For the avid/business traveller, hotels start to look a little same-old, same-old after a while: the 300 thread count sheets, the buffet breakfast with all the usual suspects, the rain shower head, the same 100+ cable channels, the customised pillow menu – it’s hardly a stay to remember. These hotels in our list though, offer anything but a cookie-cutter experience, be it from their unusual location or novel room set-up to just the fact that they’ve been handmade with love. Check out these unusual hotels the next time you’re planning a vacation or business trip and maybe, this time, you’ll have something to write home about.
1. Stay in an automated hotel: Flyzoo, Hangzhou
Trust Alibaba to come up with a hotel concept built for the the future. It’s called the FlyZoo, a 290-room highly-automated hotel located in Hangzhou’s Alimall. The automation starts from the reservation – done entirely via the Flyzoo app, allowing one full transparency to choose the type of room, floor, and even the location, so you’re not waking up to blazing morning sun – and check-in process. Equipped with cutting edge facial recognition technology, your visage is all you need to activate elevators, unlock your room door or access the gym. Once inside, each room has a Tmall Genie, a speaker system that responds to vocal commands to dim the lights or jack up the air conditioning temperature accordingly. Even room delivery is dispensed by special room-service robots, which happily double up downstairs at the in-house restaurant. Come check out time, there’s no waiting in queue, just fire up the FlyZoo app, check-out and grab your suitcases to go – yes, this is one facet that they haven’t automated.
From RMB1,399 (S$278) per night, go to www.alizila.com for more information.
2. Sleep in a cockpit: Jumbostay, Stockholm
Go from a window seat to sleeping in a cockpit, just one of 33-rooms outfitted from a decommissioned Boeing 747-212B plane at Jumbostay. Located in Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, the grounded plane offers a mixture of rooms (from dorm-style to a wheelhouse option (pictured, located under the plane) with its own private entrance) but the coolest has to be bedding down right next to the cockpit. Equipped with an in-plane café – with a killer view of the taxi runway – and their own Jumbo IPA beer, all rooms are sound insulated and temperature controlled and depending on the type chosen, come with private bathrooms and flatscreen TVs. Oh, and there’s free Wi-Fi too, so you can livestream your entire stay if you wish.
From 1850SEK (S$266) for a double ensuite cockpit room per night, go to www.jumbostay.com for more information.
3. Live the Taco Bell lyfe: Taco Bell Hotel, Palm Springs
If you’re trying to snap up one of Taco Bell’s 70 “Tacoasis” hotel rooms popping up in Palm Springs this summer, you’re too late. A novel concept inspired by (what else?) tacos, the pop-up happening from August 9-12 has been completely sold out for now. From what we know, everything from the guest room designs, to the nail art at the on-site salon, to breakfast and poolside cocktails, and floatable toys will be inspired by the fast food chain. There’re new menu items expected to be launched and a lot of TB swag to pick up, as well as entertainment from Feed the Beat® artists, dive-in movies and a “Freeze Lounge,” inspired by Mountain Dew® Baja Blast™.
From US$169 (S$231) per night, go to www.tacobell.com for more information.
4. Sleep inside a beagle: Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho
Even if you’re not a beagle or dog lover, you’ll be charmed by Dog Bark Park Inn, a bed and breakfast guesthouse housed inside the World’s Biggest Beagle. Located an hour’s drive from Lewiston airport in Idaho, there’s just one room that’s bookable from the months of April through till October. Surrounded by pasture lands and farms, think of this as a back-to-nature stay but with all the homey comforts (continental breakfast, puzzles, books) provided by owners and artists Dennis and Frances. Guests enter the body of the beagle from a private second story deck; once inside, enjoy the decorative furnishings and carvings done by the duo, or venture off to popular destinations such as Hells Canyon, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Don’t leave without taking home one of their hand carved dogs (they offer over 60 breeds and can customise orders) made out of pine.
From US$132 (S$180) per night for a double occupancy, fur kids welcomed for an extra US$15 (S$20). Go to www.dogbarkpark.com for more information.
5. Go to bed reading: Book and Bed, various locations Japan
Tiny hotel rooms in Japan aren’t uncommon. Next time, rather than checking yourself into a capsule hotel, book a space instead at the Book and Bed (they have a few locations around Japan) where you’ll bed down inside a bookshelf. Designed as “an accommodation bookshop” the beds are literally built on the inside of wooden book shelves filled with quality tomes (the Ikebukuro outlet has over 3,200 titles). While the accommodation part is kept simple (basic mattresses and lots of mood lighting) what else does any book lover need — except to be surrounded by good reads and that irreplaceable book smell?
Prices range from ¥3500 (S$44), go to www.bookandbedtokyo.com/en for more information.
6. Room with a view: Crane Hotel Amsterdam
Check your vertigo at the door if you’re planning to stay at this room with a view. A three-suite property housed in a converted crane 50 meters high, the project took over six years to construct. While it boasts killer views (the scenery changes daily thanks to a wind vane mode) of Amsterdam and its busy wharf area, don’t go expecting a host of on-site distractions. The eclectic décor (and novel hospitality concept) should prove distraction enough, if you pick the Mystique room, expect to sleep in an abode decorated with lots of black leather and gold leaf sheets. There’s also a rooftop hot tub, free Wi-Fi and for the very, very bold, a bungee jump option so you can kick up the adrenaline one more notch.
From 595 euro (S$908) per night, go to www.faralda.com for more information.
7. Hideaway in a cave: Kokopeli’s Cave, New Mexico
While you’ve seen the cave dwellings in Cappodocia, Turkey, these days you can opt to stay in an actual cave while on vacation. Kokopeli’s Cave (open year round except from December-February) in Farmington, New Mexico near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a cave hotel that’s been carved into the vertical cliffs of the 60 million year old Ojo Alamo sandstone. Overlooking the beautiful La Plata river valley, the cave is positioned 70 feet below the top of the cliff so the views are jaw dropping. The accommodation itself is not lacking in the least, consisting of a bedroom, living area, replica Native American Kiva (room used for religious purposes), dining area, kitchen and a bathroom with a waterfall shower and a hot tub. There are also two porches with sliding glass doors so you can maximise your time outdoors (sunrises and sunsets are unforgettable) and if you really, really need some added stimulation, there’s a TV, VCR (yes, they have one) and DVD player.
From US$340 (S$465) per night, extra US$50 (S$68.50) per person. Go to www.kokoscave.us for more information.
Written by Charlene Fang. Images: Instagram/hotels.