You'll never guess where we slept! The world's wackiest places to stay

You'll never guess where we slept! The world's wackiest places to stay


You’ll never guess where we SLEPT! An underwater bed. A hut on skis. A hotel in a crane… the world’s wackiest places to stay

  • At Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, there’s a suite where half is 16ft below water 
  • In Latvia, you can spend the night in Karosta, a former prison turned hotel 
  • Faralda is a crane hotel in an Amsterdam shipyard turned cultural hotspot 

Bored with standard holiday rentals? 

Blasé about top-end hotels, or Premier Inns and Travelodges?

Never fear — websites are overflowing with madcap options, from sleeping in a former Soviet prison to a suite in a crane in Amsterdam, and a hut in the Arctic. Here are ten of the wackiest…

Bed down on an Arctic lake

At Lake Inari in the far north of Finland, you can be towed in a little hut by a snowmobile and deposited on a frozen lake for the night 

Imagine being towed in a little hut by a snowmobile and deposited on a frozen lake in the Arctic wilderness each night. That’s what’s on offer at Lake Inari in the far north of Finland: a mobile snug for two, with windows and a glass ceiling to see the Northern Lights from your bed.

Splash out on the wood-fired hot tub, an optional extra towed in your wake. There are toilets, and showers at base camp. Ice-fishing and husky sledding can be arranged. Available November to April.

HOW TO DO IT: Finnair ( London to Ivalo from £279 return until March 22. A one-hour shuttle to Lake Inari from £22, one-way ( Cabins from £238, based on two sharing (

Join the circus in Spain

Inside the Elephant Trainer’s Wagon, which once belonged to a circus, at Casa del Mundo near Alicante 

The Elephant Trainer’s Wagon, which once belonged to a circus, is one of seven places to stay at the resort of Casa del Mundo. Inland, amid lush gardens, it’s a half-hour drive from Alicante in southern Spain.

The wagon is rented alongside the neighbouring caravan, Punjab. Inside are polished wooden floors and painted walls, while outside a canopy shades two outdoor chairs. Each wagon sleeps two and they share a central kitchen and bathroom. The on-site restaurant serves international delicacies, and beaches are 12 miles away.

HOW TO DO IT: Ryanair ( London to Alicante from £25 return. A stay at Casa del Mundo costs from £140 for two days (

Stay in a Solent fort

Spitbank, a former fort in the Solent, which has been converted into a hotel with eight bedrooms

One of four Solent forts known as Palmerston’s Follies, Spitbank was built to protect against invasion by Napoleon III and completed in 1878. A £2 million investment saw the fort, a 15-minute boat ride from Portsmouth, converted into a hotel with eight bedrooms, some in former gun emplacements, with gun port windows and a penthouse suite in the lighthouse.

There’s a hot pool, and some unusual games on offer, such as whacking biodegradable golf balls off the roof into the Solent and laser battles in the basement.

HOW TO DO IT: Doubles from £599, full board, including ferry transfers (

Underwater in Maldives

The two-level Muraka suite at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, where half of the suite is underwater

Over-water villas in the Maldives are so passé. Now it’s all about going underwater. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, in the South Ari Atoll, has created a new two-level Muraka suite, half of which is 16ft below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

Above sea level there is a private infinity pool; downstairs it’s a spacious, ultra-modern villa with a glass viewing tunnel. Arrival is by speedboat or seaplane only.

HOW TO DO IT: BA ( London to Male from £702 return. Seaplane transfers with the Conrad to Rangali from £404 return. Villa from £7,273, B&B (

Night in a Latvian jail

In Liepaja, Latvia, you can spend the night in Karosta, a former prison, where there are food rations and hard beds 

A night in Karosta, a former prison in Liepaja, Latvia, is not for the faint-hearted. Built around 1900, it was once a Soviet military jail. Guests sign a consent form for the full ‘Extreme Night’ experience. Expect food rations, compulsory exercise, orders from guards and a spartan cell with a hard bed.

Survive the night and you will be rewarded with a guided tour the next day. Open May to November.

HOW TO DO IT: Wizz Air ( London to Riga from £52 return. Buses from Riga to Liepaja start at £6 one-way ( Rooms from £15pp, excluding meals (

Elevated in Amsterdam

Faralda, pictured, a crane hotel in the trendy NDSM neighbourhood of Amsterdam 

A short hop by ferry across the River IJ from central Amsterdam is Faralda, a crane hotel in the trendy NDSM neighbourhood, a former shipyard turned cultural hotspot.

Three luxury suites stacked on top of each other have been fitted to the interior of the crane, 50 metres above ground. There’s also a panorama lounge and Jacuzzi (which costs extra) on the top deck. There are no ladders: a lift whisks you up to your room.

HOW TO DO IT: EasyJet ( London to Amsterdam from £36 return. Suites from £578, including a bottle of wine, coffee, tea and a personal welcome package (

Swedish nest egg

The Bird’s Nest, a twig-covered treehouse with two bedrooms in Norrbotten, Sweden

The Bird’s Nest in Norrbotten, Sweden, is a twig-covered treehouse-with-a-difference. Each of the six nests is wood-panelled inside, with two bedrooms, a living area and a toilet. It is accessed via a retractable electronic ladder and has underfloor heating.

There are two saunas near by and meals are taken at ‘base camp’ —the 1950s Treehotel Guesthouse, a ten-minute walk away.

HOW TO DO IT: Norwegian Airlines ( London to Lulea via Stockholm from £184 return. Rooms from £379 B&B, including transfers from Lulea (

Be a Bond baddie in Oz

The Pole House, south of Melbourne, juts out on a plinth above Fairhaven Beach, on the Great Ocean Road, accessed via a 28-metre walkway.

Diamond-shaped, it is mounted on a 40-metre pillar with a retracting glass frontage. A winter woodburner hangs from the ceiling and there are touch-of-a-button features — you can imagine a James Bond villain such as Scaramanga ensconced in this eyrie.

HOW TO DO IT: Emirates ( London to Melbourne via Dubai from £705 return. House from £364 a night ( 

Sahara tent retreat

One of the Merzouga desert tents in Erg Chebbi, Morocco, an eight-hour drive from Fez

Live the desert dream in the Sahara in one of five glamorous tents in Erg Chebbi, Morocco, an eight-hour drive from Fez (you’ll need a 4×4 and a driver).

The Merzouga desert tents are based on nomadic camel-skin homes but upgraded with local furniture and bathrooms.

You’ll dine beneath the stars, and an array of quad bikes, four-wheel drives and camels is available to help you explore.

HOW TO DO IT: Ryanair ( London to Fez from £63 return. Car hire and driver extra. Double tents from £270 B&B, including dinner and a camel ride ( 

On the Sussex bus

Oak flooring, a wood-burning stove and bespoke kitchen aren’t what you’d expect to find on a double-decker, but the Big Green Bus in East Sussex is special.

Rescued from the scrapheap, it is parked in a field near Whitesmith, Lewes. The top-deck bedrooms sleep six, there are indoor /outdoor showers and an alfresco hot tub.

HOW TO DO IT: Bus costs £195 per night, based on two sharing. Hot tub extra (  

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