You’re Staying Where?! The World’s Most Oddly Shaped Hotels
Forget boring and conventional hotels—there’s a whole world of strangely shaped accommodation just waiting for you to check in. From architecturally dramatic to downright weird, these attention-grabbing lodgings were designed to look like anything but. Dogs, elephants, guitars and even large intestines are just some of the peculiar forms that will redefine your notion of four walls and a bed.
Espejo de Luna, Chiloé Island, Chile
Inspired by the long seafaring tradition of Chile's Chiloé Island, Espejo de Luna’s signature building seems to teeter on its side like a wooden ship washed ashore. But this is no abandoned shipwreck. It’s a two-story, hand-built timber structure that houses this eco-resort’s restaurant and reception area. Look up and you can see the beams that form the boat’s hull rising as roof supports, an architectural trick that makes the preposterous possible. Guests stay in more standard-looking wooden cabins for two, four, or five people or in a five-room lodge. The accommodations are spread around the forested property for maximum privacy and connect via special wooden paths. With pet sheep that graze at your doorstep, bountiful farm-to-table cuisine, and inspiring views of both the coastline and the Andes, the property is a back-to-nature haven. On a clear night, when the moon is reflected on the still water, the name Espejo de Luna comes to light: It means Mirror of the Moon.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida
Rock lovers will be able to do more than just strum instruments at this hotel. They’ll be able to sleep in one. That’s right: The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, expanded to the tune of $1.5 billion in 2019, hails itself as the world’s first guitar-shaped hotel. The new 450-foot-tall building—among the tallest in Florida—is designed to resemble back-to-back guitars complete with brightly lit strings. With 638 guest rooms and suites, the glass architectural showpiece, which is between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, is guaranteed to wow as much as the star acts that are booked to perform there.
Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
Being in the doghouse is one thing. But dozing in one is quite another. You can do that in the world’s biggest beagle, Idaho's 30-foot-tall, 34-foot-long Dog Bark Park Inn, which sleeps four. Guests enter the giant wooden dog through a second-story balcony. The animal’s head holds a loft bedroom with an alcove inside the muzzle. The toilet is disguised as—what else?—a fire hydrant. The product of two chainsaw artists, the bed and breakfast is decorated with canine designs throughout: pooches on pillows and carvings hanging on the walls. Not surprisingly, pets are welcome.
La Balade des Gnomes, Durbuy, Belgium
If you ever wondered what it would be like to hide inside a Trojan horse, here’s your chance. The equine-shaped room at La Balade des Gnomes hotel, about 90 minutes south of Brussels, is a place to live out those classic fantasies. It’s one of 11 fantastical guest rooms inspired by myths and fairytales. Enter the belly of this beast (perched on wheels just like the horse from the story) through its back end to find a room with a double bed, two children’s beds, and a bathroom. But unlike the original, you can take comfort in the fact this structure has windows.
Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada
Childhood tree houses never looked like this. Swaddled by the coastal rainforest on Vancouver Island, the three Free Spirit Spheres are tethered to the trees with ropes and made of either cedar and Sitka spruce or fiberglass. Enter these hanging caramel-colored globes via a suspension bridge linked to a spiral staircase encircling a tree trunk. With cathedral-like ceilings, the interiors have furnishings made of natural materials that are organically integrated into their space. Swinging from the treetops just took on new meaning.
The Boot at Jester House, Tasman, New Zealand
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. It really is a giant two-story boot complete with shoelaces. Set in a grove of hazelnut trees, the Boot at Jester House is a whimsical guesthouse that immediately calls to mind the old lady who lived in a shoe. Within the curved walls and ceilings, you can lounge in front of the open fire or settle in for the night in the upstairs bedroom. Wake up in the morning to breakfast delivered to your door, and sip coffee on the Juliet balcony with views across a pond. It’s in the northernmost part of New Zealand's South Island, near Nelson.
Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, Huzhou, China
Like a giant horseshoe emerging from water, the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort is on Taihu Lake between Nanjing and Shanghai. Its 27 floors soar 328 feet above water, with two below that form a connecting underwater link with moving walkways. Covered with layers of white aluminum rings and finely textured glass, the above-water towers house 281 guest rooms and 83 suites and a lobby paved with Afghan white jade and Brazilian tiger’s eye stone. The landmark property also includes China's largest hot spring spa, with 26 hot mineral water pools. Dramatically lit at night to glow, the building shimmers ethereally over the lake, creating a surreal interplay of real and reflected image. You may have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
Hotel CasAnus, Antwerp, Belgium
No, we don't think you've always fantasized about sleeping inside an intestine. But someone clearly did. The one-room Hotel CasAnus, a bizarre sculpture by Dutch designer Joep van Lieshout, is designed to allow guests to spend the night inside a giant colon. Located in the Verbeke Foundation Art Park near Antwerp, the anatomical model is covered with a layer of fiberglass-reinforced polyester. This habitable colon is sculpted with bulging veins and painted the red of exposed organs, but thankfully, that's where the realism ends—the interior is stark white with a double bed, table, shower, and toilet.
Tianzi Hotel, Langfang, Hebei Province, China
If praying to an image of a deity brings good fortune, then spending the night inside the image of three might be even more auspicious. You can test the theory at the Tianzi Hotel, a 10-story building (about an hour from Beijing) where you can sleep inside a trio of ancient Chinese gods from the Ming dynasty. Dressed in colorful, traditional robes, the three towering figures personify the traditional attributes necessary for a good life: prosperity, fortune, and longevity. They also hold the Guinness world record for “largest image building.” You can even curl up inside the lucky peach held by the god of longevity—you enter through a door in his right foot.
KumbukRiver Eco Extraordinaire, Buttala, Sri Lanka
Elephants might eat grass and twigs, but this one is literally constructed of them—and can sleep 10. The 40-foot-long Elephant Villa at KumbukRiver Eco Extraordinaire, wrapped in the lush Sri Lanka jungle, is one of four fanciful accommodations at this unusual eco-resort on the banks of the Kumbukkan River. The thatched two-story pachyderm has two large bedrooms, a bathroom (with a tree in the shower!) and an open lounge on the upper deck. The lower level serves as a dining room with views of a pond and the forest through its open sides. During your stay, you can take a mud bath, treat yourself to a massage, take a cooking class, ride on a fisherman’s raft, and go on a jungle trek, where you can see actual elephants lumbering in the bush. True to the elephant's reputation, you won't forget this stay.
Belgium, Chile, China, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Idaho, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Southern Vancouver Island, Central Vancouver Island, Northern Vancouver Island