What are the most bizarre hotels around the world?

Question

Most hotels, no matter how trendy or elegant or luxurious they are, just look like hotels: There’s a standard boxy building, with a warren of rectangular guestrooms, a lobby and a restaurant. But a few hotels are something entirely different.

Here’s my list of some of the strangest places you’ll find around the world to lay your head. Take the Quaker Square Inn in Ohio, which looks exactly like what it once was: a bunch of grain silos. Then there’s the Gamirasu Cave Hotel in Turkey, which was hewn out of rock and resembles an amorphous blob. And if you’re someone who has a hard time sleeping on planes, you might feel differently after spending a night at Jumbo Hostel, a 747-turned-hotel parked next to the Stockholm airport.I haven’t stayed at any of these strange structures, but I’d especially like to check out Brazil’s Ariau Amazon Towers hotel, high up in the rain forest canopy. Have you stayed at a fantastical hotel, and if so, what was it like? Which strange hotels would you like to visit, and what odd lodgings have you heard of around the world? Share your thoughts with other travelers in the comments section.

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Marcel Von Wrede 4 months 11 Answers 179 views 0

Answers ( 11 )

  1. It’s a Plane, It’s a Train … No, It’s a Hotel
    Who says you can’t teach an old plane new tricks? Jumbo Hostel, right next to the Stockholm airport, is a retired Boeing 747, revamped and put back into service in 2009 as lodging for the budget traveler. Jumbo Hostel has 25 rooms with a total of 85 beds, and the former cockpit is now a suite for two with a panoramic view of the airport. You can judge for yourself how the onboard café’s fare compares with that of regular airlines.


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  2. Quaker Square Inn
    There’s no chance you’ll feel like a square at the Quaker Square Inn in Akron, Ohio. All of the guestrooms are perfectly round, as the hotel was originally a set of grain silos. Dating from the 19th century, the silos are 120 feet tall and once held 1.5 million bushels of the Quaker Oats Co.’s inventory. As you might guess, this is the heart of farming country; if you’d like to learn more about agriculture, one of the nation’s biggest Amish communities is only 40 minutes away.

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    Gamirasu Cave Hotel
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    The caves in the photo above have windows — because that’s where you’ll be spending the night. The Gamirasu Cave Hotel in Turkey’s Cappadocia region has been welcoming troglodytes and hermits since 1999, but the cavernous complex’s roots are much older than that — the structure started out 1,000 years ago as a Byzantine monastic retreat. These days, the hotel features 25 modern rooms, decorated with exquisite Turkish furnishings.

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    The Iglu-Dorf
    The Iglu-Dorf company operates six “igloo villages” in Andorra, Germany and Switzerland. The igloos can accommodate up to six people, and some even come with an en-suite whirlpool. The igloo villages are in operation from late December through April, but if you miss out, or if you’re just bitten by the igloo bug, the company also rents inflatable igloos in two sizes.

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    Queen Mary
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    When you board the Queen Mary, you don’t have a cruise in your future — the vintage ship is a floating hotel. Permanently moored in Long Beach, Calif., since 1967, the Queen Mary has had its 314 staterooms converted into modern guestrooms and suites that retain their original Art Deco ambiance. Throughout the Queen Mary, guests can read about its rich history as an Atlantic-crossing passenger ship, as well as its military service in World War II.

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    Three Camel Lodge
    Yurts are becoming trendy accommodations in national parks and upscale-camping facilities in the U.S., but at Three Camel Lodge in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, you can experience the yurt’s ancestor in its natural habitat. Three Camel Lodge houses its guests in traditional Mongolian gers — felt-and-canvas tents developed by the region’s nomadic herders. While you’re there, be sure to take a camel ride and try the camel’s-milk lotion.

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    Harlingen Lifeboat
    Many people would be thrilled just to meet someone who has saved 45 lives. But in Harlingen, The Netherlands, just such a hero invites you to come in and make yourself at home. The Harlingen Lifeboat took part in more than 100 rescue missions along the British coast from 1955 to 1979; now decommissioned and completely restored, its retirement gig is as a two-person hotel replete with modern amenities. You can also hire a captain to pilot you on a tour — the boat may be 55, but it’s still plenty spry.

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    Caboose Motel
    The Caboose Motel’s name is simple yet accurate: The guestrooms are in individual train cabooses, which once trailed trains from classic rail lines such as the Santa Fe and Great Northern. The Caboose Motel is part of the Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir, Calif., which has a number of other historic train cars for you to explore, including a few that contain a restaurant and lounge. If you like trains, it’s worth exploring Dunsmuir itself; the town has a long history as a railroad community.

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    Imperial Boat House Hotel
    It’s all about the boat at Thailand’s Imperial Boat House Hotel, which features 34 luxury suites made from vintage teakwood rice barges. Even the swimming pool is shaped like a boat, complete with a mast and crow’s nest. And if you’d like to take off on a boat ride of your own, the hotel is right on the beach on the island of Koh Samui, off the east coast of the Thai mainland.

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    Ariau Amazon Towers
    Want to live at bird’s-eye level? That’s no problem at Brazil’s Ariau Amazon Towers. The hotel’s rooms are 30 to 70 feet high in the rain forest canopy, with the eight towers linked together by more than five miles of wooden catwalks wending their way through the forest. Besides the 268 guestrooms, the hotel’s restaurants, auditorium and even swimming pools are up in the air as well.

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    Liberty Hotel
    This is the kind of jail that people actually want to enter. The ironically named Liberty Hotel spent close to 140 years housing Boston criminals before being renovated and turned into lodgings for the general public. The hotel has kept some of the more aesthetic features from its prison past, including the 90-foot-high central atrium, three-story windows and historic catwalks. And the downtown location is perfect for breaking out and exploring the city.

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