Check In: 10 Offbeat Hotels Worth a Special Trip

When setting out to plan a vacation, the first question you ask is this: "Where?" Whether geographical preferences or nearby activities determine your answer, we vote adding in one more measure: unique accommodations. After all, why stay in a motel when you could rest your head in a cave or out on your own private island? To start your daydreaming, flip through these 10 oddball lodgings we're loving.

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  1. Camp Wandawega

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    Since its construction in the 1920s, the Wisconsin lake retreat now known as Camp Wandawega has been a hotel, Prohibition speakeasy, brothel, and Catholic boys' summer camp. Today, Wandawega still offers the charms and amusements of a classic summer camp, from archery and shuffleboard to bonfires and boating. Accommodations range from a multi-level treehouse to Boy Scout tents to small, clapboard cabins decked out in sporty vintage decor.

    Visit wandawega.com for more information and booking.

    wandawega.com

  2. El Cosmico

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    On what used to be a horse pasture, near the edge of sleepy, sophisticated Marfa, TX, you'll find El Cosmico—an 18-acre trailer, tent, and teepee hotel and campground. Developed by Liz Lambert, a high-profile hotelier known for chic, urbane lodgings elsewhere in the state, El Cosmico situates "glamping" (glamorous camping) on desert terrain, and the combination results in a slightly mysterious, extremely stylish communal experience for adventurous guests. 

    Visit elcosmico.com for more information and booking.

    elcosmico.com

  3. Free Spirit Spheres

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    This tiny hotel room—half-treehouse and half-boat—hangs among the cedar trees in British Columbia, Canada. Accessible by a spiral staircase and a short suspension bridge, these treetop accommodations rock gently when the wind blows for a truly exciting "outdoor" experience. Inside the spheres is a simple bed and a few rustic amenities; a shared washroom is below. 

    Visit freespiritspheres.com for more information and booking.

    freespiritspheres.com

  4. Sala Silvermine

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    By the 16th century, Sala's mine was Sweden's biggest source of silver—making this hand-carved suite that exists nearly a mile underground the epitome of luxurious. If you can suffer through the temperature of the room (which can be dip as low as 35 degrees) you'll be rewarded with wine, cheese, and an extra-thick blanket. And after you check out, don't forget to brag to all your friends that you stayed in a 300-year-old cave this vacation. 

    Visit salasilvergruva.se for more information and booking.

    salasilvergruva.se

  5. Huettenpalast

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    Located in Berlin’s new up-and-coming district, Kreuzkolln, the Huettenpalast offers a unique mix of accommodations, ranging from traditional hotel rooms to retro-style caravans and huts. The six renovated campers and cabins are housed on an indoor campground, surrounded by birch trees and lanterns. When you’re not enjoying the eclectic outdoor garden, stop by the hotel’s vegetarian cafe for afternoon tea.

    Visit huettenpalast.de for more information and booking. 

    huettenpalast.de

  6. Xinalani Retreat

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    Tucked away in the densely forested cliffs of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, these palm-thatched cabins sit atop stilts only steps away from a private beach. Each room at Xinalani offers a seaside view. And when you're not taking in nature, you can enjoy the unique yoga and meditation classes and traditional sweat lodge.

    Visit xinalaniretreat.com for more information and booking.

    xinalaniretreat.com

  7. Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita

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    Nestled in the mountains of southern Italy, the Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita offers a stay packed with ancient history. Swedish-Italian designer and philanthropist Daniel Kihlgren converted 18 abandoned cave dwellings into while still retaining most of the site’s original features. Each room subtly integrates the old-world design with contemporary amenities like complimentary WiFi.

    Visit sextantio.it for more information and booking. 

    sextantio.it

  8. Kakslauttanen

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    When going the distance to catch a view of the Northern Lights, spare no expense: The best way to view it is tucked in bed through the window panes of your own personal glass igloo. Prefer to have a more authentic igloo experience? Well, the Kakslauttanen hotels in Lapland, Finland, also rent out stays for snow shelters.

    Visit kakslauttanen.fi for more information and booking.

    kakslauttanen.fi

  9. &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

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    If you're feeling adventurous, book an all-outdoors weekend in the cluster of nine tents parked out in the wild, wet Botswana delta. When you stay at the &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, you'll find yourself totally immersed in nature: breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner in the habitat of hippos and crocodiles, plus guided walks and boat rides for a closer look at the smallest members of the ecosystem.

    Visit andbeyond.com for more information and booking.

    andbeyond.com

  10. Underwater Room at the Manta Resort

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    Part of the Manta Resort hotels, which are otherwise all located on Pemba Island, the all-inclusive Underwater Room offers the opportunity to totally disconnect. You'll boat out to your personal island—approximately 250 meters from the shore—and have meals delivered daily the same way. From there, spend the afternoons out on the roof, watching fish through the lower-level windows, or even actually getting your toes wet.

    Visit themantaresort.com for more information and booking.

    themantaresort.com

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