Unique Hotels and Accommodations Around the World

Looking for some unique hotels for you next vacation? Why stay at the Hyatt when you can live in a shoe? (really!!!)

There are hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other unique accommodations in windmills and lighthouses, under the ocean, or built from blocks of ice.

In many cases, the hotel itself is the attraction, not any other features or activities in the area. What do you do at an underwater hotel? It's not like you can relax by the pool and get some sun!

But if you just want to say, "I've been there", these are a lot of fun!

Windmill Hotels

We tend to think of windmills as features of the Netherlands - but there are several windmill hotels, located throughout Europe.

Molen Hunsingo is one of the more authentic windmill hotels in the Netherlands. It has 2 floors with apartments accommodating up to 4 people each - each apartment has living and sleeping areas, and a kitchentte. They offer packages for an active lifestyle, with hiking and biking, or cultural tours of museums and historic sites. Rates start at about $200 per night.

Moulin des Oliviers, near the Cote d'Azure, is a charming restored windmill with private pool and terrace.

There are living and sleeping quarters, a kitchen with washer and dryer, and it's walking distance to the lovely town of Plan de Tour on the southern coast of France. There is only one unit in the building, so you'll have it all to yourself - what a great place for a women's vacation! Rates start at about $1300 per week, depending on season.

Lighthouse Hotels

On the shores of Lake Superior, the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast offers 7 rooms, many of which have a private fireplace, and all of which have great views of the lake or wooded area surrounding the lighthouse. Rates start at about $200 per night, and spa services are available year-round - the spa is in an outdoor screened hut during the summer months.

The Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel on the coast of Scotland, is a restored (and still functioning) 1815 lighthouse with 9 rooms or suites. The views are spectacular (on a clear day you can see Ireland!) and the rooms are luxurious and comfortable. Biking is a great way to see the area, and of course there's golf! Rates start around $175 per night.

Underwater Hotels

The original underwater hotel, the Jules Undersea Lodge, in Key Largo, Florida, allows you to literally "sleep with the fishes". Originally built as an underwater research lab, the hotel has 2 units plus a common area with kitchen (dinner and breakfast are included). You must dive to access the hotel, and while there, you can get a PADI certification with their Habitat Specialty Program (unique in the dive world!). Rates start at $375 per night.

Ice Hotels

ICEHOTEL, located about 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, is the original ice hotel (there are now ice hotels in other parts of the world, including Quebec, Canada). The ICEHOTEL is new and different every year (it "returns to the river Torne" each spring), and the accommodations are sparse but beautiful. Where else can you curl up in a sleeping bag on reindeer skins? Truly a unique hotel experience, with rates starting at $250 per night.

The Boot Hotel

The Boot Bed and Breakfast , in Nelson, New Zealand, is one of the world's truly unique hotels! It is literally shaped like a boot, with a living area on the first floor and a bedroom on the second. It's intended to be a romantic getaway spot, but I think it would be a hoot for anyone! It's like Old Mother Hubbard - without the kids! Rates start at $150 per night.

The World's Biggest Beagle

The Dog Bark Inn, a bed and breakfast in Cottonwood, Idaho, is housed in the world's largest beagle!

The one-bedroom unit is built inside a giant, dog-shaped building, and accommodates 4 with a queen-sized bed and 2 futons. There's a fridge and microwave for quick meals, and, of course, a place for your dog to play!

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