Spend the night curled up like a hamster in a mound of straw beside your wheel or hunker down in an old prison with hardwood beds and spartan facilities. The trend for offbeat accommodation continues to grow. Travelers have become tired of the generic blandness of hotel rooms with their predictable layout and minibar. They demand something different. From luxury to deprivation, there is certainly plenty of variety in the unique hotel market. Let's take a look at a few of the more interesting options available around the world.
The World’s Most Unique Hotels: Kolarbyn Eco-lodge
The Swedes have made minimalism an art form, and this is seen nowhere more than at Kolarbyn Eco-lodge in the wilds of Skinnskatteberg, two hours from Stockholm. Deep in the forest beside a lake are a number of tiny huts so cleverly constructed you have to look twice to distinguish them from their leafy surroundings. It would not surprise you to see Bilbo Baggins emerge from a rustic entrance. Inspired by the old charcoal burner huts which used to dot these forests, they are super simple with just two beds and a fire.
Forget the wifi, there is no electricity. You even have to fetch your own water from the spring and cut your own wood for cooking. All sods of nutritious supplies are stored in a food but so you are able to create your own meals on the wood fires. These forests are filled with moose, beavers, birds and the occasional bear. Guides live on-site to offer a hand and take you through the forest.
The World’s Most Unique Hotels: Hotel Palafitte
For quite a different type of accommodation, but with similar levels of tranquility, try the Hotel Palafitte on Lake Neuchatel. The rooms of the 5-star boutique hotel are built out onto the lake on stilts, contemporary reminders of the earliest human shelters built here thousands of years ago. Bungalow-cum-boathouse, these beautifully simple rooms are completely private, yet open to the changing moods of the lake with alpine views of the Jura Mountains in the distance. Each apartment has its own balcony and ladder down into the lake, and the simple exterior houses state of the art technology with tablet PC control of all electrics and media devices and fingerprint scan keys. This is Switzerland after all.
The World’s Most Unique Hotels: The Gibbon Experience
For more adventurous accommodation, try zip lining into your treehouse after tramping through the virgin forests of the Bokeo Reserve in Laos. The Gibbon Experience tree houses are built high up in the sturdy trunks of the strangler fig trees. The veranda rooms are airy and open so guests can look out over the forest canopy of the reserve. Conservation group Animo runs the operations as part of their mission to protect these primary forests from logging. They have set up long zip lines over the forest for guests to view these unique ecosystems and hopefully glimpse the black-faced gibbons who live below.