Check into 8 of the world's most unique hotels
For many travellers, it is the destination itself is most important when going on a trip. Accommodation usually comes in second. But why resign yourself to boring chain hotels, Airbnb, and tents? Here are some of the world's most amazing hotels.
In recent years, there has been an explosion in things being quick, cheap and easy.
Fortunately, there are some places in the world where the accommodation itself is still a big part of the journey. Below are some of the world's most unique hotels.
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
The island paradise of the Maldives is high on the bucket list of many travellers and it's easy to understand why: white sandy beaches, azure water, and idyllic natures as far as the eye can see.
With perfect sunrises and sunsets, it is not surprising that the Maldives has become a popular destination - especially for newlyweds on their honeymoon. Of the country's approximately 1,200 islands, around 200 are inhabited. There are plenty of luxury resorts, but few, if any, are as spectacular as the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
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The hotel is spread over two islands and consists of several private villas, bars and restaurants. All villas have either private pool, beach or both. The prime feature, however, is The Muraka.
This luxury villa is located on a remote part of the island and extends over two floors. In addition to over 500 square metres of space, an infinity pool, and 24-hour butler service, it's the master bedroom that really makes an impression: it's made of glass, so you can sit back and watch the life below sea level.
The cost for a night is several months' of salary, however, so start saving up.
If you can't afford the private water show, Conrad Maldvie's Rangali Island also has an underwater restaurant, the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. In addition, there are 11 other restaurants on the islands, including one with a wine cellar that houses around 18,000 bottles.
Giraffe Manor, Kenya
While in the Maldives you can wake up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, something else wakes you up in the morning at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya.
Because in addition to being a luxury hotel with all the amenities that comes with it, Giraffe Manor is also a reserve for the endangered giraffe subspecies, Rothschild.
It all started in the 1970s when married couple Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville adopted a baby giraffe named Daisy. Since then, things have grown exponentially, and the reserve has helped increase the population of the endangered giraffes through a separate project.
Today, Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley run the hotel. In addition to the giraffes, guests can experience safaris, world-class cuisine, and spas. The hotel is usually closed in May for maintenance.
Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a number of wonderful hotels. One of them is the Hotel Costa Verde at the Manuel Antonio National Park in the southwest of the country.
Besides an absolutely stunning view with accompanying sunrises and sunsets (completely free), the hotel has a small handful of unique rooms. In the middle of the jungle, the hotel has converted several former passenger planes into hotel rooms.
According to an article in Insider, the concept is an idea that was first hatched by hotelier Allan Templeton sometime in the 1990s. Today, it has become a popular favourite among tourists, and one of the most unusual hotels in Costa Rica.
If the room you've picked out is booked during your stay, fear not. One of the hotel's restaurants, El Avion, is built around a Fairchild C-123 military transport plane. The plane wreckage has a unique history: it was shot down over Nicaragua during the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s.
The Manta Resort, Tanzania
For those who want to experience something a little different, a visit to Pemba Island in the archipelago in Tanzania is a must.
The Manta Resort is a luxury hotel on Pemba which offers a number of fantastic rooms and beach villas, the most jaw-dropping of which is simply known as the "Underwater Room".
Designed by Swedish engineers, the underwater space floats on the outside of a houseboat by a coral reef a few hundred metres from shore. The house consists of three floors where the bedroom, as the name implies, is under water. On the roof, you will find a sun lounger, which is the perfect place to watch the sunset while sipping a drink.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Thailand
Whereas the vast majority of tourists head south to the country's beaches as soon as they land in Bangkok, in recent years more and more visitors have discovered what the northern part of Thailand has to offer.
For those who want a truly memorable hotel experience in the jungle, Anatara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is recommended. As the name indicates, the hotel is situated in the far north on the border between Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar - colloquially known as "the Golden Triangle".
The hotel offers first class spas, restaurants, and nature experiences. The main attraction is no doubt the elephant reserve that is home to 25 elephants, several of which were rescued from elephant shows and lives in captivity as illegal working animals. You can learn more about these amazing animals, and participate in feeding and caring for them, at the reserve.
If you want to get even closer to nature, reserve a few nights in the "bubble villa" to the hotel. The villa consists of glass bubbles that give residents a fantastic opportunity to observe wildlife up close.
Kruger Shalati: The train on the bridge, South Africa
Kruger National Park in South Africa has been a much-loved destination for over 100 years. While you can experience the park up close on many forms of transport today, for a long, long time it was only possible for visitors to see it from their train seat on a nine-day journey. The people behind the hotel Kruger Shalati: The Train on the bridge have riffed on this particular train tradition.
On the Selati Bridge, tens of metres above the Sabie River, Shalati The train on the bridge opened its doors in 2020. An old luxury train, which has been converted into a unique hotel with 31 rooms, was installed on the bridge. All rooms have private bathrooms and stunning views of the park. There is also a pool, bar, and restaurant at the hotel.
The hotel's location is no coincidence. The Selati Bridge was for many years the place where the train stopped for a night - precisely to give passengers a fantastic view of the national park, the Sabie River, and the wildlife.
The Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Surrounded by rainforest on the banks of the Phacuara River, you'll find the luxurious eco-hotel The Pacuare Lodge in western Costa Rica.
The hotel's focus is on experiences and environmentally friendly operations, something you notice before you even arrive - which is by rafting down the Pacuara (while your luggage is transported for you).
Several of the rooms are built in the trees tens of metres above the ground, many with their own pool and fantastic views. The restaurant El Nido ('The Nest'), for example, is located 20 metres above ground and you get to the restaurant via zipline.
Food is an important element of the experience at the eco hotel, and all the raw materials are grown on Pacuaras Lodge's own farm.
In addition to experiencing nature and the unique wildlife Costa Rica has to offer, Pacuara Lodge also offers spas, yoga, and plenty of relaxation.
Golden Crown Levin Iglut, Finland
Deep in the Finnish forests, almost as far north as you can get, you will find a very special hotel. The Golden Crown Levin Iglut consists of 27 glass igloos that give guests truly unique access to nature.
Especially in the months from September to April, the glass igloos will give you an absolutely magical occasion to see the northern lights (if you are lucky).
The price includes a delicious breakfast and champagne as a welcome drink. Some of the igloos also have to private hot tub, and you can book a sauna for private use.
In addition to idyllic landscapes, Levi is also home to one of the Nordic region's better ski resorts. Among other things, the World Cup has been held here for many years. It is also possible to ride a snowmobile, go ice fishing, and try dog sledding.
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