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When it comes to dazzling guests, some properties go above and beyond. We’re talking more than just a killer spa or sweet ocean view. Some hotels go so far as to blow us out of the water with their designs, from treehouse villages to underwater abodes, to hotel
suites built out of actual airplanes. Here are 11 of the world’s most unusual hotels.

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Saraii Village

Saraii Village: Sri Lanka

If you thought your days of treehouse make believe went out with your childhood, guess again. Saraii Village in Sri Lanka offers an eco-friendly, treetop paradise tucked within a canopy of trees in the heart of Weerawila. The fairytale estate has five treehouses made from up-cycled materials like discarded electric poles and railroad ties. But the property ups its luxe game with amenities like room service, Wi-Fi, a spa and a saltwater pool, plus activities like market visits, pottery classes, meals with locals, leopard safaris and cycling tours.

Hotel Marques de Riscal

Hotel Marques de Riscal: Spain

Anything Frank Gehry touches adds more than a dash of whimsy to design. Take, for example, the Hotel Marques de Riscal in Spain’s Rioja region. The first and only Gehry hotel project, the structure is pure avant-garde, using massive titanium ribbons that sweep out like massive waterslides from the facade. The hotel itself, a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has a stellar spa, restaurant and bar, as well.

Hotel del Sal Luna Salada

Luna Salada Hotel & Spa: Bolivia

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt flats are mythical in their own, but travelers can take the experience to new heights with a stay in an actual salt hotel. Just steps from the world-famous salt flats, Luna Salada Hotel & Spa is entirely made out of salt, including the walls, floor, ceiling—you name it. But Beyond just looking cool, the hotel is a tranquil escape, with a spa, steam room and whirl pool, as well as a restaurant offering panoramic views.

Photo courtesy of Kakslauttanen

Kakslauttanen: Finland

Want to see the Northern Lights? How about from the privacy of your very own glass-roofed igloo? In Finland, Kakslauttanen is nestled in the ultimate winter wonderland. These decked out, luxury log cabins are outfitted with their very own glass-enclosed pods perfect for a front-row, nighttime viewing of the Northern Lights. The snuggly pods pop up from the snow to provide cozy hideaways for uninterrupted nightscapes. Upgrade to a Log Chalet for a fireplace and sauna. Beyond the rooms themselves, the hotel offers three different size smoke saunas, which can take up to 100 bathers at once. Each has a fireplace and a dressing room, as well as ice swimming for those brave enough to give it a shot.

Crane Hotel

Crane Hotel Faralda: Amsterdam, Netherlands
DJs, VIPs and royalty are already hip to Amsterdam’s secret Crane Hotel, but now the rest of us finally have the opportunity to check it out for ourselves. Faralda is a viewing experience, to say the least, with two panoramic elevators, a Panorama Lounge, three Design Suites and a Spa Pool on the top deck. The design-forward, undeniably sexy hotel has become a landmark and restoration project, building a luxury, VIP hotel out of an actual building-top crane.

Caves Hotel

The Caves Hotel: Negril, Jamaica
Fulfill a long-harbored mermaid fantasy with a stay in an exotic grotto in Jamaica. The Caves Hotel in Negril is a handcrafted space that blends into nature, with 12 cliffside cottages, a grand villa, two dining gazebos and, of course, private caves, which are used for candlelit private dining and the signature Blackwell Rum Bar. Other luxury amenities include a spa, sauna, hot tub and saltwater swimming pool.

Hotel Costa Verde

Hotel Costa Verde: Costa Rica
Costa Verde might seem like a traditional hotel from the outside, but the reason you want to book this resort is for its one, very peculiar suite. The jungle hotel, on the outskirts of Manuel Antonio National Park, has refurbished a vintage 1965 Boeing 727 airplane into a luxe two-bedroom suite peeking out of the jungle canopy (Lost, anyone?). Enjoy sweeping ocean and jungle views from the 50-foot perch. Inside discover hand-carved teak furnishings, as well as two air-conditioned bedrooms, private bath, flat screen TV, kitchenette, dining area, ocean-view terrace and private entrance up a spiral staircase. The rest of the resort is decked out with three cliffside pools, four restaurants and beautiful views of the sea.

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Liberty Hotel

The Liberty Hotel: Boston
No one anticipates spending their vacation behind bars, but at Boston’s Liberty Hotel, that’s entirely the point. Located at the foot of Beacon Hill, this hotel is a transformation of the Charles Street Jail, a national historic landmark dating back to 1851. Today the hotel has 298 rooms and suites offering views of Boston and the Charles River. Take in the exposed brick and original iron gates that give the Liberty a decidedly modern look, while still evocative of its penitentiary past. But don’t be fooled, this former big house is nothing short of pure luxury and it’s not a crime to fall in love with it. Don’t forget to have a drink at hotel bar Clink.

Crazy House

Crazy House: Vietnam
Things go a little bonkers with Crazy House. Formerly called Hang Nga Villa, the design behind Crazy House intended to take guests back to nature. Described as a “fairy tale house,” the building is made to look like a massive tree with sculptured design representing animals, spider webs, caves and mushrooms, somewhat akin to the work of Antoni Gaudi. There are 10 themed guest rooms inside including the Ant room, Tiger room and Kangaroo room, each with decorations matching the theme. The Crazy House is still a work in progress, but visitors are drawn to it for its cheap rates and Disney-esque design in the heart of Dalat City.

Atlantis the Palm Dubai

Atlantis The Palm Dubai: United Arab Emirates
Leave it to Dubai to blow your mind with an over-the-top hotel. Atlantis the Palm Dubai might blend in as yet another five-star, luxury hotel, but venture beneath the water’s surface and you’ll find it’s so much more. What you’re booking here are the Underwater Suites: These two Signature Suites are fully submerged with floor-to-ceiling windows looking straight into the Ambassador Lagoon. Each suite has its own bathroom (also with floor-to-ceiling windows) for gazing at more than 65,000 marine inhabitants as you relax in pure Dubai luxury.

Tagged: Asia, Boston, Costa Rica, Europe, Germany, Latin America, Spain, Vietnam

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Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger

Meagan is a New York-based travel writer, though if you give her a plane ticket today she'll be somewhere else tomorrow. Her focus and passion is Mexico, but her travel wishlist never seems to get any shorter.

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