icehotel

6 Once-in-a-Lifetime Stays at the World’s Most Unique Hotels

Travelling around the world offers many fascinating experiences and where you stay is part of enjoying the trip. Here we take a look at six eye-catching unique hotels that bring original ideas to the table, making a trip even more exciting, memorable and unique.

Palacio de Sal, Bolivia

The world’s first salt accommodation is a unique hotel, the Palacio de Sal in Bolivia is formed from blocks made of salt held together by wood and furnished by salt-made accessories including beds, chairs, tables and sculptures. It’s a striking and memorable place to visit, straddling the world’s largest salt flat on the edge of Salar de Uyuni. You’ll find a dry sauna and a steam room to enjoy as well as a whirlpool bath and, of course, a saltwater pool.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge, USA

Ready to go underwater? Jules’ Undersea Lodge was originally a laboratory before it was turned into accommodation. The unique hotel, which offers accommodation for up to two couples, has basic amenities such as showers, microwave and fridge. It sits at the bottom of Florida’s Emerald Lagoon in Key Largo. It’s an acquired taste (and only for those willing and able to scuba dive beneath the waves to get to it) but it’s an experience like no other. Its reverse goldfish bowl effect gives you front row seats as the Atlantic Ocean’s finest angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda and others come for a closer look.

Lebua, Thailand

Described as one of the most “over-the-top” hotels in the world, the Lebua in Bangkok is an experience worth savoring – if you’re not afraid of heights, that is. It’s home to The Dome, the world’s tallest open-air bar serving cocktails, whiskey and champagne to guests 800-feet high. It’s a sought-after spot in the city, offering five-star luxury as well as great food courtesy of the Michelin-starred Mezzaluna.

Kadir’s Tree Houses, Turkey

Popular with backpackers, Kadir’s Tree Houses are situated on the idyllic Turquoise Coast. The place is known where pine trees are the backdrop to Olimpos. The treehouses offer a different kind of accommodation to luxurious five-star hotels. This isn’t lavish living, it’s minimalist. But it’s just as exciting as Lebua’s 800-foot rooftop cocktail bar for those who want to combine travel with life-changing experiences. Don’t come here to relax, come here to party. That’s what it’s known for, as a hedonistic attitude brings Kadir’s Tree Houses a characterful buzz that’s ultimately infectious.

The Cromwell, USA

Las Vegas is a city that many want to visit at least once in their lifetime. The glittering lights of “The Strip” come as if out of nowhere as you approach by road from the desert. In today’s world, you can experience America’s gambling capital from the comfort of your own home, trialling the slot machines with Oddschecker’s no deposit bonuses for first time players. But let it be a trial run before you fly in for a true taste of Vegas’ unique extravagance and lavish “big name” hotels and casinos. The Cromwell, situated on The Strip, is a bit different from the commercialized mega-complexes of the city’s well-known hotels. It’s offering boutique 4-star accommodation. It has a characterful Parisian class that boasts Giada, one of Vegas’s must-see restaurants, and of course, its very own casino.

Icehotel, Sweden

Photo above: “Ice Hotel Church @ Jukkasjärvi” (CC BY 2.0) by bjaglin

Suffice to say, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Originally founded in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden in 1989, the Icehotel is reborn every winter to deliver accommodation made entirely of ice. The hotel is made of “snice”, a combination of ice and snow. It is sprayed onto molds which are then taken away after the structure is set. Your room is adorned with ice sculptures. Fine dining cuisine is served before you head for some shut-eye on your frozen bed. During your stay here you can try snowmobiling, husky sledding, ice driving and cross-country skiing.

These unique hotels might be quite different from your usual accommodation when travelling. These also offer a one of a kind experience. It may be easier choosing accommodation that simply offers a bed to sleep in while you experience the local culture. But if you want a trip to exhilarate and excite morning and night, these once-in-a-lifetime hotels are part of fulfilling that desire.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

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