Weird hotels can be just as much of an attraction as the town or country you’re visiting — unusual in almost every sense of the word, from design to location, even standards of hospitality. Some of the wacky finds here might make you giggle (like the hotel that makes pervasive use of panda imagery), while other accommodations will put you in touch with nature, by combining the art of recycling and innovative technology. Some of the properties even ask guests to find the answers to tough questions: Why pay for a whole room if all you need is a bed? Do all rooms need to be in the same hotel? And what’s it like to sleep inside of a 30-foot dog?
Er, you get it. But whatever the case, all the hotels on this list have one thing in common, and that’s panache.
A room in a crane at Amsterdam’s Faralda (Photo: Faralda Crane Hotel)
Faralda Crane Hotel, Amsterdam
Don’t be alarmed if you see bodies diving past your windows at the Faralda Crane Hotel, located in an industrial crane positioned 160-feet over the Amsterdam skyline. They’re probably just some crazy people making use of the bungee jump at this hotel that looms above the NDSM, the old shipping wharf that’s now the epicenter for the city’s art crowd. A Jacuzzi is also perched atop the three-suite hotel — it’s free to guests and open to paying members of the public. From $583.
WATCH: The Restoration of the Faralda Crane Hotel
The snowflake-shaped Krystall (Photo: The Krystall)
The Krystall, Norway
Yes, when this place opens in in 2016, it will be a five-star hotel that will look exactly like a snowflake. But even more fanciful is the fact that it will also be floating on water, among the fjords.
It’s pandamonium at a Chinese hotel (Photo: Panda Inn)
Panda Inn, China
Behold — the world’s first and only hotel that pays homage to pandas! The Panda Inn is located in China’s Sichuan province, and within its 32 rooms there are oversized panda-stuffed animals, panda-patterned quilts, phone, lights, art, and panda-shaped pillows. You can even reserve a panda-themed honeymoon suite. The pandemonium continues in the restaurant (vegetarian because pandas don’t eat meat), where food is served in panda shapes and in panda-themed dinnerware. There are also life-sized pandas walking around who cook, play piano, and — we hear — even perform a little tai chi (not Kung Fu, but close enough). From $114.
A wine cask room at the Hotel de Vrouwe (Photo: Hotel de Vrouwe)
Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren, The Netherlands
Waking up inside of a wine barrel is usually bad sign, unless you’re at Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren, an eccentric property that has converted four original 14,000-liter Swiss wine casks into oak cottages. The rooms are located on the harbor of Stavoren, a popular summer resort town across the IJsselmeer from Amsterdam. From $70.
Floating furniture at Berlin’s Propeller Island City Lodge (Photo: Propeller Island City Lodge)
Propeller Island City Lodge, Berlin
There’s a room at the Propeller Island City Lodgethat simulates the feeling of flying, another that comes equipped with coffins, another that mimics a kaleidoscope, and yet another that has furniture glued to the ceiling. None of the 31 rooms in this art project-slash-hotel in Berlin are the same … or sane. From $85.
Related: The World’s Craziest Hotels
The Kangaroo Room at Vietnam’s Crazy House (Photo: Crazy House)
Crazy House, Vietnam
Wanna sleep in a tree but don’t feel like actually going into the forest? Happen to be in Vietnam? Hit up one of the three tree-shaped hotels at the Crazy House, in Dalat City. As the name suggests, each room is crazier than the next, but if you don’t want to be creeped out all night, steer clear of the “Kangaroo” room, which has a life-sized model of said marsupial replete with glowing red eyes. From $25.
You can stay in this fuselage (Photo: Hotel Costa Verde)
Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica
Aboard this airplane that’s been converted into the Hotel Costa Verde, you’ll never be woken up by turbulence or anyone demanding that you return your seat to the upright position. It’s the fuselage of a salvaged 1965 Boeing 727, formerly of South Africa Air and Colombia’s Avianca Airlines, perched on a 50-foot pedestal just a few minutes from Manuel Antonio National Park. There are two rooms that jut out over the jungle canopy, each with a queen-size bed and an oceanview terrace. From $250.
The little mascots at the Peabody (Photo: Peabody Hotel)
Peabody Hotel, Tennessee
The Peabody is a luxury hotel in Memphis that oozes big band-era luxury, but it has landed a place on this list of strange hotels because of its perennial guests of honor — ducks, who walk a red carpet around the fountain twice every day. But the stunt is more than just some quack, er crack, gimmick; the Peabody ducks have been marching since the 1930s, ever since the hotel’s general manager thought it would be funny to leave a few ducks at the fountain overnight. Packages from $209.
Live like a Free Spirit at this sphere hotel (Photo: Free Spirit)
Free Spirit Spheres, Canada
Ever since you first heard Rock-a-bye Baby, you’ve wondered (in fear) what it’s like to sleep in a cradle while dangling from a tree. No? Anyway, check out these three treehouse spheres at Free Spirit Spheres, safely suspended anywhere from 10- to 120-feet above the ground to the cedar and maple trees just outside of Vancouver. They were made to help guests convene with nature and are kind of like the waterbeds of treehouses — heated and swaying ever just so in the wind, but more so when you move around. From $155.
Related: Spend the Night in a Tree House
Leaving it to the Japanese to create rooms like this at 9Hours (Photo: 9hours)
The plus side to having a hotel room that is nothing more than a few walls and your bed? It’ll be hard to loose track of your stuff. Rooms at Tokyo’s 9hours look like microwaves and measure 3.5-feet wide, are just as tall and go seven feet deep, so you also won’t be able to, you know, stand up. You’ll be showering in a separate bathroom unit, storing your stuff in a complimentary locker and checking out after 24 hours — the longest guests are allowed to stay. There are also no locking doors in your pod because according to this bizarre hotel at the Narita Airport, it is against the law. From $28.
Every room has its own wacky look at the Pixel (Photo: Pixel Hotel)
Pixel Hotel, Austria
You can look for the lobby all you want in the weird Pixel Hotel, but you’ll never find it. That’s because it is really an art project that begs the question, “Do hotel rooms need to be grouped together in the same building or even town?” We’ll let you ponder the answer, but staying “here,” in this separated series of strange rooms — from a floor in an old clock tower in Enns to an old tugboat on the Danube in Linz, could be some rewarding research. From $90.
The auto-themed V8 (Photo: V8 Hotel/Facebook)
V8 Hotel, Germany
If you’re in Germany, go ahead — fall asleep at the wheel and crash, just so long as you’re off the autobahn and under the covers in this old Stuttgart airport that’s been converted into the V8 Hotel. Each car-themed room has a bed made out of automobiles, from racing cars to classic cars. No surprise, it’s located inside Motorworld, a wonderland of memorabilia for car enthusiasts, and if that’s not enough, the Porsche and Mercedes Benz museums are a half-hour drive away. From $180.
There’s always a room for man’s best friend (Photo: Dog Bark Inn)
Dog Bark Inn, Idaho
You can kick your dog off the bed, but if you stay at the Dog Bark Inn, you might be able to kick your bed off the dog. That said, the couple that owns this place, which just so happens to be a 30-foot tall, wooden beagle named Sweet Willy, might not appreciate you tossing your mattress out of the window. From $98.
Tube-shaped rooms at the Tubo Hotel (Photo: Tubo Hotel)
Tubo Hotel, Mexico
If you ever have the urge to go sleep in a tube, keep the Tubo Hotel, 45 minutes south of Mexico City in mind. It’s made of 20 recycled, concrete tubes stacked two stories tall in the shape of a pyramid. For the price, you get a queen sized bed, desk, lamp, and under-the-bed storage, but you’ll have to bring a robe because, ironically, there’s no plumbing in these pipes — bathrooms are in a separate structure. From $30.
WATCH: How to Get a Hotel Deal
Matt Bell has slept in jungles, deserts, on the lip of a volcano, and in a hammock on the beach, all in the name of a journalism. He’s been published by Esquire, Men’s Journal, and Travel + Leisure — and while he’s been enjoying Airbnb, he hasn’t met a quirky hotel he won’t try.