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10 of the quirkiest hotels in the world

Travel planning and booking site TripAdvisor has unveiled 10 of the world’s quirkiest hotels, ranked according to the quality and quantity of traveller reviews and ratings from the past year. For travelers who want to look beyond the conventional hotel room, TripAdvisor revealed these highly-rated weird and wonderful hotels around the globe. “Booking a stay at one of these outlandish hotels is sure to give friends and family a serious case of FOMO. From a giant beagle-inn to a spherical treehouse, these unique hotels are for travelers that want an experience that’s truly out of the ordinary,” said Brooke Ferencsik, Senior Director of Communications for TripAdvisor. 1. Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth, UK This historic sea-fort-turned hotel is located in the Solent, between the Isle of Wight and England, and boasts eight luxury suites, a bar, hot pool, sauna and amazing water views. The experience is essentially a private island fort. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Was a surprise weekend break, what a great treat to such an interesting place. Picturesque sunset and sunrise if you are lucky with the weather. Perfect for those who love the coast, sea and all things nautical.” 2. Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho, USA Affectionately known as “Sweet Willy,” the Dog Bark Park Inn is a giant beagle-shaped hotel that stands almost 30 feet tall. Guests enter via a second story deck to find a loft room in the head of the dog, plus a cozy alcove in its muzzle. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Frances and Dennis are artists, dog lovers, and hosts extraordinaire. Out in the middle of Idaho, they have created an oasis. Everything was delightful, including the B&B and the woodcarvings. It was especially fun to bring my beagle to the Beagle Inn.” 3. Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada This treehouse hotel in a rainforest on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island is all kinds of magical. Consisting of three large suspended wooden globes, travelers can sleep among the branches, seen through large circular windows. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “My wife and I stayed in Eryn and LOVED it. From the moment we arrived, we were unable to wipe the grins off our faces. Staying in a sphere hanging from a tree is magical.” 4. Skylodge Adventure Suites, Urubamba, Peru Not for the faint-hearted, Skylodge Adventure Suites is a transparent pod that hangs from a mountain with incredible views of the Urubamba Valley. For check-in, guests must scale 400 meters Via Ferrata or hike a trail. Each suite includes four beds, a dining area and a bathroom. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “I just descended from the Skylodge Adventure Suites this morning via zip line after an overnight stay in one of the capsules. This by far is one of the most memorable things I have ever done, and I have traveled the world quite extensively.” 5. La Villa Cheminee de Tatzu Nishi, Nantes, France A Japanese artist created this 15-meter lighthouse structure as a nod to the nearby chimneys of the Cordemais power station. Sleeping two, with a kitchen and wood-fired heater, the villa also has a garden. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This small house perched on top of a tower has absolutely breath-taking views of the Loire and an amazing feeling of calm. We loved it, not a bad thing to say about it. The perfect cosy nest to spend a night or two in love.” 6. The Aurora Express, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA The renovated Alaskan railroad carriages is a quaint bed and breakfast, which sits on a hill overlooking Fairbanks. Each carriage is an individual suite, each decorated to fit a different era in the Alaskan railroad’s history. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “It is so cool to sleep in a railroad car, and besides the ‘wow!’ impression we got from the decor, we found the details remarkable. The bed was divine–the best sleep we had out of five places we stayed on our trip. What luxurious purple sheets!” 7. SiloStay, Little River, New Zealand Situated a quaint New Zealand town, SiloStay is a group of converted grain silos, which are typically found on farms filled with animal feed. The silos boast eco-friendly features, such as sheep’s wool insulation, eco-boilers and showers heated with a pellet burner. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This was such a fun and funky experience. Every aspect of SiloStay is about environmental respect without any level of preaching. There are just so many lovely touches.” 8. Kumbuk River Eco-Extraordinaire, Buttala, Sri Lanka Deep in the Sri Lankan jungle, this hotel boasts five unique eco lodges on the edge of the Yala National Park, home to wild animals. The Elephant Villa – a traveler favorite – offers two huge bedrooms and an open plan lounge on its upper deck, with a tree through the middle of the bathroom. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The villa is huge, enough to sleep 8 people. I loved Kumbuk River, it was very beautiful and quiet, no TV’s or internet – just a place to unwind and relax and make the most of the stunning surroundings and river.” 9. Treehouse Lodge, Paraiso, Peru This suspended treehouse is 67 feet above the Amazon and surrounded by exotic wildlife. Travelers can access the 10 luxury rooms via the wooden walkways, steps and bridges, high above the jungle floor. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Nestled in the heart of the Amazon, it’s a small piece of paradise in the jungle. As you can imagine the rooms in the treehouse are like no other hotel room we have stayed in. Comfortable, beautifully finished, mosquito nets both inside and out. The showers might be cold, but they are definitely refreshing on a hot, muggy day!” 10. La Balade des Gnomes, Durbuy, Belgium Located in a 17th century Belgian town, La Balade des Gnomes consists of 10 unique rooms, inspired by fairytales and legends. Travelers’ favorites include an actual giant Trojan horse room and the Macquarie Island room, which has a boat bed floating on water. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Most unusual hotel I’ve ever stopped at. Has to be seen to be believed as no photos do it justice. Fantastic design and construction architect must be pure genius.”

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Have stayed at Treehouse Lodge before – it was an incredible experience. With a stay there, you are at one with nature, listening to the birds, monkeys and more. The views of the jungle are amazing!

  2. Idaho’s big beagle house, aka, Dog Bark Park Inn, is incredibly honored to be included in this list compiled by Trip Advisor. We built the big dog 16 years ago & have enjoyed visitors from around the world, many of whom have stayed in some of the other properties mentioned. Thanks Luxury Travel for spreading word of interesting places to stay.

    1. You are welcome, Frances. Your inn is incredibly unique and we wish you all the best with many more years success in the business. Kind regards, Paul

  3. I love staying somewhere a bit different it is a real break from reality and makes the trip magical. I stayed in a great cave boutique in Turkey and it had an amazing spa. The free spirit spheres look amazing and must go on my bucket list. There’s just something so beautiful about staying so close to nature. Dog bark park is certainly interesting but I bet it would be a delight to stay in especially for dog lovers.

  4. I’m rather surprised that Sweden’s Ice Hotel didn’t sneak into this list. I’ve never visited but I’ve kept an eye on it since it opened in 1989. It’s somewhere unspeakable with a few Js and Ks, 200km North of the Arctic Circle. Similarly I thought the only hotel in the Antarctic would have been in with a shout. But then again the sort of celebrities it attracts don’t normally post on TripAdvisor. It offers a helicopter flight to the South Pole which has to be the ultimate day-trip.

    1. I was thinking of the same thing as I was going through the list. I kept saying the next one’s going to be an ice hotel. Would you say that falls under the category of quirky?

      I also thought I was going to see Japan’s famous capsule pods. They’re really something to stay in. It’s been through some upgrades over the years, like having more features or been made it less feel like a tomb. It’s really an experience though.

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