11 Bizarre Hotels That Will Knock Your Socks Off

Yet another dull cubicle of a hotel room isn’t really turning your crank, huh? Not providing the creative inspiration you want to go forth and experience the world? Maybe you need to take a look at some of the more unusual places to stay around the world.

Here is a sordid collection of places you can visit around the world with a variety of price ranges. These joints will surely take your travel stories and adventures to new levels.

United States

Beckham Creek Cave Haven

Beckham Creek Cave Haven

Located in the Ozarks (Arkansas), you can spend the night in this is natural living cave. (I saw other cave accommodations in my search for the bizarre and exciting, but this one seems to be the real deal as opposed to being blasted out).

The pictures look spectacular, and you are surely staying in the lap of luxury here. Or at least the lap of a big dark hole.

Average cost: $1,000

Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho

Dog Bark Park Inn

I’m not sure what else there is to see in Cottonwood Idaho, but this place surely is tops on the list. The owners (dog lovers — can you tell?) built the world’s largest beagle to be the bed & breakfast joint for you to write home about. It’s a friendly looking dog and all, but I can’t help but be reminded of the Trojan Horse. At the very least, it brings new meaning to “sleeping in the dog house”.

Average cost: $100

Jules’ Undersea Lodge

Located in the scuba diving Mecca of Key Largo, Florida, this hotel caters to a niche market: scuba divers. Exclusively.

You have to scuba dive to the front door of this hotel, 21feet under the sea. It is the original undersea lodge, as others have cropped up here and there since this innovative place was built. Built – or sunk, depending on how you look at it.

Jules Underwater Lodge

They offer underwater wedding packages, and “limited room service” (duh — they have to scuba dive it in!). But the real hook for me: “unlimited diving”; I should hope so!

Average cost: $350+

Canada

Ice Hotel

Just in case anybody living in warmer climes was wondering, Canadians don’t live in igloos! But here at the Ice Hotel in Quebec, Canada, they do. It is absolutely amazing what you can do with walls and furniture when you aren’t relegated to boring materials like drywall and plaster. The construction of the Ice Hotel changes each year, and is truly art. Everything — absolutely everything — is made of ice.

Ice Hotel, Quebec

They say it’s surprisingly warm inside, but I can’t help but think that sleeping on a giant block of ice isn’t exactly toasty. It’s only open from January through March (when it starts to melt), so space fills up quickly.

Average cost: $300-475, but you can find promotions for as little as $150

Japan

Asakusa Capsule Hotel

We all know the Japanese are years ahead of North America in terms of wackiness, and they’re a little short on space too. Couple these two facts, and you have the Asakusa Capsule Hotel.

Asakusa Capsule Hotel, Tokyo

It looks more like a submarine than anything else; absolutely miniscule capsules stacked on top of one another for rooms. They cater to budget travelers (you aren’t exactly paying for a lot of space), and on the site they say “single travelers welcome”. That’s good, because I don’t think you could fit a party of two in there, no matter how well they know each other.

Rooms come complimentary with a panic button. Ahh — home sweet home.

Average cost: $30

Sweden

Utter Inn

In English, this means Otter Inn, which is an apt description for this floating underwater hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. Show up, and they’ll paddle you 1km out to the middle of a lake where a small out-house looking contraption floats on the water. Then they drop you off and you’re left to enjoy your own private island. Your living space isn’t limited to the outhouse and surrounding deck however — the bedroom is actually below, 10 feet under the water.

Utter Inn, Sweden

They too have “limited room service” — go figure. But at least you get to sleep in your own little aquarium; except this time you’re in the aquarium and the fish are on the outside. Gives you a whole new level of respect for your goldfish.

Average Cost: $250-350

Amsterdam

Harbour Crane

Located in Harlingen, Amsterdam, this is just what it sounds: an operational harbour crane. It is located right on the quay, and inside is a luxury room for two. Its height varies with the sea levels, but can range from 17-49 metres high. And why on earth would you like to sleep in a crane? Well, the view is surprisingly spectacular. But the real reason: you get to jump in the cockpit and play with the fully operational crane! This is truly a toy for boys.

Harbour Crane Hotel, Harlingen

The same company also offers a converted lifeboat and lighthouse as alternate accommodations. They are generally booked up to five months in advance, so if flirting with the construction industry and playing with big toys is up your alley, book early.

Average Cost: $500

France

Hotel Everland

Like so many weird and wacky hotels, the Hotel Everland is installation art at its best. It is actually a mobile hotel, but don’t get any pictures of trailer parks in your mind here: it uses its mobility to set up in some of the most amazing places. Currently it is in Paris, France, and you have to see the site to believe where it actually sits and what your view looks like.

Hotel Everland

Check in and check out times are pretty stringent though (no sleeping in and lounging about in your jammies for the morning) — it is actually a museum by day.

Average Cost: unknown, but I suspect if you have to ask you may be barking up the wrong tree

Austria

Das Park Hotel

Here’s another one for the budget-minded: you get to sleep in a giant concrete sewage pipe. Yup, you read it right. Initially I wondered why anybody would sleep in such an atrocity, and after researching the piece I still feel that way. The only saving grace I could see is its location: on the Danube, near Linz.

Das Park Hotel, Austria

The sewage pipe-rooms are located on a campground, and the facilities are basic at best. Washrooms are a short walk away.

What I can’t get over is, if you want to stay on a campground, why not just bring a tent?!

Average Cost: (this is the clincher for a budget traveler and possibly makes the whole idea okay): Pay as you wish system

New Zealand

The Hobbit Motel, Woodlyn Park

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you may be rushing to Otorohanga, New Zealand to stay here. The world’s first (first? There are more?) Hobbit Motel is located in Woodlyn Park, and is an exact replica of the hobbit homes you saw in the movies. The inside is considerably more contemporary (which actually detracts from the idea in of staying in hobbit accommodations in my mind), but at least it’s comfortable and you don’t have to crouch everywhere you go.

The Hobbit Motel, New Zealand

At Woodlyn Park, you can also stay in a plane, a ship, or a train if hobbits aren’t your thing.

Average Cost: $135

Panama

Canopy Tower Ecolodge and Observatory

This spectacular hotel is in Panama City, Panama and if you are a nature and bird-watching enthusiast this should send you into fits of ecstasy. Your accommodations take the form of an old radar tower and afford 360 degree views high over top of the rainforest. Your room is made up of a 30ft high dome, with an upper level bedroom full of windows, and a lower level living space perfect for observing birds high in the forest canopy.

Canopy Tower, Panama

They do warn you to bring earplugs if you don’t wish the birds to be your alarm clock at first light.

Average Cost: $105-220

This is by no means a complete cross-section of the wonderful and bizarre places you can stay around the world. If none of these speak to you but you think there may be something wacky enough to get you to pack your bags, here are a few places to start looking:

53 Responses

  1. Mark Schoneveld

    Wow! Those are pretty wild. And I was going to come here and suggest one of my own, but it doesn’t shine a light on these beauties.

    Reply
  2. Jeff@MySuper-Charged Life

    I just stumbled upon your site. It is awesome. I love it! I just discovered and reviewed this article on SU. Very cool hotels. I hope this does well for you. I’m going to subscribe to your feed right now.

    Jeff

    Reply
  3. Victor

    Does anyone know the room dimensions of the capsule hotel? I’m fascinated by these and I wonder if I’m too tall for them!

    Reply
  4. jTrag

    Just FYI, the ozarks are in Arkansas, not Arizona… just a little off…

    Reply
  5. Mike Richard
    Mike Richard

    Victor: I wonder how large the suites are? =P

    jTrag: Thanks for the clarification on that. I’ve updated the original post.

    Reply
  6. XBL

    Love the, got it in my feedlist for while now :).

    Another FYI, Harlingen is not really near Amsterdam. It’s about 115km away from Amsterdam (which is only a relatively short distance for some people, of course).

    Reply
  7. Nora

    Thanks for the comments, all!

    And XBL, good point on Harlingen’s location. You’re right – 115kms doesn’t seem so big in some places, but it’s practically another country in others!

    Reply
  8. Chris Cook

    Great story Nora! I caught a show about the construction of that ice hotel the other day and I really thought it would cost a lot more to stay there.

    Reply
  9. me

    Nice story!

    Another thing on the Harlingen crane: I doubt the tidal differences over there are 32 metres.

    Reply
  10. Bev

    Very interesting, but the one from Japan looks more like a dog kennel, don’t you think? On the other hand, I would love to see the one in Beckham Creek Cove!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Stakhanov

    Awesome list of hotels, definitely some I want to go to.

    As for the capsule hotel, those are everywhere in japan (every decent sized city has a few, they are everywhere in Tokyo) and actually aren’t that bad at all, and have their own tv’s alarm clocks etc.

    No creepier than sleeping in a one man tent.

    Reply
  12. Steve Dobson

    Hi Nora, great post – thanks for your comments and those of your fellow readers. The Crane hotel in Harlingen is great – and it’s not far at all from Amsterdam. It took less than an hour to get there from the airport. The Utter underwater inn is perhaps more bizarre, but fun all the same. We’re about to load a few more hotels, including oil rig escape pods in The Hague and a Giant Boot in New Zealand. If your readers find any more – please drop me a note http://www.uhotw.com

    Reply
  13. GRacey

    OMG! I loved the photos. I especially like the Ice hotel!! and the dog bark park inn.. hehe. Cool!

    Reply
  14. Susan

    I clicked the Hotel Everland link and found this info, not a moment too soon! :

    “The next night Sunday, 7 September 2008 will be available for booking on 9 July 2008 at a random hour on this page.

    “Room price per night:
    Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 333 Euro
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 444 Euro
    Monday closed”
    (source: http://www.everland.ch/en/booking/ )

    Reply
  15. Jester

    hehehehe, nice list but ehm…
    “Located in Harlingen, Amsterdam, this is…”
    Harlingen is a town in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. Amsterdam isn’t a country, it is a city…

    Reply
  16. Wil

    Great post! With the Asakusa Capsule Hotel — there have these capsule hotels all over urban Japan. They are usually (your article didn’t mention this) for men only.

    Reply
  17. Pokin

    Great post! Nice finds on unusual hotels. After staying in the same chain hotels for a while, it sure would be nice as a change to stay in something different. I stayed in a “luxury tent” once – complete with shower stalls and all. That was pretty fun. I imagine these would create equally lasting memories!

    Reply
  18. Happy Hotelier’s High Five No 2: Back to Hotels, African Cities and Art | Happy Hotelier

    [...] 11 Bizarre Hotels That Will Knock Your Socks Off, most of them featured at my Unusual Hotels page or on the site Unusual Hotels of the World One minus in the post: I know that “Amsterdam” always draws visitore to your post, but this time the Dock Crane hotel room is actually situated in Harlingen (about 2 hours driving from Amsterdam and without proper Public Transport and approximately half way between Amsterdam and Hamburg in Germany:-). [...]

    Reply
  19. Derek

    That was a really cool post. I wouldn’t mind hitting up almost all of these places.

    Those sewage pipes look comfy. I just hope that they weren’t reclaimed from actual use.

    Reply
  20. Alejandra

    I think most of these hotels are amazing, however, the one that got most of my attention is the “Hotel Everland” I went to their website and you can see the actual inside! Amazing! Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  21. Dan

    I live an hour from the Beagle hotel, I drive past it every time I ride Brundage mountain.

    Reply
  22. Kiwi

    I’ve seen the Ice Hotel featured in many places. I’d love to stay there, but that floating outhouse with the underwater bedroom would freak me out. Great list!

    Reply
  23. lovneet

    Simply amazing.. And there is one more place if i may state.. its houseboats in Kashmir, India. They are floating hotels in a lake called dal lake.. amazing place to visit, which is also known as “the heaven on earth”

    Reply
  24. Ramon

    RE: Harbour crane

    “Harlingen, Amsterdam”? Please correct this in the town of Harlingen in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is the capital city of that country and not even nearby :-)

    Reply
  25. Nathaelle

    The ice hotel in Quebec IS actually pretty warm! I slept there and they have a spa and sauna on site to raise your body temperature before going to bed and such! I slept there and it is amazing! The pictures don’t make justice to how beautiful it really is, each room has a specific theme !

    Reply
  26. Nepal Expeditions

    No words to say its Awesome!!!!! I wish I could spend at least one night in all of the hotels.. Great posts.. It must have taken whole lot of hard work to collect all the photos and write such a wonderful blogs. Magnificent!!! Love to read more from you…

    Nepal Tourists Hotel
    Well Wisher

    Reply
  27. BakoymaTravels

    I don’t even scuba dive and I’d love to stay at the Jules Verne Lodge… But maybe the Hobbit Hotel is even higher on the list… I’m such a Tolkien geek so…

    Thanks for this list!

    Reply

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