Unconventional hotels of the world

Where do you take the man who has travelled everywhere; seen everything? From a beehive-shaped eco resort in the Patagonian Andes to five-star rooms inside a Chinese quarry, these rare retreats offer an experience even the most seasoned globetrotter couldn’t trump.

Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, Iceland

This strikingly simple lodge lets the landscape do the talking. Located in Thingvellir, it’s home to a spa, a 10-metre hot pool and the most sympathetic architecture in the Golden Circle. When you’re not out hiking, relax in the stylish bar where you can enjoy surreal views of the Icelandic wilderness – and if you’re lucky, the elusive Aurora Borealis.

geotermal spa


Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile

There are incredible structures in this protected biosphere reserve in Patagonia; notably the timber Nathofagus Hotel & Spa and the surreal Montaña Mágica Lodge, which appears to have burst from the undergrowth. Inspired by a French novella, the latter is a fantasy brought to life with trickling water, a rickety bridge and storybook dormer windows. Both treat guests to pool facilities, plus large suites with décor influenced by the region and even ski equipment for hire (the nearest slopes are 40 minutes away).



Shimao Wonderland InterContinental, China

Still under construction, InterContinental Hotel Group’s most ambitious project to date is a multi-million pound complex hugging the inside of a quarry. Shanghai out-of-towners can expect their new weekend sanctuary to feature hanging gardens, an artificial lake, a dramatic waterfall, extreme sports facilities and a number of underwater rooms.


Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain

Renowned architect Frank Gehry made Rioja his next destination after bringing the Guggenheim to Bilbao. The groundbreaking, titanium-adorned Hotel Marques de Riscal overlooks the region’s oldest winery and has its own well-stocked terrace bar – easily the edgiest drinking spot for miles.


FG terrace

The Yurt Retreat, Somerset

Situated little more than a fossil’s fling from the captivating Jurassic Coast, The Yurt Retreat is a collection of four Mongolian-style canvassed tents – each hand-sculpted and not inconsiderable in size. There’s a lodge at the centre of the camp where you can reconnect with conventional living as and when you wish to cook, use your private shower or slump in an armchair. The site in Somerset is lovely – look out for bold buzzards circling overhead and timid deer checking out the new arrivals.


view 3


Quite literally the coolest hotel in Scandinavia, this frozen fortress will definitely fulfil any desire to do things a bit differently. Its position is just north of the Arctic Circle, deep in the wilderness, so it’s a strange and other-wordly setting inside and out. The signature Cold rooms are carved from ice and snow, with super-soft throws keeping the beds toasty. The most unexpected feature? A chapel with an intricate ice ceiling and fur-clad pews.



Art Suite



  1. Diana Sanders says:

    All the places look spectacular a very nice prize.

  2. Sonja herbert says:

    Very nice never been. Look lovely as well

  3. I followed the link to the contest and it was in another language, and there was no way to submit?

  4. Wow… what a lovely places! Looking perfect for romantic break! Love it.

  5. Kelly Hafdell says:

    I would love to go to any of these hotels they are all beautiful.

  6. It appears that many unconventional hotels enjoy nature while consuming the natural landscape they replace. Hotels should be in the cities and not intrude into the species’ forests and species’ deserts. Don’t build with nature or on top nature; build outside of nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *