May 2011 16

10 World’s Strangest Hotels

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Ice Hotel by bjaglin Ice Hotel by bjaglin

Hotels have always reflected the architectural ambitions of the era in which they were built. This article will show you some of the most interesting and, in some cases, even ridiculous hotels in the world. I hope you enjoy this tour through these masterpieces of accommodation.

Icehotel (Jukkasjärvi, Sweden)

Icehotel, situated in the village of Jukkasjärvi, is the oldest ice hotel in the world. It was first erected in 1990 and has been erected annually from December to April since. The ice blocks and snow from which it is constructed come from the nearby Thorne river, which produces 10,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow each winter. The icehotel features a main hall, a reception area, a bar, a church, and rooms and suites for 100 guests, who sit and sleep on beds made of sculpted ice. There is also warm accommodation available right next to the hotel.

Wigwam Village Motel by Chuck Coker Wigwam Village Motel by Chuck Coker

Wigwam Village Motel (Holbrook, Arizona, US)

In the second half of the 20th century, the idea of copying the design of teepees and building them out of concrete became very popular in the US. This motel was built in 1950 and is one of only three similar motels functioning today. All wigwams are designed the 1950s way, which means they include neither a phone nor an ice machine.

Gamirasu Cave Hotel (Ayvali, Turkey)

Garimasu Cave Hotel by Riyaad Minty Gamirasu Cave Hotel by Riyaad Minty

Gamirasu is a one-of-a-kind troglodyte cave hotel opened in 1999 in the centre of the beautiful Cappadocia region, near Ugrup in Turkey. It offers 30 rooms dug in rock, often used by couples as a romantic getaway from the rush of the city. The restored, thousand-year-old Byzantine monastic retreat shouldn’t scare you — the hotel is fully equipped with modern conveniences.

Vliegtuigsuite Aircraft Hotel (Teuge airport, Netherlands)

Vliegtuigsuite Aircraft Hotel by hotelsuites nl
Vliegtuigsuite Aircraft Hotel

Where can you possibly sleep better than in an old, Cold-War-era 1960s aircraft? This 120 seater plane has been flown to the Netherlands to undergo reconstruction, resulting in one of the most luxurious hotels in the country. Its interiors are all designed in white, and they offer all sorts of high-tech facilities.

Holiday Inn Key Card Hotel (New York, New York, US)

Holiday Inn Key Card Hotel by dbking
Holiday Inn Key Card Hotel
by dbking

The the first-ever hotel made of 200,000 Holiday Inn key cards opened its gates on September 17, 2009. It took Bryan Berg four months to construct, and the final result weighs 4,000 pounds. The 400 sq. ft. Key Card Hotel features a bathroom, lobby, and guest bedroom — all fully equipped with life-sized furniture.

Woodpecker Treehouse Hotel (Västerås, Sweden)

Hotel Woodpecker by Linda Israelsson  Vsters Co
Hotel Woodpecker
by Linda Israelsson - Vasteras & Co

“Watch your step! You’re 13 meters above the ground,” the receptionist warns incoming guests. Located in the Swedish public park Västerås, near Stockholm, and accessible only by ladder, the hotel brings its guests closer to nature. The treehouse is build at the top of a 130-year-old oak tree. It offers a magnificent view of the park and lake below. You can book your stay at the Västerås Tourist Office here.

Dog Bark Park Hotel courtesy of Dog Bark Park Hotel
Dog Bark Park Hotel
courtesy of Dog Bark Park Hotel

Dog Bark Park Hotel (Cottonwood, Idaho, US)

A huge, wooden, dog-shaped building offers bed-and-breakfast lodging with two connected rooms. Dennis and Frances Sullivan, owners of the Dog Bark Park, are self-taught chainsaw artists. They make canine carvings that were popular in 1995, when they were advertised and sold on QVC television. Visitors can enjoy watching Dennis and Frances work and share various dog, travel, and life stories with them.

Palacio de Sal by frwl Palacio de Sal by frwl

Palacio de Sal (Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia)

You can find this amazing hotel, which is made from blocks of flats only, at the edge of the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni. The original hotel was placed in the middle of the flat, but due to sanitary and environmental regulations, it had to be moved to the edge in 2007. It is located about 220 miles from La Paz, the Bolivian capital. The hotel is made of 1 million 14-inch salt blocks and features a salt spa and restaurant with various local specialties.

Hotel Inntel Zaandam by Bart van Damme
Hotel Inntel Zaandam
by Bart van Damme

Hotel Inntel Zaandam (Zaandam, Netherlands)

The hotel, situated on the Provincialeweg in Zaandam, is very hard to ignore. Although it is partly constructed on the viaduct, it still has enough space for 160 rooms and a conference complex. Twelve storeys high, the building consists of a variety of green-painted houses, typical for the Zaan region. This mixture creates a very unique and interesting hotel façade.

Poseidon Undersea Resorts (Fiji)

Poseidon Undersea Resorts  courtesy of Poseidon Undersea Resorts
Poseidon Undersea Resorts
courtesy of Poseidon Undersea Resorts

This hotel is still not entirely finished; however, it is just moments from opening. Found on a private island in Fiji, it will become part of a larger chain of underwater five-star hotels all over the world. As the developer says: “Once construction of the first resort is finished, it will be the world’s first permanent one-atmosphere seafloor structure.” It will feature a restaurant, a lounge, and 24 luxury suites — all 12 meters underwater. Its initial cost is $30,000 per couple, per week.

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