1. Ice Hotel, Sweden
This chilly hotel does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a hotel made entirely from ice. Situated in the village of Jukkasjärvi, some 200km north of the Arctic Circle, this unique hotel makes a memorable base from which to explore the home of Santa Claus, Lapland, in which you can experience the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights and the impressive snowy landscape of the polar north. As you might expect, the hotel is only around in winter – it melts in summer. You’ll have to wrap up warm, and this icy experience may not be for the faint hearted, but few could deny that it’s the ultimate winter retreat.
2. Soneva Gili, Maldives
This luxurious hotel is less about the ‘weird’ and more about the ‘wonderful’. Nestled in one of the Maldives’ biggest lagoons, it requires a 20 minute speedboat ride to get to it, and consists of 45 over-water villas. For the ultimate in luxury, choose one of the Crusoe Residences, which offer total privacy and 360 degree views of the stunning Indian Ocean. Desert island living doesn’t get much better than this.
3. Treebones Resort, California
Ever wished you could curl up in a bird’s nest? Well now you can! As well as a community of eco-friendly yurts, Treebones in sunny California also offers a human-sized bird’s nest complete with its own campsite. And if the giant nest doesn’t quite take your fancy, the yurts are spacious and tastefully furnished, with French doors offering immediate access to spectacular coastal views. It’s the last word in eco-friendly holidaying, and just goes to show that going green doesn’t have to mean losing out on luxury.
4. Harlingen Lighthouse, The Netherlands
If you read The Famous Five as a child and always wondered what it would be like to stay in a lighthouse, look no further than this fine example in The Netherlands. After 75 years of keeping Dutch ships safe, it officially stopped being used as a lighthouse in 1998 following alterations to the entrance of the harbour and changes in the shape of the seabed. Its fate hang in the balance until it was snapped up and turned into a hotel with a difference, where you can stay in total comfort surrounded by incredible views.
5. Jumbo Hostel, Sweden
What is it with the Swedes and weird hotels? This one isn’t quite as bizarre as the Ice Hotel but it’s not far off. The Jumbo Hostel is the name given to a decommissioned 1976 Boeing 747, which offers a rather different experience to the flights it was once used for. Now firmly grounded, this majestic aircraft provides a range of accommodation options, including a luxury suite which is located, as you might have guessed, in the plane’s converted cockpit, with an unrivalled panoramic view of Sweden’s Stockholm-Arlanda airport. Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or just looking for a unique overnight stay, the Jumbo Hostel is the place for you.
Rachel is a freelance blogger on a variety of topics, including hotels for sale.