Sleep in a bubble, yurt, hostel, boutique city hotel or remote luxury lodge. This year certainly offers up a world full of new choices when it comes to finding memorable places to stay.
Arctic Bath, Sweden
Although it resembles a mammoth bonfire in waiting, the only thing this giant ring of jumbled logs is going to set on fire is your heart. Floating outstretched in Swedish Lapland’s Lule River, this enigmatic structure contains a regulated ice bath (4°C), relaxation rooms and saunas. The complex and the six angular cabins located on the nearby shore are pure Scandi heaven.
The Arctic Bath is a year-round proposition, it floats on the river in summer and is frozen in place during the winter.
When a precious camphor forest and a historic village in Fúzhōu, complete with Ming- and Qing-dynasty homes, were threatened by the rising waters of a new reservoir, luxury brand Aman was persuaded to set out on an incredibly ambitious, decade-long plan to move the whole lot (10,000 trees, buildings and all) some 700km to Shànghăi’s outskirts. The result is this mindblowing 10-hectare retreat.
A night in one of the 24 suites starts at ¥6000 (US$950). The site includes a spa, cultural centre, kids’ club and several restaurants.
Ideal Eco-Hostel, Paraguay
Embrace nature by helping conserve it when staying at this simple eco-hostel in the town of Pilar. It’s operated by Para La Tierra, a respected and award-winning NGO that works to protect threatened habitats through scientific research, environmental education and community engagement. The hostel’s proceeds help to fund its work, and guests have the opportunity to volunteer for a range of biodiversity projects.
Dorm beds cost 70,000G (US$14) per night, while a double room will only set you back 150,000G (US$30).
Thurgau Bubble Hotel, Switzerland
Some bubbles never need bursting, and those dotting the Swiss countryside in Thurgau certainly fit this bill. These transparent rooms, equipped with beds that will make you feel as if you’re floating through nature, are minimalist bliss. Enjoy starry skies before waking to views of vineyards, orchards, lakes or sweeping gardens. Three of the bubbles have permanent locations, while one rotates every couple of months.
Prices, which include breakfast and a rental bike, start at CHF95 (US$98) per person per night.
Blackadore Caye, Belize
Launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, powered entirely by renewable energy and fed by nothing but rainwater and sunshine, this ambitious eco-resort has plans to regenerate its natural surroundings onshore and off. Health and wellness are at the fore for guests too, so settle in and soak up everything this private Caribbean island has to offer.
Half the island is to be protected as a wildlife reserve and will include a research station on climate change.
White City House, England
The Soho House group has been shaking up the hotel scene in the US and the UK over the past few years, and its latest London offering has reshaped and revolutionised the former BBC Television Centre in White City. The boutique hotel will feature 45 rooms within the legendary building’s original Grade II-listed doughnut-shaped core (The Helios), as well as a rooftop pool and extensive club space.
The hotel is part of a major transformation of the site, which includes a cinema, health club and housing.
Gorilla’s Nest, Rwanda
Staying here won’t mean you’ll be rolling back, David Attenborough-style, into the embrace of a mountain gorilla in its natural nest, but you will be on the doorstep of the famed Gorillas in the Mist story. And you’ll be considerably more comfortable and well fed than the beloved nature presenter ever dreamed of.
One&Only Gorilla’s Nest is snuggled into the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range and provides easy access to Volcanoes National Park, home to all of Rwanda’s gorillas.
The Siren Hotel, Detroit, USA
Detroit is certainly on the rise, and The Siren Hotel calls attention to it. Fittingly, this 106-room boutique hotel has rejuvenated the derelict, once elegant Wurlitzer building that was built in 1926 as a beacon to the city’s success. Nearby, the new QLine streetcar provides quick access to galleries and midtown museums such as the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Rooms, a mixture of reborn grandeur and modern colour and flair, start at US$139.
The Tasman, Hobart, Australia
The Tasman’s doors aren’t opening until 3 June 2019 but it’ll be worth the wait. This luxury hotel is to be set within a group of heritage buildings, including Hobart’s grand, Georgian-style St Mary’s Hospital, built in the 1800s. The historical elements will be merged with modern artworks and cutting-edge glass and steel structures.
The Tasman will open on Murray St, a short stroll from the harbour, Franklin Sq and Parliament Sq.
Eki Chat Yurt Camp, Kyrgyzstan
Feel like truly taking a walk on the wild side? Travel to this traditional yurt camp, set up by the local community in the Eki Chat valley as a launch point for adventurous travellers’ trekking and biking forays. It’s part of a wider eco-tourism effort in the Ak-Suu region, and the camp aims to be both economically and environmentally sustainable.
The nearest town is Jyrgalan, a 9km hike away. A night here (with breakfast) is 700som (US$10) per person.