Last Updated on March 10, 2020
Hotel design has evolved from the standard lobby-rooms-pool setup to a much more creative way of thinking about lodging. Here are 20 offbeat hotel designs that take an unexpected, strange, funny or innovative perspective on the concept of a place to lay your head.
1. Palacio de Sal
The Palacio de Sal in Bolivia has a salty character. From floor to ceiling, the hotel is built entirely from salt, including some furniture and decorations. The 16-room hotel is located on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, and is made from about one million blocks of salt.
2. Armagh Gaol
A historic Northern Ireland prison, Armagh Gaol, is currently being converted into a multi-use development including a four-star hotel with spa that will keep its jail-like features while converting three cells into each new suite. What once was the site of hangings will now house guests – who hopefully don’t believe in ghosts.
3. Dog Bark Inn
Whether you are a dog fan or not, the Dog Bark Inn in Idaho welcomes you to its two-story bed and breakfast that sleeps up to four and is shaped like a gigantic beagle.
4. Antalya Hotel
If you don’t like your view at the Marmara Antalya Hotel in Turkey, the rotating loft portion of the hotel will spin you towards a new one as it turns 360 degrees in a two- to 22-hour period. Half the rooms are submerged underwater and the other half above.
5. Tianzi Hotel
For those that want to stay in a hotel that has a godly appearance, the Tianzi Hotel in China’s Hebei province is made to measure. It was built to resemble the Taoist concept of Fu Lu Shou (Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity) and stands 10-stories tall.
6. The Kennedy School
The Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon is an elementary school turned hotel where guests stay in old classrooms that have their original chalkboards and clocks. The hotel makes use of the large campus with a pool, restaurant, and, for the now-much older crowd that walks its halls, a movie-theater pub, cigar bar and brewery.
7. Panda Hotel
Posh panda design is really a thing at the Panda Hotel in Hong Kong where stuffed pandas are found in every room and in the black and white design that runs throughout the building (not to mention the giant pandas on the exterior of the hotel).
8. Quinta Real Zacatecas
Quinta Real Zacatecas in Mexico is a hotel created from a converted bull-fighting ring. The hotel makes use of all the stadium space, from colonial style accommodations to a bar in the old bullpen.
9. Le Grotte Della Civita
An Italian company decided to buy up several ancient villages in Matera, Italy, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings were restored, preserved, and turned into simple and unique hotel lodgings like Le Grotte Della Civita, which has 18 luxurious cave rooms.
10. Songjiang Shimao Hotel
An abandoned, water-filled quarry is the site of a soon-to-be $528 million luxury resort in China. The Songjiang Shimao Hotel will incorporate green initiatives, including the quarry’s geothermal heat, have two stories underwater, and be a part of a larger theme park project.
11. Ariau Towers
Stay in the Amazon on the edge of the Rio Negro River in the Ariau Towers. The hotel is made up of a series of treetop hotel towers connected by elevated wooden walkways right over the water.
12. Oil Rig Hotels
In The Hague, Netherlands, you can stay in converted oil rig escape capsules that still have their emergency chemical toilets. There’s even one pod designed to look like the one in James Bond’s “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
13. Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort
The 27-story “horseshoe” hotel, Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, in East China is actually shaped like a donut when you include its two underground stories. The interior is lavishly decorated to match the catchy exterior.
Eco-luxury hits the slopes at Whitepod, a luxury ski resort that has a 15-pod camp in the Swiss Alps. Each dome-shaped tent has a double bed, a bathroom and is heated by a wood-burning stove. Not only does Whitepod aim to be environmentally-friendly, it puts skiing guests directly at the slopes.
Treehotel in Sweden is unique among the treehouse-style hotels because of its amazing location with a view of the Northern Lights. Treehotel’s treetop rooms are sleek, modern and minimalistic, with the idea that you can focus on the forest, river and view around you.
16. Curtis Hotel
The Curtis Hotel in Denver has created an art installation/mobile hotel room that is basically a bouncy house with an inflatable bed and small bathroom. While only temporary, guests could pay $50,000 a night to stay in the so-called “Hotel Rehearsal.”
17. Water Discus Hotels
The under-construction Water Discus Hotels in Dubai are designed to be solar powered and will have submergible disc-shaped hotel towers, will include an underwater dive center and will allow for non-stop marine observation.
18. Hotel Kakslauttanen
During the winter you can stay in a glass or real snow igloo at the Hotel Kakslauttanen in the Lapland region of Finland in the middle of the woods. Sub-zero sleeping blankets and gloves are included if you choose the igloo route.
19. Lighthouse in Harlingen
There are a lot of lighthouse hotels out there, but most have you staying in a caretaker’s or guest cottage. Not at the one-room Lighthouse in Harlingen in the Netherlands, where you stay in the original art deco-lighthouse with a luxurious nautical design. (It has a sister lifeboat hotel too.)
And if you just can’t decide on what’s your favorite-style of hotel design, stay at the Winvian in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, where you can choose from a treehouse, a stable, a music conservatory, a helicopter and more, all in luxury style.