The past few years have changed the way we travel. It’s not limited to taking selfies in front of popular monuments. Instead, people want to go off the beaten track, find new destinations, and get out of their comfort zones for experiences that are unique to a particular place. Even the hotel industry has evolved in response to this market, and come up with offbeat lodging ideas. Once thought of as experimental, these have now become a commonly accepted worldwide trend. We have summed up a bucket list of extraordinary stays that every traveller must try at least once in a lifetime.
If there’s an igloo hotel around you, swap the comfort of your cosy hotel room for a stay in one of these. Taking inspiration from the houses of Inuits, these modern-day igloos have successfully managed to tap into all our frozen fantasies from being on an ice plate to sleeping on an ice bed. You can also have long soaks in heated pools amidst calving glaciers and swirling auroras.
Most igloo hotels can be found in Nordic countries but a stay at the one in Finland, located just 5 minutes away from Santa’s home, has made it to the must-try list of many travellers. The super-luxurious Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is one of the most sought after igloo hotels in the world. While most of these are built with ice every winter, this one is an all-season resort made of glass. You can sleep under a sky full of twinkling stars, watch the sun never go down at the midnight or watch the dance of aurora borealis from your bed, cuddled in a blanket.
It takes glamping a notch higher. It’s a cross between outdoors and indoors. Bubble hotels are the next big thing. From desert domes to cosy countryside cocoons, these transparent inflatable domes offer an unobstructed view of the outdoors. They can be a great solution for people who want to sleep under the open sky without walls and a roof, but fear braving the harsh outdoors. These delicate-looking bubbles are quite sturdy and safe and come with air conditioning and ventilation.
The 5 Million Star Hotel in Iceland is one of the best bubble hotels in the world. The reason behind its popularity is its secrecy. Even the guests don’t know the whereabouts of the bubble until the booking is confirmed. There are five different options of bubbles to choose from. Most of them are simple with not much, except a bed. There’s a service house nearby with a kitchen, bathroom, showers and a dining area. Once you’ve enjoyed the Northern Lights, you can explore the surroundings of the Thingvellir National Park, the hot springs in Haukadalur, the Gullfoss Waterfall or take a private dip in surrounding hot water lagoons.
Find a cave, and call it home - it is a survivalist’s dream. Humans have done it since time immemorial. And it looks like the tradition isn’t dead, yet! These subterranean spaces, once home to early humans, are becoming a popular stay option for travellers looking for something beyond the mundane. Staying inside a huge rock, caving or spelunking is trending as cave-cations today. Ranging From the uber luxurious to the pure basic, there is a multitude of spectacular caves to stay at, around the world.
Cappadocia is the semi-arid Anatolia region in central Turkey. The entire area is studded with cave-like rocks that were formed due to volcanic eruptions and had served as a refuge for early Christians. Surrounded by surreal landscapes, these caves have now been converted into hotels. From basic to luxury cave resorts, there are plenty of options to choose from around the area. The place is also one of the most popular spots for hot air ballooning in the world. There are many other adventure activities to choose from, such as hiking, horseback riding, and ATV tours.
Of all the offbeat lodging options around the world, none evokes as much nostalgia as a treehouse does. We’ve grown up hearing stories of treehouses being top secret places and hideouts (think Enid Blyton!). Diffused sunlight, foliage-filtered breeze, and untarnished views - living in a room dangling from a tree that is also equipped with modern amenities is the perfect place to unwind.
You will find plenty of self-contained treehouses with eco-friendly construction and unique design elements around the world. But the treehotel in Harads, Sweden, is not just an ordinary treehouse. It has repeatedly made it to Pinterest boards, Instagram stories and travel blogs for its unique design. There are a total of seven treehouse designs to choose from including a mirror cube, a UFO and a bird’s nest. Gaze out at Sweden’s spectacular landscapes and watch the Northern Lights illuminate the sky from this accommodation.
Historical palaces have always been a magnet for tourists, but curious travelers now want to experience palatial splendor firsthand. They want to stay within the walls where history is deeply manifested and want to live life king-size, for at least a day or two. There is no better place in the world to stay in a fort than the state of Rajasthan in India. Forts are literally scattered everywhere across the dunes of Thar. These erstwhile palaces or fortresses are now transformed into heritage hotels where you can escape for a few days and live it up like a royal.
The 230-year-old Alila fort at Bishangarh is grandeur and luxury personified. Barely an hour’s drive from the city of Jaipur, the newly renovated warrior fort has all the old-world charm and heritage along with luxury. The rooms come with different layouts and a common jharokha style window. The property features a multicuisine restaurant, outdoor grills, lounge, library, spa, and swimming pool to keep you busy all day.
The yurts are homes of nomads in the steppes of central Asia. Basically, they are cylindrical tents made of wooden battens and are covered with a waterproof cover which is usually made of wool, felt or animal skin. A hole is kept in the center of the yurt’s roof to provide ventilation and a stove in the middle to heat the yurt in cold winters. A typical old-style yurt is very basic with a bed and a makeshift kitchen. It is a good option for people who love camping but want to avoid the hassle of setting up a tent.
If you happen to be in Mongolia, opt to spend a day in a Mongolian yurt, also called a “Ger”, and learn about the Mongolian culture and their way of life. An entire family lives in one Ger. Some of these families happily host travellers looking for an authentic yurt experience. But if you want to stay in a yurt with basic amenities and comfort, then opt for a Ger camp which is designed for tourists. The camps are equipped with electricity, clean linen, showers, and beds to meet the standards of a basic hotel. Most of them also have a larger Ger that's used as a restaurant, where they serve both western and Mongolian dishes.