully equipped with basic amenities such as double beds, bathroom space, sauna, TV and fridge bar.
La Gargouille is an eccentric themed restaurant that serves gourmet dishes, and guests can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, adventure parks and nature trails, among other activities.
Holmen Husky Lodge, Norway
If sleeping under the Northern Lights and experiencing winter wilderness is your idea of escape, then bookmark Holmen Husky Lodge in the Norwegian Arctic for your next unusual place to stay.
Amidst lush forests and rivers, this lodge lets you experience the warmth of the Arctic sun in summers and dreamy winters with other-worldly views of Auroras.
Guests can book packages that include stays at their luxury teepee tents and dog-sledding adventures with the huskies. You can enjoy dining in their lavvu-style tents and watch the incredible Northern Lights dancing across the night sky.
Skylodge Adventure Suites, Cusco, Peru
Experience thrill and luxury in a capsule suite hanging about 400 metres from a cliff. Offering 360-degree views of the Sacred Valley, the hotel allows a total capacity of eight people at a time.
The weather-resistant capsule suite comes fully equipped with comfortable beds, a private ecological bathroom, solar-powered lights and a dining area to enjoy gourmet dishes with wine or champagne.
However, this unique stay is not for the faint-hearted. Yet, it is a must-visit destination for adventure junkies who want to experience a Peruvian retreat with gastronomic delights in a hanging pod. You can reach the spot by hiking or riding the zipline.
Hotel Costa Verde, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
This two-bedroom home offers a luxurious stay in a Boeing 727 fuselage that has been refurbished to make you feel at home. The airframe was acquired from San Jose and renovated using custom teak-wood from Java in Indonesia. Resting on a 15.2-metre-high pedestal, it presents uninterrupted views of the Manuel Antonio National Park in the Costa Verde II area.
Inside its jet suites are queen-sized comfortable beds, a private bathroom, a kitchenette, a dedicated dining space and a spiral staircase leading to a terrace that offers pristine views of the Pacific Ocean.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Nestled in the lush forests of the ridge in northern Thailand, this resort lets you experience a stay in the wild with rescued elephants. The luxurious 21.9-square-metres (approximately) Jungle Bubbles are crafted using an advanced polyester fabric that come fully furnished with a king-sized bed, opaque private bath and a dedicated seating area along with a 24×7 dining service.
The bubble accommodation lets you enjoy and admire the view of the entire resort while the transparent dome is ideal for stargazing. The resort can also be accessed via a luxury charter helicopter ride from the airport while enjoying aerial views of northern Thailand.
Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Parked permanently on the Selati Bridge, the Kruger Shalati combines the luxury of a refurbished train with the rich flora of the park overlooking the Sabie river.
The hotel offers 31 rooms oozing modern luxury with bespoke furnishings, a swimming pool in the deck area, and dining services to enjoy your favourite cocktail while watching crocodiles, elephants, hippos and other animals below the bridge.