Dreaming of a comfortable, soft bed with a pile of duck-feathered pillows on top? A huge, white marble bathtub full of perfumed soap bubbles, inviting you to relax? Stop right there and prepare yourself for a completely different kind of experience.
Book a weekend at one of Europe’s 5 most extravagant and cool eco hotels …if you are brave enough.

Alcatraz hotel: book a night in jail

Dr Michael Koll and Dr Andreas Kirsch thought it could be interesting to spend a night in a German jail, so they bought an old prison dating back to 1867 and turned it into a 56 room hotel. Some rooms are a little small, the view is not really that charming, but…What a night to remember!
If you need “room service”, a kind waiter will pass your order through a hole in the door and if you feel you really need to share this experience, yes, the hotel has Wi-Fi service.
Info: Alcatraz Hotel
How to get there: catch a train from Frankfuert. Have a look here
We like: why not make use of old buildings and bring them back to life?

La Balad des gnomes: just like Ulysses assaulting Troy

Not keen on Greek mythology? Immerse yourself in the world of Nordic myths instead. You can sleep in a troll room if you choose to stay at “La balad des gnomes”, or even get lost in Gaudi’s sophisticated designs or discover the enticing rhythm of Africa. Just make your choice and get ready for a night full of incredible dreams.
Info: La Balad des Gnomes
How to get there: get a train toand stop over at Barvaux-s/Ourthe train station
We like: all the hotel’s materials are naturally-sourced

Village Igloo Misurina: build your own igloo!

Yes, you heard it right: this is an igloo village and you get to sleep in an actual igloo.
The Dolomite mountains create an absolutely breathtaking backdrop.
Activities include:

  • snow shoe walking
  • ice skating on an icy lake
  • snow trekking
  • igloo building seminar

Info: Villaggio Igloo Misurina
How to get there:
By car: Take the A27 motorway to Pian Vedoia, then get on the SS51 and SS51bis. Follow road signs to Pieve di Cadore and then to Auronzo-Comelico-Sappada.
By train: get off at Calalzo di Cadore train station and get a bus.
We like: a night in a real igloo without travelling to the North Pole? Why not?!

Treehotel: up where the eagles belong

Yes, it is true. The Treehotel’s rooms are exactly where the eagles’ nests are: in the treetops.
Don’t worry about the trees though: respecting the environment couldn’t be more important here.
No tree has been damaged or chopped.
Most of the services and facilities run thanks to hydro energy sourced from a nearby green hydro plant.
Light bulbs are low impact LEDs
Toilets use only a small amount of water and toilet waste is totally eliminated at 600° C.
Info: Treehotel
How to get there: trains run from the main 3 Stockholm airports
We like: bring a good book with you and let Nature’s colours and sounds reinvigorate your body and soul.

Kolarbyn Ecolodge: fancy for a coffee? Get an axe and chop your firewood

Twelve huts covered with mud, grass and some bilberry and mushrooms.
Have you arrived at a village from Lord of the Rings? Not quite, although you’re pretty close. This is Kolarbyn Ecolodge, just 2 hours from Stockholm.
The Swedish used this site to burn wood in order to get their charcoal 400 years ago.
More recently, someone decided to build some Spartan huts to encourage people to come here again, just like the old days, to produce their own charcoal.
And a few years later some other crazy guys thought: why not?
Why not let other people in on this experience and see what happens?
What happened is that other people loved it and more and more visitors are coming to Kolarbyn from all over the world, even from the remotest corners of Uganda and New Zealand.
Concerned that sleeping on sheepskin-covered wooden beds (don’t forget your sleeping bag) and taking your daily bath in the chilly waters of the Skaersjoen lake will prove too much? Come on, if thousands of happy visitors have already done it, it’s our turn to say
“Yes, we can”.
Info: Kolarbyn Ecolodge
How to get there: trains to Skinnskattenberg from the main 3 Stockholm airports take – roughly 2 hours.
We like:bathing in the icy, open lake? Peeing behind a tree? We like challenges.

Have you come across any other unusual hotels on your “Must visit” list? Share them with us!


You might also like:

Tree hotels in Italy

Ice hotels: have you never sleep in a real igloo?


Author: Cristiana Pedrali

"Loving your job is the closest you can get to happiness on earth” (Rita Levi Montalcini) and “when real people fall down in real life they get back on their feet and carry on walking” (Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City): these are my two mantras. I’m a bit like this: I go through being serious to playful to help me manage a thousand different interests and commitments, keeping a smile through it all. I work in the tourism industry and on the web and every so often I look for some breathing space through reading and travel!
More posts by Cristiana Pedrali →

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