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12 Unique Stays Around the World: Travelling off the beaten path


12 Unique Stays Around the World: Travelling off the beaten path

1. KEEMALA TREEHOUSES, PHUKET, THAILAND


Our first property is located at Kamala on Phuket Island and is a much sought after location but not overly well known and fits our ‘unique destination’ admirably. The accommodation pictured above is of the ‘BIRDS NEST’. This would be my pick but that does not take away from any of the other three lodging types. 

The fact that the Birds Nest is surrounded by bush is ideal for those who enjoy the sounds of nature. 

Or maybe the Clay Pool Cottages are more to your liking. Although they are close to each other, there is plenty of vegetation to give each cottage the privacy you might like. 


Keemala Tree Pool House Thailand Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent Finder 

The TREE POOL HOUSE is another favourite, the biggest decision is which one to choose.  Each of the styles of accommodation has something  unique and you are spoilt for choice. This is an ideal place for a wedding or at the very least – Honeymoon. 

Block out the noise and wrap yourself in the beauty and nature of the hills. 

Is this a bedroom you would feel comfy in? 

Keemala Villas, View, Thailand Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent FinderKeemala Villas, Pool, Thailand Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Surrounded by trees and wildlife the only thing I would suggest is that you are best to close up when you retire for the evening unless prying animal eyes don't bother you.

Perched on the hillside you are constantly lulled by the gentle breezes from the ocean and stilled by the silence of nothing more than the twittering of birds. Sound idyllic?

The ‘MALA SPA’ embraces traditional healing concepts to the mind, body and soul integrating with modern forms of massage and holistic treatments. Raindrop Healing Therapy combines the medicinal properties of plants with our body's own energy to rejuvenate and luxuriate. You may like to indulge in the holistic slimming massage. Reiki - known to the west for its energy healing properties, is also on offer and what better place to experience it than at the MALA SPA. 

While ‘Feast for the Senses’ has become a little cliché sometimes it is the best way to promote gastronomic delights. There are several options - whether you are dining in or relaxing poolside. MALA Restaurant is open for all-day dining and the ‘CHA –LA’ which is perfect for poolside refreshments. The Healthy living Menu provides gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free and sugar-free for vegetarian and vegan taste buds. Fruit and vegetables are fresh and locally grown. 

Beaches abound in Keemala and are only a 5-minute drive in the complimentary car. 

How to get to Keemala?  Phuket International Airport is the local gateway connecting the rest of the world to Bangkok. The resort is a 40 minute drive from the airport and you have the choice of an organised transfer from Keemala or a local taxi. If choosing the latter, it is recommended that you use a metred taxi service. 

 

2. SALT PALACE HOTEL (PALACIO DE SAL), UYUNI BOLIVIA 


The first hotel in the world made of salt. 

Located on the banks of the majestic Salar de Uyuni, this hotel certainly fills our criteria for 'unique'. The whiteness of compacted salt contrasts with the desert painted in muted hues of brown against a deep cobalt blue sky. Be there as the colours change with sunset and sunrise. In the evening stars glisten as they light this incredible corner of the universe. Uyuni is a place that excites your curiosity and once you experience this hotel you will see there is nothing else quite like it. "Palacio de Sal", the first in its class and built entirely of salt, blends in harmony with the surrounding landscape, the perfect place to recharge before venturing out to the stark whiteness of the salt lake. 

But when is the right time to travel to Bolivia, especially to the salt flats? The Salar De Uyuni has 2 distinct seasons – rainy and dry. The dry season is from the end of April until the beginning of December while May to September the average temperature is 5 degrees touching below zero at night. The best time is between October to December when it climbs to 14 degrees. Always carry with you a neck balaclava which can be pulled up over your nose to protect from the extreme glare that reflects off the salt. Hats sunglasses and full coverings are needed.

The flats are 3600 metres above sea level so you need time to acclimatise. If you have come from La Paz then you should have no problems with the altitude. Remember to drink lots of water as hydration is very important. 

This is the suite I stayed in, as well as another option.

Salt Palace Hotel Bolivia, Room Option, Travel Agent FinderSalt Palace Hotel Bolivia, Another Room Option, Travel Agent Finder


Notice that the ceiling bricks are also made of salt as well as the base of your bed!

If you feel like exploring around the hotel, bikes are available ($5 US) and you provide the peddle power. There is a large billiard table for the downtimes and the outdoor bar-b-que when available is a perfect way to get to know other guests. 

As with all resorts, there is a spa and this one is inspired by Andean ancestral wisdom. Make time to experience this as it is quite unique, especially with the view it offers.  Check out this link to see what is in store. 

Notice the salt floors and pillars. 

Salt Hotel Bolivia, Travel Agent Finder Unique Accommodation



3. THE SHELDON CHALET, ALASKA  

Perched on a nunatak above the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre, just 10 miles from the summit of Denali National Park, the Sheldon Chalet is more than a place to stay - It’s an opportunity. “Experience Grand” at this exclusive destination on the flanks of North America’s highest mountain. 

The Sheldon Chalet Alaska, Credit-BURKARDThe Sheldon Chalet Alaska, Room view


At 1,828 metres in elevation, the Sheldon Chalet is as unique as the surroundings are breathtaking. Fine dining, luxury accommodations, and exquisite service are a commitment to the property’s distinctive environment. 

The Sheldon Chalet, Alaska. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Departure is from Anchorage and a stay at the chalet does not come cheap. It is recommended that you stay 5 nights – 3 nights at the chalet and 2 nights at either Anchorage or Talkeetna. Their recommended itinerary is listed as $9,900 USD per person. This includes all meals, flights, excursions and tours by Salmon Berry Tour Company. Choose from the Denali Brewing Company, Dog sledding, Denali Zipline, Mahey Jet Boat Tours, Alaska Railroad Hurricane turn and many local museums.


We can only guess at the feeling of being here surrounded by silence as the moonbeams bounce off the snow-covered mountains, certainly something to experience.

And to finish off, how about climbing into one of the caves below the chalet – guided of course. 

To reach the chalet you must be flown in! Landing in the deep snow is exhilarating and makes for great footage. 


Packing list: of course, you will need snow gear and very warm clothing but when you book, the people at Sheldon will provide you with a comprehensive list of what to bring. Some consider Sheldon to be the world’s most breathtaking ‘hotel’ and it is easy to see why. 



4. KINNITY CASTLE, COUNTY OFFALY, IRELAND


Kinnity Castle, Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


The original dwelling was known as ‘CASTLE BERNHARD’ and was built somewhere in the late 12th century. It was promptly destroyed in 1209 during one of the many Irish wars. Once the Normans moved in, it was rebuilt in 1213. 

The original castle was eventually destroyed yet again, so the Kinnity Castle you see today was built close to, but not on the original site. St Finnian's Abbey was erected near the original castle and there are small remains of the walls nearby. 

Kinnity Castle by night. Stay in a haunted castle! Unique stay accommodation. Travel Agent Finder

In 1871 it was extended and now features 37 rooms. But that is not the main attraction of Kinnity. The Castle is haunted with many documented cases of her past history and it is easy to see why some souls might still like to ‘pop in’ and say hello. Having been a witness a ‘visitor’ in our Abbey room, I am happy to say it was a pleasant experience and one we love to share with others. Set on 650 acres you can easily spend a lazy few days just taking in the scenery and hearing tales of old. 

You have a choice of room styles from the Baronial Rooms to the Abbey Court, the Staterooms and the Suites. No matter which you choose you can be assured of an amazing adventure. 


Just 90 minutes drive from Dublin, I highly recommend putting it on the agenda 

The courtyard of Kinnity Castle:Kinnity Castle courtyard. Unique accommodation Ireland. Travel Agent Finder.


How medieval is this – you almost expect the armored soldiers to jump out at you when you reach the top of the stairwell. 

The food is exquisite and you can take advantage of the full board package or just opt for Bed and Breakfast. But once you are here you don’t want to leave. 

Kinnity Castle hall, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder



5. THE CEBAR ICE HOTEL, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN 


Ice Hotel, Wedding, Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent Finder. CREDIT: Asaf Kliger.


This is a little bit more unique than other destinations. You see the ice hotel has to be rebuilt by artisans and craftspeople each year. Situated in Jukkasjarvi near Stockholm in Sweden, the Ice Hotel and Ice Bars change from year to year. Below is an excerpt from their sustainability values:

"THE ENVIRONMENTAL CYCLE 
Every year they borrow the ice from the Torne River to build a new seasonal hotel. Eventually, it melts and returns back to its origin in the spring. 

The basic idea of the Ice Hotel is built on the premise of the environmental cycle. So our relation to the water and the ice is central. 

Opened in 2016, it features 20 suites – an ice bar and art gallery and is maintained using renewable energy."


More information can be found on their website here

A suite in the Icehotel, Stockholm, Sweden. Travel Agent Finder unique accommodation.


Straight out of the Ice-box 

Torneland Icehotel, Stockholm, Sweden. Photo_Asaf_Kliger-Icehotel


The original Ice Bar began in 1994 and is located near Central Station in the city centre of Stockholm. The permanent hotel maintains a sub-zero temperature all year round. 

It is recommended that you spend one night in the ice hotel and a couple of nights in one of the chalets or local hotel rooms. When you return from a day's excursion it is best to have a fully warmed room. The ideal is to stay the night on either side of your time in the snow.

Entrance to the Ice Hotel. Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent Finder. CREDIT: Asaf Kliger.




6. SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND, SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA

Overwater villa Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


The first Eco-Luxury resort in Cambodia, Song Saa in Khmer means ‘The Sweethearts’. Two islands side by side and I think you may never want to leave. 

To arrive on the island is a 45-minute jet boat ride from Sihanoukville International Airport. Siem Reap is just 30 minutes by car away. The ferry or boat ranges from $11 US to $25 US and takes just under an hour. Pricing is per villa or suite and is fully inclusive with the exception of motorised sports.

Your view from the one-bedroom overwater villa is magnificent.

Song Saa Cambodia, one bedroom overwater villa, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder

 

Alternatively, the top of the line is the Royal Villa – ideal for a honeymoon:

Song Saa Cambodia, Royal Villa, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Song Saa Resort is not cheap, but for that special holiday, it is worth the cost for the luxury and serenity that it is synonymous with. 



7. TIERRA PATAGONIA

Tierra Patagonia, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


There are 3 resorts in the TIERRA brand, Atacama, Chiloe’ and Patagonia. At Tierra Patagonia, you’ll find yourself completely surrounded by wilderness, and you can enjoy an endless array of outdoor excursions. The building’s architecture is beautifully integrated with the landscape and offers stunning national park views. The hotel’s design is purely Patagonian with locally-sourced materials and artworks. 

The UMA Spa
Tierra Patagonia, Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder 

The highlight of Uma Spa is the heated indoor pool, complete with hydro-massage and water jets all encased in a glass-paneled sanctuary, offering views of the wild surroundings. It’s not unusual to spot Patagonian wildlife with the full walled glass outlook.

The spa circuit incorporates various temperatures and spaces to restore, relax or revitalize, including a pool, steam room, and soothing relaxation spaces. 

Outside, our open-air whirlpool tub offers the chance to soak in warm waters, while taking in views of Torres Del Paine and perhaps even spotting a guanaco or ñandú which has wandered up to the hotel 

The rooms all face the outward view of the mountains no matter which resort you choose. It is the remoteness that first jolts you into reality however this is the uniqueness of the resorts – the sustainable nature of each hotel is paramount. 

I think you will agree that the view is priceless.



8. ITTOQQORTOORMIIT, GREENLAND 


ITTOQQORTOORMIIT in Greenland, Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Ittoqqortoormiit (formerly known as Scoresbysund) is remote, so remote  in fact that it bears the distinction of being the remotest inhabited community in the western hemisphere. This “edge of the world” settlement is home to just 450 hardy souls. To the north lies the Northeast Greenland national park, to the south Scoresby Sund, respectively the largest national park and fjord on Earth. 

Ittoqqortoormiit has just one bright orange guesthouse in town, a pub that opens one night a week, a shop selling the basics and a post office. 

ITTOQQORTOORMIIT in Greenland, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Just two flights a week arrive on a Wednesday at Constable Point airport (one from Akureyri in Iceland with Norlandair, the other from Kangerlussuaq, West Greenland, with Air Greenland), and a helicopter meets incoming flights for the transfer to town. 



9. KAKSLAUTTANEN ARCTIC RESORT, FINLAND


The pictures say it all.

Your view from the ice igloos at Levi.

Kakslauttanen Finland, Stay in a glass igloo, Lapland, Finland. Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent FinderKakslauttanen, stay inside a glass igloo, Finland. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


The Kelo glass igloos combine the warmth of a log chalet with the sensational views of the Aurora and snow-capped forests. They sleep up to 6 and contain a private sauna, fireplace and kitchenette. Made from Lapland's unique Kelo pinewood, this is one place you will certainly feel right at home. 

Kelo glass igloos, Lapland, Finland. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


If you and 5 friends staying together isn’t your best idea for a holiday, then for a cozy couple the GLASS IGLOOS are just perfect.

Glass Igloos at Kakslauttanen, Lapland, Finland. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


These 2 person igloos have a toilet only and the option of an extra bed with the sauna and showers in a separate building. The 4 person igloo has a shower and toilet. 

Availability is from around August 24 right through until April the following year. 



10. GER (or Yurt) CAM, MONGOLIA

The Ger is a traditional round shaped dwelling that has been used since the Mongols started nomadic life. They consist of felt covers, wooden columns and a round window at the top, thin wooden poles and floor, wall (wooden lattice attached together with animal hide) and ropes.

There are a various styled Ger camps in the Gobi Desert with a lot of different options in accommodation. The Dream Gobi Camp as an example has 31 ‘huts’ all with private bathrooms and an onsite restaurant. 

Duut Resort, stay in a ger cam (yurt) in Mongolia. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder.


The Gobi Suvarga Camp is located just outside the picturesque Tsagaarn Suvarga. There are 15 in total – 4 are classified as deluxe with private bathrooms. 

Stay in a Ger Cam (Yurt) in Duut Resort Mongolia, Unique Accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


The Duut Resort is right next door to hot springs which is a perfect way to soak tired aching muscles. There are 25 Gers in this camp but only 4 with a private bathroom. 

Unlike many Ger camps, this one is near a lovely forested area. There is an onsite restaurant and you can even ride a yak if it takes your fancy. Other activities include horse riding, massages and tennis. There is no internet access at this resort. 

Traditional Yurt, unique accommodation in Mongolia, Travel Agent Finder


You can see how comfortable they are inside. 

Inside a traditional yurt, Mongolia, unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder

Some camps also offer camel rides. The showers are all western-styled for comfort. Do be aware that not all camps will have internet. 


11. TRADITIONAL RYOKANS, KYOTO & NARA, JAPAN


Sumiya Ryokan offers authentic accommodation in the historic district of Kyoto. The residence contains 20 comfortable rooms that strike a perfect balance between comfort and style. Additional amenities include 24-hour front desk assistance and room services. This traditional stay even allow pets. It is a 5 star Ryokan and Sumiya is a well-respected brand throughout Japan. 

Sumiya Ryokan Kyoto:
Sumiya Ryokan, Kyoto. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


The venue is located near Monument for Residence of Soshi of Tsushima in Tokugawa Era and 1050 metres from the Gion District. The city centre is a 10-minute walk away and Sanjo rail station  

Sumiya Dining:

Sumiya dining, traditional ryokan, Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


With so many Ryokan options all around Japan, it is difficult to list them all in one place but as opposed to the other destinations, where you are being introduced to just one property in a unique location, I can advise you that the options are many.

Welcome to RYOTEI RANGETSU –KYOTO 

Ryotei Rangetsu Kyoto, unique accommodation Japan, Travel Agent Finder


Mt. Arashiyama is the perfect setting for the newest Ryokan in Kyoto. A luxurious setting greets you as you enter a very modern take on an old theme. Situated upstream from the Togetsu bridge, the ryokan is well hidden providing the ultimate romantic and restful stay. The gardens are meticulously kept in true Japanese fashion. Mt Arashiyama’s stream is full of body soothing elements so the Rangetsu is the perfect place along the stream to harness the healing waters. 

Nestled into the beautiful Mt Arashiyama Nara near Osaka is our next destination -  TSUKIHITEI.

Tsukihitei Ryokan, Japan. Unique stays, Travel Agent FinderNara Japan, where deer wander the parks freely. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder.


For those familiar with Nara, you will find deer roaming freely in the National Parkland and around many of the local Ryokans.



12. LAYA VILLAGE, BHUTAN


Laya Village, Bhutan.  Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


Located at 3800 metres above sea level in the North-Western province of Gasa lies the beautiful mountain village of Laya. The Laypap people are unique in dress and you will not meet a more stylish and welcoming village – the highest in the country. 

Every year in October the Royal Highland Festival is held to celebrate the yak herders. The festival is one that was introduced to encourage the people to continue with herding as modern ways had resulted in them turning away from this style of farming. 

If you prefer 5-star hotels and resorts, this is not for you. If you are humbled by the experience, you simply must plan a journey to Gasa.  

Your accommodation is tent-style after gentle trekking for 2 days and warmth is guaranteed by the people for you time in the clouds.

Laya Village, Bhutan. Unique accommodation, Travel Agent Finder


I hope you have enjoyed my travel guide on unique stays around the world. I have taken you through the wilds of the mountains, the turquoise waters of Cambodia, the mysterious castles of Ireland and more.

There are so many more places that I can show you and many adventures to document along the way. If you wish to stay in touch why not send me a message or follow my travels here.

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