Hobbit’s hole and house made of ice: 10 unusual hotels of the world
When you can’t travel, you’re left making plans for future amazing trips.
I love anything out of the ordinary – I’ve compiled a selection of hotels that I think are amazing, and I’ve also compiled reviews on them. These hotels are hidden in the branches of forest trees and underground, occupying former harbor cranes and lighthouses, they are built of thermal glass and of ice. You want to go to each of them as soon as the world returns to normal.
Giraffe Manor: Have breakfast with giraffes
The Giraffe Manor is located in a suburb of Nairobi, in northwestern Kenya. From the outside, there is nothing special about the hotel; it is an ivy-covered, colonial-style stone building. What makes the hotel unique is its location: it stands in the middle of a giraffe nursery.
The main attraction for which tourists come here is breakfast with giraffes: they stretch their long necks through the open windows and take food from your hands and right off your plate. “Fortunately, the giraffes’ long tongues look for pellets of dry grass, not your pancakes,” the site says.
There’s a huge swing in the garden: swinging on it, you can feed the giraffes from your hand. But the hotel staff ask not to scare the animals walking in the garden and not to approach them more than 3 to 5 meters.
The hotel has 12 rooms: six in the main building built in 1932 and another six in an additional building built in 2011. Each room has one or two bedrooms, a bathroom, some have a fireplace and a balcony from which you can also feed the giraffes.
We were there from January 3 to 5, 2020. To say it was great is nothing to say! Before that we stayed at a hotel in Nairobi National Park. The hotel driver met us at the entrance to the park and took us to the hotel. You can use the shuttle service for the entire period of your stay at the hotel: you can be taken to a souvenir store or on an excursion. The service is free.
The hotel itself is an old mansion in the style of a Scottish hunting lodge. It is beautiful inside and out. We got the simplest room for two, but it was huge, with two bathrooms and a terrace where the giraffes come in every morning to say good morning and you give them their morning feed in return. Plumbing and furniture are a little shabby, but it gives even more color and does not spoil the impression. Everything works properly.
There was no strong smell from the animals, and the area was always clean. The animals are very well groomed and it is obvious that they are loved and cared for. You probably won’t go there a second time. But I advise to go once and remember it for the rest of my life!
Icehotel: Stay warm in an ice house!
The Icehotel is located in the village of Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden. Its main feature is the houses made of ice and snow. In the spring, they melt, and the next winter they are rebuilt. Every year the houses are different. Also out of the ice and snow are carved various sculptures and furniture – for example, bedside tables.
According to the official website, the temperature in the room stays between -5 and 8 degrees Celsius. Guests sleep in thermal underwear, hats and sleeping bags on beds covered with reindeer skins. In the morning you can warm up in the sauna or in the warm restaurant.
Several rooms of ice are available even in summer. They are set up in a separate room, where minus temperatures are maintained all year round. There’s also a year-round Icebar, which is also cold and offers guests cocktails in glasses of ice.
If you’re not ready to freeze, book a regular room-they have them here, too. The ice rooms are available for free guided tours for hotel guests in English or Swedish.
In Icehotel it is difficult to get bored: there are dog sledding, snowmobiles or sledges pulled by reindeer. In summer you can go rafting on the river, hiking or fishing.
We stayed in an ice-covered year-round room, but it came with a regular warm room with a shower. At a reception give out a special sleeping bag, boots, mittens. You must change into thermal underwear in the warm room – you must bring it with you from home, then walk down the street to the building with icy rooms. Your belongings should be left in a warm room. You can take your phone to take pictures of this beauty. At night it is better to put it in a mitten.
It is comfortable to sleep in the ice room, the bag is very warm. You can wander around the ice bar with sculptures and drink drinks from ice glasses.
Treehotel: Hide in a tree
The Treehotel is located in Harads, Sweden, 60 kilometers from the Arctic Circle. All rooms of this hotel are treehouses in the forest. They are built in the form of UFOs, bird’s nests, huts with pointed roofs and wooden cubes.
One of the most interesting constructions is a mirror cube among the branches of tall pines. You can climb into it with a rope ladder. The walls of the cube are made of reflective glass, so it’s hard to notice it: it merges with the surrounding nature. The area of the room is 16 square meters. It has a double bed, wifi and a toilet. You will have to take a shower in the building next door. But you can climb to the roof, where there is a terrace, and admire the nature in the fresh air.
Living in a mirrored cube is a wonderful experience. The magnificent view and the feeling of floating above the ground are amazing. The lodge has a cozy cabin with a toilet, tea and coffee. The food in the restaurant is delicious and the staff is very friendly and always willing to help. Liked everything except the price.
Hotel De Vrouwe van Stavoren: Experience Diogenes in a barrel
Hotel De Vrouwe van Stavoren is located in the Dutch town of Stavoren in the province of Friesland. The building stands in the harbor on the shore of Lake Eijsselmer. From here you can watch the yachts and ships.
The hotel has regular rooms, but tourists come here to live in a real wine barrel. There are two options: 15 or 23 thousand liters of volume – in such barrels can easily fit a double bed. A room with a sofa and a TV and a bathroom are in the next room. The layout of the room can be viewed during a virtual tour on the hotel’s website. A bottle of wine awaits guests in each room.
A very unusual place to spend the night! I was impressed with the quietness, comfortable bed, large bathtub, cozy garden – it was a pleasure to have breakfast there. Thanks so much to whoever thought of sleeping in a barrel. It was wonderful to wake up to birdsong. Be forewarned: there were cracks in our barrel, so it would probably be colder in the colder seasons. In the heat it was fine, fresh to sleep in.
Breakfast is usual for European hotels. We could offer pancakes, for example, and porridge would be nice. But that’s a pickle. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt the staff to improve their English, as they communicate with each other with almost gestures, although we understand each other.
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort: feel like an Eskimo in a glass needle
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is a resort complex in Lapland, in the Saariselkä ski area. Here you can stay in wooden chalets, where even the beds are made of logs, but much more interesting – in the igloo. These are the traditional dwellings of the Eskimos, which are built in the winter of snow. At Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, they are made of thermal glass. They are warm even in frosty weather.
Guests watch the sky through the glass roof. If you are lucky, you may see the Northern Lights. In the small igloos, designed for two adults, there is a double bed and a child’s bed, a toilet. Showers and saunas are in a separate building.