Unusual hotels around the world with giraffes, underwater suites and rooms in a crane

There are some weird and wonderful hotels around the world, and they can make for some pretty once-in-a-lifetime experiences too.

Some boast unique locations from a hotel inside a crane to an airport hotel with a pool overlooking the runway, while others offer up some unconventional experiences such as sleeping in a room under the sea, or sharing your breakfast with friendly giraffes.

Oh, and then there’s the hotel that celebrates Christmas all year round – complete with visits from Santa in the summer when everyone is basking in the sunshine by the pool.

While travel isn’t possible right now, that hasn’t stopped us from dreaming of future getaways – so we’ve rounded up some of the world’s most unusual hotels to bookmark for when we can explore the world again.

Check out our top pick of the world’s most unusual hotels below…

1. Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Guests staying at the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi will find themselves joined by some unexpected guests at breakfast and dinner times – the resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes!

The animals often poke their heads through the windows to say hi and request some treats – alternatively, you can also opt for an afternoon tea in the gardens where the creatures are often known to roam.

The manor house itself is pretty spectacular and dates back to the 1930s, while the location is near the Nairobi National Park if you’re after more wildlife spotting.

Prices start from approximately £643pp a night based on two people sharing a room. There are also other lodges available on the property. For more information visit thesafaricollection.com.

2. Icehotel, Sweden

Every winter, the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, in Swedish Lapland, is built entirely from snow and ice, with artists and sculptors working hard to create incredible suites carved from the ice.

Themes for the suites have included a frozen forest to a “world full of toys”, not to mention one room in the 2021 offering is nicknamed ‘Sauna’ although it may be the coldest sauna in the world!

The overall effect is something that looks like it belongs in Narnia – but come spring, it’s melted away! (You can take a sneak peek inside this year’s Icehotel for an idea of what to expect).

You can find out more about the hotel on discover-the-world.com.

3. Crane Hotel, Amsterdam

If you’re not a fan of heights, then this isn’t the Crane Hotel Faralda isn’t for you.

Not only are the rooms situated at various levels 35-50m high within a crane, but it moves with the wind! (A pretty cool feature that means guests can wake up to completely different views each morning).

Situated on the riverbank of Harlingen, opposite the city of Amsterdam, the crane’s exterior itself is eye-catching, painted in a series of bright red, yellow and blue hues.

There are three suites on offer – and there’s even a hot tub!

The only downside? With prices from £727 a night it’s not budget-friendly. You can find out more on faralda.com.

4. The world’s smallest hotel, Germany

A man stands in front of the world's smallest hotel in Amberg, Germany, 14 July 2008. For almost three centuries now the 'Eh'haeusl' serves as mini hostel for newlyweds. Since Monday, 14 July 2008 it is reopened after a general restoration. According to the city of Amberg the 56 square metres large house is the smallest hotel in the world. Photo: Armin Weigel
A man stands in front of the world’s smallest hotel in Amberg, Germany

Measuring just 8ft wide and with an overall floor space of 53 sq m, the Eh’haeusl in Amberg, Germany has held the Guinness World Record for world’s smallest hotel since 2008.

It can only accommodate two guests, but offers a chic stay thanks to the cosy salon, double bedroom and the bathroom complete with a mini spa whirlpool tub. (We’ve got a sneak peek inside the hotel if you want to take a look).

Prices start from €240 a day (approx £217) which includes a stay for two people, breakfast and underground parking. You can find out more on ehehaeusl.de/en.

5. The Inn at Christmas Place, USA

The lobby of a Christmas themed hotel decked out with tinsel, lights and a Christmas tree
The Inn at Christmas Place celebrates the festive season all year long

For those who can’t get enough of the festive spirit, this quirky hotel celebrates Christmas all year round!

Yep, that includes daily appearances from Santa, even during the summer months, Christmas decorations and trees adorning the rooms and lobby every day, and heaps of fun festive activities such as gingerbread house decorating and storytelling with Santa.

Oh, and all of the rooms are festive themed of course – including an epic Santa suite.

You can find out more at innatchristmasplace.com.

6. TWA Hotel, USA

The TWA Hotel will have a rooftop pool overlooking the runway

Airport hotels have reputations for being very much just basic rooms where travellers can sleep before a flight, but the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK airport may quickly become a firm favourite with aviation fans.So basically, heaps of opportunity for plane spotting.

That’s because the hotel boasts a pretty incredible infinity pool that overlooks the runway – meaning you can watch the planes while taking in a dip. (It’s also one of our top picks of the world’s most incredible infinity pools ).

You can find out more at twahotel.com.

7. Arctic Treehouse, Finland

Tucked away in Finland’s Rovaniemi, on the site of Santa Park in Lapland, this enchanting hotel offers seriously luxurious suites with breathtaking views of the surrounding forest – and if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights.

Rooms boast flat-screen TVs, ensuite bathrooms and plenty of amenities including tea and coffee, a minibar and free toiletries.

Prices start from £374 a night based on two people sharing a suite. You can find out more on arctictreehousehotel.com.

8. Conrad Maldives, The Maldives

The world’s first underwater villa has opened

If you’re after a bucket-list-worthy stay, then the underwater villa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is well worth having on your radar.

guests can sleep under the sea in the suite with glass ceilings and walls, so you’re surrounded by the dreamy waters and colourful marine life (think colourful fish and even turtles and sharks).

Oh, and even if you don’t book into the underwater villa, the resort has an underwater restaurant also with glass walls and a transparent ceiling so you can watch the marine life while tucking into gourmet dishes.

Find out more at conradmaldives.com.

9. Tequila barrels, Mexico

One of the barrels at the Matices Hotel de Barricas in Mexico
One of the barrels at the Matices Hotel de Barricas

Guests at the Matices Hotel de Barricas in Mexico can opt to sleep in the property’s huge wooden barrels, right by a tequila distillery.

The barrels include a double bed, ensuite bathroom and access to a private deck, while stays can include fun activities such as guided tours of the site, tequila tastings and a museum offering a glimpse into the history of the famous spirit.

Oh, and the hotel is located in the town of – you guessed it – Tequila.

You can find out more on matices-de-barricas.hoteles-en-jalisco.com.

10. The QE2, Dubai

Queen Elizabeth 2 has been transformed into a floating hotel

The former Cunard cruise ship is now permanently docked in Dubai, and it’s been transformed into a luxury hotel complete with 13 decks, fine dining restaurants, elegant suites and even tours for cruise fans who want to learn more about the history of the ship.

Rooms and suites have some original features such as the porthole windows that those who sailed on the cruise ship would have seen.

The good news is that there are some budget-friendly rooms on board too, with prices from £69pp a night. You can find out more on qe2.com.

Which of these hotels would be top of your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Travel restrictions apply during the pandemic. Always check the latest FCDO travel advice including for your chosen destination before planning, booking or going on a trip.

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