1. Hotel Jested, Czech Republic
The Hotel Jested was built by Czech architect Karel Hubacek in a retro and futuristic style between 1966 and 1973. The hotel is visible from miles away due to its huge tower that stands at over 300 feet (91m). The tower was designed to naturally extend and compliment the silhouette of the surrounding mountains. The tower is also a television transmitter that is built to withstand the most extreme of weather.
It was awarded the Perret Prize by the International Union of Architects for its unique design. Just below the tower is a hotel and restaurant that were also designed with the theme of the 'space age'. The hotel hosts one of the most breathtaking views in all of the Czech Republic, looking out into parts of Germany and Poland, almost the entirety of what was once Bohemia.
2. Giraffe Manor, Kenya
The Giraffe Manor was built by Sir David Duncan in 1932 as a private home surrounded by over 140 acres of its own park and forest. In 1974, Jock Leslie-Melville bought the manor and founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife. The Melvilles set about making the Manor a refuge for a number of endangered species like the Rothschild giraffe. Now travelers from all over the world visit the Manor to dine with the giraffes and enjoy the Manor's welcoming and warm accommodations.
3. Marques de Riscal, Spain
Located in the Vinos de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal vineyard near the medieval village of Elciego, this beautiful hotel is a wine connoisseur's dream. The wine cellars at the bottom of the hotel were designed in 1858 by the architect Ricardo Bellsola. The hotel has 43 luxury rooms, each unique and different in their shapes due to the outlandish structure of the building. Thus, each room offers a different view out into the spectacular vineyards.
4. Inntel Hotel, the Netherlands
The Inntel Hotel is the newest hotel on this list, located in the Dutch city of Zaandam. The hotel appears to be a number of traditional Dutch green houses put together into one huge structure. The iconic green houses of the Zaan region were the inspiration for the designer of the hotel, Wilfried van Winden. The hotel provides over 160 guest rooms, a bar-restaurant, swimming pool, wellness center and a Turkish bath.
5. Sarova Saltlick Game Lodge, Kenya
Yet another of Kenya's beautiful and exciting hotels, the Sarova Saltlick Game Lodge is any wildlife enthusiast's fantasy. The hotel was ecologically built to fit into the habitat of the wild animals that roam through its premises. The hotel is located in the middle of the Taita Hills Sanctuary, a private wildlife conservatory located about a 6 hour drive away from the capital of Nairobi.
The hotel is made up of rooms on stilts located right above the animal watering holes. The rooms are connected by walkways that allow the guests to enjoy first row access to the wildlife below.
6. The Marmara Antalya, Turkey
Located on the Falez cliffs near the city of Antalya, the Marmara Antalya is the world's only revolving hotel that gives guests a constant 360 degree view. The 24 bedrooms make a full rotation every two to 22 hours. The rotation of the rooms is smooth and aided by six electronic motors in the basement of the hotel so that you can go to sleep with the sounds of the sea, and wake up with a view of the pool!
7. Sun Cruise Hotel, South Korea
No, this is not a cruise ship that went aground. This hotel on the coastal cliff of Jeongdongjin is a tourist attraction known for having the best sunrise views. The hotel is the world's first on-land cruise themed resort.
The hotel is 165m (540 ft.) long and 45m (150 ft.) tall, weighing in at over 30,000 tons! It has 211 rooms and all of the other amenities you might be used to seeing on a cruise ship. The entire resort was designed to give guests the feeling that they are on a cruise, without actually having to get out to sea. Overhead speakers play sounds of crashing waves around the ship and bird calls.
8. King Pacific Lodge, Canada
Now for a hotel that is actually on the water. The King Pacific Lodge is considered the only hotel in the world where guests float on the water as they rest. Unlike a cruise ship, the hotel is comfortable and feels like home. The hotel travels through one of the largest nature reserves in the world, Princess Royal Island, which is full of magnificent flora and fauna.
It is the ultimate vacation for luxury adventure travelers as it is located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the western coast of British Columbia. However, the hotel is only open from May to October, and only accessible by float plane, as the Great Bear Rainforest protects some of the world's most endangered animals, like the Spirit Bear, Orca Whales, bald eagles and wolves.
9. The Ocean Flower, Maldives
The Ocean Flower takes its name from the typical Maldivian flower and was the first of five oceanfront developments to go up in the Maldives. The structure of the hotel was developed by Dutch Docklands International in conjunction with the Maldivian government. The hotel is located in North Male atoll, only 20 minutes by boat from Male, the capital and home of the international airport.
10. Hippo Point, Kenya
The wonders of Kenya do not seem to end! This small 115 foot (40m) pagoda built of Kenyan Cypress offers 4 double rooms and one single to its guests. The hotel is located within a grove of yellow acacia trees that surround nearby Lake Naivasha. The point of the designers was to create a structure that would go unnoticed by the wildlife, especially the hippopotamuses. At the top of the tower is a 360 degree observation point. The hotel was completed in 1993 and is owned by Dodo Cunningham-Reid.
11. Hotel Unique, Brazil
Located in Sao Paulo, Hotel Unique is one of the best hotels in the world. It's designed in a contemporary style and looks like a steel and glass boat from afar. The hotel was designed by Ruy Ohtake from the inside out. The entire hotel was conceived to surprise and delight guests with specific touches in each one of the 95 rooms.
12. The Ariau Amazon Towers, Brazil
The Ariau towers are a boutique hotel near Manaus, Brazil in the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon River. The hotel has 7 towers and 288 rooms elevated above the rainforest floor and connected by over 5 miles (8km) of catwalks. The tallest of the rooms is called the Tarzan House and is located on top of a living Mahogany tree at a height of 22 meters (72 ft.) from the ground.
The hotel has a number of tours available to its guests, most notably the Meeting of the Waters, or where the Rio Negro and the Solimones Rivers meet. Two shades of water run side by side for over 4 miles (6 km) without mixing, an incredible natural phenomenon.
13. Spitbank Fort Hotel, United Kingdom
The Spitbank Fort is a small luxury hotel located in a Victorian-era sea fort off the coast of Portsmouth, England. It's one of the largest in the Solent, or the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England. The fort has nine rooms and three restaurants and bars, along with other top-class amenities. Some of the fort's original features have been retained, such as the brick walls, the fortress windows and a few old cannons.
14. The Balancing Barn Hotel, United Kingdom
Ever heard of a hotel that's off-balance? The Balancing Barn Hotel located a few miles inland from the Suffolk coast was designed by the Dutch design firm MVRDV to be one of a kind.
The Barn is about 30 meters (98ft.) long with 15 meters of that plunging over the slope of a hill. The building was designed in such a way to maximize the linear experience of nature.
Even from its height, the guest experiences his or her natural surroundings as if he or she were at ground level and then at tree height.
15. Desert Lotus Hotel, Mongolia
In the isolated Xiangshawan Desert in Mongolia lies a magnificent hotel surrounded by a circle of white tents. The tents were rotated at 45 degrees and connected together to look like a lotus flower. The resort was built without tiles and bricks due to the rugged climate, and instead with 'greener' materials that take advantage of the solar, water and wind energy in the desert. The tents were erected to protect the hotel against the elements. Due to its difficult geographic condition, a new structural system was developed by the builders of the hotel to keep it in place. Instead of using concrete or water, the building is fixed with steel panels with sand at their base. The hotel is very popular among Chinese tourists because it is located 800 km (500 miles) from Beijing and even closer to a number of other large Chinese towns.
16. Lake Palace, India
Yet another hotel floating on water, the Lake Palace has 83 rooms and suites all decked with marble floors. The hotel is located on a large rock called Jag Niwas Island in Lake Pichola. The hotel has a speed boat that transports guests to and fro. It has many times been voted the most romantic hotel in India and in the world.
The hotel was built between 1743 - 1746 under the direction of Maharana Jagat Singh II, the 62nd successor to the royal dynasty of Mewar. It was meant to be a royal summer palace and was originally called Jagniwas or Jan Niwas after its founder. Commercial ownership of the summer palace was assumed in 1971 and another 75 rooms were added to accommodate all of the guests.
17. Magic Mountain Hotel, Chile
A hotel shaped like a volcano that spews water instead of fire from its top! The hotel is located in the Huilo Huilo Private Nature Reserve and is completely nestled into its natural surroundings.
The entire hotel is covered with moss and plant life, making it look like a magical mystical palace in the middle of the forest. The nature reserve is home to some of the world's rarest species, like the Pudu, the world's smallest deer. It is also home to the longest zip line in South America. The hotel itself is built from local wood and stone, and each room is named after a different local species of bird.
18. Hotel Arbez, France/Switzerland
One of the world's only hotels built on the border between two countries, the Hotel Arbez is located in the small town of La Cure along the French-Swiss border. The cozy hotel was built in 19th century alpine style with wooden beams and a country kitchen to serve its guests. The hotel dates back to the 19th century when Monsieur Ponthus took advantage of a border treaty between France and Switzerland to build a structure along the border with the intention of doing business. The structure was erected in no time, and by the time the Swiss had ratified the treaty, Monsieur Ponthus's structure was already up and running, with a bar on the French side and a shop on the Swiss side.
Now you know that there is much more to hotels than a place to rest your head!