By Lauren Ferrone
Published: Friday, May 31, 2019
Forget The Hilton. We’ve put together a list of 6 bizarre hotels around the world, from an underwater oasis to one made entirely from snow and ice.
1. Hotel de Glace, Canada
Ever woken with one leg under the blanket and the other exposed? You probably won’t have that problem during an overnight stay in Hotel de Glace, near Quebec City in Canada.
Made entirely of snow (about 30,000 tonnes) and ice (500 tonnes), Hotel de Glace is built every December and opens its doors early January. It takes about 50 workers roughly a month and a half to construct the spectacle after making snow using a special mixture and erecting metal frames to keep the white fluffy stuff in place.
Chilly as it may sound, guests aren’t entirely left out in the cold. They’re given a sleeping bag and a special isolating bed sheet and pillow to keep them relatively snug. Only the bathrooms are heated and located in a separate insulated area of the hotel.
Just don’t get too cosy – the hotel has a 3-month lifespan before being demolished every April.
2. Atlantis The Palm, United Arab Emirates
Dubai isn’t short on luxurious and ultramodern accommodation, but Atlantis The Palm is on another level – literally.
The 5-star hotel, which was built to replicate the lost city of Atlantis, has underwater suites with floor to ceiling windows.
Creating the illusion of being under the sea, guests can wake up to more than 65,000 sea creatures surrounding their room, including black tip reef sharks and hundreds of rays from the Arabian Sea.
Water isn’t just a feature in the bedrooms – the theme continues throughout other parts of the hotel. There’s a water slide that allows thrill-seekers to zip through a shark-filled lagoon in a transparent glass tube, as well as one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest aquariums, which is perfect for scuba diving.
3. Långholmen Hotel, Sweden
‘Doing time’ overseas probably isn’t on most travellers’ bucket list, but don’t rule it out.
Travellers to Sweden’s capital can stay in Långholmen Hotel, which was once the country’s biggest prison before it closed in 1989. Just a couple of years later in 1991, the grounds were remodelled into a hotel and a youth hostel located in a separate area of the property.
The hotel embraces prison lifestyle to an extent. The rooms are dubbed ‘cells’ and iron bars still remain bolted to some of the windows. Nevertheless, the grounds feel strangely cosy thanks to the property’s immaculate garden, which was maintained by past prisoners who planted 3000 trees.
As for the food? Prison grub never tasted so good. There’s a restaurant onsite which serves traditional Swedish food using fresh, local ingredients.
4. Book and Bed Tokyo, Japan
This Japanese hostel/bookshop takes bed rest to a new level. If you love getting lost in a good book, Book and Bed Tokyo is the ideal place to catch up on some reading before dozing off. And with more than 3000 reading materials in English and Japanese, you’re bound to find a good page-turner.
The collection of books is enormous. Just how big? Books that can’t fit on the shelves hang from the ceiling, making a décor statement unlike one you’ve seen at other hotels you’ve stayed at.
Beds are hidden behind bookshelves, with some only accessible by climbing ladders. Snooze in a compact bunk with a reading light and curtain for privacy or in a bigger bookshelf-sized bed.
Safe to say you won’t find any books collecting dust, as avid readers from around the world converge on the unique space.
5. Crane Hotel Faralda, Netherlands
Suffer from a fear of heights? It might be best to book a stay anywhere but in one of Amsterdam’s Crane Hotel’s 3 luxury rooms.
It may look like a construction site, but Crane Hotel Faralda is located at the NDSM shipyard and has breathtaking views from every suite. Don’t expect the same scenery each time you peer out of the windows – it changes hourly as the crane rotates in the wind.
The highest of the trio of suites stands 45m off the ground, but to feel truly on top of the world, take a dip in the rooftop spa, which has the best views overlooking bustling Amsterdam.
Feeling daring? You can also bungee jump off the top of the crane.
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"Your spa experience will reach new heights at Crane Hotel Faralda — literally. The hotel features three super luxe suites that sit 50 meters above ground level, as well as a heated spa pool at the very top with unobstructed views of The Netherlands. The world’s tallest crane hotel prides itself on offering a unique experience that’s full of secret entrances and the bragging rights that come with seeing The Netherlands from atop a crane." (📷: @denemenlazim @ozanyilmaz 📍: Crane Hotel Faralda Amsterdam)
6. The Desert Cave Hotel, Australia
If you need the room dark and quiet to get a decent sleep, consider getting some shut-eye in an underground room right here in South Australia, at The Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy.
This unique outback hotel has 19 underground rooms, a bar and restaurant, an opal shop, plus 31 above-ground rooms for those who prefer a more traditional sleep.
There’s also free Wi-Fi – yes, you can stay connected when you’re metres below ground.
RAA member exclusive: You can save 10% on a stay at The Desert Cave Hotel.
Did you know there are other unique places where you can sleep – and eat – right here in South Australia? Have a read of some of the strangest to see how many you’ve visited.