Sick of the standard Hyatt, Marriott, and Starwood hotel rooms? Check out the Top 10 Extreme Hotels Around the World, including accommodations in caves, igloos, underwater, and on private islands.
Le Grotte Della Civita
This enclave of cave buildings is not what most travelers envision for accommodation when planning their Italian hill town escape. But although the architecture may bring to mind Fred Flintstone, the décor is all about rustically sophisticated charm. The eighteen guest rooms are spread throughout a complex of ancient cave dwellings in Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Each features simple furnishings influenced by traditional designs (a local museum was consulted during the reclamation process) and made by area craftspeople. The caves have been modernized for comfort (running water, electricity, etc.), but the focus is on conservation and historical integrity, ensuring a memorably authentic experience.
Attrap’ Rêves Allauch
Sure, not everyone dreams of starring in their own space odyssey, but for those who do, this family-owned enterprise provides an apt setting. Campy meets camping in six bubble accommodations with themes ranging from 1001 Nights to Zen. But these bubbles offer more than just a unique experience. Made from recycled materials, they are eco-friendly, and they are deflated at the end of the season, ensuring minimal impact on the surrounding pine forest. Although the bubbles are sheer, privacy is ensured, from individual bathrooms to secluded locales within the property. Packages heighten the experience, with extras such as Champagne, gourmet dinner, massages and a telescope and star chart for the ultimate in bedtime star-gazing. Though this Provençal property feels isolated, you can easily visit the pottery makers of Aubagne or the nearby town of Allauch overlooking Marseilles. Better yet, if you enjoy this experience, you can check out Attrap’ Rêves’ other bubble destinations throughout France.
Built in the 1920s by a self-appointed count and later owned by the expatriate writer Paul Bowles (who penned Spider House here), this two-and-a-half-acre private island boasts just one sumptuous, five-bedroom villa. Although guests can wade to their exclusive hideaway from the shores of Sri Lanka, it’s more fun to ride in on an elephant. The concept behind the villa’s design was to avoid closed spaces, which means that there are views of the sea from almost every point in the house, including the stunning infinity pool and the individual terraces attached to the four double bedrooms. Adding to the sense of luxury is the island’s attentive staff, which includes security guards and a dedicated chef whose many specialties include Sri Lankan curries.
Check out the full list of ten here.