The traditional chain hotels, with their cookie-cutter design and bland continental breakfasts are the reason why we tend to spend as little time in our rooms as possible when traveling. Not all hotels, however, are a necessary evil — some are inventive, fun, artsy and destinations in themselves. Whether it’s a hotel with underwater views or one where guests sleep inside massive wine barrels, the following hotels from around the world take the lodging experience to the next level.
1. Kokopelli’s Cave, New Mexico
This cave turned B&B located 300 feet above the La Plata River Valley in New Mexico, is named after a hunchbacked flute player and fertility symbol in the Native American cultures of the Southwest. Guests walk down a sloping path and a set of sandstone stairs to enter a 1,700-square-foot cavern, originally excavated to function as an office for geologist and owner Bruce Black. This unique hotel room 70 feet below the surface is outfitted with contemporary amenities like a jacuzzi, waterfall shower, full kitchen, fireplace, and porches with views of the surrounding desert. A one-night stay costs $340, plus $50 for each additional guest after two, and a two-night stay is $290 per night plus $50 per guest. Kokopelli’s Cave can accommodate up to eight guests.
2. Levin Iglut, Finland
Seven miles from the town of Levi, in northern Finland, you’ll find the best way to view the northern lights while staying warm and cozy. The fancy glass igloos at Levin Iglut, provide an unaltered view of the starry arctic sky and are equipped with modern conveniences like insulation, kitchenettes, and adjustable beds for optimal sky viewing. They’re also the perfect base from which to enjoy an epic ski weekend in Levi, one of Finland’s most popular ski resorts. Make a reservation online for an unforgettable night in the Finnish lapland.
3. Free Spirit Spheres, Canada
If you loved climbing and hanging out in trees as a kid, these spherical hotel rooms will be right up your alley. The Free Spirit Spheres, located on the east coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, are the perfect accommodation for those want to get away from it all and experience something out of the ordinary. The spheres, which hang between the trees, are designed to provide the ultimate escape from the stresses of the daily grind, and an unparallelled relaxation experience. The spheres may look small, but they make very economical use of space. They’re equipped with all the basics, including a bed, kitchenette, and coffee/tea maker. There are three spheres in total, with rates starting at $236 a night for the most basic. To reach this hanging hotel, you’ll have to take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, or from Tsawwassen to Duke Point.
4. Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren, Netherlands
The Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren, in the old harbor town of Stavoren in the Netherlands, lets you look out on the passing ships from the comfort of your very own wine barrel. The 12 rooms, in wooden wine casks, vary in size from 3,900 to 6,000 gallon-capacity and are well-outfitted and cozy. The barrels are equipped with all the essentials, including a sitting room, bathroom with shower, Wi-Fi, sofa, and of course, wine. One of the largest vats has been designated the “Wellness Wine Barrel” and has an indoor jacuzzi and luxury infrared steam cabin.
5. Hotell Utter Inn, Sweden
If you’re sick of being kept up late by noisy neighbors or the sound of the city outside your door, the Hotell Utter Inn is the spot you should run to for some R&R as you’ll literally be alone in the middle of Sweden’s Lake Mälar. From afar the place looks like a small, lonely cabin floating on a platform in the middle of the lake, but once inside, you’ll be able to descend via a ladder to a subaquatic bedroom 10 feet below the surface. You won’t be marooned in the little cabin as guests are initially transported to the funky hotel by boat, and given an inflatable boat so they can move about freely. There are several islands nearby ready for exploration, so boredom certainly won’t be an issue.
6. Woodlyn Park, New Zealand
If you’ve always dreamed to spend some time in the Shire with Bilbo and his furry-footed friends, head over to Woodlyn Park, located on New Zealand’s North Island, just under three hours from Auckland. Woodlyn Park has two Hobbit holes built underneath a hill called the Hobbit Motels. The interiors are designed for regular-sized people, so you won’t have to worry about neck pain during the length of your stay. Each unit has a suite with a queen bed, living area, and kitchenette. There is a separate bedroom with four oversized single beds. In total, each Hobbit hole can sleep up to six people. Rates start at $295 per night for the Hobbit units. The hotel is also conveniently situated just a few minutes’ drive from the famous Waitomo glowworm caves, which make for an excellent day trip.