Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spending the Night in Unusual Places

You might have ended up spending the night in an unusual location while on vacation in the past. Maybe it was because of a connecting flight mix-up, perhaps you were backpacking. You'll probably never forget that hotel, hostel, or campsite experience, and there's no reason why you shouldn't have a memorable--and unusual--overnight stay again. This time, why not plan the “surprises” ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty?

Windmills in Greece
Care to catch a view of the setting sun over the ocean, feel the salt spray on your face, and sip a local wine--all in your own windmill? This lodging option is perfect when you're jetting between one luxury hotel and another, and you need a night in the countryside to unwind.

Experts Say: “This converted mill has two bedrooms. They are sparsely but tastefully decorated and furnished in typically Greek style: white-washed walls, wooden floors and furniture and blue shutters.”

Additional Lodging in Greece

The Ice Hotel, Sweden and Utter Inn, Sweden
Will it be ice or an open lake that you pick for your novelty night stay in Sweden? If you’re a ski-lover and the outdoorsy type, then the Ice Hotel is the perfect pick. If fishing and camping appeal to you more, then you should try staying on the floating Utter Inn. Either way, you mustn’t forget your camera: these are some of the most picturesque hotels in all of Scandinavia.

Experts Say About the Ice Hotel: “Thermal long johns are recommended for a stay at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi where winter temperatures never rise above freezing -- and can drop to minus 35C.”

Experts Say About the Utter Inn: “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.”

Additional Lodging in Sweden
Radisson BLU Strand Hotel

Das Park Hotel, Austria
Here’s an idea: you wanted to stay in the best of the best in Austria, but you wanted to stay longer than your budget allowed. Why not break up a stay in two different luxe hotels by staying along the River Danube in... wait for it... a repurposed sewer pipe?! You can pay as little or as much as you want.

Experts Say: “The drainpipes are two meters in diameter and two and a half meters long, with a porthole to look out of, a front door to close and a cozy nest to snuggle into, which includes a low-slung futon, bedside lamp, woolly blanket and light sleeping bag.”

Additional Lodging in Austria

The Old Church of Urquhart, Scotland
Scotland is a top choice for castle enthusiasts, but for many of us, going up towers and buying souvenirs isn’t enough. Staying at the Old Church is like staying in a castle’s abbey, and you won’t be chilly, even in winter--there are wood-burning stoves to stoke and stay toasty.

Experts Say: “The Old Church of Urquhart-by-Elgin stands in splendid rural isolation, surrounded by fields, not far from the Moray Firth. Constructed in what was called the Perpendicular style (its tower is 21 meters tall), it is set in 8,000 square meters of beautiful grounds.”

Additional Lodging in Scotland

Hotel Monasterio, Peru
Peru is a prime destination in South America, considering how far back some of their ruins date. In addition, their top hotels combine history with a great list of celebrity clientele, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Jane Fonda at the Hotel Monasterio, described below.

Experts Say: “In most hotels, adequate oxygen is taken for granted. Not here at the luxurious Hotel Monasterio, a converted 16th-century monastery in Cusco. As the hotel stands at 3,000 meters above sea level, 50 of the bedrooms are enriched with oxygen, which is gently pumped through filters to help guests avoid altitude sickness.”

Additional Lodging in Peru

Bedouin Camp, Jordan
Not satisfied with the ancientness of castles and monasteries? Get down to basics and vacation with a Bedouin camp experience. You’ll be sleeping in a goatskin tent, just like those who travel the sands, and you need to spend at least a few minutes exploring the cool night air, the sands, and the dark sky come night.

Experts Say:“Sit round a camp fire while a hookah pipe slowly perfumes the air as tribesmen entertain guests with live music, stories and strong Arabic coffee.”

Additional Lodging in Jordan
Evason Ma’In Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa

If you have an urge to explore your destinations of choice in a whole new way, then you should try spending the night in a creative setting just for a night or two. While staying in a luxury hotel can be thrilling on its own, mixing things up with a novelty night or two makes some seriously special memories.

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