13 Unusual Hotels Around the World — From Cliffs to Castles  

Nairobi, Giraffe Manor, the building with giraffes strolling nearby.
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Ever wonder what it’s like to sleep under the waves or live like royalty in an Irish manor? How about vacationing in a room suspended on the side of a cliff? Thanks to hotels taking accommodations to new heights (literally), these kinds of epic adventures are enticing travelers from around the globe.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker, animal lover, or just someone seeking an out-of-the-box itinerary, the 13 hotels below offer extraordinary experiences you’ll treasure in the moment and remember long after you come home. Memorable travels await! 

Remote Lighthouse-Turned-Luxury Retreat: Pater Noster | Sweden

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Nestled about five miles off Sweden’s west coast is Hamneskär, an island with a lighthouse (and little else) that was once used to warn sailors of perils. Today, the tiny isle is home to an award-winning hotel that embraces its remote setting as its selling point. “We asked ourselves: What is luxury?” Erik Nissen Johansen, one of the designers, told the BBC. “Everybody felt that this was one part of the answer: an isolated island far away from everything in raw nature.”

With a capacity of two dozen guests, Pater Noster — which means “Our Father” in Latin and was a common prayer by sailors — is a nine-room hotel that offers small cottages that once belonged to lighthouse keepers and their families. Along with panoramic ocean views, amenities include a sauna, an art trail, a charming vegetable garden, and kayak tours. 

Get Cozy on a Cliff: Skylodge Adventure Suites | Peru

Calling all thrill seekers: You can now spend the night in a transparent bedroom suspended on the side of a mountain in Peru. Opened in 2013, the Skylodge Adventure Suites is the “first ever hanging lodge in the world,” per the company’s website 

Visitors must climb over 1,300 feet or hike “an intrepid trail through ziplines” to get to the suites. Upon arrival, guests will experience sweeping views of the majestic Sacred Valley from a 24 feet by 8 feet capsule made out of aerospace aluminum and weather resistant polycarbonate. Each suite also includes a dining nook, private bathroom, interior lights powered by solar panels, and of course, an intense adrenaline rush. 

Stay in a Castle: Adare Manor | Ireland

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Adare Manor, an enchanting retreat on an 842-acre estate in Ireland, gives guests a fairytale vacation. From the outside, the castle hotel looks fit for a royal family — from the 52 ornate chimneys and stone walls to the magical (and meticulously manicured) gardens. The interior is also brimming with neo-Gothic splendor, featuring large fireplaces, original 19th century art, and velvet furniture.   

The activities are equally impressive. Guests can experience falconry, cycling, and archery, along with carriage rides. And simply sitting on one of the garden benches and admiring the epic view is likely a memorable activity in itself. 

Get Close to Giraffes: The Giraffe Manor | Kenya

Imagine for a moment you’re enjoying your morning breakfast on a balcony with giraffes popping by for a visit in between sips of coffee. That’s not a mere daydream — it’s a wildly wonderful scene you can experience at The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. The boutique hotel is located in a breeding sanctuary, which has helped Rothschild’s giraffe populations rebound while providing guests with a unique opportunity to witness the animals wander the land — and maybe even stop by your door to say a quick hello.

A special appreciation for giraffes is apparent in many aspects of the hotel, from the wildlife photographs on the walls to the conservation initiatives. The establishment also assures that the giraffes have not been trained or domesticated and “have 150 acres (the equivalent of approximately 113 football fields) of indigenous forest on which to browse natural food sources.” Rather, “it is simply a fortunate advantage of the breeding program that the giraffes enjoy being fed by visitors.” 

See a Very Starry Night: Arctic TreeHouse Hotel | Finland

At the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Lapland, Finland, cozy suites provide stellar glimpses of nature — notably the northern lights and midnight sun, which can be admired from your bed, thanks to panoramic views from the windows. The suites are adorned with Scandinavian design details and Lapland-inspired touches to give a nod to their unique location. 

Guests can choose from an array of activities, like snow sports in the winter and spring and biking in the summer and fall. Depending on the time of year, the hotel also receives visits from reindeer

Go All Aboard: The Hotel Chalet | Tennessee

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Occupying the grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo train station, The Hotel Chalet is a completely reimagined retreat. Train carriages were transformed into suites and adorned with touches from the ’20s (like deco lighting and velvet sofas) and artwork from local artists. Even the courtyard’s bar was made from a caboose car. 

Given its iconic location, it’s no surprise the hotel looks straight out of a photograph from another era — especially the vibrant lobby and cozy parlor (Elsie’s Daughter).

Slow Down With Farm Animals: Coombeshead Farm | England

More than 60 acres of lush greenery surround the Coombeshead Farm: a cozy hideaway located in the heart of the Cornish countryside. The bed and breakfast is also a working farm and bakery, offering guests a real-world slice of farm life — complete with the smell of fresh bread wafting through the air, jams and morning buns available for breakfast, and a valley full of farm animals.  

The rustic restaurant features a menu that revolves around the produce and animals of the farm, focusing on sustainability and respect for the environment. In addition, the events calendar consists of hands-on workshops, like bread baking, watercolor painting, and etching. 

Sleep Inside a Snow Globe: Buubble Hotel | Iceland

Located in a forest in Iceland, the Buubble Hotel gives a new meaning to “sleeping under the stars.” With transparent, rounded walls, this quirky snow globe-like stay is dubbed the “5 million star hotel” thanks to its mesmerizing view of the night sky.

Per Condé Nast Traveler, the bubbles — named Una, Asta, Thorunn, Valdis, and Maria — are  “kept inflated by a slight over-pressure from a noiseless ventilation system” and include “heating elements with thermostat” so the stay is warm and cozy even during the chilly winter months. 

Think Pink: Madonna Inn | United States

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When it comes to themed novelty stays, The Madonna Inn is in a league of its own. Established in 1958 and located about 15 minutes inland from the central California coast, the inn offers 110 unique themed guest rooms oozing with individuality and outrageously quirky charm. There’s a pink suite, a jungle room, and an antique car room. Fun fact: The hotel allows for guests to swap rooms during multi-night stays, so visitors can make the most out of their experience and see the range of themes. 

In addition to the eclectic rooms, the inn is home to a bakery, cocktail lounge (featuring pink bar stools), an iconic restaurant, a retro-style pool, and signature pink courts for playing basketball, pickleball, and tennis. 

Dream Under the Sea: The Muraka | Maldives

If you really want a stay that takes novelty to new levels, it’s hard to beat The Muraka: a luxury residence in the Maldives that allows guests to sleep underwater (cue The Little Mermaid soundtrack). While the top floor is above the waves, the bedroom is set underwater so guests can see remarkable views of the ocean before drifting off to sleep among the sea life. 

For guests who want to experience the blue views but would rather sleep above sea level, the residence is part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, which offers traditional (but still very luxurious) villas with ocean scenery and an “undersea restaurant.”

Taste Tropical Life: NIHI Sumba | Indonesia

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Situated on an archipelago in Indonesia, the NIHI Sumba Hotel has 27 villas — each with stunning views of the Indian Ocean and Nihiwatu Beach. But the standout of the stay is the range of unique activities, such as swimming with horses and “golfishing” at a boathouse with eco-friendly balls that biodegrade and slowly release fish food into the ocean. 

Perhaps among the most special is NIHI’s on-site sea turtle hatchery program that aims to “improve the hatchlings’ chances of survival” by rescuing eggs from village markets, placing them in their hatchery, and then releasing the baby turtles into the ocean. 

See Mars-Like Dunes: Sossusvlei Desert Lodge | Namibia

Reminiscent of Mars, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge sits on a private 31,000-acre reserve in Namibia surrounded by expansive valleys and sand dunes that seem to go on forever. The serene setting is the perfect backdrop for the tranquil oasis, which features a private plunge pool for every suite and retractable over-the-bed skylights.

The hotel also offers myriad opportunities for guests to explore its surroundings. Enjoy a picnic breakfast after you walk across ancient sands; spend the night stargazing; get a bird’s-eye view of the vast desert expanses in a helicopter; and take advantage of specialist-led tours to get the inside scoop on this special place.

Live in a Fisherman’s Boat House: Klima Bay | Greece

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Fishermen’s houses (known locally as “syrmata”) are restored into luxurious beachfront stays at Klima Bay. Located in a traditional seaside village in Milos, Greece, the colorful suites were previously used to store fishing boats in the winter. According to the hotel, the color of each house is especially significant because the fishermen used to match their boat’s color to their house.

Now as a hotel run by third-generation Melians, the houses feature local touches (like pomegranates in bowls), along with private terraces and a garden to experience authentic island life.  

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