Monday, December 4, 2023

Comfort meets travel: World’s most extraordinary hotels

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Embarking on a voyage to new destinations is a calling that resonates deeply with travel enthusiasts. It’s not merely about crossing cities off a checklist but about crafting a vivid mosaic of unforgettable memories and opening doors to extraordinary accommodation experiences. For those who perceive lodging as more than a mere place to rest their heads, it’s a journey that transcends the ordinary.

Since 2017, my spouse and I have crisscrossed the globe, exploring 55 cities in 20 countries, with a primary focus on the enchanting nations of Europe. Along the way, we’ve been privileged to witness countless unforgettable moments, marvel at the beauty of museums, savor the magic of art, admire architectural wonders and indulge in culinary delights that have forever etched themselves into our souls. Yet, amid these grand adventures, there exists another layer of wonder – those unique hotels that have woven themselves into the very fabric of our travel tales.

Our journey begins not at the airport but during the extensive hotel searches that precede each escapade. It’s a quest that fuels our curiosity with questions like, “Is there a one-of-a-kind concept hotel awaiting us at our chosen destination? How can we strike the perfect balance between economy and enjoyment during our stay?” These queries are the compass that guides our travel, ensuring that every moment away from home becomes an experience that transcends the ordinary and embraces the extraordinary.

Two hotels, concepts

When we think of extraordinary hotels, many of us may immediately picture ice hotels or glass igloos, which are now well-known to most people. However, for some, this familiarity might diminish their sense of uniqueness. It’s as if less-known things, which fewer people are aware of, can sometimes appear more appealing and extraordinary. So, let’s start with two hotels that I believe are not widely known.

Have you ever heard of a hotel with neither walls nor a roof?

In the Graubünden Canton of the Swiss Alps, at an altitude of 6,463 meters (about 21,200 feet) above sea level, there is a hotel with neither walls nor a roof. The hotel’s single room (if it can be called a room) consists of a comfortable bed, two bedside tables and night lamps.

With the fresh mountain air and breathtaking views of the Alps, the Null Stern embraces nature enthusiasts with its extraordinary concept. The hotel is wall-less and roofless, but it offers the same room services found in other hotels. A personal butler for the room resides in a nearby cabin. This butler takes care of meals and all the guests’ needs.

The hotel’s slogan, which means “starless” in German, is: “You are the only star of this hotel.” The founders of the hotel had previously converted a nuclear bunker into a hotel room in Switzerland, naming it the “World’s Only Zero-Star Hotel.” I don’t know if you would want to stay in a nuclear bunker, but I would love to experience a night in the heart of nature.

Historical hotels

How about staying in a 19th-century castle in the middle of the sea? This castle, built by the British to defend against the French near the Isle of Wight, is now used as a hotel where you can not only stay but also engage in various water sports.

Ice hotels

Now, let’s talk about ice hotels that you can find in very few countries worldwide, from Sweden to Alaska. To stay in one of these hotels, you must travel to Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Alaska, Canada, Andorra or Japan.

With so few options available, if it were up to us, we’d choose Lapland, which encompasses Sweden, Norway and Finland. There, not only can you experience the northern lights, but you can also spot reindeer and enjoy activities like ice karting.

Of course, before making this choice, you must be willing to stay in a frozen environment. While ice and snow-built hotels do have heated rooms, in general, you won’t find the same level of warmth and comfort as in a typical hotel. If this idea scares you, you can still enjoy the services of ice hotels by dining in their restaurants and cafes without staying overnight.

Under northern lights

If you can’t bear the cold of ice hotels, you can still enjoy the northern lights or gently falling snow from the comfort of your warm bed under the sky in glass igloos at the same destinations. You can revel in the beauty of the wilderness.

The Bubble Hotel in Iceland or the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland invites you to an unforgettable winter adventure. Here, by sleeping inside glass igloos, you can watch the stars and the northern lights shining in the night sky. Equipped with warm and comfortable beds, these glass igloos, designed to protect you from the cold outside, will make you feel like you’re immersed in nature.

Treehouse retreats

Many extraordinary hotels offer the opportunity for people to connect with nature. While some hotels have gained exceptional features thanks to technology, these unique hotels nestled in nature are always our favorites.

Treehouses are one of these unique options. In these hotels nestled in the heart of forests, houses are often built high up in the trees.

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning high in the treetops. Birdsongs, the gentle rustling of leaves in the wind – they could be the most beautiful alarm clock in the world.

Free Spirit Spheres, located on Vancouver Island, is one of those hotels that can provide you with this opportunity. These spheres, suspended in the rainforests of the island, are positioned approximately 5 meters above the ground.

Sleeping inside these spheres with forest views filtering through the windows and the chirping of birds is a peaceful experience that will offer you tranquility. These houses, aptly named “Free Spirit Spheres,” await you for a comfortable stay amid nature.

Another option might be the Treehotel, located in the forests of northern Sweden. Each of the treehouses here stands out with its unique concept and design. The UFO Room, designed with a complete focus on space themes, and the Mirrorcube, where you can watch the reflections of the forest, along with the Bird’s Nest rooms, resembling a giant bird’s nest in its exterior, are among the most eye-catching concept rooms. The hotel has also considered those who, like me, fear heights, with rooms located at lower heights.

Underwater hotels

For ocean and underwater enthusiasts, there are also extraordinary hotels built above the sea with glass bottoms that allow you to observe the underwater world. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, located in the Maldives, stands out as one of the options that can offer you this unique experience.

This hotel provides both underwater dining and accommodation services; you can enjoy a delightful dinner while watching colorful coral reefs and fall asleep while counting whales and sharks.

Sand dunes

The Amangiri Hotel, located in the Utah Desert in the United States, serves as an extraordinary and luxurious hotel skillfully placed atop sand dunes in the middle of the desert. The rooms nestled within the rock caves combine modern design with luxury, bringing together the tranquility of nature. Watching the sunrise and sunset here can be an awe-inspiring experience.

Pirates’ lair

In the Caribbean Sea, off the coasts of Trinidad and Tobago, an old and authentic pirate ship has been transformed into a hotel. In this hotel, enchanted by the open sea, you can swim in the sea at any time of day and sleep under the stars in the middle of the ocean at night.

I hope this article can be a source of inspiration for those who believe that staying during their travels is not just about sleeping in a bed and for those seeking unique experiences. From wall-less and roofless Null Stern to ice hotels, from the enchantment of glass igloos to the tranquility of treehouses, from underwater hotels to the serenity of the desert, extraordinary accommodation options from around the world can allow you to collect unforgettable memories.

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