Our semi-weekly series: A Night Less Ordinary is all about finding the most weird and wonderful hotels all over the world. From a James Bond hotel room, to sleeping underwater expect the unexpected. This week, we have a night less ordinary at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. This week, check in a the Karosta Prison Hotel where your inn jailbird can shine and we advise you to go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
If you’re a monopoly addict or you simply get a bit excited about the idea of a night behind bars, then Latvia’s Karosta Prison Hotel will be right up your street. But, this place is more 50 shrieks than 50 shades, so beware!
The former KGB prison hasn’t actually changed all that much since it stopped taking prisoners. You can simply tour the former Soviet military jail, or you can do the real deal and go for an ‘Extreme Night’ package.
Once you get there you’ll get the full treatment; finding out what it was like to be an inmate, you’ll get handcuffed and escorted to your cell for the night. You won’t find any home comforts here with some stale rye bread and Russian tea for room service. After that you’ll have to haul your own pallet, laid with a thin mattress before you can lay your head down. And that’s after you’ve dressed it to military standards. You’re given four minutes to use the bathroom (a hole in the ground) while the rusting tap leaks just enough water to brush your teeth. It’s all done in the spirit of good fun (I think) and is meant to be a real experience and something different.
If that’s not enough to freak you out a bit, the former prison is known for its ghostly, mysterious activity. Lightbulbs unscrew themselves. Doors open and close, seemingly of their own free will, and footsteps echo throughout the prison halls. Yikes!
So, don’t say I didn’t warn you! For a real night less ordinary, this place takes no prisoners (groan) but at the bargain price of around £7 per night, it’s hard to beat for value. If that sounds like your cup of tea, (maybe you’re part of a particularly intense Stag party group!) the hotel is always ready for their next victims… I mean guests!
When you think of Albufeira Portugal the tourist capital of the Algarve, you first think of its golden beaches and pulsating nightlife. These features attract droves of holidaymakers from all over Europe, particularly during the summer months when you can’t swing a lilo without banging into another tourist. Coming under the municipal area of Faro, Albufeira covers an area of approximately 140 km², with more than 40,000 resident inhabitants including a whopping 4,000 foreigners who have chosen to live here. But how has Albufeira earned so much popularity and yet retained its traditions? Read on to find out why, this week, we heart Albufeira Portugal…
The history of Albufeira
Back in Roman times, bustling Albufeira was called Baltum, up until in the 8th century when the Moors who occupied the town renamed it Al-Buhera – The Castle on the Sea. Today, vestiges of aqueducts, roads and Roman bridges can be still be seen in Paderne and Guia. Much later, in the middle of the 19th century, the fishing industry did much to revive the economy of the town, soon becoming the principal means of income for the region. Tourism only began to flourish from the ‘60s onwards, providing a new breath of air for the locals, leading to the town becoming a city in 1986. Thanks to an ever-growing tourist industry, Albufeira has become one of the most desired holiday destinations in Europe.
Best beaches in Albufeira
Albufeira beaches are the most popular in the Algarve, yet with more than twenty golden, sandy beaches to choose from, many of which are blue flagged, they never get too overcrowded. The most well-known is Fisherman’s Beach, where many of the Algarve’s summer parties are held. Despite this, the beach has managed to retain its traditional appearance, of which the fishing industry is still very much a part – expect to see colourful Algarve fishing boats dancing on the waves both day and night. Falésia Beach, a huge length of fine golden sand running from Albufeira to Vilamoura, is another great spot, particularly if you’re bringing the kids as its blue flagged. Similarly, Olhos d’ Agua or “eyes of the water” as it translates to, is a safe beach that’s very popular with tourists due to its myriad resort places to eat and drink along the beach. It gets its name from the freshwater springs underneath the sands, which can sometimes be seen to bubble up at low tide. Praia do Túnel, is situated at the front of the old Albufeira town. It is a magnificent wide stretch of golden sand, embraced by soft golden-red cliffs and boasting striking rock formations in the water. Access is through a ‘tunnel’ in the cliffs under a hotel just past the tourist office with a few steps down to the beach – hence its name.
Albufeira’sold town centre has a charming traditional feel. White-washed houses and narrow, cobbled streets lined with cafés and boutiques lead to a picturesque central square. In the square, you will find yourself surrounded by bars and restaurants where you can taste some of the local fish-based gastronomy. The historic centre exposes Albufeira’s Arab past through its impressive architecture. The charming, meandering streets are narrow and the jasmine-scented air makes walking through the neighbourhood a pleasure. You can walk to the Castillo del Mar from here – the ‘castle by the sea‘ – a fortress built by the Arabs as a significant point of defence. Culture enthusiasts will enjoy discovering the rich heritage of Albufeira, particularly if they visit the Museum of Archaeology. The museum showcases fascinating artefacts from the pre-historic, Roman, Muslim, medieval and modern periods. The Church of São Sebastião on Praça Miguel Bombarda has an impressive Manueline doorway that provides an excellent photo opportunity. From there, Rua 5 de Outubro leads through a tunnel to the Fisherman’s beach, where you can see Albufeira’s colourful fishing boats surfing the waves. One of the best attractions in Albufeira is the Zoomarine Aquarium, where visitors can watch animal shows and even have a chance to swim with dolphins. Go-carting and horse-riding are also popular activities.
Where to party in Albufeira
And if you’re looking for some late night revelry, there’s plenty of it in fun-loving, lively Albufeira. The Strip is the place to head to – a succession of booming bars, restaurants and clubs – and the hub of Albufeira’s nightlife scene. The owners of the bars and restaurants are frequently expats, who make you feel at home straight away and enjoy nothing more than a good natter. For adult holidays there are happy hours, strip clubs and late night partying on balmy summers evening. And the best bit? Drinks are seriously cheap.
What to eat in Albufeira
In the foreground of Albuferia’s dining scene is its fishing industry. Traditional Algarve dishes include the famous Cataplana, a seafood and shellfish dish,and grilled sardines. Tuna, sea bream, monkfish, horse mackerel or alimados, squid and many other delicacies are prepared mostly in stews, ragouts or grilled, or boiled – any of which is sure to be excellent. You won’t find fresher fish than here. Desserts are another strong point; cakes are mostly made from dried fruits, and other titbits are made from almonds, figs and carob beans. There is an ice-cream of carob, the Dom Rodrigo, and werecommend you try the Almond Liqueur, Alfarroba (carob) liqueur and Medronho.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week, the Three Farthings Naturist B&B&B (well this Sunday is National Topless Day, after all!).
What’s the gimmick? Three Farthings Naturist Homestay B&B&B is a secluded hideaway, where guests can relax ‘au naturel’ in a five star pamper fest. The B&B&B stands for bed, breakfast and bubbles (or bare, bums and bellies as their website may tell you). Bare (!) in mind that this is no regular B&B; guests will be staying in a naturist household, in which age, gender, looks or sexual preferences are never judged and newbies are always welcomed.
Why stay? This is really a beautiful place to stay.The detached bungalow boasts a large, private garden with a wooden deck, sun loungers, dining area, hot tub and an outdoor hot shower and guest rooms are decorated in warm, attractive colours, with crisp, white bedlinen, thick fluffy towels and comfortable bathrobes. Even the bathrooms are fitted with underfloor heating and electronic eco showers. The piece de resistance is the Asian room, containing a deluxe four poster super king size bed. The room is decorated with Indian silk/woollen rugs, Thai silk curtains and cushions and includes a flat screen TV/DVD player, trouser press and fluffy Rhomtuft towels.
The Wow Factor: Two-thirds of the energy used is generated by solar panels and waste is mostly recycled. To keep the carbon footprint down all produce is sourced locally and organic where possible. Meals are always freshly prepared using seasonal ingredients and there is no need to ‘dress for dinner’! Relaxing naturist massages are also available, along with a series of other top quality treatments.
Three Farthings is a nonprofit venue. Profits are donated to charity.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one bit of this gorgeous island to focus on. It’s in a great location right in the middle of Africa, Europe and historically, Asia Minor. The weather is heavenly, with hot summers of at least 30 degrees, and waters of up to 27. And it’s even the place where Zeus is said to have grown up, so if it’s good enough for a God… Heraklion is good enough for us!
You may have heard a little something about the beaches in Crete, but they really have to be seen to be believed. Sun-kissed and sandy, the beaches of Crete and Heraklion in particular are quite simply a joy.
For sporty types: Kokkini Hani is a little sandy beach just over 15 miles from Heraklion is a wind-surfer’s dream, it’s known for its north-west winds.
Family Ties:Amoudara has a three mile-long organised beach, with long stretches of warm sand to whip up a sandcastle and crystal waters to take a refreshing dip when tired hands demand it.
Best for beach bars: Ayia Pelagia, the long sandy beach of Malia, is about a half hour drive from Hearklion, but is well worth it for the soft sandy beach and vibrant atmosphere.
Ideal for everything: Matala. In a small valley, you’ll find this beautiful long beach in a quiet bay. Made famous in the ’70s after it was ‘discovered’ by hippies, it’s long been a top choice with visitors. It’s got every activity and amenity you can think of – from umbrellas, water sports and beach volley courts to heaps of bars, restaurants and cafes.
Acqua Plus Water Park: A whopper of a water park at 50 acres, it’s situated just round the corner from Crete Golf Club. It’s surrounded by lush gardens and the slides are hidden between towering palm trees. It’s home to dozens of slides, pools and games, which is more than enough to keep little ones on their toes for a day (or even two!).
Watersports: If you’re not content with the water park, you’ll be able to find plenty more water activities during your time in Heraklion. Thanks to gorgeous, crystal clear waters, snorkelling is a must, while jet-skiing, banana boating, pedaloes, canoeing and windsurfing are growing steadily more popular.
Historical Museum of Crete: A great place to take the kids to learn about the evolution of this wonderful city. On top of that you’ll find paintings by the famous artist El Greco and contemporaries.
Hiking: You know that bit in the middle of your holiday when you’re thinking, ah, really I need to do some exercise, we’ve got just the ticket – a network of hiking trails crosses the region across the mountains. The E4 trailer goes across Mount Psiloritis in the west to Mount Dikti in the east. You’ll find lovely villages, with traditional oil or wine pressing, springs to enjoy fresh water and stunning views.
Festivals and religious celebrations: Crete is filled with celebrations throughout the year. Usually centreing on food and culture, there’s always something going on. One of the most vibrant is the Heraklion Summer Festival, held by the local council to celebrate the rich culture.
Cretan Ethnology Museum: Discover the historic folk life of the island at this cosy museum, home to metalworks, furniture and pottery that demonstrate a culture that dates back thousands of years.
Greece is famous for its music and Crete is no different. Of course you’ve got the busy, super clubs but there are lots of traditional treats in store if you go looking for them.
Get into the folk spirit in Big Fish or Zatheri two well-known clubs in the centre of Heraklion. There you’ll find the best in Cretan music. Grab yourself a tiny glass of the local Raki (it’s strong stuff!) and let your mind drift along to the sounds of the live lyra.
Of course, if you like your nights out a little more action packed, the big clubs in Heraklion like Amnesia, Banana, Status, and Zig Zag offer everything from pumping sound systems, laser light shows and epic parties, to make sure you get the clubbing experience you’re looking for.
Heraklion is the largest region of Crete and it has got the most people, but that doesn’t mean it’s bustling with busy bodies constantly. A quick trip outside the city limits and you’ll find yourself surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, charming little villages and ancient history brought to life.
The vast site of Knosses is unmissable. Once the royal family’s home, it was also the admin centre of the region. It’s got a Throne Room, a West Wing, even a Double Axes Room, how Game of Thrones!
Practically next door you’ll find Arhanes, an ancient palace complex which was home to the Turks and was a huge ancient Minoan settlement.
Ta Leonataria: The beloved landmark of ‘The Lions’ is right in the middle of town. It was once the centre of the colony during Venetian times, now the stately marble fountain is one of the city’s favourite spots.
Loggia: In the centre of Heraklion you’ll find the Loggia, one of the best monuments to showcase Crete in Venetian times. It was a place built for noblemen to gather and talk about the important economical and social issues of the time. Now it’s Heraklion Town Hall, but still worth a look to see it in all its architectural wonder.
Everything. Eat it all. Crete is known, even in Greece, as a foodie’s heaven. A perfect time to go is in July when the Wine Festival of Daphnes kicks off. You’ll find lots of interesting foods on offer, from snails cooked with groats (a kind of grain), rabbit with herbs, and lots and lots of pastries, with savoury cheese fillings or dripping in honey. We’re drooling just at the thought.
Loukoulos: is seen as one of the best restaurants in the city, with delicious pastas and meats on offer, while it prides itself on stealing visitors hearts!
Kounies: A taverna offering great views to the sea and delicious meat and fish, it’s hard to beat Kounies for a top notch dinner out.
Vromiko: This isn’t the name of a particular restaurant, but the delicious street food you can pick up anywhere and everywhere. Getting acquainted with souvlaki, the famous Greek kebabs is a must. For next to nothing you’ll get a belly fill of delicious chicken or pork, wrapped in pita to keep you going.
Ippokambos: A favourite with locals, this place is famous for its seafood. Imagine the freshest fish you can think of, cooked simply but perfectly. This place is usually busy, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected.
What’s the gimmick? Maison Moschino is the converted terminus building of a neoclassical railway station opened in central Milan in 1840. Its exterior façade, the original Viale Monte Grappa 12, retains the station’s original grandeur. But inside, the bustling commuters and handkerchief-waving lovers have vanished and a new world has been created. Adding 65 contemporary hotel rooms and suites across four floors, the building has been completely reinterpreted in a quirky, yet elegant style that extends the Moschino brand. Inspired by a visionary and contemporary fairy tale theme, the rooms are sensuous visions of surreal diversity. Akin to falling down a rabbit hole or opening a wardrobe into another world, entering the Maison Moschino is an unforgettable experience.
Why stay? If you’ve ever wanted to live inside a fairytale then this is the hotel for you. Maison Moschino offers an alternative to the mundanities of real life, creating a world built by imagination and surrealism. From the lamp in the shape of one of Moschino’s dresses, to ivy covered wallpaper and bedspreads made from red petals, Moschino has applied its fashion flair to the hotel industry, and pioneered a new era in hospitality. While mass-tourism destinations promote only quantity and mediocrity, Maison Moschino has built a space where fairy tales, come to three-dimensional life.
The Wow Factor: Alice’s Room, Life Is a Bed of Roses, Little Red Riding Hood, The Forest and Gold are just some of the names of Maison Moschino’s impressive rooms. Arranged in 16 different designs, one room sees rose petals dripping down from the lights to cover the bed, while in another, guests sleep upon an enormous ballgown that flows down from the bed board. In The Forest room, even the bed posts are made from mystical looking trees, echoing the enchanted forests of fairytales. The hotel also features an ART SPA with beauty and wellness treatments from PEVONIA and a gym with equipment by Technogym.
The Maison Moschino is located in a vibrant district in central Milan close to Corso Como and Corso Garibaldi. The hotel is within easy reach of Milan’s most famous landmarks including the Santa Maria Delle Grazie, the Pinacoteca di Brera and Pinacoteca Ambrosina art galleries and the Royal Palace. The hotel is a five minute walk by foot to the Garibaldi train station and underground. Prices start at £141 per room a night.
From Wendy houses to dens made from fresh laundry, childhood lodgings required big imaginations. However, the latest trend in the hotel industry is set to turn these youthful dreams into a reality. Enter the tree house hotel; a marriage of the unique and the familiar, returning us to treasured childhood memories and allowing us to indulge in our adventurous side. And with many creeping up on the five star mark – who said luxury was limited only inside four walls?
No longer solely occupied by young boys and Ewoks, tree houses now offer audacious travellers an experience, which stands apart, particularly in an age of roadside hotel chains and Mediterranean high-rise apartment buildings. So, forget the stale continental breakfast and stark, inpersonal room and opt instead for a treetop retreat. Here’s our pick of the best tree house hotels around the world – go ahead, branch out…
Tsala Treetop Lodge
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
The impressive Tsala Treetop Lodge has ten secluded stone-and-glass lodge suites, with breathtakingly views of the lush Tsitsikamma Forests, extending across rolling valleys towards distant hills. Decorated in an Afro-baroque style, the Lodge boasts floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows, a log fireplace in the living room, a private deck and an infinity-edge pool. The décor appears to emulate the monumental ruins of an ancient central African civilisation, with earthy colours, rich textures and handcrafted fittings. In fact, the entire Lodge mimics the diverse cultures of Africa, from the exotically appointed dining room to the intimate glassed-in lounge, or the large open decks high above the forest floor.
Cedar Creek Treehouse
After climbing up a winding stairwell, reaching 50-feet up in the air in a centuries-old Western Red Cedar tree, you will discover the Cedar Creek Treehouse. Bordering Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Cedar Creek boasts stunning views, which are even greater when seen from the recently added observatory – 100 feet up a nearby fir tree – which looks out on magnificent Mount Rainier. The tree house features sleeping space for five, a kitchen, and an observation deck with indoor hammock. A night in the cabin includes a tour of other structures on the property, including the “Stairway to Heaven,” “Rainbow Bridge,” and the glass-enclosed observatory.
Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel Brazilian Amazon
Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel is one of the largest commercial tree house hotels in the world. The eco-friendly Hotel was built in 1987 by Dr. Francisco Ritta Bernardino under the inspiration of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, who made it his quest to preserve the fragility of the magical Amazon Jungle. Located around 35 miles from the Amazon gateway city of Manaus, accommodations include the President Lula ‘Tarzan House’, built at canopy level with its own private balcony, plunge pool, and Jacuzzi and on site are two 150-foot-high observation towers, offering clear views of the jungle. While staying, why not take the chance to navigate your way round the Amazon River, swim with rare pink dolphins and trek through the rainforest?
Wayanad, Kerala, India
Tranquil Resort islocated in southern India on a private 400-acre estate, complete with a working coffee and vanilla plantation. The main lodge and its eight well-appointed rooms occupy the Kerala rainforest, a supreme spot in which to place the 500-square-foot tree house. Built from coffee wood and equipped with a king-size bed, a full bath, veranda, and the trunk of a flowering Royal Poinciana growing through the bedroom, the Tranquil Resort tree house is a peaceful escape in stunning surroundings.
Hinchinbrook Island Resort
Hinchinbrook Island, Australia
This 96-acre national park presents idyllic beauty, with lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and untouched sandy beaches. The Wilderness Lodge, a secluded oasis hideaway with 15 roomy timber tree top bungalows, complements the natural environment of the Island. Each tree house has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, its own small kitchen, a private balcony and a bath tub for extra relaxation. Easy beachfront access means exploring one of the island’s eleven secluded beaches has never been easier, while in the evenings guests are welcomed to relax at the Wilderness Lodge bar.
Tree House Lodge
Limón, Costa Rica
The 10-acre beachfront property, located in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast, features a sustainably built tree house composed of fallen trees. Built upon tall stilts, submerged by the forest, the house is reached via a sloped wooden suspension bridge leading to its front door. Inside it’s split level: upstairs, a double king size bed and a small ensuite toilet; downstairs, a second double bed, a single bed and a kitchen. Why not snorkel or kayak off the nearby Punta Uva Beach during your stay?
Maravu, which sits on Fiji’s 168-square-mile Taveuni Island, features a tree house built in an ancient rain tree, enjoying panoramic views of the sapphire South Pacific. Inside the bring-you-back-to-childhood house are a myriad of creature comforts, including leather and palm-wood furniture and an outdoor courtyard with an open-air shower and Jacuzzi pool. While staying, guests can relax at the resort’s spa with a massage or a hydrating coconut scrub, or explore nearby Bouma National Heritage Park’s pristine rainforest and 65-foot waterfalls.
Surrounded by the vibrant, lush Alnwick Gardens is a colossal tree house – the Alnwick Treehouse. The garden, created by celebrated garden designers’, Jacques and Peter Wirtz, has a beautiful landscape that includes England’s largest collection of European plants. The tree house itself complements its environement and serves as a restaurant as well as an activities centre. If you don’t feel like spending then night, the restaurant is open for meals throughout the day and serves organic and local meat and fish, as well as offering performances of live music.
San Antonio spent the first 2,000 years of its existence as a small, quiet fishing village on the west coast of Ibiza. Calm, quaint and conventional, the town was the picture of Spanish simplicity. Then – enter the Brits: destroyers of all that is good and pure in the Med. Part of the mass tourism initiative, which took place across all of Spain (see Benidorm for starters), San Antonio Ibiza soon came to be known as the clubbing capital of the world.
Despite its football hooligan stigma, San Antonio gained even more popularity in the mid 1990s, when the rave scene was at its highest. Even today, young British clubbers make up the vast majority of visitors to the area, along with stag ‘n’ hens and an increasing number of German, Italian, Scandinavian and Dutch guests.
When to visit San Antonio Ibiza?
Couples and families The pre-season months of May and June, and the later months of September and October are the times for you to enjoy the new promenade, the sea and the fantastic beaches, just a short ferry ride away.
Young people and groups The high season months of July, August and the beginning of September are the best time to come if you are looking for buzzing nightlife.
Best beaches in San Antonio Ibiza?
In San Antonio, you’re never far from a beach. Each of the five small beaches within walking distance of the bay has its own character and atmosphere, so it’s best to try a couple of them before deciding which is your favourite. Playa Port de’s Torrent is a deep inlet into the coast, so the waters are tranquil and safe for swimming. S’Arenal de San Antonio is San Antonio’s main beach and stretches 500 metres along the coast, eventually joining up with the Bay. This is a beach for the active (not surprising really given its location) and there’s a wide range of water sports available to keep you busy, including sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing and diving. If you prefer something a little quieter, Cala Gracionetta is a beautiful, secret beach little just outside San Antonio. It’s a sister beach of Cala Gracio, located near the Stella Maris and Fiesta Tanit Hotels. You can also take a ferry boat to one of the nearby beaches, such as Cala Conta or Cala Bassa. They depart hourly from many landing points along the bay and from San Antonio marina.
Where to eat in San Antonio?
Sa Flama | Idyllic beach restaurant serving up Mexican favourites.
Tapas Bar Restaurant | Peaceful, water front restaurant with an open terrace, serving modern tapas, wines and cocktails, alongside chilled music and a laid back atmosphere.
Kasbah | Modern bistro, offering incomparable sunset views.
S’Avaradero | Come here for the best Spanish and Ibicenco cuisine, including fresh fish, paellas, pastas, pizzas, and a daily menu.
Sa Capella | Dine inside this old converted church – the ideal venue for grand wedding receptions or those special celebrations – for excellent quality Spanish and International cuisine.
Rincon de Pepe | This famous Tapas bar is one of San Antonio’s main attractions. From its rustic interior, to its street side patio to the street side patio it’s a true taste of Spain and a must for seekers of authentic flavours.
Things to do in San Antonio
Take a day trip | Ferries leave regularly from sign-posted points along the main promenade. Generally, they go out to the idyllic beaches of Cala Conta, Cala Bassa and Cala Tarida, but there are also daylong cruises to Es Palmador and Formentera (Ibiza’s sister island).
Fiesta | The fabulous Fireworks Display, which celebrates the fiesta of Saint Bartholomew on the 24th August, is best viewed from the main Square in San Antonio Bay. With it exotic flowering trees, children’s play park and cascading, musical fountains, is the focal point of the resort.
Go Clubbing | San Antonio is home to myriad bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as waterfront clubs, Eden and Es Paradis. Eden has been known to attract the BBC’s top Radio One DJs – Pete Tong, Judge Jules and Dave Pearce – while the pyramid-shaped Es Paradis is famous for its Water & Foam parties, where the whole central section of the dance floor becomes flooded.
San Antonio also offers the famous sunset bars on Caló des Moro, a.k.a. Sunset Strip, including the original sunset bar, Café del Mar, which has a yacht-like design. Its neighbours are equally plush; including Café Mambo, Savannah, Mint and Golden Buddha.
However, while an evening watching the sunset whilst sipping a strawberry Daiquiri may sound like a dream; this is generally not why tourists flock to Ibiza each year. Super clubs like Amnesia, Pacha, Space, Ushuaía Ibiza Beach Hotel and Privilege (the largest club in the world) are all about 15-25 minutes away in a taxi (or about 15-30 Euro’s a trip). Alternatively, you can catch the Disco Bus (!) from the main bus station – behind the egg roundabout. This runs every half an hour from midnight onwards and costs only a few Euros per journey.
What’s with the egg?
Aside from being a bizarre attraction, the egg does have some historical significance. This is the egg of Christopher Columbus and the ship represents his ship, the Santa Maria. When Columbus was hoping to finance his trip to the Far East, he was told it was impossible. So, he took an egg, and said, “Would you say it was impossible to stand this egg upright?” Of course, everyone agreed it was impossible. Columbus then lightly cracked the base, so that the egg could stand upright and said (a little over-dramatically if you ask us), “Nothing is impossible.” He then obtained the confidence of his financial backer.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week, check out the Propeller Island City Lodge hotel in Berlin. You won’t believe your eyes, we couldn’t!
What’s the gimmick? There’s really no other place that Propeller Island City Lodge could exist than in Berlin, Germany. Probably one of the weirdest hotels to ever to grace any list of unusual hotels (or the world for that matter), Propeller Island is primarily a piece of art; all rooms and objects were designed by the German artist, Lars Stroschen, who built the hotel on the premise of “living in a work of art.” Each of the 30 rooms offers an absolutely unique and personal ambiance, with all furnishings inside them having been custom-made by the artist. The rooms vary from the tame to the extreme, creating the sense that you have entered an alternate reality or stumbled onto a film set.
Why stay? Ok, so this isn’t the most luxurious or even comfortable of hotels. Most of the rooms are on the small side, some share bathroom facilities, some are just plain scary, but really, how often do you have a chance to stay in a barn-themed room that includes a big pile of potato sacks packed with foam rubber? ‘Nuff said.
The Wow Factor: There’s really too many things to choose from here. There’s the Lion’s Den Room, which features two sleeping cages on stilts in the centre of the room and bathtub on an indoor balcony. The macabre Gruft Room contains two coffins instead of beds, built above a deep, dark labyrinth. Others include a jail cell room, “Grandma’s Room” with a hidden sink and toilet and décor from decades past, a Chicken Curry room, a room that’s all about nudity, an upside-down room and even one with a flying bed. And of course, the hotel’s own private gallery and themed eatery are no less bizarre. It’s all wow, it really is.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week enjoy a night in a concrete tube at the DasparkHotel
What’s the gimmick? The ‘rooms’ at DasparkHotel are constructed from repurposed drainpipes. Rather than an attempt at glorified camping, the three huge concrete drainpipes, set on a beautiful, lush patch of the Danube River in Ottensheim, Austria, actually provide the ultimate in post-industrial living. Each bolthole is about two metres in width and furnished with a double bed, storage space, lighting (but no windows) and blankets. When DasparkHotelwas built by designer Andreas Strauss in 2004, it was originally opened in Linz, but was later moved to the stunning setting of Ottensheim. A coat of varnish and wall paintings by the Austrian artist Thomas Latzel Ochoa completes the ‘hobo jungle’ vibes.
Why stay? Ok so this doesn’t exactly connote luxury, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that concrete is actually incredibly comfortable. Simultaneously functional and comfortable, the three concrete sleep-pipes offer visitors to Austria the chance to experience the area in a totally innovative (and economical) way. The Dasparkhotel’s rooms are round like a barrel, providing maximum comfort in a minimal amount of space – a modern day squatopia.
The Wow Factor: Rather than sleeping on a reformed car bonnet or something along those lines as you might expect, guests will sleep on a double wide Eurofoam mattress held by an ergonomic slatted frame by Optimo – basically the ultimate in comfort. The thick cement keeps the interior comfortable and eliminates noise from outside, creating a secure-feeling environment. You will also find fresh pillows, blankets and sheets supplied every day and don’t fret about you camera or iPhone going dead – there is a 220V outlet for charging your electronic devices. And for the best bit? See below.
Guests who wish to spend a night or two are required to book their rooms at the hotel’s website. Because the hotel obtains sanitation, breakfast and other hotel facilities from existing public infrastructure, it is possible for them to work with the very simple, user-friendly “pay as you wish” system.
A night in dasparkhotel costs just as much as you can afford or want to pay.
In this weekly series, we scour the world in search of the most weird and wonderful hotels. From cave hotels to converted prisons, capsule pods to underwater guestrooms, you can expect only the unexpected. This week, come hang out in a giant boot at the boot hotel.
What’s the gimmick? Remember the nursery rhyme – ‘There was an old lady that lived in a shoe…’? Boot Bed ‘n’ Breakfast brings this tale to life. Although its founders were first considered completely crazy when they created the ‘boot’ in 2001, after several years of blissful visits, they became something of a celebrity in the local area. The boot is situated in the heart of the beautiful Tasman region in New Zealand, contributing to the tapestry of attractions and folklore, which inspire the region.
Why stay? With room for only two (so there’s no room for Old Mother Hubbard and co), the boot is actually a somewhat romantic getaway. Nestled within a grove of hazelnut trees, surrounded by a fragrant garden, guests can enjoy relaxing hot afternoons, alfresco dining, an outdoor fireplace with a comfy couch in front of it, and breakfast delivered to the door. Inside, the furnishings are specially tailored for couples; there are two chairs at the table, two champagne flutes, two coffee cups, space for two on the couch, space for two on the bed, space for two in the shower… Fresh and sweet-smelling flowers, fine Nelson Art and complementary chocolates complete the scene.
The wow factor: Thispeaceful, comfy bed and breakfast combines sustainable practices with luxury experience. Expect to find organic produce, including the free-range eggs from the owners’ hens and fresh fruit from their orchard. The 2.4 hectare garden is free for guests to mill around during their stay, taking in the tranquil, secluded surroundings of this lovers retreat.
The boot costs NZ$300 per night per couple. For bookings, please see The Boot website.