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The weirdest, strangest and most unique hotels in the world

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When looking for a place to stay, is ‘quirky’ top of your list? What about ‘bizarre’, ‘surreal’, or maybe ‘exclusive’? We’ve found the oddest hotels in Europe, Africa, Asia and across the world

What makes a hotel unusual? For some, it might be the location; for others, exclusivity. Perhaps it’s something you treat yourself to only very rarely, so you’re looking for somewhere that stands out. Well, these hotels below are even more unusual than that — they’re simply some of the most bizarre accommodation experiences anywhere in the world.

So, where would you like to stay?…

With some giraffes in Nairobi, Kenya

We’ll start with one of the most beautiful venues on this entire list. A historic manor house in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, everything about Giraffe Manor is 1930s elegance. Indeed, since the 1930s, one of the goals of the manor and its staff has been the protection of the surrounding parkland and the giraffes that live there.

You can use the hotel as a base to explore the country further (the company owns four other lodges across the country), but staying here brings you close to nature in an even more immediate way: you share your meals with the giraffes. Every morning and evening, a herd of giraffes turn up and poke their long necks through the dining room windows, hoping for a treat or two, before sauntering back off into the forest, a Caesar salad or a slice of cake better off.

Up a crane in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amidst the industrial chic of a former shipyard stands a mighty crane, formerly the highest active crane in Amsterdam. It’s now home to Faralda, a few hotel suites that are not for the faint-hearted (or the shallow-pocketed). Everything about it is excessive and (in this writer’s opinion) utterly tasteless, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

The crane houses only three suites, with the cheapest starting at €895 per night and subject to approval. The venue also plays host to private parties and events, drafting in well-known DJs to soundtrack exclusive club nights. Booking direct will also get you access to the crane’s observation deck, as well as *checks notes* breakfast. Wealth is wasted on the rich, eh?

In a sewage pipe in Bottrop, Germany

On the absolute other end of the scale when it comes to luxury, location, price and altitude are a series of sewage pipes now used as basic accommodation. On the site of a former sewage treatment plant (now, thankfully, repurposed as a park, garden and exhibition space), sections of pipe have each had a bed added, heating hooked up, and a secure door attached to the front. That’s where you’re sleeping.

It’s called Das Park Hotel. The original in the Bernepark, Bottrop (near the larger cities of Essen, Duisburg and Dortmund) has been followed by similar sites in Hof Emscher-Auen and in Ottensheim in Austria, and they’ve proven genuinely popular as a quirky place to spend a night. It also helps that they can be used for free: you don’t ‘book’ exactly, you just reserve one and pay what you like.

On a London bus in Durham, UK

All aboard a bus that’s a long way from home. The South Causey Inn, located in a small village roughly equidistant between Newcastle and Durham appears, from the outside, to be an attractive hotel that does other things as well: weddings, antique fairs, pop-up food festivals and the like. There’s one thing that you might not expect, however.

One of the places you can book to stay in is an original 1960s London Routemaster, the classic style of bus everyone is familiar with. It’s now a velvet-covered, ’60s-inspired living space, complete with bathroom, minibar and outdoor hot tub (brave for the north of England!). If you’re not up for the bus, there’s the regular hotel, of course, but where’s the fun in that?

In a crazy house in Dalat, Vietnam

Not as in a politically-incorrect name for a psychiatric hospital, but as in a house that’s, well… crazy. Architect Dang Viet Nga wanted to build something utterly and completely her own, so in 1990, she began work on this… whatever it is. A tree-spiderweb-mushroom-cliff-mountain-castle thing, it almost drove Nga to bankruptcy; it was only the idea that people might want to explore it that made it financially viable.

Now, although it is a hostel/hotel (double rooms from $47 to $84 per night), it’s also a museum, an art space, a surreal, dream-like oddity filled with childlike art, animals, curious furniture, and enough strange, melting curves to make Antoni Gaudí look like Le Corbusier. Dalat might not be on the tourist map that much, but this is definitely a reason to stop by.

In a giant intestine in Stekene, Belgium

The Verbeke Foundation is a contemporary art space right on the Belgian/Dutch border, containing permanent and temporary exhibitions across a large enclosed space, and almost 30 acres of fields and woodland, making it one of the largest private art and sculpture venues in the world. You can visit it as you would any exhibition space: book tickets, explore, and have a drink in the café.

Or you can spend the night here. For €120, you can have the pleasure of staying in the dubiously-named CasAnus (a portmanteau of ‘casa’ and ‘anus’, as you can see). It’s a giant polyester intestine, basically — the work of Dutch artist Joep Van Lieshout — and contains a bare white interior, including minimal furniture and a bathroom (naturally). Your booking also gains you entrance to the park and museum, so for the price, you won’t have made a complete ass of yourself.

With no hotel room at all in Switzerland

Finally, how about staying in a hotel that’s not a hotel at all? In fact, it’s not even a building. The Null Stern Hotel (literally ‘No Star Hotel’) is… what? An art installation? A dare? A chance to make money off the merest of things? Whatever it is, it’s available to book.

The Null Stern is simply a bed — no walls, no windows, just a bed — set up in the stunning scenery of the Swiss Alps. It was created by two brothers, Frank and Patrik Riklin, whose previous artworks have also featured accommodation in unusual places, but this one is probably their best-known. You do get a butler as part of the booking, so you’re not exactly cast alone to the elements, but it’s still a very odd experience. Oh, and they only take bookings for the summer, for obvious reasons.

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