Unusual Accommodations Around the World

While in England this summer, my husband and I decided to take advantage of free babysitting (in the form of my parents) and use the opportunity to spend a few nights away from the kids.

We ended up settling on a quick trip to Oxford where we stayed at, what was arguably, one of the coolest hotels in the country – the Oxford Mal. Originally a working prison up until the end of the 20th century, today’s “guest” rooms are catered toward the more discerning visitor, even though the look and feel of the original prison remains.

Oxford Mal Hotel

Oxford Mal Hotel

But as I recall those three days of freedom, I can’t help but also remember some of the other strange accommodations that I’ve stayed in over the years – including a tepee in the middle of Wyoming, a bunk on the HMS Rose (2001), a tent in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and the truly weird and wonderful Cloud Nine room at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California.

So what else is out there? After a little research, here is a rundown of what is now my official accommodation bucket list. Feel free to jump into the conversation with suggestions of other truly unique places where Fly.com travelers can rest their heads.

An Ice and Snow Hotel

ICEHOTEL Entrace (Courtesy ICEHOTEL.com)

ICEHOTEL Entrace (Courtesy ICEHOTEL.com)

As with most siblings, my sister and I sometimes have little rivalries. We have both been fortunate to travel the world (sometimes together) and we’ve both had some amazing travel experiences. However I was green with envy when she stayed at the ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland.

The Orient Express

Call me an old romantic but there is something timeless about the image of European luxury that the legendary Orient Express conjures up in ones imagination. Immortalized by its rich history and famous novelist Agatha Christie, a train ride today can take you all over Europe, including Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Germany.

Underwater Hotel

Several years ago I considered the world’s first underwater hotel for my honeymoon. Unfortunately it was vetoed by my husband, who was looking for a more relaxing, exotic, and less unusual vacation at that time. But it is still on my bucket list and it seems that there may be more options available today.

USS Hornet

USS Hornet

USS Hornet

Last week, Travelzoo published an amazing Local Deal that gives folks in the San Francisco Bay Area an opportunity to stay overnight on the World War ll-era USS Hornet. As a local resident, I had no idea that you could even go aboard this aircraft carrier, let alone sleep in one of the crew bunks. Needless to say, I’ve dropped some major hints to my other half about this deal. Fingers crossed he was listening!

A private deserted island

As a child you can’t read novels like Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe and not fantasize about an island adventure of your own. However these days I definitely lean toward a more civilized experience – like Sir Richard Branson’s set up on Necker Island. And that is why I am particularly interested in Nanihi Paradise in French Polynesia because it appears to effortlessly combine rustic flavors with hotel-type services. More importantly it is truly private because there are only three bungalows on the entire three acre island (motu).


Another accommodation option I considered during my little English getaway (before I settled on the Oxford Mal), was a Yurt ‘glamping’ trip like the one offered by Priory Bay Hotel in the Isle of Wight. What is a yurt I hear you ask? Well the official definition is a type of circular tent, originally used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia, and Turkey.

Today, yurts have taken the European tourism market by storm – and you can find yurt accommodations, ranging from true luxury to very basic, in countries like England, France, Greece and Spain. But if you are looking for something a little closer to home you should check out places like the Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California or Frost Mountain in Brownfield, Maine.


If any of the above tickle your fancy, be sure to go to Fly.com to find cheap flights or hotels.

Happy travels!

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