A hotel is your home base when you're traveling, and for the majority of travelers the basics apply: a clean room, a comfortable bed and good customer service. But for some quirky travelers, a little something extra special is required – and we're not talking about 800-count sheets or plasma TVs.
Hotels today cater to just about everyone. Sea-lovers will find romance in an underwater hotel room, while nature seekers will find peace in a hotel in a tree. Want to test your body temperature? How about a hotel room made purely of ice? Consider these unique and eccentric hotel room ideas when planning your next vacation.
Jules' Undersea Lodge: You've stayed in nice hotels, not-so-nice hotels, new hotels and old hotels, but have you ever stayed in an underwater hotel? Jules' Undersea Lodge is immersed 30 feet under a Key Largo lagoon. The accommodations consist of two bedrooms, a mini-kitchen and common dining and living areas. Although the underwater retreat feels private, you will have some company. Tropical angelfish, parrotfish and snappers thrive in the lagoon. Take time to enjoy the underwater habitat from the 42-inch windows in each bedroom. Safety is a factor when vacationing underwater, but guests are assured that the lodge is monitored 24 hours a day. Fresh water, air and power are provided by the "command center" on land, according to the lodge's website.
"Transportation" to the hotel is as unique as the accommodations themselves. Guests must scuba dive to the underwater destination, but don't worry if you've never gone diving before. The lodge offers a three-hour course to new divers. Certification and other diving courses are also available and range from one to four days.
Tree House Lodge: In case you forget you're staying in a tree house, the howler monkeys outside your bedroom will remind you each morning. The Tree House Lodge, located on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is situated in a lush tropical jungle in a wildlife refuge and near a botanical garden. Because of its remote location, the Tree House Lodge is the perfect romantic getaway for couples. Families will also find the Tree House perfect since it sleeps up to six people.
The property has its own beach access and 300 meters of private beach. Eco-minded travelers can feel good about these accommodations, too. The roofs are made of recycled materials, electricity and heat come from solar panels and the house was built using wood from fallen trees. Guests will find plenty to do on vacation, including white water rafting, kayaking, visiting the Cahuita National Park and surfing. Don't forget to hit the beach around 4pm each day for a game of volleyball with other beachgoers.
Ice Hotel: Bundle up during your stay at Quebec's Ice Hotel. The temperature inside the hotel hovers between 23 degrees and 28 degrees Fahrenheit and is open between January and April. Quebec's Winter Carnival takes place annually so consider a stay at the hotel during the festivities. The hotel is, of course, made of ice and includes an ice chapel, ice bar and art gallery. According to the hotel's website, the entire structure is composed of 500 tons of ice and 15,000 tons of snow.
If you're planning a visit, consult the hotel's preparation guide, but you should be prepared to wear inner, middle and outer layers of clothing. Hats, gloves and boots are also a must. By day, take advantage of snow shoe trails, cross country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing and hiking trails. At night, relax in a hot spa before crawling into your bed. A sleeping bag that withstands frigid temperatures is delivered to your room each night and the bed also has a fleece sheet and wool blanket. There is one warm facility in the hotel: the bathrooms.
The Stanley Hotel: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado is famous for its creepy accommodations. Many believe the hotel's original owner, F.O. Stanley, and his wife haunt the hotel. Employees have reported hearing music from the room where Stanley's wife played piano, while others have claimed to see Stanley in other areas of the hotel. The Stanley Hotel offers historic accommodations, a spa, dining and of course, a ghost tour of the most haunted rooms, an underground tunnel and more.
And one more spooky fact: It's the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write "The Shining." Guests can also explore the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is located just six miles away. The Estes Park area boasts great golf, fishing, wildlife and even shopping.
Planning on a summer visit? Make sure to catch the free outdoor entertainment that includes bands, string quartets and more.
The Gladstone Hotel: If you prefer your hotel to have more color than the usual whites and beiges, consider a stop at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. The 37 rooms were all redesigned by artists and revealed in 2005. From the Red Room to the Puzzle Room, there are accommodations at The Gladstone Hotel to match anyone's taste.
The Biker Room was influenced by motorcycles and biker culture, says artist Andrew Harwood. Red walls, black and red lamp shades and a black headboard will make any guest feel the 1970s biker vibe. Or, relive your younger years in the Teen Queen room, designed by Cecilia Berkovic, who says "Teen Queen is designed as an homage to young girls we were, feared, wished we'd been or wanted to date." Pink and purple are splashed throughout the room, while posters of long-lost teen heartthrobs cover the walls. Try your hand at karaoke in the Melody Bar, have a bite to eat or just take in the art scene at this hip, urban oasis.
Sin city is home to some of the most unique - and enormous - hotels in the world, and there are plenty of Las Vegas hotel deals available.