5 of the most unusual places to stay around the world


As the world becomes smaller, travellers are getting ever more adventurous and are not content with merely treading the well-worn holiday paths. They are seeking out unique hotels, in exceptional destinations, which also offer memorable experiences while they are there. Here are some of our favourite places to stay, from a pod on the side of a mountain in Peru’s Sacred Valley to a bed perched on a treehouse platform in one of South Africa’s national parks, where you can watch the wildlife below and the stars in the vast skies above.

Go glamping on the side of a mountain at Skylodge Adventure Suites, Peru

Here’s an opportunity to hike up to your room for the night: a pod on a mountainside in the Sacred Valley. These transparent pods at Skylodge Adventure Suites offer panoramic bird’s eye views over the Peruvian countryside from above the valley floor, as condors swoop by and the skies are covered in a blanket of stars in the evening. After a scenic night’s sleep, enjoy a delicious breakfast before ziplining down in the morning.

Spend the night in an underwater room at Manta Resort, Tanzania

At the Manta Resort on the idyllic island of Pemba, just off the coast of Zanzibar, you can sleep in an underwater room in your own private stretch of sea. The glass-cased chamber is plunged four metres beneath the surface, where you can spend the night with the fishes – a truly unique experience! Above you, the landing deck has a lounge and bathroom, with another deck above that for sunbathing, in between refreshing dips in the water. Meals of fresh fish will be brought to you, so you can dine in the middle of the sea.

Be a part of history in a candlelit cave at Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, Italy

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Matera is one of 2019’s European Capitals of Culture (the other is Plovdiv in Bulgaria). This enchanting city is dotted with centuries-old caves, and you can stay in one of them – bed down for the night in an atmospheric and romantic cave lit by candlelight at the gorgeous Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, with bathtubs nestled in the nooks and crannies. Before bed, have a gourmet dinner in a restaurant housed in a historic church carved from the stone.

Sleep under the stars on safari at Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Africa has no shortage of unique places to stay, many of which are in prime wildlife-spotting areas. Go on a safari with a difference at Lion Sands Game Reserve in South Africa’s Kruger National Park – as well as seeing the Big Five, you can spend the night in a four-poster bed set high on a platform in your very own luxury treehouse, watching animals amble up to the waterhole, taking in the views over the endless savannah and falling asleep under a sky of stars.

Venture into the heart of the desert at Amangiri, USA

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon: celebrate this momentous occasion by staying at Amangiri, a blissfully secluded retreat nestled in the vast, moon-like desert landscapes of Utah. Take in these spectacular surroundings from above on a hot air balloon ride, soaring over acres of mountains, lakes and cliffs, and do some night-time stargazing. The suites are spacious and minimalist, with cool stone interiors and large windows to make the most of the setting, while there’s also a pool hewn from desert rock that’s perfect for cooling off in.

Thomas Ryves is Marketing Director at Exsus Travel. Exsus Travel specialises in creating the very best luxury tailor-made holidays, honeymoons and family adventures in over 80 destinations worldwide.

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Comments (6)

  1. Jen says:

    Four out five really tick all the boxes for me – amazing, original and unique adventures. But I’ve got s problem with the Glamping on the side of s mountain. I sleep-walk quite regular and it could be really dangerous there.

  2. Jeff G says:

    Real diversity from these five quirky destinations. But why only five? Plenty of scope here for a follow-up five. Or maybe even a glossy coffee-table book. I think there would be plenty of travel addicts who would want to read it. Maybe other readers could chip in with their offbeat recommendations?

  3. Steven Ham says:

    A bit uncertain about the underwater room at the Manta Resort off Zanzibar. Has it got curtains or are you gonna wake-up in the middle of the night to be confronted by Jaws? Sure, it’s going to be fascinating during the day but I don’t sleep well at the best of times. For me, it would be good to have a few hours down there not a night.

  4. Leah Santos says:

    There are three things that I always consider when I visit a country or a new place. Culture, history, and landscape. These places are not just perfect for a vacation but also perfect for leaarning more about nature and history. Peru’s Skylodge Adventure Suites really piqued my interest…and my fear of heights! The view up there looks really amazing but I imagine I wouldn’t be sleeping very well at night.

  5. Kirsty Miller says:

    Yikes, not sure my stomach could handle sitting in a transparent ‘pod’ attached to the side of a mountain. It’s certainly a novel style of accommodation though, I’ve never, ever seen anything like that before. While I’d still probably worry too much to sleep very well, I think the idea of an underwater room is pretty cool, I do like the idea of being on a private stretch of sea for it. Both the cave in Italy and sleeping outdoors in South Africa would, I think, make excellent romantic getaways or memorable Honeymoon locations.

    • Thomas Ryves says:

      These hotels are certainly unique, and offer a totally different and memorable experience (and no sleepless nights reported yet!) – and we agree that there are some fantastic options for a special occasion!

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