A trend in the travel world that is becoming increasingly popular is the “experiential” hotel. Many travelers are no longer looking for a basic room in a premier location, but instead for an experience that will allow them to get to know an (often remote) area, or at least have their hotel be something they’ll never forget. From staying in mines in the deepest hotel suite in the world to getting in touch with nature in a tree-top accommodation, these ten unique hotels are must-stays for the experiential traveler.
Location: Ylläsjärvi. Finland
This hotel is an experiential property located in the Snow Village, a compound of snow and ice making a restaurant, bar, lobbies, sculptures, walls, slides, and, of course, the SnowHotel. Stay overnight in a room made completely of snow and enjoy the illuminated ice art that surrounds you. Rooms range from double igloo rooms to “furnished” ice suites.
The Sala Silvermine
Location: Sala, Sweden
The Sala Silvermine is not for the claustrophobic. Stay in the deepest hotel suite on Earth. Once you arrive, you will be given a guided tour of the mine, once Sweden’s largest producer of silver, which is 155 meters underground. After the tour, guests are given a goodie basket of fruit, biscuits, cheese, chocolate, and wine, which can be a romantic touch in the dim, candle-lit room. Prepare to rough it a little as the toilets are located 50 meters from the room, while the showers are above ground in the hostel.
Safari Land Farm and Guest House Resort
Location: Tamilnadu, India
Often called the Tree House Resort, Safari Land will really get you in touch with nature. Safari Land is specifically designed with wilderness lovers, bird watchers, and environmentally conscious. Guests will stay in tree houses perched above 4,000 feet high hills. Look down and you will see a tranquil stream pouring down the hill. Look forward and your view will be of the Blue Mountains in India. And for those who want to have a rustic experience but still enjoy some comforts of home, electricity, toilets, and hot water are available.
La Balade des Gnomes
Location: Heyd Nr Durbuy, Wallonia, Belgium
La Balade des Gnomes is an experiential hotel for those who have a big imagination. With a fairy-tale theme in mind, the rooms are extremely detailed and over-the-top. Sleep in a boat under twinkling lights while floating in a swimming pool or opt for the enormous Trojan Horse Suite where you will literally be staying inside a trojan horse.
Palacio de Sal
Those with high sodium levels, beware! The Palacio de Sal is, exactly as the name states, made entirely out of salt. Not only are the walls, ceilings, and floors made out of salt, but also the furniture. And, it doesn’t stop there. Salt artwork and a salt golf-course are also part of the experience.
Controversy Tram Inn
Location: Hoogwoud, Netherlands
Guests of the Controversy Tram Inn can experience sleeping in a railcar converted into a 5-room Bed and Breakfast, each with a unique theme. A double bed, shower, sink, and toilet are also included. Next to the experiential hotel live the owners, Frank and Irma Appel, who also live like their guests, sleeping in a London double-decker bus in their living room and eating in a kitchen that is now a French Van.
Jules Undersea Lodge
Location: Key Largo, Florida
Imagine having to dive underwater to get to your room? If you stay at Jules Undersea Lodge, this becomes a reality, as guests dive 21 feet to get to this completely submerged experiential hotel. Meals and luggage are handled in waterproof suitcases, and the food is actually hot. Each room holds a 42-inch round window so that guests can check out the many species of sea life swimming in the lagoon. If you’re into diving, the hotel provides unlimited tanks for their guests to explore the sea.
Propeller Island City Lodge
Location: Berlin, Germany
With rooms designed by German artist Lars Stroschen, staying here is like sleeping in a giant work of art, with upside-down rooms and flying beds. Everything you find in the Propeller Island City Lodge is custom-made and one-of-a-kind. Rooms range from mild to extreme and have the ability to alter your sense of reality. Be prepared for surprises everywhere you turn.
Location: Holbrook, Arizona
The Wigwam Motel is one of the last standing Wigwam hotels left from a 1950’s chain. In 2002, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests have the opportunity to stay in one of 14 authentic-looking teepees. Making the stay more experiential is the fact that it is located in close proximity to a number of Native American Reservations. Unlike Indian-style teepees, however, guests at Wigwam can enjoy double-beds and air-conditioning.
The Boot Bed ‘n’ Breakfast
Location: Tasman, New Zealand
Remember the childhood nursery rhyme The Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe? Well picture that, but a lot more luxurious. This giant boot is located on 6 acres of gardens, courtyards, and well-manicured property. With private outdoor seating, a spiral wooden staircase, a cozy fireplace, and fresh flowers in rooms made for two, it is easy to see why the Boot Bed ‘n’ Breakfast is the perfect romantic experience for couples. Still, if you’re single and still want to see what it’s like to sleep in a giant shoe, make the trip anyway.