17 Unusual Hotels to Add to your Bucket List

Atlantis The Palms Underwater Suites

Want to fall asleep underwater, curl up in the fuselage of a vintage aeroplane, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the largest uninterrupted desert in the world? If your answer is yes, add these hotels to your bucket list:




1. Holiday in the desert, Abu Dhabi

Anantara Qasr Al Sarab

Nestled amongst towering orange dunes in the Liwa Desert, Anantara Qasr Al Sarab offers an escape from the concrete jungle. The Arabian styled hotel has a freeform swimming pool, spa, and a childrens’ club. Guests can look forward to cooking classes, falconry, and camel trekking through the desert. More info.


2. Sail-shaped hotel, Dubai

Burj Al Arab

The sail-shaped Burj Al Arab is the only 7 star hotel in the world and one of the most famous icons in Dubai. Towering high over a manmade island, it offers spectacular views over the city. This world class hotel has everything you could dream of, from a private beach to a luxurious spa. More info.


3. Sleep in an underwater room, Dubai

Atlantis The Palm

Watch cow nose rays and angel fish gliding lazily past as you fall asleep in your underwater suite at Atlantis the Palm.  The 2 underwater suites have floor to ceiling windows into the Ambassador Lagoon and its 65,000 marine animals from the Arabian Sea. Guests have unlimited access to the Aquaventure water park. Don’t miss the chance to hurtle down the Shark Attack chute through a glass-enclosed shark tank. More info.


4. Soak in hot spring waterfalls, Jordan

Evason Main Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa

Soak away tension in the therapeutic hot spring waterfalls at Evason Ma’in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa. Situated 264km below sea level, the waterfalls tumble down the cliff face to fill the spa pools.  Guests can look forward to treatments like Dead Sea therapies and Six Senses signature treatments at the spa. More info.




5. Dine in an underwater restaurant, Maldives

Sea Restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Villas

SEA Restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Villas is one of the only underwater restaurants in the world. Dine in the glass-enclosed restaurant with live fish for wallpaper and savour wine from the world’s first underwater wine cellar! Dabble in some seaside yoga, cooking classes, and water sports from snorkelling to scuba diving. More info.


6. Sleep amongst paddy fields, Sri Lanka

Jetwing Vil Uyana

Jetwing Vil Uyana is an eco-retreat with 30 individual houses nestled amongst forest, paddy fields, and marshlands. Part of a 3 acre conservation site, the resort is home to 20 mammal species and a variety of other fascinating wildlife.  More info.




 7. Cuddle up in the treetops, South Africa

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Tsala Treetop Lodge is set high above an indigenous forest along the Garden Route. The resort is linked by elevated walkways high above the forest floor, and each suite has a private infinity pool. The hotel has a living room with glass floor panels peering into the forest below. More info.


8. Get lost in the Palace of the Lost City, South Africa

The Palace of the Lost City

The Palace of the Lost City forms part of the famous Sun City resort that has achieved Botanic Garden status for its beautiful gardens. Explore the Maze of the Lost City, unwind at the Valley of the Waves with its water slides, pools, and lazy river, and discover the forest filled with swinging bridges and chattering monkeys.  More info.




9. Visit the House that Fleming Built, Jamaica

The Golden Eye

The Golden Eye is the former home of Bond creator, Ian Fleming, and the location where he wrote most of the James Bond novels. The resort is now open to the public where guests can enjoy water sports, sunset yoga, and glass bottomed boat trips in the lagoon. More info.


10. Siesta in a vintage airplane, Costa Rica

Costa Verde

Stay in the fuselage of a refurbished airplane overlooking the jungle canopy of Costa Rica. Costa Verde has 2 bedrooms in a vintage 1965 Boeing 727. Your nearest neighbours will be sloths, monkeys and a choir of tropical birdlife.

COMING SOON: Call 0203 553 9201 to book.


11. Stay in a transformed garage, Barbados

Lone Star

Lone Star, built on the site of one of the first garages in Barbados, honours its legacy with rooms named after American cars, from Cadillac to Corvette. The resort is renowned for its homemade cookies, retro furnishings, and staff dressed in blue and white boiler suits. More info.


12. Overnight amongst cocoa fields, Saint Lucia

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat lies in one of the oldest remaining cocoa plantations in Saint Lucia. Guests can look forward to sensational views of the Caribbean Sea and chocolate inspired activities, from chocolate infused spa treatments to tastings. More info.




13. Sleep in a tree house, Thailand


Tucked away in a forest on the west coast of Phuket, Keemala offers the chance to overnight in a tree house inspired by an ancient tribe. Linked by jungle walkways beneath a canopy of trees, the resort has beautiful views of the rainforest. More info.




14. Hawaii not?, Hawaii

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at the Historic Ka’Upulehu

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at the Historic Ka’Upulehu is the epitome of Hawaiian culture. Learn the science of navigating the sea by the stars, pick up a few words of Hawaiian, make traditional leis, or show off your hula dancing skills. Guests can look forward to helicopter flights over an active volcano, underwater scooter snorkelling, and ziplining over a waterfall. More info.


15. Enjoy the Disney experience, Orlando

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Relive your childhood at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with your favourite Walt Disney and Disney Pixar characters. Each room has a creative theme, from the Little Mermaid to Lion King, and the Nemo themed swimming pool has underwater speakers. You can even build your own burgers at the Landscape of Flavours restaurant! More info.


16. Dare the Volcano House, Hawaii

Volcano House

Volcano House Hotel, inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, overlooks the active crater of the Kiluea volcano. Explore the sulphur banks and Thurston lava tube and have dinner at The Rim where you can dine with a view of the billowing volcano. More info.


17. Sleep on the edge of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Village

El Tovar

El Tovar is a national historic landmark less than 30m from the edge of the Grand Canyon. Named after the Spanish explorer who reported the canyon’s existence, the hotel has hosted the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Sir Paul McCartney. Enjoy spectacular views of the red rock scenery.  More info.

What other unusual hotels do you know about? Let us know in the comments below!


Author Bio: Lauren Morling is a South African travel writer for the Best At Travel blog. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.


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