10 Unusual Hotels for Unconventional Summer Getaways


A Backward Glance, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton’s gem of an autobiography is highbrow beach reading at its very best. In the memoir, she recalls time spent with her bff traveling buddy, Henry James, and quotes his arcadian proclamation, “summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Maybe so in the less than industrious heyday of inherited wealth, but in today’s world where most people work all day for a living, those two words just don’t have the same appeal as our two favorite words: summer getaway.

Like everyone else in our overworked and overheated city, rest and relaxation are all we can think about — especially on a hot Friday afternoon like this. In considering options for our celebrated summer respite, we thought we’d take a virtual gander to check out alternatives to the usual Hamptons summer share. From a treehouse where sloths join you for morning coffee to a giant sandcastle, click through to see some of the most unusual summer getaway destinations in the world.

Tree House Lodge – Punta Uva, Costa Rica

Image credit: Tree House Lodge

Located in Costa Rica’s Gandoca- Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, the Tree House is but one of four incredible, if not somewhat bizarre, forest suites. As their site explains “the place is very quiet and private. However, there you may have to share the place with the monkeys and sloths who frequently visit the Tree House.” Fun local activities: jungle hikes, snorkeling, dolphin tours, and chocolate farms.

Elkep Evi Cave Hotel – Cappadocia, Turkey

Image credit: Elkep Evi Hotel

If ever there was a killer hotel tagline, surely this is it. Providing “comfort and shelter in its hewn volcanic rock to people for centuries,” the Elkep Evi Cave Hotel complex is made up of three 7-room bed and breakfast caves. Enjoy stunning views of Cappadocia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, from the hilltop garden while enjoying gözleme and olives. Free extras: CD-player, an electric waterboiler with different teas, and literature in different languages.

Montaña Mágica Lodge – Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile

Image credit: Honestly… WTF

Enjoy the natural splendor of one of Chile’s most extraordinary nature preserves from the comfort of your very own hollowed out tree trunk hot tub on the deck of a manmade volcanic mountain accessible only by monkey bridge, complete with its own working waterfall. Say that 20 times.

Salt & Sill Floating Hotel – Klädesholmen Island, Sweden

Image credit: yatzer

A minimal, modern floating hotel that docks on an island next to one of Sweden’s best restaurants, Salt & Sill, famous for a dynamite, locally-sourced, raw herring platter.

The Balancing Barn – Suffolk, England

Image credit: Living Architecture

One of five getaways conceived of by our favorite philosophical designer and writer, Alain de Botton, Balancing Barn is a futuristic holiday home. As de Botton explains, “the few modern houses that exist in the UK are almost all in private hands. We want to allow people to experience what it is like to live, eat and sleep in a space designed by an outstanding architectural practice.” At £20 per person per night, this high-end barn is ironically the most affordable spot on our list.

The Cottages of Winvian – Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Image credit: WINVIAN

In case you’ve ever wanted to spend the night next to a meticulously restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F helicopter in a cottage that resembles a hangar. Hey, we won’t judge you.

Wadi Rum Desert Lodge – The Valley of the Moon, Jordan

Image credit: I Like to Waste My Time

The most gorgeous lodging concept we’ve ever seen, this desert eco-lodge has James Bond written all over it.

Schlafen-im-Weinfass – Sasbachwalden, Germany

Image credit: Schlafen im Weinfass

Sleep in a wine barrel in the black forest!

Pioneertown Motel – Pioneertown, California

Image credit: Claire Cottrell; Tommy Von

Originally built to house the Hollywood stars (Annie Oakley, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers) filming Westerns at the fictitious ghost town next door, this charming motel is a short drive from some of the desert’s most fascinating destinations: Joshua Tree National Park, The Integratron, and the outdoor art space, High Desert Test Sites.

Sand Hotel – Dorset, England

Image credit: monsters & critics

Stay on the beach, literally.