Best hotels in the world

Going Global: 6 Weird & Wonderful Hotels

Not all hotels have swim-up pools, urban addresses and bustling lobby bars.  Some are found in forests, others in caves and a special few present guests with the experience of a lifetime — you know, the stuff real memories are made from.

Now, finding these hidden gems can be tricky. Even for the self-made travel agents out there, it’s unlikely that you will stumble upon any of these on Expedia.

So, to make it easy for you, we curated a list of unique properties — each with their own brilliance and charm — but all likely unknown to the masses.

Photo: @doyoutravel

Not your usual safari

Reason to visit: Where else can you hang with a giraffe?

First up, Giraffe Manor in Kenya. Just southwest of Nairobi, this iconic building has been a part of the local landscape for nearly a century. The sprawling property includes a 140-acre sanctuary for the resident Rothschild giraffes, who visit the Manor daily to greet guests and catch nibbles and treats. In the early ’70s, the home was purchased by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville, a couple, who still use the Manor as their second home to this day. Much of their lives have been devoted to preserving the species that calls Giraffe Manor home.

Photo: @earthspirit

 Sticks and stones

Reason to visit: Even Tarzan would be jealous.

High up in the Patagonian Andes, surrounded by forest and submerged in nature, is Nothofagus Hotel & Spa. A regional hub for eco-tourism, the hotel was built on a biological reserve, using recycled and locally-sourced materials. With a variety of different activities available within a stone’s throw of the hotel (and we aren’t talking about walking in the woods) this place is prime for any adventure seekers out there. Just make sure they tag their photos with #sirentravels so we can see them!

Photo: @fernanda_qm

No trolls in here

Reason to visit: Far from life as a cave person.

Plan a visit to Cappadocia around their balloon festival. If you cannot make it during that time, don’t stress — just make sure to crash at Cappadocia Cave Resort & Spa. Quite the opposite of how humans traditionally lived in caves, this luxurious resort offers Westerners the comfort of home, while in the confines of a mountain. If something like this sprung up in Alberta’s Badlands, would you be opposed?

Photo: @dreamhouseprojects

Surreal luxury

Reason to visit: If Gehry and Gaudi had a love child…

In a country where Gaudi reshaped conventional architecture long before the rest of the world started tinkering with normality, it is not surprising hotels like Hotel Marqués de Riscal exist. In fact, it is a testament to the boldness of Spanish design. Hold on. Surprisingly, it was renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry who was behind Riscal. It’s whimsical, curvy aesthetic gives way to crisp quarters and airy spaces with phenomenal sight lines. The perfect place to look down upon Spanish wine country.

Photo: @la_balade_des_gnomes

Description not required

Reason to visit: Come on, gnome houses. Need we say more?

Even though the hotel website only offers users French or Dutch (parlez-vous français?) as options, it is not hard to click around and instantly get sucked into the mystical hotel that is La Balade des Gnomes. Tucked away in the Belgian countryside, just a short drive from Liège, La Balade is a fantasy lover’s dream. Be careful: do not wander too far off the property, we hear there are faeries in the woods.

Photo: @southernoceanlodge


Do it right Down Under

Reason to visit: There’s not much like it anywhere on the continent.

The only hotel in Canada that could hold a candle to Southern Ocean Lodge is Fogo Island. This is basically the southern carnation of it, at least. Call it Kangaroo Island edition. Arguably one of the most stunning and unique hotels in the world, book your stay through Mr & Mrs Smith and receive complimentary dinner for two in the wine cellar.

Andrew Lovesey is Siren Communication's digital strategist. Formerly the digital editor of FLARE and social media editor of Canadian Geographic, he is now the editor of Travel About, a digital quarterly magazine; he has written for some of Canada's finest publications including The Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Geographic, FLARE and ELLE Canada. Aside from writing, Andrew's work in digital strategy has been implemented on national programs—including Shell and Starbucks—and his consultancies have ranged from tourism boards to retail, fashion to corporate social responsibility. Andrew is Vice President of Alli's Journey, a Student Member of the Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient.