Travelers, get ready to rest your head in some rather unusual places. From a tree house to a bus and a “nest” to an igloo, these awesome sleeping spots go (way) beyond your average accommodations.
So, step aside, traditional hotels: Spend the night in one of these 10 cool sleeping spots instead.
Free Spirit Spheres, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Harken back to your childhood days for a night (or two) in the forest near Qualicum Beach where you can sleep suspended in one of three Free Spirit Spheres. These spherical “tree houses for adults” are constructed using boat-building techniques and hang from rope tethers up in the area’s Douglas firs. The spheres – named Eve, Eryn and Melody – are designed to fit seamlessly into the forest without disturbing their natural surroundings. They sway gently with the trees with the aim of fueling creativity and giving guests a spiritual experience and a sense of connectedness. Insulated and wired for power (with built-in speakers), these funky tree houses feature open floor plans inside. Bedding, towels and complimentary snacks are provided, and separate shared bathroom facilities are available.
Snow Igloos and Glass Igloos, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Saariselka, Finland
Snag a front-row seat to all the night sky has to offer at this resort in Finnish Lapland, about 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle. With plenty of annual snowfall, temperatures that can reach minus 40 degrees and no sun between December and January, this may just be the ultimate winter wonderland. You can stay at Kakslauttanen year round (in a variety of rooms and cabins), but the resort’s most compelling accommodations may just be its glass igloos, available from late August through late April. These cozy, glass-ceiling bedrooms shield you from the elements while still giving you a chance to slumber under the stars (and, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights). Each igloo sleeps two, has its own toilet and maintains a moderate temperature. Showers and saunas are located in separate buildings. If you’re a little more adventurous (and warm-blooded), book a night in one of the nearby snow igloos. The interior temperature of these snow caves stays somewhere between 20 to 25 degrees, but don’t worry, the resort provides guests with down sleeping bags, hats and wool socks. The walls of these igloos tend to block out any outside noise so you can sleep in heavenly (and probably chilly) peace.
Tribewanted, John Obey Beach, Sierra Leone, Africa
Join this sustainable beachfront community for a chance to bunk in anything from an Earth Dome to a bungalow. You’ll fall asleep next to the fishing town of John Obey and, during the day, become fully absorbed in this eco-village – part of Tribewanted’s eco-tourism efforts. Clean bedding, mosquito nets and towels are provided, and hammocks and fresh seafood are never out of reach. Take part in community projects, help cook meals or just relax and soak up the beauty of Sierra Leone’s Freetown peninsula.
The Human Nest, Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California
Make like a bird in Big Sur by curling up in this wooden nest-like structure for a night. Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll soak up a spectacular sunset and sleep to nature’s soundtrack with nothing but a futon mattress, your sleeping bag and maybe your sweetheart (the nest accommodates up to two people) to keep you company. Constructed by a local artist, the nest is primitive but features a picnic table and water supply nearby, as well as all the glamping-related comforts of Treebones Resort. Guests will need to cart their own gear (think sleeping bags and pillows) to the campsite and climb a wooden ladder to reach this resting place. Cross your fingers for good weather – after all, the nest isn’t rainproof – but all you’ll need are the views of California’s Central Coast to convince you this is the best place around to bed down.
The Mine Suite, Sala Silvermine, Sweden
Formerly Sweden’s biggest source of silver (mainly used for coins and art), the Sala Silvermine now houses a museum, shop, restaurant and five different types of guest rooms. But it’s the mine’s signature room that draws the most attention: At more than 500 feet below ground, The Mine Suite, which accommodates two people, has been dubbed the world’s deepest hotel room. Don’t expect to use your cell phone – there’s no signal at this level – but you’ll be able to communicate with staff above ground via intercom radio. In-room breakfast, refreshments and a guided tour of the mine are all included in the price of a stay. A toilet is located near the suite and guests have access to showers and a lounge in the mine’s above-ground hostel. Bring a few extra layers: The suite is warmed up to about 65 degrees, but the mine is humid and hovers at about 35 degrees year round.
Karosta Prison, Liepaja, Latvia
Spending a night behind bars may not sound like a vacation, but that’s what gutsy travelers will get at Karosta Prison in Latvia. Guests can stay overnight in this former Nazi and Soviet military prison, which was originally built around 1900 and remained in operation through the late 1990s. Your stay will loosely mirror a prisoner’s experience and will likely be anything but restful: After all, the prison used to house death row inmates during World War II and played host to hundreds of prisoner killings. To spend a night here, you must sign a release form confirming you’re comfortable being treated like a prisoner (verbal abuse and prison food not excluded), but this stay is a true chance to soak up some history. Did we mention the prison is also reportedly haunted? Keep your eyes peeled for lightbulbs suddenly unscrewing from electrical sockets and cell doors swinging open on their own.
1950s Bristol Freighter, Waitomo, New Zealand
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…bedroom? Thought to be one of the last allied planes out of Vietnam, this converted Bristol Freighter is situated in the center of New Zealand’s north island about two hours from Auckland. Slightly kitschy and very quirky, the plane has two units for rent – one in the cockpit and one toward the plane’s tail – each of which accommodates up to four people. A stay here comes with a free evening walk through the nearby glow worm caves of Waitomo. Not sure an airplane is your ideal transportation vessel? Woodlyn Park – the compound where the freighter is located – also features a converted train and ship where you can shack up for the night.
Roar & Snore, Taronga Zoo, just outside Sydney, Australia
If you’ve ever wanted to rise and shine to views of Sydney Harbour – and the sound of a lion’s roar – this slumber party is for you. Dubbed “Sydney’s ultimate sleepover,” this overnight experience offers guests the chance to glamp in Taronga Zoo, overlooking the Australian city’s iconic landmarks, namely the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Guests will be treated to an educational zoo experience featuring a nighttime safari, behind-the-scenes tours and up-close encounters with animals. All tents are equipped with linens and electricity. Meals and drinks are provided, and bathrooms are within walking distance. Roar & Snore guests can also spend the rest of the day at the zoo after the sleepover.
Mount Olympus Refuge A, Litochoro, Greece
For a little adventure (and the chance to sleep alongside 109 others), make the trek to Refuge A. Situated about 6,800 feet above sea level along the trail up Mount Olympus, this stone building is a stopping point on the E4 route providing guests with an ideal overnight respite during their hike. To reach the refuge, start in Litochoro or Prionia (this is where the last parking lot is located); the hike from Prionia to Refuge A takes about three hours – longer if you’re taking your time. The 14-room shelter was founded in 1930 and stays open from mid-May through late October. Though modern luxuries are few and far between here (hint: bring your own sheets), opportunities to meet fellow hikers and take in the beauty of your natural surroundings are many. Guests can enjoy meals served from the full kitchen, a spectacular patio and even Wi-Fi access. Don’t miss the sunrise – catching a glimpse may entail a 5 a.m. wake-up call, but you won’t regret it.
Big Green Bus, Sussex countryside, England
Doze off for the night in a double-decker-bus-turned-apartment-for-rent. Now parked on a glamping site in the Sussex countryside, this converted 1982 west midlands metro bus comfortably sleeps six people in its three upstairs bedrooms. The lower level features a lounge-dining room combo, full-size kitchen, wet room and toilet. The fact that you’re spending the night in a bus won’t escape you – part of this sleeping spot’s charm is that many of its original transportation-inspired elements have been incorporated into the new design. Relax in the “chill out space” at the front of the bus or walk 15 minutes down the road to the Six Bells pub for a pint.
(Main image: Adam Collier-Woods | Big Green Bus)