February 28, 2024

23 most unique hotels in the world, per travel experts

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23 most unique hotels in the world, per travel experts

When it comes to choosing your lodging, the world is your oyster (literally!) with plenty of options for everyone: five-star resorts, hostels, budget-friendly hotels, boutique properties, cruises, all-inclusive resorts and unique options that change your time and space.

While “unique” is a word with different meaning for everyone, to us it means that the property is offering something special you can’t find elsewhere. Think treehouse vibes, a restored castle from the 1600s or even a renovated, private retreat used by the Rockefeller family in the ’30s.

“Hotels stand out from the crowd by offering unique experiences for their guests. They can include properties that are located in one-of-a-kind areas (mountaintops, remote wilderness, historic districts) have distinctive architecture, interior design elements, memorable amenities; such as rooftop bars, customized meals, spas in areas, sustainability focus,” Susan Zurbin-Hothersall, travel agent at the Travel Edge Network, told the New York Post. “‘Unique’ can vary from person to person. What might be considered unique to me might be commonplace to you, it all depends on your personal perspective and experiences in life.”

No matter how you define “unique,” with the help of travel experts and our own personal experience, we rounded up more than a dozen special hotels around the world that are bound to add some excitement to your itinerary.

Hotel Cipriani

As one of the most exclusive and special hotels in Venice, this is the place to be on your next Italian vacation if you’re seeking authenticity.

“Pure enchantment from the hotel [is the] birthplace of the Bellini cocktail. Imagine arriving at this Venetian oasis on the island of Giudecca via Hotel Cipriani’s private boat, greeted by the warmest staff in town,” Zurbin-Hothersall said. “Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit because you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover an Olympic-sized swimming pool on the premises. The hotel’s exclusivity is no secret, making it a haven for celebrities seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of Venice. In the evening, enjoy sunset lagoon views as you sip a Bellini or a spritz and indulge in the freshest fish at Cips Club.”

What makes it unique: Unlike most properties in Venice that are confined to smaller, historic buildings, Hotel Cipriani is spacious — giving every guest in the main building a water or garden-facing balcony. Plus, it houses the only swimming pool in central Venice. A fun fact? The Bellini cocktail was first invented at Venice’s famous Harry’s Bar in 1948 by the founder of the hotel, Giuseppe Cipriani.

El Calafate, Argentina
Estancia Cristina

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, look no further than Estancia Cristina where you can see the jaw dropping beauty of Patagonia.

The property features five casas (named Montaña, Estepa, Bosque, Río, and Familia) surrounding the main lodge where you’ll eat. Each one features four private suite rooms with a bow window and the chance to connect with the natural strength of a breathtaking view — thousands of acres of wilderness. Set in a glacier valley, the lodge is protected by the winds, lakes, mountains, and astonishing views that remain fully present through panoramic windows.

“This seems to be a great option for travelers who are looking to explore this amazing distant region with a ‘choose your own adventure’ program. [It’s great] if [you’re] interested in complete privacy in a house-like environment as meals take place in a separate building,” Angela Adto Tepper, founder of AZA Luxury Travel said.

What makes it unique: Estancia Cristina is only accessible by a three hour boat trip from El Calafate and sits in the middle of 3,000 square miles of rugged Patagonian wilderness in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park.

InterContinental Edinburgh the George, an IHG Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

If you’re looking to book a trip to Scotland, you’re likely flying in and out of Edinburgh. For a luxurious and special experience, experts love staying at The InterContinental Edinburgh The George. The five-star hotel has been welcoming hotel guests since 1881 and is just foot steps away from the iconic Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish capital’s popular, cobbled street of the Royal Mile.

Enjoy prime Scottish beef at The Printing Press restaurant where they serve a range of 28-day-aged cuts and then head to the Printing Press Bar for an excellent after-dinner cocktail.

What makes it unique: At the hotel’s heart are five listed Georgian townhouses, built in 1775 as homes for Edinburgh’s most prosperous citizens and have connections with one of Scotland’s finest novelist, Sir Walter Scott.

La Valise

Tulum gets more popular by the week and for good reason. The destination takes the word “unique” to another level with its incredible jungle and beach collaboration, incredible food scene and colorful nightlife. The best place to stay? None other than La Valise Tulum.

What makes it unique: The property was converted from a private villa to a five-star, boutique hotel with only 11 rooms where guests can indulge in a dreamy escape. The hotel features both beachfront and jungle accommodations, a state-of-the-art spa, and king-size beds on wheels, which can be rolled onto your private terrace for al fresco nights in the jungle, under the stars.

Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic

If you’re looking to visit Prague, the Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague is a beautiful and unique luxury hotel located in the center of Prague’s fabled Lesser Town district, right below Prague Castle and just steps away from Charles Bridge.

What makes it unique: The historic location was converted from a 13th-century monastery and has four monks still living on the grounds. The hotel is directly connected to Baroque St. Thomas Church and offers special tours where guests may experience an authentic Augustinian monastery and a 13th-century library without stepping outside of the hotel. 

Borgo Santandrea in the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Borgo Santandrea

For a fabulous experience on the Amalfi Coast, Borgo Santandrea is the place to be.

“One of the newest gems on the Amalfi Coast, this exquisite property boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and offers a rare private beach,” Zurbin-Hothersall said. “The breakfast experience at this hotel is truly unparalleled and is worthy of a Michelin star. From the meticulously hand painted tiles that adorn the floors to the flowers planted across the property, this hotel exudes an aura of serenity and luxury. Maurizio, the owner, takes such pride in every detail. If you are looking for a tranquil escape in one of the most stunning locations, look no further than Borgo Santandrea.”

What makes it unique: Borgo Santandrea’s stylish restoration with fabulous landscaping and vintage interior design makes it one of the most stunning hotels on the Amalfi Coast. Unlike many properties in the area, this five-star property offers it’s very own private beach and chic beach club to go with it. At 900 feet high, the property has eight different elevators to allow easy access to and from the beach or the terrace at the top of the hotel (a rare quality in most properties on the Amalfi Coast). Although, guests are also welcome to climb the 344 step staircase if desired.

Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort in Tulum, Mexico

The Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive property is what dreams are made of! It’s situated in a secluded bay surrounded by tropical forest and pristine Caribbean waters.

What makes it unique: 13 all-Inclusive dining experiences including five signature restaurants, lounges, bars and deli, as well as casual poolside offerings. Plus, mindfulness courses such as breath practice and sound healing and a five-star spa with a wide range of services that are inspired by Mayan gods and traditional Mexican herbalism. Other offerings include nine pools and a wine journey led by the property’s sommelier around Mexico’s most recognized wine regions.

Singita Pamushana Luxury Lodge in Malilangwe Reserve, Zimbabwe

When it comes to unique vacations, African safaris are hard to beat.

“I can’t recommend Singita enough, having just visited three of their outstanding properties recently in Zimbabwe, Sabi Sands, and Kruger National Park,” Tepper said. “While this is a family-friendly property, it’s a popular safari experience for our honeymooners. At Singita’s Kwitonda Lodge in Rwanda, they too accept families at the lodge, but the minimum age to trek with the gorillas is 15-years-old.”

Enjoy a cliff-top firepit, a bar-deli overlooking the dam, alfresco dining, personalities itineraries that include game drives, community visits with locals, wine experiences, guided safari walks, fishing, sunset cruises and much more.

What makes it unique: Singita’s Pamushana Luxury Lodge is perched high on a sandstone ridge overlooking the expanse of the Malilangwe Dam. The property’s eight elegant suites (all with private plunge pools) draw inspiration from the rich tribal history of ancient Zimbabwe.

Hotel das Cataratas, A Belmond Hotel, Iguassu Falls
Hotel das Cataratas

Iguazú Falls is a magical part of Brazil (and Argentina!) that will make your treehouse-loving, hiking, forest dreams come true.

The Hotel das Cataratas is located on the Brazilian side of the Iguazù Falls and one of the most specular options the area has to offer. Enjoy five-star accommodations, incredible service and the opportunity to see the falls before the park opens to the general public in the early morning, as well a moon light experience after hours.

“With the Devil’s Throat Platform in walking distance, this location can’t be beat,” Tracey Nichol, Destination Lead at Kensington Tours, who has almost a decade of experience in the industry, told The Post.

What makes it unique: The Hotel das Cataratas is one of two hotels that is located inside the national park (and the only one on the Brazilian side), offering an incredible, direct view of the falls.

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai
Al Maha

Take glamping to the next level at the Al Maha property in Dubai.

“Al Maha, a tented desert safari experience located in the desert beyond Dubai’s city limits, is a popular honeymoon spot for our newly-weds. While they do accept children above the ages of ten, the tented camp layout offers a great deal of privacy,” Tepper said. “This is an all-inclusive property offering multiple of interesting activities you can partake in, everything from sand-boarding, riding camels, archery, dune-driving, and much more.”

What makes it unique: Aside from sleeping under the stars in the Arabian Desert, the Al Maha property features 42 villas, each with its own private pool overlooking the conservation reserve. Plus, enjoy the opportunity to experience up to two included activities in your stay each day.

Canaves Oia Suites in Santorini, Greece
Canaves Oia Suites

On an island like Santorini, it takes something special to stand out — Canaves Oia Suites does just that.

“Set against a backdrop of stunning sunsets, this hotel promises a romantic experience like no other,” Zurbin-Hothersall told The Post. “Indulge in a delicious breakfast, where the vibrant color of the egg yolks is sure to mesmerize you. “Let’s not forget the pool — it’s simply stunning!”

The property is filled with pristine white suites that are set into dark volcanic rocks with private plunge pools and individual balconies for you to enjoy the sunset or stary nights.

What makes it unique: Canaves Oia Suites offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the Aegean Sea but is still conveniently in the city center to ensure guests can easily reach many local points of interest. The hotel offers a luxurious wine tasting in its very own wine cellar and features large suites by island standards.

woman in hot tub in Africa in a treehouse
Four Seasons

Deep in the jungle is this unique Four Seasons property.

The Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle property features 15 luxurious, full-air conditioned tents that are positioned away from each other for privacy and one main lodge to provide guests with all the amenities they would expect from a five-star property. Tents feature hardwood floors, mosquito nets, a king-size bed, a two-person hand-hammered copper bathtub, a sundeck with a daybed and two massage beds, as well as an outdoor rain shower. 24-hour in-room dining, complimentary and premium Wi-Fi, spa treatments, a five-star restaurant, bar and wine cellar are all at your fingertips.

What makes it unique: this Four Seasons property takes a treehouse resort to the next level with it’s location in the heart of the Golden Triangle, overlooking three countries simultaneously: Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

The Maybourne Riviera in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Maybourne Riviera

For a truly unforgettable stay in the French Riviera, The Maybourne Riviera is a place you’ll want to book again and again.

“From the terrace, you can see Monaco and Italy, while standing in France. This hotel has a timeless design, with exquisite detailing which sets it apart from other hotels in the area,” Zurbin-Hothersall said. “The guest rooms are spacious, offering a perfect blend of comfort and luxury. Whether you are there for pleasure or business you can enjoy the world class restaurants, the state-of-the-art spa and fitness facilities.”

What makes it unique: Conveniently located between Monaco and Menton, on the heights of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the hotel was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and built inside a cliff, suspended above the water. The rooms, inspired by the movement of the sea, offer large bay windows, balconies and terraces with spectacular sea views. Some suites have private infinity pools.

Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Rovaniemi, Finland
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel gives travelers a unique blend of luxury comfort in the middle of Finland’s slice of the Arctic Circle with a modern Scandinavian design.

When you’re not spending time in your treehouse cabin you can enjoy wild taste testings, heli-skiing, ice swimming, reindeer and husky safaris and much more. At the end of each day you can take advantage of the fine-dining restaurant on property that serves delightful meals using Arctic ingredients.

What makes it unique: Each cabin features panoramic windows that showcase the beautiful snow-dusted pines, wispy auroras and even the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun.

The Point in Saranac Lake, New York
The Point

Among the many unique international options, consider The Point in the Adirondack Mountains. Enjoy 75 acres, superb cuisine and world class service during a romantic weekend or a holiday celebration in the winter.

“Located on Saranac Lake in upstate New York, it’s utterly charming with 11 guest rooms. My clients love the intimacy of this property, and often say it feels like ‘a home away from home,’” Tepper said.

What makes it unique: The Point was built in the early 1930s as a private retreat for William Avery Rockefeller Jr. (John D. Rockefeller’s grand-nephew) and was turned into an all-inclusive, luxury resort by two of its longtime guests, Laurie and Pierre Lapeyre in 2016. A fun option to experience during your stay? The property hosts a black tie, 7-course dinner and a wine-pairing with each bite on wednesdays and saturday evenings.

Legado Mitico
Legado Mitico

“The location is fantastic — in South Palemero, the artist area, with boutiques, bars, restaurants and a great night vibe. [The hotel’s communal] spaces [like] the interior and exterior courtyard are warm and inviting,” Goldring said who also highlighted the excellent service and unique names behind each hotel room.

What makes it unique: Each room is themed in honor of someone or something important in Argentinian culture. For example, The First Lady room, like it suggests, honors the former first lady, María Eva Duarte de Perón. “The Liberator” room honors Jose de San Martin (nicknamed “Father of the Nation”), military commander, known for winning independence from Spain and bringing freedom to his native Argentina in 1812.

Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, Spain

As a New York Post pick, I can attest just how special the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, Spain is after a visit in August 2022.

The location is unbeatable, close to everything you’d want to see in the historic city and truly a “home away from home” with the Spaniards. The pool was refreshing after a hot day exploring, the breakfast in the garden was a meal we looked forward to on the daily, not to mention the fabulous drinks at the trendy cocktail bar and stunning architecture.

What makes it unique: The hotel was built by the eponymous King Alfonso XIII for the 1929 Expo’s VIP guests, including the royal family. During this time it was one of the most luxurious hotels in the country and much of the grand decor remains (crystal chandeliers, mirroed wooden elevators, patterend marble floors, Triana tiles, colorful wall ceramics).

Bubble Hotel Iceland

As another New York Post pick, I experienced the incredible Bubble Hotel Iceland in January 2020. While I don’t recommend visiting the Nordic country in the depth of winter like we did (little to no daylight and very erratic weather) our experience at this hotel was beyond unique.

You’ll be as close to nature as you can possibly get, literally sleeping in the snowy forest, with the chance to see the Northern Lights while you lay in bed inside your warm, cozy bubble. There’s only six bubble rooms on the property, spread out to offer maximum privacy and a bathroom in the communal cabin. The hotel also offers tours in addition to a one night stay in a bubble, which is the route we went with. You can choose between the Golden Circle and the South Coast tour, we opted for the latter.

What makes it unique: You’re sleeping inside a clear bubble!

The Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, Austria

For a historic and scenic vacation that offers the same unique essence of Rome or Paris (without the crowds), consider Vienna, Austria. It’s the perfect place to enjoy incredible food, museums, music, and an ideal home base for day trips to Salzburg, Hallstat and more.

Activities include listening to music at a nearby cafe — after all, Vienna (the “city of music”) is the birthplace of musicians like Mozart and Beethoven. You can also explore the Imperial Palaces (the former home of the Habsburg Monarchy), visit the world’s oldest zoo, go on a boat cruise, eat wiener schnitzel at local taverns, and more.

What makes it unique: The Ritz-Carlton in Vienna is located on the iconic Ring Boulevard in Vienna’s cultural heart and is only a short walk from the city park — the perfect starting point to discover Vienna. The hotel boasts 200 guest rooms, five restaurants (including the farm-to-table Dstrikt Steakhouse), a rooftop bar with breathtaking views of the city, a spa, an indoor pool and more.

Auberge Saint-Antoine
Auberge Saint-Antoine

For a spectacular getaway from NYC, Québec City’s Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel is just a two hour flight and a great option for all. With its culturally and historically significant location on a World Heritage Site, impeccable luxury amenities and services, and boutique accommodations in an urban setting, this unique hotel has quite a bit to offer.

What makes it unique: Auberge Saint-Antoine encompasses a trio of sites in Quebec City’s Old Port, on Îlot Hunt, an area facing the St. Lawrence River. In its early days, the Îlot Hunt property was used as a wharf, then a cannon battery, and later by British merchants when the city was one of North America’s biggest and busiest ports. During the construction of the hotel, many artifacts were found during a archaeological dig that date back to the 1600s and are now displayed throughout the property, as a tribute to more than three centuries of Québec history.

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto in Kyoto, Japan

Japan is no stranger to unique and fabulous accommodations but Hotel The Mitsui in Kyoto is one worth putting on your list and ideal for those who want to experience historic Kyoto with a fresh prism.

Sleek rooms and suites, designed by Andre Fu, are centralized around a courtyard garden that surrounds a large cherry blossom tree and decadent hot springs are on the property. The hotel is right across from the 17th-century Nijo Castle and has interior design inspiration from Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine.

What makes it unique: The wooden gateway, Kajii Shrine Gate, that guests pass through upon arrival once marked the entrance to the Kyoto residence of the Mitsui family (one of the most powerful families of merchants and industrialists in Japan). While the property fell out of Mitsui hands in 1945, in 2015, the land was re-purchased by the family’s real estate company in 2015.

Awasi Iguazù
Awasi Iguazù Awasi Iguazù

For an incredible all-inclusive, luxury stay in Argentina is the Awasi Iguazù property. The Relais and Chateaux hotel is built on stilts for minimal environmental impact, 14 villas are spread throughout the jungle for privacy among guests but within easy distance of the main lodge.

Each villa has a private plunge pool and a spacious living area. While most guests come here to enjoy the outdoors and seclusion, if you’re looking to socialize, you can do so at the bar and restaurant located in the main lodge.

“I’m a big fan of this brand, because Relais and Chateaux hotels are boutique and have a strong focus on gastronomy, two important details many of my clients desire when considering accommodations,” Tepper said of Awasi properties.

What makes it unique: Enjoy fabulous meals with state-of-the-art gastronomy, your own private guide, and a 4WD vehicle to explore the region at your own place. Excursions include visiting the 18th-century Jesuit ruins, hidden waterfalls (as well as the famous ones), kayaking through the jungle, bird watching, and more.

Mystery Hotel in Budapest, Hungary
Mystery Hotel Budapest

The quirkiness of the Mystery Hotel in Budapest start as soon as you step foot in the building. The carpet in the reception area is reminiscent of the magic carpet in “Aladdin.” Paintings on the walls come to life as the subjects in the canvas start to move around with the use of screens and to book a meeting room, you’ll need to figure out how to open it first! This playful and mysterious concept is present throughout the entire hotel.

“The location is wonderful, right in the city center with most attractions within walking distance [and] each room and suite is uniquely designed,” Eric Goldring, founder of Goldring Travel, told The Post. “The beautiful rooftop terrace has amazing views and the Great Hall restaurant and lounge offer authentic but modernized Hungarian cuisine.”

What makes it unique: The property was previously an eclectic palace built by the Hungarian Freemasons in the 19th century and has many legends and secrets. Enjoy a small library where guests can borrow mystic themed books or movies and incredible architecture inspired by the Greeks.

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