Treehouse: Treehotel, Sweden
Kids love sleeping in a treehouse, but as adults, we forget how much fun it is. Revive that childhood magic at Sweden’s remarkable Treehotel, which consists of seven living pods suspended in tall pines up to 20 feet above the forest floor. (You get into them via ladder, suspended bridge, or electric stairs.) Choices include an abode that looks like a humongous bird’s nest, one shaped like a UFO, and the reflective “Mirrorcube.” Guests get enchanting views of the woods, the Lule River, and the aurora borealis.
Undersea Accommodations: The Muraka, Maldives
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, already known as an extraordinary place to stay, debuted a two-story, three-bedroom undersea residence with a modern, domed design and 24-hour butler service. Muraka is the most impressive feature is its full, glassy immersion in the Maldives’ mesmerizing ocean life. World-class architects and engineers teamed up to construct the unique hotel room in Singapore; they then transported it to the Maldives, anchoring it in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The only catch: The Muraka costs $40,000 per night.
Igloo: Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
This is very interesting in finding out what it’s like to spend the night in a real-life igloo, head to Finland for a stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It shows its rows of glass-domed “igloos,” which are eminently worthwhile in and of themselves, particularly for their unobstructed view of aurora borealis. For the true igloo experience sans quotation marks, however, opt for one of the property’s dozens of actual snow igloos, where you’ll find calm, quiet, and a sleeping bag to keep you toasty in the room’s below-freezing temperature.
Lodge with Live Animals: Giraffe Manor, Kenya
At the 12-room Giraffe Manor, one of the unique hotels in Africa’s Safari Collection, the welcoming employees teach each guest how to feed giraffes. This is because the elegant property, built-in 1932 at an elevation of almost 6,000 feet, is home to a herd of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes who are fond of stretching their long necks into the hotel’s large windows for a snack. Every guest room is stocked with giraffe food so that when you receive the inevitable long-necked visitor, you can nourish it appropriately.
Hyper-Themed Hotel: Fantasyland Hotel, Canada
Everyone loves a good theme. And while amusement parks are famous for making good use of them, it’s harder to find hotels that are themed through and through. In Canada, Edmonton’s Fantasyland Hotel is in a shopping center, but that’s hardly the most unique thing about it. True to its name, Fantasyland offers 120 fantasy-themed rooms, and you choose your surroundings. Options at this novelty hotel include rooms that look like a spaceship, a gas station, Polynesia, Rome, the Arabian desert, and a prison cell. Plus, the attached mall has a waterpark, thrill rides, miniature golf, and a bowling alley.
For Dog Lovers: Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho
Idaho’s Dog Bark Park Inn is on virtually every list of the world’s most unique hotels for good reason: It’s shaped like a dog. Also, everything inside the homey B&B is over-the-top dog-themed, including the pillows, the bed rest, the books, the cookies, the board games and puzzles, the curtains, and the canine chainsaw art (also sold in the on-site gift shop) handmade by the property’s welcoming mom-and-pop owners. More than a quirky roadside attraction—though it’s that, too—” Sweet Willy,” built-in 2003, is made from wood, metal, and stucco. And yes, you can bring your own pup.
Cave Hotel: Ottoman Cave Suites, Turkey
If you’ve ever had the craving to sleep in a cave, but Turkey’s magical Cappadocia region is on your bucket list. There, many of the unusual hotels are carved right into the land’s ancient stone. Ottoman Cave Suites, in a town called Goreme, is perhaps the most unique hotel of the bunch. Its dramatic, Ottoman-themed rooms feature velour furnishings, Turkish art, and—the distinguishing feature—scalloped stone walls and ceilings of cool, hollowed-out volcanic stone.
Train Hotel: Red Caboose Motel, Pennsylvania
Train buffs will be pleased to learn that the world has a set of unique inns situated in retired locomotives. Pennsylvania’s Red Caboose Motel, for example, has turned the world’s largest privately-owned collection of cabooses into a quirky hotel that’s surrounded by Amish farms, with an on-site dining car called Casey Jones’ Restaurant, and the impressive Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania just down the road. The sleeping quarters resemble basic motel rooms—except that they’re set in real caboose cars.