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From living like a king in your very own Indian water palace, to watching the northern stars from a glass igloo in Finland, we’ve created a list of the most unique, awesome, or downright bizarre hotels in the world – one for each continent, in fact (except for Antarctica, where you’ll have to settle for cruise ships, I’m afraid). Enjoy!

Europe

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Lapland…on one hand, its very name brings to mind cold, darkness and isolation. On the other, it’s one of the most pristine wildernesses in the world; host to countless wildlife, one of the greatest spots for outdoor activities such as horse-riding in summer and dog-sledding in winter and, most importantly, catching a glimpse of the fabled Northern Lights, one of the 7 wonders of the world.

That’s exactly what Hotel Kakslauttanen promises. Their glass igloos surround you with nature while you’re warm and cozy inside their thermally-heated interiors. The key attraction here is glimpsing the beautiful Northern Lights from the comfort of your hotel room. Hotel Kakslauttanen also offer cozy log cabins, or, for the more adventurous, the chance to sleep in one of their snow igloos. Not for the faint of heart – even with a heater, these achieve a maximum temperature of -3 Celsius in the depths of winter.

North America       

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Free Spirit Spheres Suspended Spherical Treehouses. This accommodation is as unusual as it is tongue-twisting. Described as ‘a tree house for adults’, Free Spirit Spheres is the nature-lovers idyllic paradise. Set amongst the forest canopies of Vancouver Island, the hippy treetop refuge is literally gravity-defying, featuring 3 separate lodgings at 3-5 meters from the ground, attached to the nearby canopy by a system of vertical ropes.

The spherical design of each lodging is reminiscent of a hobbit hole, with circular doors and windows. It’s either cramped or cozy, depending on whether you’re a pessimist or optimist!

If you’re looking for a nature getaway immersed in dense Canadian woodland, and have no fear of heights, Free Spirit Spheres could be the unique holiday experience for you.

South America

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If you have fantasies of stunning nature refuges, the Montana Magica hotel will tick all of your boxes, and more. Located in southern Chile, this bizarre hotel is only accessible by rope-bridge. To add to the oddity, it spews water at random points throughout the day. Although the lodge is entirely man-made, its mossy, overgrown exterior blends right in with the native rainforest – all 300,000 acres of it. In fact, it’s located slap bang in the middle of Huilo Huilo, one of the Chile’s largest nature reserves.

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Its interior lives up to the same standards. Untreated, rustic wood forms the décor. However, there’s a certain sophistication and elegance of the style, as windows, doors and staircases are formed around the natural curves of the wood. The hotel also has an indoor sauna. Not only that, you can bathe in outdoor hot-tubs carved from tree trunks, allowing you to be fully immersed in the surrounding nature. You might even be lucky, and catch a glimpse of the world’s tiniest deer – the pudu – standing at a mere 13 inches tall.

Africa

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Following the theme of immersion in nature, the Singita Sweni lodge in South Africa provides the ultimate wildlife watching experience. Located in the Krueger National Park – which holds more mammal species than any African game reserve – the lodge immerses you in a colorful variety of animal species.

The nearby river allows visitors to observe the likes of hippopotamus and alligators, whilst the off-road safari vehicles penetrate deep into the grasslands, where you’ll be a stone’s throw from hyenas, zebras, lions, cheetahs, elephants, and more. The interior is luxurious, but in keeping with the themes of its surroundings. By all accounts, the food is fantastic, too! If you’re looking to be surrounded by the exotic wilds of Africa without sacrificing your comforts, the Singita Sweni lodge is the place to be.

Oceania

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As a European, this sort of fetishizing of medievalism is, at times, hilarious. However, even I’ll begrudgingly admit that Thorngrove Manor Hotel is impressive. Designed as a romantic escape for couples, the manor will plunge you into your own fairytale fantasy.

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Baroque-style towers give clue to its richly decorated, medieval-themed interior. The hotel is 30 minutes from Adeleide, located in one of South Australia’s oldest wine-producing regions. Although, from the almost-convincing medieval exterior, you certainly wouldn’t think it.

Asia

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If a fairytale castle is a little too modest for you – why not scale up to an Indian palace – located slap bang in the middle of a lake, no less. It’s a bit like a utopian Waterworld (haven’t seen the film? Kevin Cosner? Don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much!).

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The aptly named ‘Taj Lake Palace’ was originally designed as a place of entertainment for the King of Mewar. Its marble-carved exterior is suitably majestic. Inside your watery refuge, you’ll receive a king’s service, including a personal butler, yoga sessions, luxurious décor and silk fabrics, astrology sessions and a private shipping arcade. The restaurant even provides private floating platforms for evening meals. If that doesn’t tick your boxes, I’m not sure what will.

 

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