Gone are the days of hotels being somewhere you spend as little time as possible while you’re out exploring the destination you’ve travelled to see. Hotels themselves are becoming destinations and experiences, and after seeing these amazing accommodation options, you might find the lure of them irresistible, leading you to places you may not have thought.
This is camping like we’ve never seen it before. The trend glamping came about for those who want that ‘bring the outdoors in’ experience, without compromising on creature comforts. And when you’re holidaying somewhere as beautiful as the South Pacific, you’ll want as much outdoors to be brought in as possible. Queue the glamping trend. The Cook Islands’ first purpose built eco-glamping site, Ikurangi Eco Retreat, offers four luxury safari tents with timber flooring and their own private decks, perfect for enjoying a sundowner or three. Each tent has a private outdoor shower, powerpoints for charging electronics, hairdryers, ironing board and iron, hot water, tea, coffee and a bar fridge. That doesn’t sound like any camping trip we’ve ever done!
This is an experience for the adventurers among us and it’s an increasingly popular optional activity that travellers are demanding. Camping in Antarctica is a wonderful way to experience just how isolated and wild the landscape is, without having to rough it like the explorers of old. Bring your winter woollies and wake up to the sounds of a whale breeching in the bay and the glaciers cracking around you. Many cruises offer camping as an add-on experience and after your night on the ice, you’ll be able to warm up with a nice hot shower back on board.
The Inuit people figured out that by building shelters made of compact snow in their iconic shapes, they could increase the temperature from -49ºC to as high as 16ºC with body heat. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort borrowed the design of the igloo and added glass roofs to some of their igloos, giving guests the opportunity to see the spectacular Northern Lights. They also have traditional snow igloos at the resort, where travellers can experience the ingenious structures. Temperatures in the snow igloos are a consistent -3ºC to -6ºC, and the resort will provide everything you need for a warm night, including a down sleeping bag.
You’d be hard pressed to find a quirkier accommodation experience than a Swedish treehouse hotel, especially when they’re at the cutting-edge of architectural design. One of the treehouse hotels is called ‘The Mirrorcube’, and is 4x4x4 metres, with all exterior surfaces being covered in reflective glass. From the bedroom of The Mirrorcube, guests can look out over the gorgeous Swedish forest that’s reflected on the exterior. One thing we can’t help wondering though, is how many birds have flown into it.
There’s nowhere in the world like Turkey’s Cappadocia region, where homes, churches and mosques were carved out of the soft rock in the fairytale-like formations caused by ancient volcanic eruptions. The eruptions blanketed the region with thick ash that solidified into the malleable rock and as erosion made its mark on the plains, a whimsical landscape of cones, pillars and narrow buildings was unearthed. Hot-air balloon rides are popular in the region to see the landscape in all of its glory from the best possible vantage point.
Imagine lying in bed and seeing all sorts of marine life swim by your window. That’s exactly what you can experience at The Manta Resort’s Underwater Room. Spend hours watching schools of fish swim by your turquoise windows, as well as octopus and spectacular Spanish dancers gliding by. The bedroom is submerged in the middle of a bay and the windows offer near 360-degree views of the ocean surrounds. The landing deck at sea level has a lounge area and bathroom facility, and a ladder leads from here to the roof where you can lounge in the sun for as long as you please, or see the stars like you’ve never seen them of an evening.