by Anna Rhodes, The Independent, April 10, 2017
Maybe it's the rise of Instagram, maybe it's a millennial thing but travellers are becoming more adventurous not just about where they go but also where they sleep. By shunning run-of-the-mill hotels and apartments, the opportunity to really experience nature in the raw – and get a bit of a thrill on the side – is now the norm for many. From sleeping suspended over a cliff to hanging from a tree, here's our pick of some of the most unique, thrilling and hair-raising places to stay across the globe.
This is the sort of accommodation that would give anyone with a fear of heights the heebie jeebies. Hanging off the side of a mountain in the Sacred Valley of Peru, the transparent capsules offers panoramic views of the valley, and are suspended from the top of a mountain by cables. To reach the pod, daredevil guests must first climb the mountain or follow a trail upwards of around 400m. As the pod is so secluded (and probably slightly difficult to deliver to in the dark), breakfast and a gourmet dinner with wine are included. From £371, half board.
Iglu-Dorf, Engleberg Switzerland
The Engleberg Igloo Village is located at Trubsee Lake, in the heart of the Central Swiss Alps. On offer is the opportunity to hike or ski – while staying in a luxurious snow igloo. Accommodation on offer varies from a standard igloo for many to share, with sleeping bags provided, to luxurious heated igloos with stylish interior decoration and a fondue dinner. The village is remote and high in the Alps, but easily accessible via train or car. From £170, room only.
Kakslauttanen Resort, Finland
The Kakslauttanen resort boasts eight months of flawless views of the Northern Lights – and what better way to view them than from your own private igloo? The individual buildings have glass roofs so you can watch the show from your bed. That's not to say they're budget accommodation – they all have a bed and bathroom with saunas and showers available in separate buildings. Extra beds are available, but the snug nature of the accommodation is perfect for a romantic getaway with spectacular views during the aurora season. Doubles from £352, half board.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Florida
Those with claustrophobia need not apply: Jules' offers the change to spend the night underwater. The Lodge, located at Key Largo Undersea Park, can be reached via a short scuba dive 21 feet down into the sea – diving through the tropical habitat of the Emerald Lagoon on the way. It has 42 inch round windows, offering guests a fantastic view of the lagoon and its underwater wildlife and plants. It's fully equipped wth a bedroom, bath, kitchen, books and music (essentially it's a terrarium for humans). Importantly, included in the cost of your stay is a pizza delivery – not many people can say they’ve ordered a pizza underwater. From $800 per night, including dinner.
Lake Inari Mobile Cabins, Finland
Another one for the Northern Lights – these cabins on the lake, located around one mile from Finnish Lapland, not only have glass bedrooms but also are mobile, and are moved onto the frozen lake during winter. The cabins are extremely popular and in high demand – so booking in advance is essential. From £130, room only.
Floating Huts, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
Lake Maracaibo is renowned for its spectacular lightning storms, which occur almost nightly in the region and are said to offer the most intense lightning in the world. These cabins sit on stilts above the water near the village of Ologa – in full view of the spectacular show of lights from the lake itself. Expat Alan Highton offers tours of the remote village – Brian Cox was one of his more famous guests. Price on application.
Human Nest, Treebones Resort, California
This is not a stay for the fainthearted. The Nest, constructed from woven wood like a giant bird's nest, offers the best views of hippy Treebones Resort in Big Sur – and of the Pacific Ocean below. Open air, it's only reachable via a wooden ladder after a walk through the yurt-filled camp. The nest is fully exposed to the elements, so you're obliged to pitch a tent at the foot of the tree, in case of extreme weather. For the less adventurous, yurts are also available on site. Toilets, showers and picnic benches are available on the main campsite – open fires are not permitted due to the structure being comprised solely of wood. From £141 per night, room only.
Green Magic Resort, Kerala, India
If you’ve ever felt an affinity to Disney’s Tarzan from childhood, then this is definitely the place for you. The Green Magic Resort offers an authentic tree house – which is only accessible via a rope lift. Situated 83 feet above the dense jungle in Kerala, the tree house is a jungle adventurer’s dream. Equipped with a comfortable bed and overlooking the waterfalls and jungle canopy, the resort offers travellers the chance to explore the jungle wildlife, which includes tigers, elephants, monkeys and many more on a night safari. From £157, room only.
Vintage Camper Vans, Landers, California
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Landers doesn't seem that extreme, but couple the 40-plus-degree heat with the fact that it is, according to locals, one of the main points on the planet to communicate with aliens, and there's a chance things could get wild. Guests can park themselves in one of the many camper vans on offer in the area, which offer panoramic views of the scorching desert right from the doorstep. The vintage Airstreams offer incredible views of the starry nights, and are decorated colourfully by local artists. They include a bed, a bathroom and are big enough for two guests. From £169, room only.