Ever wondered where you can find unique accommodation on your travels? Where are the quirky places to stay? Have you experienced a night in a treehouse, or in a houseboat or ice hotel? There are some incredibly unique escapes across the world to experience. Here’s a roundup featuring top travel blogger recommendations of some of the most quirky places to stay around the world. From cave hotels, safari lodges, treehouses, to glass roof cabins. This list should hopefully inspire your wanderlust! Remember to check out flights on Skyscanner so you can get flight deals to these incredible locations!
Aurora Cabin Lapland
You can tick off some serious travel bucket list goals by staying in an Aurora cabin in Apukka Resort, just north of the Arctic circle. This amazing resort is definitely accommodation in Finnish Lapland. It looks like something out of a fairytale. There are wooden, snow-covered cabins and ice cottages surrounded by dense forests and wandering reindeer. Apukka Resort is outside of the bright city lights. This makes it the ideal place to see the beautiful and elusive aurora borealis, dancing in the night sky. Read my ‘Ultimate guide to Lapland‘ to find out more!
Taskonaklar Cave Hotel, Turkey
Located in central Turkey, the region of Cappadocia is known for winding underground cities, unique rock formations known as “fairy chimneys”, hot air balloon rides at sunrise and spectacular cave hotels, that have been built directly into the rock! If you’ve ever dreamed of spending the night in a cave, but would rather forego the dirt and the bats, Cappadocia is the perfect place to visit.
Taskonaklar is a boutique cave hotel that combines history and luxury. It’s a really unique hotel in Turkey. The architect kept the integrity of the ancient cave ruins in designing the gorgeous suites that you can sleep in today. Rounded stone walls and dim lighting create the ambience of a cave, while plush bedding and beautiful antique furniture will ensure you have a comfortable stay. Opt for the deluxe room with the private outdoor jacuzzi tub so you can have a sunrise soak while watching the hot air balloons float through the valley below! Chosen by Wandering Wheatleys.
Timber Ridge Treehouse Illinois
We found a unique tree house lodging experience in Southern Illinois. The Timber Ridge Outpost and Cabins in Illinois offers tree houses for an unusual glamping experience. Luxury lodging surrounded by nature and half a day’s drive from Chicago. Guests can enjoy an amazing glamping experience with kayaking and horseback riding adventures nearby. Nestled in woodlands, these treehouses offer you an opportunity to disconnect from the world and appreciate beautiful nature. It’s a really fun and unique place to stay. Chosen by Travel with Sara.
Mill House Studio, Inn at Vaucluse Spring, Virginia
Spring water flowing through the millrace lulls you to sleep in the Mill House Studio, one of several unique accommodations at the Inn at Vaucluse Spring in Stephens City, Virginia. The historic cottage is perfect for a romantic getaway from busy Washington DC. It’s definitely one of the more unusual places to visit in the US.
The two-story cottage sits at the edge of the mill pond, where a private stone patio and two Adirondacks capture reflections of the sky and woods. Inside, a comfortable sitting room with fireplace and wet bar is supplied with easel, sketchpads, pastels, and pencils encouraging guests to explore their creative side. There is no TV, and you’ll have to visit another building for wifi, so you have every excuse to relax. At night, a plush king-size bed and lovely bath welcome you to sleep.
There are five more guesthouses and cabins at the Inn, from a former tobacco barn to an elegant Manor house built in 1785. All guests visit the Manor house for a delicious three-course breakfast and, optionally, an elegant prix fixe dinner. When you’re ready for a little activity, head to nearby Winchester Virginia to explore its pedestrian-friendly downtown full of restaurants, shops, and history. It’s one of the most unique romantic getaways in the USA. Chosen by Fun in Fairfax.
Sheki Karvansaray Hotel, Azerbaijan
The small town of Sheki in northern Azerbaijan lies at the crossroads of east and west. From the second century BC, merchants travelling the fabled Silk Road passed through Sheki on their way from China to the Mediterranean. Inns called caravanserais were built all along the road to accommodate traders and their goods.
After a period of abandonment, the caravanserai in Sheki, a magnificent two-storey stone building, re-opened as the Sheki Karvansaray hotel in the 1990s. Some of the 600 separate chambers were converted into modest hotel rooms, each with a private bathroom. The real highlight of the Sheki Karvansaray Hotel are the common areas, a spectacular central courtyard and arched cloisters. It’s unique accommodation in Azerbaijan for sure. Chosen by Wander-lush.
Ice Hotel Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
There are ice hotels and there are ice hotels. And then there is THE ice hotel. The one in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, where the sculptures make Disney’s Frozen look like a mud-tinged, lopsided snowman dribbling away at the side of the road.
Rebuilt every year, the Ice Hotel attracts artists from around the world. Fancy sleeping in a life-sized London Underground Tube train made of ice? Done! A menacing montage of Clockwork Orange style film? You got it! Or, of course, there are the classics: flowers, reindeer, castles… snow. As the first commercial Ice Hotel in the world (its reindeer-skin doors opened in 1989) it’s concocted a slick routine to keep guests happy. Keep them active by day – think snowmobiling, husky-sledging and the time it takes to get dressed – and in the bar by night (spirits only, as the ice glasses freeze all beer and wine.)
But is it warm enough to actually get any sleep? Yes, with a bit of effort. Guests undergo a “training session” before snuggling into a double sleeping bag and hoping they won’t need the loo. Reindeer skins rest on the ice and staff wake dozing layabouts (like us,) with hot lingonberry juice in the morning. All in, a stay in the Ice Hotel has to rank as one of the best things to do in Lapland in the winter. Chosen by Inside the Travel Lab.
Hocking Hills Caboose
In the hills of Southeast Ohio, USA sits a unique, cabin-like property. The Hocking Hills Caboose is a restored train caboose that sleeps 5. Equipped with a full bathroom and kitchenette, it’s the perfect place to relax after a long day of hiking. Our family enjoyed sitting on the deck and watching the stars come out each evening. There was a fire-pit to enjoy s’mores and a barbeque to make dinner. Hocking Hills State Park is Ohio’s premier outdoor destination. From kayaking to climbing waterfalls, Hocking Hills has a lot to offer people of all ages. The Caboose is great for couples looking for a unique getaway, or families wanting to make memories that don’t involve WiFi. For those that aren’t comfortable in a tent, this is a taste of glamping. It’s certainly a unique place to stay in the USA. Chosen by Yoder Toter.
Granó Beckasin, Swedish Lapland
Granö Beckasin is a tranquil retreat in Swedish Lapland. Situated next to the Ume River and surrounded by thick forest, Granó Beckasin is ideal if you’re looking for a blissful escape. The treehouses, nicknamed Bird Nests, is a unique accommodation option in Granö. Built from sustainable and recycled materials, the treehouses are nestled in pine trees near the main lodge. Inside, they’re luxuriously comfortable. By day, you’ll get expansive views of the river. And by night, you can stargaze from your bed, as each treehouse has a skylight. You can stay in a Birds Nest at any time of year, as they’re cosy and snug during winter. It’s super Instagrammble accommodation in Sweeden Chosen by The Idyll.
Yellow Dog Lodge, Yellowknife
One of the coolest things about exploring the Canadian Northwest Territories is the sheer isolation of it all. Its huge size coupled with an extremely low population means there’s a lot of untouched nature teeming with wildlife. One of the best things to do in the northwest territories of Canada is to take a float plane to a secluded lake for fishing, hiking and aurora borealis viewing. However, if you want to take your isolation one step further, you can also sleep on a floating barge at Yellow Dog Lodge. It’s a very unique accommodation in Canada for outdoor lovers. We had a blast hearing our voices echo across the lake, sleeping under a blanket of stars, and waking up to nothing but the sound of the water hitting the sides of our barge. It was a magical experience. Chosen by Live Limitless.
Swags, Australia Outback
One of my absolute favourite places I have rested my head on my travels was on the dusty floor of the Australian Outback! Why, you ask? Well because I fell asleep after gazing for hours at the mesmerizing starry sky above me and there are few experiences as special as that. Now I’ve seen some pretty awesome scenery on my travels but the spectacular night sky was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen, with no light pollution to dim the brightness of the stars.
On my 3 day trip into The Outback, we slept in swags. These are essentially sleeping bags with in-built mattresses. You can zip them up so that just your eyes are poking out and they sure are quick to pack up than a tent! I have to admit the possibility of sharing my swag with a snake, spider or scorpion crossed my mind, but luckily that did not happen! But once I was gazing at those stars, all thoughts of creepie crawlies disappeared and I fell into one of the most peaceful nights of sleep I’ve ever had! It’s definitely a unique camping experience in Australia. Chosen by The Globetrotter GP.
Spending a night in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala in southern India is a unique accommodation experience and something you shouldn’t miss when exploring Kerala! The backwaters are a huge network of rivers and most people book a houseboat (including captain and cook) for two days, giving you enough time to float through the backwaters and to enjoy the beautiful views. You’ll see the locals living on the edge of the rivers going about their everyday work and at the end of the day, you’ll enjoy an incredible sunset. The houseboats have cabins and bathrooms, ranging from basic to extremely luxurious, depending on your budget. Chosen by German Backpacker.
Elephant’ Eye safari lodge, Zimbabwe
Elephant’s Eye Safri Lodge offers upscale accommodation in eight tented chalets looking out onto the African bush. It’s located on a private estate near the entrance of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Game drives and guided bush walks are an option, and wildlife visits the camp’s two water holes. Meals are served in an open-sided dining room, from where it’s possible to observe creatures such as elephants, antelope and warthogs while dining. The roomy chalets have verandas and are raised on stilts. The king-size bed is draped with a mosquito net. The shower is outdoors, overlooking the bush, and the bathtub is by the window. It’s a gorgeous place to stay if you appreciate nature, wildlife and luxury. Chosen by Go Eat Do.
Two Seasons Island Resort & Spa, Coron
The Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa is located on a private island near Coron and is a 100% self-sustaining island resort. The resort has 42 high ceiling bungalows spread among the island’s lush tropical gardens. I stayed in an Island Tip Bungalow with a private jacuzzi on the verandah, a great place to watch the sunset and the beach. The two restaurants provide 5-star resort dining, my favourite dish was the ‘Crocodile in Coconut Milk’. The resort organises diving and island hopping tours with their own private boats, rents transparent kayaks and Stand-Up Paddle Boards and also offers Wake-boarding and snorkelling tours. Chosen by Universal Traveller.
Shiva Camp in Faralya, Turkey
Sleep in a Teepee in Turkey for the night! If you had childhood dreams of sleeping in a teepee, make this wish come true while travelling in Turkey. On the country’s southwestern coast are a handful of cliffside villages, secluded beaches with turquoise waters and lush valleys straight out of a fairytale. In the midst of it all is Shiva Camp, a collection of bungalows and teepees. We opted to stay in the latter!
To be completely honest, spending the night in a teepee is much like a traditional tent. However, with a mattress and access to a shared bathroom and shower, you certainly won’t be roughing it too much. Plus, the location of Shiva Camp is out of this world! You’ll wake up with views over the ocean and you can peek down the cliffside and glimpse Kabak Beach, one of the most picturesque stretches of sand we’ve ever laid eyes on.
Another huge perk to this accommodation is the incredible homemade meals that are served buffet style. For breakfast, enjoy a huge spread of traditional Turkish dishes, like fruits, fresh cheeses, bread, and jam. Oh, and you can’t forget the Turkish coffee! They also serve lunch and dinner for an additional cost.
Hang out at the pool with a book, enjoy a cocktail at the bar, or wander down to Kabak Beach, which can only be reached on foot. This epic spot has million dollar views, but it is not just for the rich. In fact, at around $40 USD you’ll get a teepee that sleeps 2 people as well as a super satisfying breakfast. It is a super affordable way to spend the night in a teepee while in true paradise! Chosen by Two Wandering Soles.
Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland
Located just an hour’s drive from both Dublin and Belfast, Castle Leslie is one of the few Irish castles to remain owned by the original resident family. The Leslie family was granted 50,000 acres by Queen Elizabeth I for saving her life, but the current property sits on a sprawling 1,000 acres surrounding Glaslough, a preserved lake that is popular for pike fishing.
Native hut in Tibiao, Philippines
While backpacking across the Philippines, we stopped by the municipality of Tibiao in Antique. Tibiao has a very provincial feel – lots of farms, forest mountains and so on. We booked for an overnight stay in a local native hut. The hut is in itself very simple. There’s a mattress on the floor and an adjoining toilet, and that’s it. But we loved it. The hut is located beside a river, so it’s easy to be lulled to sleep with the sound of gushing water. It’s also very cool despite the lack of an electric fan. We kept the window open and saw a very clear starry sky. It’s one of the most memorable stays we’ve had in all our travels. Chosen by Tara Lets Anywhere.
Timbivati Game Reserve Tree House, Kruger
My husband and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with a bucket list trip to Africa. While staying in the Timbivati Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, we had the opportunity to spend the night in a bona fide treehouse overlooking a watering hole. The staff at our camp supplied us with strict instructions not to leave the treehouse and gave us a radio for emergencies, but otherwise, it was up to us to pass the night. At one point, we looked out to see the most beautiful moonlit white rhino taking a midnight sip of water. It was truly an experience to remember. Chosen by We Go With Kids.
Sinonomeso Ryokan Onsen Town, Japan
A traditional Japanese Inn is called a ryokan. A stay in a Ryokan usually includes traditional Japanese multiple course dinner and breakfast served in your room. Rooms are simple, with low and little furniture. In our ryokan experience at the Sinonomeso Ryokan in Kinosaki, we donned the traditional yukata clothing, removed our footwear because of the tatami mat flooring and embraced the whole experience. A traditional Kaiseki Ryori Dinner was served at low tables in our room and our futons were laid out for us while we enjoyed the public onsens in town. It was for us a bucket list experience, culturally very different to anything we’d done before, and superb! Chosen by A Social Nomad.
Annam Junk, Vietnam
I spent 2 days and one night staying the night on Annam Junk, in which it includes the total package of Ha Long Bay tour in Vietnam. The total price for the whole tour is $100, although as I travelled alone, they charged me an extra $20 for single amenities. The downside of solo travel, boo! Despite everything, I didn’t regret my decision to spend extra money for it because I loved the scenery of Ha Long Bay from my cabin, and it would have been a very romantic place if you stayed there with your beloved one. I’m considering it to be on my future honeymoon destination one day. Chosen by The Beau Traveler.
We honestly didn’t know what to expect from a treehouse stay and we have to say that it was a pleasant surprise. When we reached the luxury treehouse at Yala in the evening, we sipped our welcome drinks on the balcony and watched the sun go down. We couldn’t have asked for a better first impression. Along with being located in the middle of the wilderness, this luxury treehouse was equipped with all kinds of creature comforts; hot water, air conditioning, a mosquito net, fast wi-fi and multiple sockets. We definitely will recommend a treehouse stay to bird lovers as you get a chance every morning and evening to spot exotic birds right from your abode. Chosen by Siddharth & Shruti.
Underground Hotel, Coober Pedy
Recently we stayed in an underground hotel in the Outback of Australia. The tiny town of Coober Pedy is best known for its opal mines and for its underground homes, called dugouts. The town residents keep cool in the scorching summer heat by digging out their homes from the rocky hills and enjoying the natural air conditioning of being below ground. There are lots of hotels in town where travellers can get a taste of underground living. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Coober Pedy and it was a really neat experience. In addition to being a great escape from the heat, it made sleeping in really easy. Chosen by 5 Lost Together.
Maldives scuba diving liveaboard
The Maldives is an archipelago of thousands of islands, and one of the best ways to explore this island nation is by doing a scuba diving liveaboard. We spent 7 wonderful days on the ‘Emperor Leo’ in The Maldives. The boat was our cosy home base room for a week, while we navigated this beautiful paradise. There’s nothing quite as special as falling asleep every night on a yacht in the middle of the ocean. Even better, we had a chance to explore what the Maldives is famous for, underwater beauty. Chosen by The Round The World Guys.
Henry VIII, Thornbury Castle, Bristol
Henry VIII, Thornbury Castle, just outside of Bristol, England, is the perfect place to step back in time and feel like a member of the Royal family. Dating back to the 10th Century, Thornbury offers individually decorated rooms containing four-poster beds and period furniture. Its grand sitting room is the perfect setting to enjoy a classic Bristol gin cocktail before heading to dinner in the castle’s dungeon. Don’t worry, head chef Andrew Chan won’t be serving bread and water, rather quite the opposite with his focus on fresh, local ingredients.
Guests enjoy world-class meals, fit for a king. For a further taste of Tudor life, Thornbury offers guest the opportunity to try their hand at archery on their beautifully manicured lawns and for the brave at heart, falconry. Not everything at Thornbury is a trip to the past. If you are looking for an escape, Thornbury offers a range of treatments and massages in its state of the art spa. Located about 25 minutes outside the centre of Bristol, Thornbury Castle is a unique hotel experience with the perfect combination of the past and the present. Chosen by With husband in tow.
Samode Palace Hotel, India
You can live like a Maharaja or Maharani in India! Many former palaces and merchant houses (havelis) have been turned into heritage hotels. One of my favourites is Samode Palace Hotel. This 475-year old palace is the former residence of a maharaja. Today is an opulent hotel. The entrance is up a steep driveway and through an arched entrance just big enough for an elephant and rider. You will be greeted with the traditional bindi on your forehead and refreshing drink while you check in.
Rooms are individual, but all of them are beautiful. You can take a tour of the palace when you stay there and see the Darbar Hall, hand-painted in intricate designs, and the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). There are several courtyards within courtyards, as well as an outdoor pool area, and tiled and painted lounges in which to relax. You will feel like you have stepped back in time. For special events, the stairs are lined with colourful fresh flower petals and flaming torches, and the building is lit with designs created by thousands of tiny fairy lights. This is a truly magical place. The palace is 40 km north of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. Chosen by Travel Collecting.
Hostel Celica, Ljubljana
Hostel Celica in the heart of Ljubljana in Slovenia offers a quirky touch that makes it more than your average budget hostel. With the magic of art and inspiration, this former prison has turned into a colourful getaway for travellers, artists, and free spirits. It is proof that art can transform even the darkest place into something amazing.
At Hostel Celica, your cell is assigned to you upon booking. Although you will be spending your sleeping hours behind bars. This unique hostel has beautifully designed common areas for you waking hours. Meet your fellow inmates for a meal or a drink at the Slovene Gostilna Restaurant. Or maybe pop into the Western Cafe or the Oriental Cafe for a coffee.
For a bit of quiet contemplation and prayer, the Point of Peace has six niches for the 5 world religions. These include Christianism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and your own personal beliefs. Take a look at the works of local and international artists at the Srecisce Art Gallery and perhaps wander into the basement to see evidence of Celica’s grim history in the Museum of Confinement. Chosen by Karolina Klesta.
Quirky places to stay
What do you think of this list of unique accommodation recommendations? Have you ever stayed in quirky accommodation on your travels? Let me know in the comments below!
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