Blonde Almond’s five of the best: World’s most unusual hotels
If ever there was a place to spot the Northern Lights, it’s this cracker of a find in Finnish Lapland. Imagine staring agog at the Aurora from your pillow? Pretty magical, eh? Beds can be found in the log cabins, but its the cluster of glass and snow igloos that really up the ante here. Hop on a snowmobile or take some skis and go Aurora hunting. Scale this spectacular landscape on a husky sled. Or explore by horseback. It’s all pretty bracing so the call of the sauna and massage services are hard to resist come evening… so don’t.
This pad, in the Spanish medieval town of Elciego, brims with architectural pomp having been designed by Frank Gehry. It’s an imposing work of art, rising from the ground with zigzag windows, cavernous rooms, and bespoke detailing. Punters pull up a pew at the wine bar, ticking off just about every viticulture nation, whilst the haute cuisine in the Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant is world-class. It’s very ‘cheffy’ and goes all out with tasting menus taking you from ‘fresh grass’ and salt-baked beetroot with earth and cuttlefish tagliatelle, to chocolate and pepper. A destination in its own right, the Hotel Marques de Riscal is confident, as shiny as a pin and will give you some very envy-inducing Instagram shots.
It’s all about the thrill of discovery at this resort on Pemba Island. Let’s be clear, you pay for the privileges. But in return you get a very unique underwater room – yes, UNDERWATER – where shoals of reef fish swoosh by as you brush your teeth. Plus, the exceptional experiences on offer will woo you over within seconds. From lagoons and hidden beaches where barely a footprint marks the sand, to cocktails besides reef sharks basking in the shallows, and shoulder-to-shell swims with a turtle – it’s everything a sea-lover could want.
Causing a stir on the fringes of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the Palacio de Sal embraces the spirit of innovation as a hotel whose walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and sculptures are crafted completely from salt. The 30 rooms resemble igloos with their salt block walls, whilst views of epic sunsets,the mountains and swoon-worthy skies make this a unique lodge you’ll want to linger in for a very long time.
This is the closest you’ll get to a Narnia-esque fantasy with its snow-topped pines and magical atmosphere. Any closer and you may as well bump into a fawn while wrapped in a huge fur. Here you’ll discover seven treehouses – each designed by a different architect. There’s the Bird’s Nest, encased in entwined branches and suspended in the trees; the UFO, which is probably one of the world’s most unique hotel rooms; and the Mirror Cube, which blends seamlessly into the forest. Explore the white wilderness atop a snowmobile, head out with some huskies, and warm your toes in the sauna. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll spot the Northern Lights from your tree-top den. Magic.
Read my review of the Treehotel here