The World's Quirkiest Hotels
On a trip, you frequently encounter the bizarre among the ordinary. And these are the experiences that stand out in your vacation memories; these are the moments you can't wait to share with your friends. What if you could guarantee an entire night filled with such coveted commodities? A quirky hotel offers just that. Recently, we covered prison hotels and expensive hotels, but these are by far the oddest, most eccentric accommodations we've ever seen.
[See a photo recap of The World's Quirkiest Hotels]
The Medieval Hotel Detenice, Detenice, Czech Republic
At the Medieval Hotel Detenice, the Middle Ages become a very exciting and tasty time period. Having opened in December 2009, the hotel creatively provides the Old World experience with our contemporary comforts. Weary travelers retreat to snug rooms characterized by wooden beds and animal skins, which (fortunately) have modern bathroom amenities like flushing toilets. At the adjacent tavern, guests enjoy court-style entertainment featuring dueling swordsmen and juggling jesters, while dining on traditional hearty fare. The tavern's website warns: "Whether they call you a peasant or a farmer's wife, a knight, a bandit, or riff-raff, it's not because they want to offend you. It's just that the Middle Ages aren't the same as the present."
Runner-Up: The Null Stern Hotel, Teufen, Switzerland
Unfortunately for intrigued guests, this unique property closed down to lodgers in 2010. It's now transformed into a small era-specific museum, but it's still worth checking out. After a peek at this establishment, you'll quickly see that some eras would be better to visit than others. This Cold War-inspired lodging offered bare accommodations like you only find in a bomb shelter.
Wagonstays, Canterbury, New Zealand
If you want a taste of pioneer life on the Oregon Trail, you're going to have to go much farther west to find it. On the rolling plains of Canterbury, New Zealand, travelers can rest their head in an authentic 1870s canvas-covered wagon. Recently acquired by new owners, the Wagonstays and its new management strive for an authentic Wild West experience in the beautiful countryside, complete with an outdoor bath and cookhouse. And be on the lookout for your neighbors; you'll share the property with sheep, deer and other furry animals.
Runner-Up: The Wigwam Motel, Kentucky, Arizona and California, USA
These Wild West-inspired accommodations look like a small Native American village from the road. But upon further inspection, guests will find these concrete cones are narrow living spaces complete with bathrooms. The encampments recall the era of the early American road trip, and Wigwam Motel guests enjoy this kitschy-yet-classic motif.
Can't Make Up Your Mind
Madonna Inn, California, USA
At first, the Madonna Inn sounds like a normal moderately upscale property near San Luis Obispo, Calif., boasting a "state-of-the-art" fitness center, a luxury spa, a pool and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space. But Madonna Inn guests have atypical hotel experiences. Each room possesses its own unique character and thematic décor. Feeling like a trip to the Alps? Reserve the Swiss Chalet. Are you the jean-wearing, down-on-the-range American? Try the Mountain Cabin and curl up on the rustic couch. The inn's 110 unique rooms ensure that returning guests will be completely surprised on the following visit.
Runner-Up: Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton, Canada
At Fantasyland, you can tour the world without setting foot outside the hotel. You can choose from 11 different décor styles at this quirky Canadian property. Request the Polynesian room if you are aiming for relaxation or the Roman room if you prefer classical antiquity.
The Abalì Gran Sultanato, Palermo, Italy
Making heads spin, the Abalì Gran Sultanato in Palermo, Italy causes imaginations to run wild. Caught somewhere between the psychedelic '60s and Candyland, the décor uses fluorescent colors in anomalous shapes to create out-of-this-world designs. While guests might think they are in an alternative reality, the amenities -- such as air conditioning, TVs, Wi-Fi and comfy beds -- make this place a livable funhouse. One TripAdvisor user recommends, "Abali is not for those who are looking for standard purpose built B&B types but for those arty and creative souls out there, this is the perfect place or those who are looking for something different." Recent guests have also been charmed by the hotel's equally warm and eccentric owner, Vito.
Runner-Up: House in the Clouds, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Garnering puzzled looks, the House in the Clouds hotel is shaped like a house that is lodged in the sky. It's as if Dorothy's home never came down from the tornado. The top A-frame levels of this British property are supported by a rising brown column of additional rooms.
To Be a Kid Again
The Treehotel, Harads, Sweden
While this isn't the tree house you and the rest of the neighborhood kids crammed into, we think that you'll be very satisfied with a sleepover in these unique lofts. Perching in the Swedish woods, these architectural marvels mix a childhood concept with incredible designs. You can stay in a room camouflaged by branches called The Bird's Nest, a space with walls made of mirrors which reflect the woodland surroundings that's appropriately named the Mirrorcube or several other one-of-a-kind lodges. With their own tree houses, visitors get a unique and isolated experience. But you should note that your piggy bank might not cover the cost of this place; the Treehotel only caters to fully grown bank accounts.
Runner-Up: The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium
Woodlyn Park, Waikato, New Zealand
Sleeping in your car is never fun. But, dozing off in other types of vehicles can be. At the Woodlyn Park, visitors can spend the night in a train car, a jumbo jet or even a ship. Of course, these vessels have been permanently grounded, but that doesn't destroy the novelty of waving from the cockpit or the bow. There are certainly other hotels around the world made of from old modes of transportation, but do they also offer the opportunity to stay in Hobbiton? Yes, that's right: At the Woodlyn Park you can rest your head in Lord of the Rings-inspired quarters. Just don't expect Frodo to pop in anytime soon and watch your head on the low doorways.
Runner-Up: Hotel Costa Verde, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Of all the airplane hotels in the world, the 727 Fuselage Suite at the Hotel Costa Verde is perhaps the most amazing. Guests can sleep in this 1965 Boeing 727-100 plane that looks as though it crashed into the jungle canopy that surrounds it. That is, if you believe luxury furniture can sustain such an impact.
In the Belly of the Beast
La Balade des Gnomes, Durbuy, Belgium
La Balade des Gnomes brings fairytale accommodations to an unassuming farm in the Belgian countryside. Although all of the rooms are eclectic, bizarre and wonderful, we believe visitors will most enjoy dozing off in the property's own Trojan Horse. You can stay in the wonderfully twisted interior of this wooden animal. Curving staircases and rustic furnishings complete the inside's quirky aesthetics. If the Greeks had furnished their horse like this, they may never have come out. The added bonus of breakfast (La Balade des Gnomes is in fact a B&B) adds to the witty charm of the property.
Runner-Up: Kumbuk River Resort, Buttala, Sri Lanka
The eco-conscious resort has a special elephant-shaped villa for its VIP guests. This two-story animal-house stands along Kumbuk River, so guests will hear calming rushes of water as they catch some zzz's in the elephant's stomach.
Propeller Island City Lodge, Berlin, Germany
This final category -- the essence of quirkiness -- has only one true contender: the Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin. As the lodge describes, "This is not one of those trendy designer hotels … it's more like a private planet which has evolved in unique synchronicity with the tastes of its inventor." Each room is its own world. You can stay in a coffin one night, a mine-shaft the next, an entirely orange room, or even an upside-down one. And because none of these rooms (or the mind-bending experiences that come along with them) can be replicated, we've selected the Propeller Island City Lodge as the World's Quirkiest Hotel.