4 Unconventional Hotels and Their Unique Rooms

Odds and Ends of Normalcy

The ranch-themed Yahoo! room at Madonna Inn.

The ranch-themed Yahoo room at Madonna Inn.

Does the words “strange” and “usual” excite you or disturb you? More than ever, goods and services are becoming standardize, leaving little excitement in trying new places and things.  Even when you venture to a new destination, your hotel stay feels more-or-less the same. There is a pool, spa, bed, lounge, etc. You check in at a front desk, take the elevator up some flights, open the door to your neutral-colored room, and collapse on some clinically white sheets. How boring and predictable! Why not have part of your next adventure include where you stay? Why let your next business trip be as monotonous as your work? Instead of having your hotel visit feel like a doctor’s visit, here are some unconventional hotels to bring some life back into your usual hotel routine. These quirky, quaint, and colorful locations provide all the necessities you’d need at a hotel, but in a lively (and sometimes odd) fashion. Let your hotel room feel like a work of art instead of just, well, work.

Madonna Inn – San Luis Obispo, California

 As much as everyone loves the blonde musical icon, this hotel is not affiliated with the “Like a Virgin” star – however, this famous inn is just as fun and eye-catching!

Gold Rush Steak House at the Madonna Inn

Gold Rush Steak House at the Madonna Inn

The Madonna Inn looks like it could be a cottage plucked straight from a fairy tale book, complete with steeples, cobblestone, and a bakery. Step inside this fantasy-like inn to find charming exposed rock, floral patterns, gold accents, and a whole lot of pink!

Don’t shy away from this whimsical hotel if the color pink isn’t for you. With 110 unique, themed guestrooms, you’re bound to find one perfect for your perfectly unconventional stay.

Madonna Inn has not only serviced over 50 years’ worth of happy guests, but has also served as a backdrop for trendy music videos by artists like Grimes, Foxes, and Diana Espir. A stay at the Madonna Inn will have you feeling like a California star, no matter what room you choose.

Caveman room at Madonna Inn.

Caveman room at Madonna Inn.

Want a rock waterfall shower? Maybe a personal water wheel? How about a room fit for a cloud connoisseur, cowboy, or…caveman??  Madonna Inn has it!  You’re sure to have a fantastic time in this flamboyantly fun hotel.

Daddy Long Legs Hotel – Cape Town, South Africa

Before you start to feel your skin crawl over the thought of spiders in your hotel bed, let us reassure you that Daddy Long Legs Hotel has nothing to do with arachnids.

Daddy Long Legs Hotels was made for anyone desiring a slice of art with their hotel room. We’re not talking about framed pictures on the wall or statues in the lobby.  This South African hotel wants you to live in a piece of art.

Please Do Not Disturb room at Daddy Long Legs Hotel. Design: Kim Stern.

Please Do Not Disturb room at Daddy Long Legs. Design: Kim Stern.

Their website explains that each of their 13 rooms has been given to an artist, poet, photographer, designer, or musician for complete artistic expression of the space.

One room, for instance, is called Please Do Not Disturb. This room was practically made for those who love to be the spotlight – literally! The room is both a place to lay your head and a fully-functional stage, complete with theatrical lights and microphones, one of which you can find in everyone’s favorite singing location: the shower!

Other rooms include themes, such as the Sailor Jerry’s room, the blood-red Emergency Room, and the picture-perfect Photo Booth Room.

The Emergency Room at Daddy Long Legs Hotel. Design: Bert Pepler

The Emergency Room at Daddy Long Legs Hotel.
Design: Bert Pepler

If you find yourself in the capital of South Africa, and want to be transported into a piece of art during your down time, be sure to look into staying at a one-of-a-kind room at Daddy Long Legs Hotel.

IceHotel – Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

"Tribute" by Elin Julin, Marinus Vroom, and Jens Thoms Ivarsson. Photograph by Asaf Kliger.

“Tribute” by Elin Julin, Marinus Vroom, and Jens Thoms Ivarsson. Photograph by Asaf Kliger.

Some of the best things in life are cold: ice cream, gazpacho, and hotels. Did that last one surprise you? Maybe a cold room is the last thing you want in a hotel, but at IceHotel in Sweden, it’s the

whole reason you go. Deserving of the title, “coolest” hotel ever, this ice-sculpted hotel brings the saying “winter wonderland” to life.

All jokes aside, this frozen palace isn’t solely unique because it’s made of ice. Every year the ice melts back to a nearby river and allows for a new artist to redesign the hotel the following year. Therefore, if go to Icehotel this winter, it will look different than anyone who has gone in the previous years, giving you a one-of-a-kind experience. Cool, right?

Under the Artic Skin by Rob Harding & Timsam Harding. Photograph by Asaf Kliger.

Under the Artic Skin by Rob Harding & Timsam Harding. Photograph by Asaf Kliger.

If sleeping in a parka doesn’t sound as appealing, but you still want to wander the hotel made of ice, do not fret, there are warm rooms you can get.  You can also book activities involving dog sleds, reindeers, snowmobiles, horseback rides, and viewings the northern lights. If this sounds like your type of vacation, then there is “snow” better place to stay.


Crane Hotel Faralda – Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Crane Hotel Faralda (via Guilhem Vellut's Flickr)

Crane Hotel Faralda (via Guilhem Vellut’s Flickr)

  This last hotel brings the word unconventional to new heights – heights that might make you nervous to look down from. Although some of the most popular hotels are over a dozen stories high, there’s something a little more comforting about being in a building, rather than a used crane.  This elevated, waterside hotel is rare treat for visitors, as it only has 3 suites. If you can snag a room in this unique piece of architecture, then be sure to check out their spa pool with gorgeous views of the nearby river.

Their website boast that the multi-million dollar project has received multiple awards and is popular among famous DJs, CEOs, and even royalty. If you fancy yourself a VIP in Amsterdam, then Crane Hotel Faralda is the place to test your status – and your fear of heights.

Stand out by Checking In

Now that you’ve seen some of the most creative hotels there are, how could you ever go back to your boring run-of-the-mill inn? No, not you.  You’re a rebel as bold and confident as the Madonna Inn.  The artist in you is already looking into what Daddy Long Leg room you would book.  Maybe you’re curious about how 3 rooms, an elevator, and spa could all fit on a crane. Do you have a thirst for a beverage from a bar made of ice? If any of these hotels sparks interest, look into visiting. Why go to the same boring hotel as everyone else when you could live like a caveman for a night? Or a aspiring artist? Or an overnight construction worker? Or a snow queen in her palace? Check out of the monotony that so many hotels provide and check-in to somewhere as unique as you are.