When it comes to holidays, luxury is often at the top of anyone's list. The world is full of big name hotel chains offering luxury rooms, from remote countryside locations, to lively major cities. These hotels, although luxurious, tend to be pretty similar no matter where you are, its the exclusive location of the hotel that enforces the luxury. However, with companies competing for your money, some hotel owners are thinking outside of the box to provide more unusual and unique holiday and hotel experiences. Some, it seems, think the more unusual the better, like the Crane Hotel which you can have fun operating. So whether its a historic Fort to an Airplane Hotel, some of these unusual choices really are one of a kind opportunities.
10 Spitbank Fort: from $1200 per night
The UK is renowned for its historic castles, and luxury-renovated castles are well accommodated for holidays and weekend getaways. However, just off of the coast of the South of England, there is an exclusive destination that is hard to find anywhere else in the world, Spitbank Fort. This fort is one of 3 Victorian Sea Fortresses, that stands in the Solent just off of Portsmouth Harbour, England. These forts were built in the 1800’s and were once at the forefront of protecting Portsmouth Naval Base, housing cannons and military forces. One of the forts, Spitbank, is now open as a luxury hotel. This unusual venue offers 9 luxury suites, luxury bars, dining facilities, game rooms and a wine cellar. On top of the Fort you can relax in a hot pool or sit around a fire-pit, both offers unique views overlooking the Solent and the Isle of Wight. It is important to note that Spitbank can only be reached by boat or helicopter, ensuring it is an ideal retreat for much needed quiet and tranquility.
9 The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Tanzania: from $1500 per night
The Manta Resort in Pemba Island, Tanzania provides the ultimate luxury experience of staying in an underwater hotel, where it's the fish that get to watch you. Originating in Sweden as a single underwater room, this idea now exists as a 3 level floating structure in the Indian Ocean just off Pemba Island, located near Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Arriving on this unique private luxury hotel, you're welcomed onto a landing deck which sits at sea level, with a lounge and bathroom. Climbing the ladder takes you to the lounging area on the roof, giving you the option of sunbathing by day and star gazing by night. Downstairs takes you underwater to the bedroom that sits under the ocean with virtually 360-degree views of the underwater activities of reef and ocean life. At night, small lights that sit under the windows entice fish to bring them closer to you and upon waking up, you could be privy to an octopus or squid stuck to the window pane!
8 Costa Verde, Quepos, Costa Rica: from $350 per night
This luxury accommodation has fantastic views and is set high in the jungle of Manuel Antonio. You're technically getting on a plane, but with no passport control or luggage restrictions. This airplane is set high up on a concrete plinth so one look out of the window and it will feel like your flying. The interior is all furnished with teak that has been hand crafted, which fits in effortlessly with the jungle that surrounds the plane. The suite provides 2 bedrooms with private bathrooms, TV area and a kitchen and dining area. You have exclusive private access to your suite up a river rock spiral staircase.
You really will feel like you are part of nature as you sit on the outdoor terrace with jungle animals in the treetops, including sloths and toucans. The 727 airplane used to be part of the fleet that flew for South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines before it retired to San Jose airport.
7 Lifeboat Hotel, Harlingen, Netherlands: from $350 per night
Cruising is a popular choice when it comes to choosing a type of holiday. For many, it’s a great opportunity to see a variety of locations and to spend time on the ocean. For others, cruising is too busy and some may feel restricted, being on a large ship with thousands of people stuck at sea for days on end. The Lifeboat Hotel in the Netherlands is a great compromise, offering a bed on the sea, whilst sitting quietly in the beautiful harbor of Harlingen. For even more luxury, a private captain can be hired to take you off into the open sea. The lifeboat was in active service for nearly 25 years, saving lives off of the English coast. It has now been transformed into a luxury romantic hotel, which boasts a lounging area, TV and DVD, a full sized heart shaped bed and a 2 person wooden tub.
6 The Harbour Crane Hotel, Harlingen, Netherlands: from $475 per night
When it comes to unique hotels, they are few and far between spreading across the world. However, one small town in Holland has 3, one being the Lifeboat and another being extremely unusual and unbelievable. You would be excused for thinking that it’s an ordinary crane interrupting the skyline in Harlingen, but take a closer look, this crane has a hotel sitting on the top of it! And if you think that’s all, you're mistaken. This crane still works, giving guests the unique opportunity to point the crane in any direction and move its 2 motor lifts. This hotel should have a ‘Man Crane’ sign as it really lends itself to the men who grew up playing with construction toys.
Getting to the accommodation involves 2 elevator rides, one if which elevates you through the middle of the crane. The room includes a bedroom, TV, sitting area and outdoor balcony.
5 Hotel im Wasserturm, Cologne, Germany: from $165 per person
In older parts of the world, water towers date back to the 19th century and are historic landmarks. In Cologne, Germany, the water tower remained in use up until the huge growth of the city, the growth now meant an underground water main was essential, rendering the building derelict. A French interior designer saw the potential of this landmark and transformed one of Europe’s largest water towers into a 5 star luxury hotel. This unusual round landmark, with its 140-year-old walls, offers luxury dining, massage and spa facilities and beautiful spacious rooms with huge windows for that perfect view over the city. Being 11-storey’s high, this water tower hotel provides panoramic views from its Michelin star restaurant and a roof terrace for coffee overlooking the roof tops.
4 Quinta Real Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico: from $250
Bullfighting has long been a tradition in Spain, and around the 1500’s, the Spanish introduced their game to Mexico to honour explorer, Hernan Comes. This was the start of the bullfighting tradition in Mexico and it is now home to around 220 permanent bullrings. It is popular with the Mexican people, with elaborate matador costumes and traditional red capes. These fights take place in a Bullring, a circular amphitheatre with rows of stands that overlook a central open space.
The Quinta Real Zacatecas surrounds the San Pedro bullring, which dates back to the 17th century. This converted bullring encompasses the colonial architecture with a modern luxury hotel. The hotel was built next to a majestic aqueduct and provides international cuisine restaurants and bars, all of which overlook the bullring plaza.
3 Hapuku Lodge and Tree houses, Kaikoura, New Zealand: from $900 per night
When growing up, most children enjoy many hours playing in tree houses, making secret groups, hiding out with their favorite book or just enjoying the climb into it. Unless you had a very elaborate childhood, your tree house was probably a very modest structure, but that didn't matter, tree houses were a fun addition to any garden.
Hapuku Lodges have taken tree houses to a whole new level, offering luxury one bedroom tree houses or a 2-storey tree house for the whole family. These tree houses sit 30 feet above the ground amongst Manuka and Kanuka trees and have amazing views of the pacific coastline and Kaikoura’s mountains. Inside they have heated floors, custom furnishings, TV, wireless, small balconies and private fireplaces. When you are not exploring the beautiful surroundings of this idyllic spot, you can enjoy a crackling fire whilst you relax in the hot tub.
2 Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa, Cappadocia, Turkey: from $400 per night
The human race have come a very long way from the times of the cave man, however, it is doubtful that cave men had a luxury spa carved right into their caves. This unique resort sits in the Anatolia region that is renowned for its cave structures. The intimate cave rooms provide a romantic historic setting providing a cave built spa. The rooms have been kept true to the cave routes they were born from, with raw cave walls and a unique natural stone. Sitting above the landscape of Cappadocia, the resort offers bars, restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools and a cave wine cellar ensuring that the 5 star treatment goes above and beyond. This truly is a unique experience of relaxing in beautiful, natural surroundings.
1 ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden: from $300 per night
Imagine if your hotel was –5 and your bed for the night was made entirely out of ice. That’s precisely what the ICEHOTEL in Sweden offers you. This hotel opened in 1990 and was the very first Ice Hotel in the world, it is now in its 24th season. Other countries have followed and you can find these unusual hotels in Canada, Norway, Romania and Finland. Being made of Ice, the hotel melts once spring begins, so it has to be rebuilt every year enabling the owners the unique opportunity of changing the design on each rebuild.
The hotel is made of snow and ice blocks taken from the nearby Torne River. As the spring comes around, the ice from the river is harvested and stored for use when the rebuild begins again in December. The hotel then opens in weekly phases, starting at the beginning of December until the beginning of January, when the hotel is usually complete. Within the hotel the interior, it consists of a bar, church, main hall, reception and rooms and suites to accommodate over 100 guests. All the furniture is sculpted out of ice, including the beds. The ICEHOTEL also offers a warm alternative hotel and Wilderness Camp where you can dogsled through Lapland.