No matter how luxurious or beautiful, standard hotels and resorts all over the world are just, well, conventional. For the luxe-adventurous traveller, the stay must be as inspiring as the journey. There are plenty of unconventional options- from slightly kooky to downright crazy. We are not taking radical to the extreme, but recommending a few spaces that will stimulate your spirit with their design and add another chapter to your travel stories.
Located in Harads, near the Lule river, the facility offers a truly unique stay. The wooded area surrounding the river valley is the space for the hotel’s tree-rooms, which are artistic interpretations of tree-houses. The founders were inspired by the film, The Tree Lover by Jonas Selberg Augusten. They then collaborated with leading Scandinavian architects and designers to create a set of nine cabins that are suspended between trees, elevated to six metres above the ground. Each room is different from the other; the aesthetic varies from organic to modern minimalist to dramatically futuristic. The most famous ones are The Mirrorcube, The Bird’s Nest and The UFO. The interiors are plush and comfortable; a couple of cabins even feature conference rooms for corporate getaways. The stunning 360-degree view of the surroundings is the bonus. Pretty surreal.
Montaña Mágica Lodge, Chile
Deep inside a rainforest, at the foot of the Andes, lies a volcano-shaped structure covered with climbers, creepers, ferns and moss. The top encases an artificial ‘crater’ that spews and spurts water, which in turn cascades down the slope of the construction. Straight out of a fairy tale, it seems. The lodge is accessible only by foot and the way to enter the premises is via a swinging rope bridge. Inside, the 13 guest rooms, the common areas and the bar are all made of solid wood. One side of the hotel is fitted with wooden vats, where you can enjoy an outdoor sauna. The surrounding 232 square miles of forest area are protected by UNESCO and the hotel is proud of its adherence to conscious tourism. Jungle treks, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rafting and zip-line rides are some of the activities that can be organised. For those simply seeking to relax amidst nature, the place is a sanctuary. Believe in magic, for it exists here.
Palacio de Sal, Bolivia
The name, in Spanish, means ‘palace of salt’, and it is just that. Located on the edge of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flats, the structure walls, staircases, floors, ceilings and most furniture pieces are made of the single component that is abundantly available here. The resort comprises 30 rooms, a dry sauna, salt beds, salt baths, massage parlours and even a nine-hole golf course that is open for part of the year. The sole structure amidst the vast expanse of arid land gives the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere; the mountains are visible at a distance. The in-house restaurant proudly displays a menu where salt features prominently, the star being their special salt chicken. Guests can enjoy the spectacular sunsets and brilliantly starry night skies from a terrace area that offers a 360-degree view of the landscape. The hotel provides guided tours to the many nearby attractions: desert geysers, the Incahuasi Island and the Dali Desert being the most visited. The staff politely requests guests not to lick the walls; no need to check – it really is all salt.
Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, Netherlands
Just outside the Dutch capital, the Zaan region boasts of a distinct style of architecture which celebrates colour. This multicoloured sensibility is reflected in the quirky build of this luxe hotel; the façade is shaped like the stacking of multiple coloured houses from the area – 70 to be exact. It is a fairly large structure, containing 160 rooms and suites, a swimming pool, a gym, a wellness club that offers Finnish saunas and Turkish baths, a bar and a restaurant. No two rooms are the same; the décor scheme is divided into four schemes, all dedicated to the traditional crafts, techniques and industries of the locality. There is art everywhere – the walls are adorned with illustrations of heritage architecture, photographs of influential historical personalities, and shelves crammed with retro curios. The train station, located close by, ensures a swift commute to the bustling capital. An inspiring space for anyone who works in a visual field.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
The incredibly beautiful and overwhelmingly surreal Northern lights of Lapland are best enjoyed while cosying up with your loved one and gazing at the skies from the comfort of your private glass igloo. If you wish for the warmth of a log cabin along with the view from a glass igloo, then the new Kelo-glass igloos are perfect. And if you are a true adventurer, try the real thing – book your own snow igloo and live like a native, maybe just a bit more comfortably and stylishly. The world-famous resort also offers luxe log cabins and decadent queen suites as options, but why waste a chance to sleep under the glowing, painterly Scandinavian skies? A whole host of activities awaits: choose from husky safaris, aurora hunting (for real), ice-fishing and much more. In summer, you can try spotting the midnight sun or gold panning along the river and mines. With so much to do, you will not get bored even for a second.