12 unique hotels for people who have seen everything

By Stine Gjevnoe

Treat yourself to a truly unique holiday stay at one of these 12 weird and wonderful hotels around the world.

You’re about to find out that a hotel can be more than just a mere room and furnishings. In fact, you can practically transport yourself to another world when you book a few nights at any of these peculiar places.

Become one with the mountains at Whitepod Hotel

Unplug from everyday life in the quietude of the Swiss mountains
Find inner and outer peace in the beautiful Swiss mountains © Whitepod Hotel

Whitepod Hotel is aptly named for its colony of igloo-esque rooming pods nestled on a hilltop with stunning views of the valley below. Though you’ll be up in the mountains, you won’t be far from creature comforts as Whitepod is renowned for its cosy amenities and hotel restaurant serving up fine local cuisine. While the hotel is available for booking year-round, you’ll want to make the most of the setting in the winter when you can view snowcapped vistas from your wood-heated pod.

Take advantage of your pod’s relative isolation and unplug from the stresses of everyday life with ample alpine air and a visit to the wellness area. Whitepod is a rare combination of eco and luxury that you won’t want to miss.

Book a room at The Whitepod Hotel

Be the captain for a night at Jumbo Stay

Jumbo Stay may be the closest you’ll come to being the film hero who lands the plane to safety
Live out your childhood dream of flying an airliner © Jumbo Stay

You may think you’ve had enough of planes when you land at your destination, but you’ll reconsider if it means you get to sleep in the cockpit and play with all the levers and gauges up close. Stockholm’s Jumbo Stay is an entire Boeing 747 -212B from 1976 that’s been converted into a fully functioning hotel where you can do just that. Don’t worry – the plane has long been retired and is very much a grounded vehicle. The only destinations this Jumbo is flying to are the ones you conjure up in your dreams.

Aspiring pilots will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime stay in the Cockpit Suite, while aspiring first class flyers will love the spacious Black Box suite at the back of the plane. If you’re wondering where such a thing could possibly be located, your first thought is probably the correct one. It’s a short walk from Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

Book a room at Jumbo Stay

Don’t mind the robots at Huis Ten Bosch Henn na Hotel Nagasaki

The bots at Henn na Hotel Nagasaki will put your iphone’s “Siri” to shame
They’re only here to serve, after all © Henn na Hotel Nagasaki

Catch a glimpse of our near future in this state-of-the-art concept hotel in Japan where robots make up the staff. It’s very simple. All the steps you would have taken with human help is handled with robot help instead, from checking in, to carrying your luggage, to chatting about the weather at reception. To take it one step further, you won’t even have a key. Facial recognition technology will unlock your room door instead.

One of the definitions of the Japanese word “Henn” is “to change,” and this place will certainly change your perception of what’s possible from a hotel. The Radiant Panel Air Conditioning System draws heat from your body when it’s hot, and keep heat from escaping your body when it’s cold. Motion sensors automatically turns off the lights when you’re not around, and the facilities efficiently recycle waste. It’s all part of the surrounding Huis Ten Bosch amusement park’s commitment to being an”Eco-Friendly Future City.”

Book a room at Henn na Hotel Nagasaki

Explore the relationship between fire and ice at Hotel de Glace

Drift into your dreams on ice beds such as these at Quebec’s Hotel De Glace
It’s definitely one of the “coolest” places in the world © Hotel de Glace

The icy wonderlands of film and television truly come alive at Quebec’s Hotel de Glace, an enchanting sub-zero universe that’s literally carved from ice and snow, and only appears three months out of the year. Every detail of this hotel contributes to the allure, as all the furnishings are sculpted directly out of ice, and suite rooms feature live fireplaces.

Choose from a simple single room with natural lighting all the way to a premium deluxe arctic spa with beautiful ambient lighting, ice champagne flutes and a private spa. You can immerse yourself even deeper if you choose a package that includes a dogsledding shuttle service. We can’t forget one important detail – your duvet, sheets, pillows and sleeping bags will most definitely not be made of ice, so you’ll be warm and comfortable throughout your stay.

Book a room at Hotel de Glace

Have an entire room for a reading nook at Book and Bed Tokyo

At Tokyo’s Book and Bed Hotel you can read ’til you drop, wake up again and read some more
At Tokyo’s Book and Bed Hotel you can read ’til you drop, wake up again and read some more © Book and Bed Tokyo

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a book? At The Book and Bed hotel in Tokyo, this is just about possible. Your bed here is located within a bookshelf crammed with all the material you’ll need for your bedtime reading (in English as well as Japanese).

Like any good library, there’s a book to suit every taste here and unsurprisingly, you’ll find many other bookworms to share your stories with. Far from being a luxurious getaway, this themed hotel focuses on creating a cosy, inclusive environment in which it’s possible to relax in the simplest of ways.

Book a room at The Book and Bed Hotel

Hotel Kakslauttanen is a Mecca of igloos beneath the Northern Lights

Hotel Kakslauttanen is an idyllic location in the heart of Santa country
Hotel Kakslauttanen is an idyllic location in the heart of Santa country © Hotel Kakslauttanen

The coruscating dance of the Northern Lights against the night sky is a spectacle to behold. At Lapland’s Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, you can appreciate their mystical qualities all night long from the warmth of your glass cabin, shaped in the form of an igloo.

When you tire of stargazing, venture out into the Arctic wilderness on a reindeer safari, visit Santa’s busy office or tear through the snow on a snowmobile.

Book a room at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Tune your motoring instincts at V8 Hotel

Cars, spanners, wheels, grease – find all manner of motor-related motley at V8 Hotel
Cars, spanners, wheels, grease – find all manner of motor-related motley at V8 Hotel © V8 Hotel

Don’t just dream of waking up in a Cadillac or a Benz one day– do it! The V8 hotel, located in Stuttgart, gives you the chance to do just that, albeit with a bit more legroom and slightly less bodywork than you can expect on your standard factory edition ride. Here, you can choose amongst 10 different car suites to catch some shut-eye in – styled after various racing themes.

While in the area, complete your motoring experience with a visit to the nearby Motorworld Stuttgart, where car fantasies reign supreme.

Book a room at V8 Hotel

All hands on deck aboard the Queen Mary Hotel

It’s not the Titanic but it’s close enough – turn up the style at The Queen Mary Hotel
It’s not the Titanic but it’s close enough – turn up the style at The Queen Mary Hotel © The Queen Mary Hotel

The Queen Mary is a former ocean liner that first sailed in 1936, before being used as an American troop carrier during the Second World War. A mammoth construction that is slightly larger than her ill-fated predecessor, The Titanic, The Queen Mary made over a thousand transatlantic crossings before her retirement.

Since 1967, this giant of the seas has been used as both a hotel and museum at her home in Long Beach, where her 3 towers cast a haughty shadow over the modern Californian skyline. While you’re aboard, there is no shortage of events, history tours and dining areas to tickle every fancy.

Book a room at the Queen Mary Hotel

Sleep in a toadstool or tree stump at Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens

Recreate your favorite childhood forest fairy tales at Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens
Recreate your favourite childhood forest fairy tales at Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens © Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens

On the surface, Norrqvarn Hotell & Konferens is a standard hotel with state-of-the-art conference facilities. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you will find 2 intriguing accommodation options to tickle your curiosity and imagination – a toadstool and a tree stump.

The cold Swedish winter means that it’s best to book these rooms between May and September when you can also take advantage of the great Swedish outdoors. Drawing on fairy tale references, the Troll stump and Mushroom cabins, as they’re known here, make for a relaxing stay by the banks of the Göta Canal, near Lyrestad. You decide whether you’ll live here happily ever after.

Book a room at Norrqvarn Hotell

Reach for the skies at Crane Hotel Faralda

Choose a room with a view at The Faralda Crane Hotel
Choose a room with a view at The Faralda Crane Hotel © Nichon Glerum Crane Hotel Faralda

After an intense process of renovation, this old crane opened in 2014 as the luxury hotel, Faralda. It’s located 50 metres high above the NDSM industrial wharf, a mecca for artists, skaters. and hip start-ups.

The hotel’s three suites – “Secret”, “Free Spirit” and “Mystique” – are extravagantly furnished and offer access to an outdoor jacuzzi and the best panoramic views you’re likely to find in all of Amsterdam. And, if you’re a thrill seeker, the Faralda even has its very own bungee jumping facilities.

Book a room at Crane Hotel Faralda Hotel

A journey to the centre of the earth at Sala Silvermine

The Mine Suite at Sala Silvermine, Sweden.
The Mine Suite at Sala Silvermine, Sweden. © Maria Andersson/Sala Silvergruva

The principal sleeping area of Sala Silvermine, located near Stockholm, is rather modest – a quaint 15-room hostel. But, if you tunnel 155 metres underground, you’ll find a secluded chamber unlike any other you’ve stayed in before.

As the deepest hotel room in the world, The Mine Suite is perfect for those travellers seeking a bit of quiet away from any other snoring guests or distractions. Mobile phones are non-functional way down in this hole, so your only communication with the world above is via a walkie-talkie with the 24/7 reception, who will even come down every morning to deliver a freshly cooked breakfast.

Book a room at Sala Silvergruva

Stay protected at Spitbank Fort

The Spitbank Fort may not look like much on the surface. Venture inside for a peerless luxury experience
The Spitbank Fort may not look like much on the surface. Venture inside for a peerless luxury experience @ leon.slater

A naval fort built to defend Portsmouth Harbour attacks of Napoleon III, the Spitbank Fort is now one of the most unique and exclusive hotels in the UK. Not least because you need to climb aboard a private boat to find it.

There are only 9 bedroom suites, but they all feature super-king size beds, high-riveted redbrick ceilings and only the plushest of furnishings. Outside of the bedroom quarters, there’s three bars, a wine cellar, several game rooms and a rooftop hot-tub to help you pass the time.

But, undoubtedly, Spitbank Fort’s crowning jewel is the huge red lighthouse above, offering stunning views of England’s south coast.

Book a room at Spitbank Fort


There you have it. 12 truly weird and wonderful hotels to take your trip to the next level. Don’t forget to book your flights, and if you’re looking for even more best-in-class travel advice, take a look at KAYAK MGZN.