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The Top 10 Most Unusual Hostels

Written by 20 December 2012 10 Comments

Hostels. Your home away from home. The shack you choose to hunker down in. The wafer thin mattress you lay your weary head on. The packed dorms where you attempt to blank out the epic snorers. The shared bathrooms that may require flip-flops in the shower. We’ve all had our time in hostels that vary in comfort, hygiene and space. Knowing that you have no choice but to venture inside to try get a good night’s sleep makes it extremely annoying if it’s a rat infested hell hole, so we all know (and appreciate) that sigh of relief when we rock up to our booked hostel and it is true to its online description/reviews.

But how much better is it when the hostel you’ve booked beats all your expectations and turns out to be an amazing place to crash? How good is it when it turns out to be a place so unique, you want to hang out there and not just use it as a pit stop on your travels? It got me athinking: where are these unique and awesome hostels in the world?? And jeez, there’s a ton of weird and wonderful places…

1. Hotel Costa Verde 727 Fuselage

Ever fancied sleeping on a plane? Well, I mean actually being able to sleep and enjoy your time without the cramped leg room, turbulence and an irritating child kicking the back of your seat? 727 Fuselage allows you to do just that in Costa Rica. This vintage 1965 Boeing 727 was fitted out after living its life out serving South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines (Columbia). It juts out above the jungle canopy making you feel like you’re flying high above the jungle, all the while enjoying the benefits of air con, spiral staircases and hand-carved Indonesian furniture.

 

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2. The Das Park Hotel

These robust drain pipes have been cleaned up and jazzed up to provide sleeping spaces for anyone who wishes to camp alternatively. Who needs tents when you can have cozy concrete tubes?? It it located on the “Emscherinsel” in Bottrop-Ebel near Essen in Ottensheim, Austria.

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Sure, it is a minimal amount of space but the Eurofoam mattress is ergonomically inserted with storage beneath and along its side. There are power outlets inside but other than that, a lamp and a window! Its minimalist camping in comfort! The bathrooms, minibars and café are supplied by the surrounding public space, and because they obtain the sanitation, breakfast etc from existing public infrastructure, they have a “pay as you wish” system. A night in Das Park Hotel costs as much as you can afford or want to pay. How convenient, eh?

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3. Sepilok Jungle Resort

I was extremely lucky to be able to stay in this resort when I passed through Borneo in August, and it really did blow my mind! Located about ten minutes away from the world renowned Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary in Sabah, Borneo, it gets a lot of visitors who are there specifically for the monkeys or the river which houses the most intensely compact ecological system in the world. The hostel is enclosed by virgin Borneo Rainforest with wide expanses of lush jungle housing Gibbons, Hornbills, fruit bats and butterflies and many more animals.

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It feels like you are actually crashing at George of the Jungle’s pad as the accommodation is stretched through rainforest with bamboo bridges and pathways that go over rivers and green lagoons. Plus there’s a poolside jungle café (with wifi!) and a cool pool with a waterfall, which will save your life as the temperature soars and scorches.

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4. The Aydinli Cave Hotel 

Nestled in Cappadocia, Goreme in Italy, the cave dwellings are so incredibly unique, you won’t want to leave. Cappadocia is famous for the traditional rock cut features of their traditional historical cave dwellings, and Aydinli Hotel cashes in on this!

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This family run accommodation has transformed the rock cut house into a “cave house” with rustic décor and dimly lit romantic rooms. The spectacular rooms have rock cut ceilings, rustic natural rock walls, PLUS you get views over the Goreme village centre, Rose valley, all the way to the snowy Aragus mountains.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like back in the Stone Age, then this is probably as close as you can get. Except with running water.

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5. Langholmen

Langholmen’s Hostel is on an island in the middle of Stockholm and its location is pretty sweet since you can easily reach all the sights, shopping and culture that are up for grabs. Since it’s on an island, the beach is literally on your doorstep… But that isn’t the selling point. It is an old remand prison that was built in the 1840’s and closed in 1975.

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They have 2 – 4 bed cells (with wifi ofcourse) which have all been given a modern renovation, so don’t be expecting cold concrete and depressing vibes… but the layout and heavy bolted cell doors are still there. It is still very much a prison, but with the homely backpackers touch! Hey, you can stay in a 135 year old prison without the criminal record or dodgy showers?? Sign me up!

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6. The Monastery Hostel

From prison cells to something a bit more wholesome and heavenly…. Fancy sleeping in an old Monastery? The Monastery Hostel is located in a wing of the beautiful Franciscan friars Convent in Milan, Italy, which is a stunningly historical Italian building with breathtaking architecture. It’s a 2 minute walk from Milan’s Turati Metro Station and is in the heart of the slick city’s fashion district.

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 The Monastery decided to house guests to shake up the ambiance and provide a dynamic and young atmospheric stay for vacationers. They provide “Simple home” and “simple food” kits for those who like to travel with the bare minimum.

7. The Beagle Houseboat

Ahhh Amsterdam: city of canals, cycling, culture and fun. So what’s more fun than staying on an actual canal boat in the centre of the city?? It’s a rusty old two storey houseboat that can accommodate four people (no more!) and has an upper deck living area with large windows that showcase the surrounding docklands. Old vintage couches, plants, old fashioned board games, free coffee and tea make this cosy ole boat such a sweet pad to stay in if you’re ever in Amsterdam!

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The four bed room is on the bottom deck and looks pretty snug, but at least you can hang out in the saloon with the captain and take in the views aboard your own boat. “Shiver me timbers” and all that jazz.

8. The Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel

It’s finally hit me that I’ll never be a Disney princess. I’m not going to marry a prince and live happily ever after in Buckingham Palace just like Kate Middleton… but god dammit, I WILL sleep in a castle someday! The Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel has housed many wealthy and influential people in its long history, and has even served as a royal refuge (obviously before it was made into a hostel).

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Italian marble statues are on display and large art collections adorn the walls of the communal spaces making this epic Scottish castle even more impressive. Its surrounding land is full of forests, woodland walks and rivers that have Atlantic Salmon leaping upstream when it’s breeding season. Talk about a romantic medieval setting. Just forget about the ghost that supposedly roams the halls.

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9. Kadir’s Tree House

When I was young, my friend had an awesome tree house. Her dad had built it for her out of old bits of wood and it was epic, however slightly unsafe (a strategically placed trampoline underneath made it less of a gamble on your life). We always wanted to sleep up there, and despite the trampoline, the adults always said “NO”. Well, if I head to Olympos in Turkey, I am 100% staying in Kadir’s tree House.

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They built it in order for everyone to live out their childhood dreams of sleeping in the trees. They have rooms that have been built up in pine trees and can fit 1 – 5 people, which has been highly enjoyed by endless backpackers! There are bungalows closer to the ground if you prefer, but with these sweet wooden huts, why would you not sleep up a tree??

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10. Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel

The Californian Coast is pretty magnificent. It is home to muchos surfing, hiking, whale watching, swimming, beach lounging and general outdoorsy activities, so what would be a better base than an actual lighthouse to sleep in and view the dramatic breathtaking scenery of the Pacific ocean?

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It’s about 25 miles south of San Francisco and was built back in 1875 as a fog signal station since so many ships got run ashore in the late 1860’s. The lighthouse is still in operation but has been a hostel since 1980 through a partnership with California State Parks. There are so many nearby beaches that it makes it a great spot to sleep, and if you’ve ever seen ‘Round the Twist” then you’ll know that sleeping in a lighthouse would be pretty magical.

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11. Pierre Cardin’s Bubble House or Palais Bulles

This iconic structure, just outside of Cannes in Europe, was created by the renowned architect, Antti Lovag… Ok ok, you got me. It’s not actually a hostel as it was created as a personal playground for the famous avant-garde designer Pierre Cardin. It’s an infamous hang-out and late night party scene for the European social scene, but when I saw its design and it’s astoundingly beautiful location, why not include it in the list as it would be an amazing hostel (if Pierre ever fancied renting out his ten bedrooms in his house).

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It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and the red cliffs of the Esteral, with a panoramic view all the way to the bay of Cannes, making the views utterly mind blowing.

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Inspired by the roots of ancestral habitats, i.e. caves and cave dwellings (maybe he’s stayed in The Aydinli Cave Hotel), Lovag let his imagination run wild. There are 28 round rooms with round beds, all mimicking soap bubbles! There are gardens and pools dotted over the property, also an amphitheatre, reception room, 10 suites (all decorated uniquely) and panoramic lounges. Holy Moly. Best holiday house… ever??

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Now of course the question on the tip of my tongue is firstly, which one would you stay in if you had the chance? and which hostels can you think of that would beat those in this list??

image 1 via thesuiteworld, image 2 via thechive, image 3 via wikinoticia, image 4 via justglamgirls,  image 5 via realbedandbreakfasts, image 6 via  news24, image 7 via extrapackofpeanuts, image 8 via tripadvisor, image 9 via flickr,  image 10 via langholmen, image 11 via a-milan, image 12 via mega1, image 13 via allaboutravelling, image 14 via cassley, image 15 via extrapackofpeanuts, image 16 via flickriver, image 17 via flickr, image 18 via supertopo, image 19 via twistedsifter, image 20 via homesthetics, image 21 via viktorialove, image 22 via twistedsifter, image 23 via terra.

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10 Comments »

  • Emma @ Emma's Travel Tales said:

    I reeeeaaaally want to stay in the plane one! And the tree house one! Suppose the castle wouldn’t be bad either…

  • Michelle said:

    These are so neat, I officially want to stay in all of them. I’ve stayed in Carbisdale Castle before during a tour through the Scottish Highlands. It was really interesting, beautiful, but I did not see a ghost. I find that both relieving and a bit disappointing haha. Great post :)

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  • Steph said:

    The Aydinli Cave Hotel is in Cappadocia, Turkey (not Italy).

  • Franz Bergmann said:

    This is amazing. These hotels really are extraordinary and unique! I guess my favorite one would be Kadir´s Tree House, because it would bring back a lot of happy memories to my mind. I used to have a tree house myself, which was built by my Dad. Ahhh, good old times!

  • K said:

    Cappadocia is in Turkey, not Italy!

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  • Tricia said:

    Hi,

    Some pretty amazing places, even more amazing is the photo you have of Carbisdale Castle with the Loch in the foreground.

    My husband and I met there 11 years ago, we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in June.

    Any chance we can get a copy of that shot! Someday we hope to return to Scotland for another anniversary! It is such a cool place, well worth the trek. Spectacular views, food, hiking and just amazing to stay overnight in a castle!

    Thanks!

  • The Travel Liz said:

    I love this! I’ve decided to include two of these suggested quirky hostels/hotels in my itinerary for my upcoming trip to Europe – the cave hotel and the monastery one. Thanks for the awesome recommendations!

    Happy travels ( :

  • Sophie said:

    Aww thanks! I would LOVE to try the cave one. let us know if you manage to stay in one of these! :)

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