World's Weirdest Hotels

We've come across some wild places in our four years of surveying the world's weirdest hotels. Check out the 2011 lineup below, and keep clicking to see which repurposed salt mines, wagons, wine casks—and more!— have made the cut in the past.

  1. The Mirrorcube in Sweden's Treehotel is a square unit that reflects its surroundings, doubling as a kind of forest camouflage.

    (Peter Lundstrom, WDO – www.treehotel.se)
  2. The Bird's Nest is exactly what it sounds like, with a wild twig exterior on grand scale.

    (Peter Lundstrom, WDO – www.treehotel.se)
  3. Inside the Bird's Nest, a tranquil respite.

    (Peter Lundstrom, WDO – www.treehotel.se)
  4. Fixed about 20 feet up in the trees, the Cabin has floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of the Lule River valley.

    (Peter Lundstrom, WDO – www.treehotel.se)
  5. 9 Hours, in Kyoto, Japan, is a capsule hotel built around a time frame: 1 hour to shower + 7 hours to sleep + 1 hour to prepare = 9!

    (Courtesy 9 Hours Hotel)
  6. Awash in a 2001: A Space Odyssey–style white, 9 Hours is like the iPod of hotels.

    (Courtesy 9 Hours Hotel)
  7. Each capsule includes a computerized-lighting/alarm-clock system to facilitate sleeping and waking. Once inside, you might expect a soothing mist to put you into a time-traveling slumber, only to wake in the year 2057 wondering what happened to your crew.

    (Courtesy 9 Hours Hotel)
  8. Seaventures Rig Resort is a converted oil rig, situated in the center of the coral triangle of three Malaysian islands and built over a cultivated reef teeming with undersea life.

    (Courtesy Seaventure Rig Resort)
  9. Comfy rooms are outfitted with the basics, and diving is the main focus for guests.

    (Courtesy Seaventure Rig Resort)
  10. A lift lowers divers directly into the water below to explore the reef, which the Seaventures rig now serves to protect.

    (Courtesy Seaventure Rig Resort)
  11. Welcome to the Airplane Suite in the Netherlands. Once a government-owned Ilyushin 18 aircraft that carted around former East German officials like Hans Honecker, this vintage plane now only offers flights of fancy.

    (Courtesy Hotel Ilyushin)
  12. Guests can watch arrivals and departures without ever leaving the comfort of their queen-size bed.

    (Courtesy Hotel Ilyushin)
  13. The 131-foot cabin now ticks off a litany of posh amenities, including a whirlpool bath, a sauna, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi.

    (Courtesy Hotel Ilyushin)
  14. "Good" is god in Swedish—and we can't deny there's something heavenly about being tucked away at Kolarbyn, deep in the Scandinavian forest.

    (Claudia Deglau)
  15. Inside one of 12 primitive forest huts here, candles and fireplaces provide the only night-lights, and guests cook their own meals over an open fire.

    (Lasse Fredricksson)
  16. After a guided forest hike, you can take a wooden boat ride on the nearby lake.

    (Lasse Fredricksson)
  17. Situated in the California coastal town of San Luis Obispo, the Madonna Inn is a living shrine to retro-kitsch.

    (Courtesy Madonna Inn)
  18. Within 110 individual theme rooms, monochromatic color schemes, heavy carpeting, and flocked wallpaper rule.

    (Courtesy Madonna Inn)
  19. Part underground refuge, part desert oasis, few properties delve as deep into the Australian Outback as the Desert Cave Hotel.

    (Bill Bachmann/DanitaDelimont.com )
  20. Taking a cue from nearby opal mines, 19 of the hotel's 50 rooms are underground to evoke a dug-out, cave-like experience.

    (David Wall/DanitaDelimont.com )
  21. Offering a new spin on the notion of 360 degree views, Turkey's Marmara Antalya is the world's only fully revolving hotel.

    (Courtesy Marmara Antalya)
  22. The hotel serves up multiple vistas for each room as it rotates. You might go sleep overlooking the surrounding foothills only to wake to a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

    (Courtesy Marmara Antalya)
  23. Bound to call to mind visions of the Medieval Times franchise, the Medieval Hotel Detenice, on the outskirts of Prague, survives comparisons to its gauche counterpart with admirable attention to authenticity.

    (Courtesy Medieval Hotel Detenice)
  24. Rooms are outfitted with furniture made from solid timber beams (as they would have been around the 13th century A.D.). Sheepskins and weaponry hang from the walls-but historical accuracy stops short of horsehair ticking in the mattresses.

    (Courtesy Medieval Hotel Detenice)
  25. Foodies won't be disappointed either, as the adjacent tavern offers enough banquet fare and ale to make King Henry I, II, or III proud.

    (Courtesy Medieval Hotel Detenice)
  26. At la Balades de Gnomes, in Belgium, travelers can pretend they're about to invade Troy inside a full-scale replica of the famed Trojan Horse, complete with wooden panels and wheels.

    (Courtesy La Balades de Gnomes)
  27. The nearby farmhouse showcases the same whimsical details in 10 imaginative rooms.

    (Courtesy La Balades de Gnomes)
  28. Many of the quarters here look like something straight out of Tim Burton's sketchbook.

    (Courtesy La Balades de Gnomes)
  29. Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland: It's hard enough to pronounce "Kakslauttanen" while sober—don't even think about attempting it after a shot of Finlandia vodka. We do, however, recommend a few glasses of the stuff to keep warm while staying at this Finnish resort near the North Pole.

    (Courtesy Hotel Kakslauttanen)
  30. Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland: The futuristic glass igloos guarantee unrestricted views of the aurora borealis from the comfort of your zebra-striped bed; the phenomenon turns the night sky dazzling shades of green, red, and blue from late August to April.

    (Courtesy Hotel Kakslauttanen)
  31. Jumbo Stay, Stockholm, Sweden: In the cockpit-located suite, you can move the controls and push as many buttons as you'd like without ever worrying about crashing.

    (Courtesy Jumbo Stay)
  32. Jumbo Stay, Stockholm, Sweden: The 450 seats on this retired Boeing 747 have been replaced by 27 rooms, and instead of fold-down trays, there are café tables for dining.

    (Courtesy Jumbo Stay)
  33. Palacio de Sal, Bolivia: If you're one of those people who believe you can never have too much salt, this is the place for you.

    (Courtesy Palacio de Sal)
  34. Palacio de Sal, Bolivia: From floor to ceiling, including the walls, beds, and chairs, it's all salt, all the time.

    (Courtesy Palacio de Sal)
  35. Palacio de Sal, Bolivia: The 16-room Salt Palace is located on Bolivia's vast salt flats.

    (Courtesy Palacio de Sal)
  36. Hotel Utter Inn, Sweden: At first glance, this one-room hotel appears to be a cheery red house in the middle of the lake. But don't be fooled: Your room isn't actually in the house; it's 10 feet underwater.

    (Courtesy Hotel Utter Inn)
  37. "Hotel Utter Inn, Sweden: Designed by artist Mikael Genberg, the inn's one room has two twin beds and a tinted-glass window. It isn't the most comfortable place to stay, but it certainly will be memorable."

    (Courtesy Hotel Utter Inn)
  38. Can Sleep, Lake Skanderborg, Denmark: Beer lovers of the world unite here for a full-immersion experience: drinking by day and sleeping in a giant beer can by night.

    (Courtesy Can Sleep)
  39. Les Roulottes de la Serve, Provence, France: Gypsy (Roma) circus performers once traveled through the French countryside in the three restored caravans that now welcome guests.

    (Courtesy Les Roulottes de la Serve)
  40. Les Roulottes de la Serve, Provence, France: Owners Pascal and Pascaline Patin outfitted the caravans (roulottes) with eclectic bohemian and Indian touches: lanterns, garlands, woven carpets, framed images of deities, and plush armchairs.

    (Courtesy Les Roulottes de la Serve)
  41. La Villa Hamster, Nantes, France: Ever wonder what life is like for a hamster? If so, you're not alone—ever since it opened in 2009, La Villa Hamster has been booked almost every night.

    (Courtesy La Villa Hamster)
  42. La Villa Hamster, Nantes, France: Wrought iron has been affixed to the walls to suggest a cage, and, if they so choose, guests can drink water out of a glass tube attached to the wall. And there's a large, fully functioning hamster wheel, naturally.

    (Courtesy La Villa Hamster)
  43. Elephant Safari Park Hotel Lodge, Bali: Guests can hang out in the on-site baby elephant nursery and catch the 29 resident Sumatran elephants performing in four shows per day. They roam the property, and you can admire them while you're lounging in the pool or dining in the restaurant.

    (Courtesy Elephant Safari Park Hotel Lodge)
  44. Elephant Safari Park Hotel Lodge, Bali: Pachyderm "chauffeurs" show up to transport you to and from your room.

    (Courtesy Elephant Safari Park Hotel Lodge)
  45. Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada: This five-acre property in an old-growth forest consists of three pods (made of cedar, spruce, or fiberglass, respectively) suspended 10 to 15 feet in the air and accessed by staircases that wind around the trees.

    (Courtesy Free Spirit Spheres)
  46. Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada: The teak interiors are surprisingly comfy—each is equipped with a double bed, a microwave, a refrigerator, and even an iPod docking station—but the spheres do sway gently.

    (Courtesy Free Spirit Spheres)
  47. Wigwam Motel, San Bernardino, Calif.: This motel on Route 66 feels less like a place one might commune with Native Americans and more like something from the set of a Mad Men-inspired, late-1950s road trip. But whatever authenticity this hotel lacks, it makes up for in serious kitsch.

    (Courtesy Wigwam Motel)
  48. At Berlin's Propeller Island City Lodge, each of the 30 rooms is weird in its own way. This one was designed to look like a brightly painted medieval town, with an ultra-mini golf course surrounding the castle bed.

    (Courtesy Lars Stroschen)
  49. This circus-like room at Propeller Island City Lodge has lion cages on stilts; the website claims that kids "love to sleep" in them.

    (Courtesy Lars Stroschen)
  50. Propeller Island City Lodge's owner, Lars Stroschen, is an artist, and he designed all the rooms, including this one covered with wacky symbols.

    (Courtesy Lars Stroschen)
  51. The Upside Down Room at Propeller Island City Lodge makes guests feel as if they were walking on the ceiling. Compartments open up to reveal the beds and seating.

    (Courtesy Lars Stroschen)
  52. The four enormous casks on the grounds of the Hotel de Vrouwe Van Stavoren in the Netherlands once held the equivalent of 19,333 bottles of wine.

    (Courtesy Paul Rekker)
  53. The richly worn and airtight oak barrels at the Hotel de Vrouwe Van Stavoren have two narrow beds, with a small sitting area outside.

    (Courtesy Paul Rekker)
  54. The daughter of Ho Chi Minh's number two masterminded the Hang Nga Guest House and Art Gallery, a complex that more than earns its local nickname, the Crazy House.

    (Courtesy upyernoz/Flickr)
  55. Each of the trippy guest rooms at Crazy House is built around a different animal theme.

    (Courtesy A_of_DooM/Flickr)
  56. Jules' Undersea Lodge, a former marine lab, is 21 feet underwater, close to the bottom of the mangrove-filled Emerald Lagoon, in Key Largo. You'll have to know how to scuba dive to reach your room.

    (Courtesy Jules\' Undersea Lodge)
  57. A refurbished 1965 Boeing 727 airframe—which looks as if it crashed into the Costa Rican jungle—is now part of the Hotel Costa Verde.

    (Courtesy Vincent Costello)
  58. The rows of tiny windows within the master bedroom suite at the Hotel Costa Verde are a reminder of the hotel's past life as a plane in the service of South African Airways and Avianca Airlines.

    (Courtesy Vincent Costello)
  59. The entrance to the Hotel Costa Verde's two-bedroom suite sits on one of the wings of the salvaged 727.

    (Courtesy Vincent Costello)
  60. The '70s-era escape pods that make up the traveling Capsule Hotel once hung outside oil rigs, ready to be deployed in case of an evacuation.

    (Courtesy Denis Oudendijk)
  61. One of the Capsule Hotel's pods shown stationed in France.

    (Courtesy Denis Oudendijk)
  62. The Exploranter Overland Hotel traveling through the dramatic mountains of Brazil.

    (Courtesy the Exploranter Overland Hotel)
  63. Exploranter Overland Hotel tows a trailer with beds that sleep up to 24 passengers.

    (Courtesy the Exploranter Overland Hotel)
  64. Sunbathing through the open roof of the Exploranter Overland Hotel, a converted 25-ton truck that travels the back roads of Brazil.

    (Courtesy the Exploranter Overland Hotel)
  65. The sleek Grand Daddy hotel in Cape Town has a surprise on its roof: a fleet of seven Airstream trailers.

    (Courtesy the Grand Daddy)
  66. The Grand Daddy hotel's aluminum-clad "rooms," which sleep two people, have been done in playful themes. One is dedicated to John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

    (Courtesy the Grand Daddy)
  67. The interior of this Airstream trailer at the Grand Daddy has been decorated with a "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" motif—complete with a blonde wig available for dress-up.

    (Courtesy the Grand Daddy)

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