Unusual Places To Stay

Forty feet under the sea in Fiji, a mattress of ice in Sweden, a bedouin camp in Jordan, a sewer pipe in Austria

The world is full of luxury hotels and beautiful places to sleep but sometime we just want more. Here we take a look at some of the more unusual places to lay your head on your travels this year.

Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland

Situated within the Arctic Circle, deep in the snowbound Saariselka area of northern Finland, these igloos built from glass and ice are surprisingly warm and cosy but a little short on privacy. A highly rated spot to experience the amazing Northern Lights.

Rates: From €300

Hotel Kakslauttanen, F1-99830, Saariselka, Finland; tel. +358 1666 7100; www.kakslauttanen.fi

Utter Inn, Sweden

Created by a Swedish artist, the Utter Inn floats on Lake Malaren, an hour west of Stockholm and looks like a small shed perched atop a diving platform.

The red hut contains a bathroom and a hatch in the floor. Open the hatch and descend a metal ladder to find your bedroom — in a watertight chamber suspended in the water beneath the hut.

Rates: From €300 per night

Utter Inn, Kopparbergsvägen 1, Västerås, 72213, Sweden; www.unusualhotelsoftheworld.com/utterinn

Nine Hours, Kyoto

While the hotel provides a public lounge space, including bathrooms, guests stay in a reinforced plastic capsule unit, which have all the usual amenities, such as TV, radio, lighting, and alarm clock access. The perfect solution for a city where space is at a premium.

Rate: ¥4,900 per night

Nine hours hotel, Kyoto teramachi 588 Teianmaeno-cho, Shijo-sagaru, Teramachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City; +81 075 353 9005; 9hours.jp

Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji

Built 40 feet below the surface of the clear blue Fijian Lagoon, these 24 underwater suites are reached by an elevator. With all the comforts of a five star hotel, most of the suites are surrounded by transparent acrylic walls that allow for spectacular views of the ocean and its fishy inhabitants.

Rates: US$15,000 per person for a week’s package, including transport, two nights in an underwater suite, scuba diving, and wine tasting

For directions and contact information, request information at  www.poseidonresorts.com 

The Oxford Mal, England

Most prisons are the kind of place you’d be desperate to escape from rather than pay to stay in but this conversion of an old prison into a luxury boutique hotel by the Malmaison chain might make you think again.

Rates: Double room £140, suite from £195, duplex suite from £250, executive suite £350.

The Oxford Mal, Oxford Castle, 3 New Road, Oxford, OX1 1AY; tel. +44 (0)1865 268400; www.malmaison.com

Das Park Hotel, Austria

Stay overnight in a concrete sewer pipe on the banks of the River Danube! The drainpipes are two meters in diameter and two and a half meters long  with a roof porthole and come furnished with a futon, bedside lamp, woolly blanket and light sleeping bag. The best part is that you can pay as little or as much as you like depending on your experience.

Rates: You decide

Das Park Hotel, Donaulände 21, 4100 Ottensheim, Österreich, Ottensheim, Austria; tel. +43 650 841 5850; www.dasparkhotel.net

The Ice Hotel, Sweden

Don’t forget to pack your thermals for a stay at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi where winter temperatures never rise above freezing — and can drop to minus 35C. As well as 59 bedrooms, there is a cinema, a sauna, an art gallery, a chapel and a vodka bar. Although you will be sleeping on a mattress of ice all the beds are covered with reindeer hides and guests are kitted out with super-warm sleeping bags.

Rates: From SEK 1150 per person per night for a double room

The Ice Hotel, Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden; Tel. +46 (0) 980 66 800; www.icehotel.com

Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Italy

This “Four-star boutique cave-hotel” is in the city of Matera in Italy famous for it’s “sassi” or house built into the rock. This is probably one of the only places in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses as their ancestors did 9,000 years ago.

Rates: A three-night package starts at €400 (two sharing) including some meals, a walking tour and car hire, but not flights

Sant’Angelo Luxury Resort, Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, 75100 Matera, Italia; tel. +39 0835 314735; www.hotelsantangelosassi.it; info@hotelsantangelosassi.it

Bedouin Camp, Jordan

Live out your Lawrence of Arabia fantasies in a Bedouin camp in Jordan’s vast Wadi Rum. Sit round a camp fire with a hookah pipe as tribesmen entertain guests with live music, stories and strong Arabic coffee then go to sleep in a goatskin tent just like the semi-nomadic herdsman.

Rates: From €60 per night

Bait Ali Camp, Wadi Rum, Jordan; tel. +962 6 777 5481/6 201 6905; www.visitjordan.com

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