|August 1, 2006 - TripAdvisor(TM), the largest travel community in the
world, today announced the top 10 quirkiest hotels from around the globe,
according to traveler popularity and TripAdvisor editors.
1. Have an Ice Stay: Ice Hotel Quebec-Canada, Quebec, Canada
Breathtaking hotel made of ice, features an ice chapel, theme suites,
an ice bar, and an art gallery -- with ice sculptures, of course. Activities
include cross-country skiing, ice fishing, archery, snowmobiling, snow
tubing and even dogsled driving. As one TripAdvisor traveler described,
"It's like sleeping in a 5-star igloo." The "icetablishment" is only open
from January to April, just don't forget your parka and long johns.
2. Jail House Rock: Malmaison Oxford Castle, England, U.K.
Everything about the Malmaison Oxford Castle is authentic enough to
make you feel as if you are in the confines of an actual prison, but with
better company. Can a jail hotel be romantic? According to one TripAdvisor
traveler, "My husband and I decided to 'honeymoon' at the Malmaison Oxford
Castle, feeling that this magnificent converted prison would make a grand
setting to begin our 'life sentence' together. It certainly did not disappoint."
The first U.K. prison to be converted into a hotel, rest assured the property
was renovated to ensure for more comfortable accommodations.
3. Smooth Sailing: Imperial Boat House, Ko Samui, Thailand
With 34 authentic teakwood rice barges converted into land-locked luxury
suites, the Imperial Boat House on the beach is nautical nirvana. The lavish
outdoor pools are surrounded by a lush and lovely garden. As described
by one TripAdvisor traveler, "The resort is really impressive -- beautiful
landscaping and accents throughout." A final touch-the remarkable beach-front,
boat-shaped pool, features cannons -- no doubt, to keep the pirates at
4. Entertainment Extravaganza: Fantasyland Hotel & Resort, Edmonton,
With over-the-top fixtures and themed rooms, the Fantasyland Hotel and
Resort is a shock to the senses. According to a TripAdvisor traveler, "It
gives you the feeling that you're somewhere totally different, and when
it's -30 C and there is tons of snow, this is the perfect escape." Great
for families, it boasts a 217,800 square-foot indoor water park, an indoor
ice rink, indoor golf and you guessed it, indoor roller coaster ride. Why
all the indoor activities? Remember this is Edmonton, not Ibiza.
5. Tree-Top Tableau: Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel, Manaus, Brazil
Seventy feet up into the tree-tops of the Amazon, the Ariau Amazon Towers
Hotel features catwalks connecting the entire complex. Activities include
a jungle walk, swimming with dolphins, a caiman hunt and even piranha fishing.
The rooms are rustic, but in the opinion of one TripAdvisor traveler, "Wouldn't
some towering monstrosity of modern conveniences be somewhat incongruous
in this setting?" Don't be surprised to see a wide variety of flora and
fauna in this authentic jungle environment, where it's okay to hand-feed
the monkeys and parrots.
Malmaison Oxford Castle, England, U.K
Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel, Manaus, Brazil
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6. Desert Rose: Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Unique in its setting in the middle of the Dubai Desert, the Al Maha
Desert Resort is an oasis with luxurious accommodations, including private
pools and an authentic "Bedouin" encampment design. Activities that might
be hard-to-find anywhere else include sand dune driving, falconry and camel
trekking, and the panoramic views of the Hajar Mountains are a sight to
be seen. Oryx and gazelles are known to come around the rooms at night
and drink water from the private swimming pools. As one TripAdvisor traveler
noted, "There are lots of wild oryx roaming the grounds, which is nice,
but also a bit scary when they're blocking the path to the room."
7. Chief Light-Wallet: Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, Arizona
Operating along the historic U.S. Route 66, the Wigwams are actually
teepee-style, cement tents. The bargain motel features the authentic feel
of a 50s desert town -- from the furniture, to the vintage cars in the
parking lot, to the sounds of the old locomotive passing through town.
The rates are also a blast from the past -- the average room costs about
$45 a night. According to one TripAdvisor traveler, "By the way, the rate
is for real ... the youngest son of the builder commented to me that they
don't make money operating the motel, they do it 'as a sort of public service.'"
Cash and credit only, wampum not accepted.
8. Caveman's Delight: Yunak Evleri, Urgup, Turkey
Carved out of a stunning mountain-side cliff, the honeycombed hotel
includes six cave houses, with rooms connected by narrow, maze-like passageways
and stone stairways (think Land of the Lost, without the creatures). Decorated
in Ottoman style, Yunek Evleri provides private patios offering dramatic
views of the Turkish Mesa. As described by one TripAdvisor traveler, "You
are then whisked to this serene land with its 7th century caves, outdoor
archeological museums, and the best baklava ever."
9. Toro! Toro!: Quinta Real Zacatecas, Zacatecas, Mexico
Built around a 17th century bullfighting ring, it's no longer operational,
so leave the red cape at home. The Quinta Real Zacatecas incorporates the
feel of "Old Mexico," with its colonial architecture. Beautifully illuminated
at night, the hotel also faces the city's ancient arched aqueduct and the
local village's quaint shops complete the unique experience. Be sure to
enjoy the comfy robes ... as one TripAdvisor traveler suggested, "Do yourself
a favor and buy their robes to take home, I didn't and I have regretted
it for seven years now."
10. Inn Vogue: Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California
Most often referred to as kitschy, perhaps the best description for
the Madonna Inn comes from a recent TripAdvisor traveler, "It's what happens
when Barbie moves in with Barney Rubble, all pink and rock." But that's
part of the charm of the Madonna. A garish, chalet-style inn, the hotel
features 45 rooms with varying themes and color schemes. To many travelers,
an indescribably unique experience, perhaps the only thing you need to
know is that there is a famous waterfall urinal in the men's room.
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