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Relax & rejuvenate

Guide to the world’s most amazing and unique hotels

Clive Wedderburn June 8, 2017

From Arabian Nights style destination hotels to underwater villas, if you’re thinking of creating a dream trip or a special celebration, get inspired by this guide to the world’s most unique hotels.

1. Post Ranch Inn - Big Sur – California

What’s so special: Staying in a treehouse watching Californian Condors circle on thermals above a breathtaking Pacific Coastline.

With daily activities including yoga, cycling and nature hikes in spectacular scenery this free-standing clifftop eco-residence on stilts with accompanying treehouse suite commands uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. 

The perfect rest-stop during your thrilling road trip along the California Highway, dine at the award-winning restaurant, sip world-class Californian wines before retreating to your woodland suite furnished with original artwork to stargaze through the skylights above your bed.

2. Soneva Kiri Resort and Residences –  Koh Kood – Thailand

What’s so special: Stargazing in the observatory and Treepod dining at this paradise family resort

Just an hour’s flight from Bangkok you’ll find the epitome of barefoot luxury, with architecture beautifully entwined into the green oasis landscape of Koh Kood in the Gulf of Thailand. Vast villas offer authentic wooden interiors and private pools, plus your own golf buggies to tootle about the resort.

Children will be thrilled when they set eyes on The Den, a play centre thoughtfully constructed in the shape of a manta ray, dedicated to learning and the creative arts, whose programme also offers rainforest walks and cultural tours to local schools and communities. Adults will adore the Treepod Dining suite, set high in the canopy among the birdlife with views across the ocean.

3. Emirates Palace – Abu Dhabi

What’s so special: Walking in a Middle East fairy tale

Once the actual residence of a sheikh, this palace could have been lifted directly from the pages of an Arabian Nights adventure. Featuring gold leaf ceilings, private butlers, opulent restaurants and overlooking a pristine beach and private marina, the Emirates Palace is the epitome of a destination hotel. To understand what we mean, try the signature 24 carat gold cappuccino, sprinkled with 24 carat gold flakes while you absorb the scent of exotic flowers and spices that fill the air.

Walking from your room to the hotel reception, along marble floors and by gold-lined porticos will make you feel like royal guests on a state visit. The ambiance is one of complete serenity, at times so peaceful you feel as though you have the entire residence to yourself. You’ll be pinching yourself as you watch dolphins frolicking in the Arabian Gulf from the comfort of your balcony or sun lounger. The phrase ‘dream holiday’ never felt so apt as it does when applied to this palace of the senses.

4. Bubble Lodge – Mauritius

What’s so special: Sleeping under the stars surrounded by nature in an air-conditioned eco ‘dream bubble’.

Mauritius is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world with its breathtaking vistas, white sand coastlines and rainforest-clad mountains. With dreamy landscapes such as these to tempt visitors it’s no wonder that preserving the natural beauty of the environment is a topic high on everyone’s agenda

The Bubble Lodge, situated in the tea plantations and herb gardens of Bois-Cheri, offers a totally bespoke experience with little or no impact on the environment. Your nearest neighbours are song birds, deer, swans and geese particularly from the nearby lake, which is also a great place to paddle and kayak. The resulting ambiance is a state-of-the-art Mars mission meets Mauritian paradise hideaway, as though you have landed on a beautiful new planet and decided to take a holiday. We love it and if the reviews are anything to go by, the feeling is mutual.

5. The Manta Resort – Pemba Island – Tanzania

What’s so special: Sleeping with the fishes in your underwater suite.

We have a connection to the sea that is undeniable, a yearning and desire to discover the mysteries of the ocean. For those who just can’t get enough, the Manta Resort is one of the most unique and thrilling marine experiences in the world, a place to stay in total isolation, adrift in calm seas on your very own Swedish-engineered floating overwater/underwater villa.

By day the suite is bathed in glorious sunshine, the radiant coral sparkling around you in crystal clear waters while you enjoy chilled drinks on the sundeck above. By night, underwater spotlights illuminate the night-time behaviours of squid, octopus and Spanish dancers in a display that will rival the shimmering Milky Way above.

6. Kingston Treehouse – Lion Sands Ivory Lodge – South Africa

What’s so special: Pulling up your own drawbridge and finding yourself at one with the wilderness.

The Kingston Treehouse in Lion Sands Private Game Reserve is an intimate safari lodge that places you directly into the African bush, surrounded on all sides by wildlife offering you a privileged and entirely private view of the landscape.

There is radio communication to the main lodge and you may even find a few bars of signal on your mobile phone to text friends and family back home of the amazing time you are having, but absolutely no WIFI. Your view overlooks a nearby river where the animals come to quench their thirst, while at night the sounds of the jungle and the stars overhead will be your constant companions.

7. Volcano House – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Hawaii

What’s so special: Hypnotic views of nature’s great land builder – Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano.

If you have always been fascinated by geological phenomena, then here’s an experience that should top your travel wish-list – staying at the only hotel located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From this incredible vantage point you can gaze out over the rim of Kilauea's Halemaumau smoking, lava-clad crater, or head out to the Steam Vents or the Thurston Lava Tubes on bicycle tours.

The walking trails of the region contain the fossilised footprints of ancient Polynesians who passed this way centuries before. And when you return from your exploration of the beautiful and fascinating surrounding countryside, your evening meal will provide an unrivalled lightshow of the world’s most active volcano.

If you need inspiration for your dream trip then call our Destination Specialists for advice or visit our unusual and unique holidays page for more inspiration on breathtaking and unique experiences worldwide.