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STA Travel Blog

7 Totally Unique Hotels and Hostels that’ll Knock your Socks Off

When you’re travelling, the hotel rooms aren’t usually much to write home about; who wants to hear how lumpy your bottom bunk is or whether they served fried eggs or scrambled for breakfast? But we’ve done the rounds and turned up some pretty incredible accommodation that just might make it into your postcards to mum and dad. Of course we’re not suggesting you waste valuable tourist time cooped up in your room, but these unique hotels and hostels mean the fun doesn’t have to stop when you turn in for the night.

Image courtesy of Auggie Tolosa via Flickr

So how can you shake up your accommodation and make it worth shouting about?

 

Jailhouse Accommodation, Christchurch

Fancy landing yourself in jail next time you hit New Zealand? We reckon you should. This beautiful converted prison is an award winning backpacker hostel with rooms to suit any budget, and it’s one of those cushy jails that let inmates (well, guests) use the internet, watch TV and, you know, go outside when they want to. It might have lost that scary prison-y vibe but the remaining jail security features mean this hostel is super safe. There’s nowhere nicer to do time.

Clink 78, London

Yep, we really want you to spend a night in jail. This London hostel started life as a courthouse where, incidentally, The Clash once stood trial for shooting a pigeon (such rebels). Now completely renovated, Clink 78 still boasts its original cells but thankfully offers comfy rooms, TV and a ‘Clashbar’. And you won’t even have to do hard labour to earn the free breakfast.

A Ryokan, Japan

If you’re heading to Kyoto, you’d be mad not to spend a night or two in a ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn. They’re a terrific way to soak up the lifestyle and culture of Kyoto since you’ll typically be served the local cuisine and an immaculately set tea service. Matresses are laid directly on the floor (though they will likely be stored away during the day until being set for bed time) and most rooms are beautifully decorated with pottery, flowers, tatami floors and sliding doors.

Botel – the floating hotel, Amsterdam

Let us float this one past you (ha!) – why sleep on solid ground when you can snooze at sea? This snazzy boat hotel is slap-bang in the cultural heart of Amsterdam, and you can reach it via free ferry from Central Station. Choose a Waterside or Landside room depending on whether you want a view of the IJ river or the shipyard wharf, and chill out with a beer in the Iam Bar. Oh, and despite being in the middle of the river, there’s free wifi throughout the entire hotel. Handy for tweeting all your friends to say ‘I’m on a boat!’

The Floathouse, River Kwai

Five minutes ago you’d probably never seen a floating hotel, and now we’ve shown you two! This one’s on the historical River Kwai, Thailand, and it’s seriously beautiful. Made of teakwood and bamboo, this ‘floatel’ resort – complete with lobby and restaurant – fits right in with its gorgeous surroundings and is encircled by floating villas for all your sleeping needs.

Wandering Duck CANAL BOAT TOURS

I know what you’re thinking – what’s so unique about a canal trip? I’ll tell you: not only will you take a nice, leisurely tour through the city of Manchester and out to the Peak District National Park on a 69ft long narrowboat, you’ll be eating and sleeping on it too. They make brilliant use of the small space, with tables popping up out of nowhere at dinner time and two cosy cabins housing bunk-beds; if you’re travelling solo it’s a brilliant way to meet people since you’ll all be getting pretty friendly in such close quarters.

Quatermain Camp

If you’ve ever fancied sleeping in a game reserve, now’s your chance. Quatermain’s ‘back to basics’ 1920’s safari camp in South Africa is all about conservation, and modeled on a bygone era of exploration and adventure, with tents, camp beds, an open fire and a blanket of stars. You can even join a twice-daily safari drive straight from camp.

BlueWave Inn, Asukusa

Okay, so this hotel – though lovely – isn’t exactly unique in itself. It’s the menu that you’re more likely to be telling the folks at home about, since the restaurant is renowned for its authentic local puffer fish dishes, a delicacy in Japan. Remember the episode of The Simpsons where Homer thinks he’s been poisoned at a sushi restaurant by the infamous ‘fugu’? Well, that was a puffer fish. Don’t worry, we’re not trying to kill you; chefs in Japan have to go through rigorous training before they can cook it so the team at BlueWave Inn know what they’re doing. It’s not for everybody but we reckon it definitely earns the hotel a place in this list. If you try it, let us know what you think – and good luck! (joke.)

If you like the sound of any of these unique hostels or hotels, give us a call on 0333 321 0092 or pop in to your local STA Travel store to book with one of our Travel Experts. And if none of these spots tickle your fancy, check out our May accommodation sale where you can get up to 50% off hotels around the world – ends next week so be quick!
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