There are so many weird and wonderful places to stay around the world that it is very difficult to choose a top ten, but these are some of our favourites and ones which we think will especially appeal to kids.
Ariau Amazon Towers
This famous, well-loved hotel within the Amazon rainforest delights families with its 6km of wooden catwalks set 20 metres up in the treetops. These connect the bedrooms to the dining room to the bathroom and make the perfect place to spy on the monkeys, birds and butterflies who often seem to be spying on the human guests. There are wonderful tours up the Amazon if you can tear yourselves away from this ultimate tree house.
Magic Mountain Hotel
This hotel looking for all the world like a mountain out of a fairytale, complete with waterfall cascading from its pinnacle roof and accessed via a rope bridge, will delight kids. Set in the Hulio Hulio reserve, it has 13 rooms plus 11 cabins for 4–6 people. Look out for condors and eagles in the skies and pumas on the ground.
This wonderful, bohemian, boutique hotel offers individual cottages created by a theatrical designer, including family villas with up to four bedrooms. Situated near a little fishing village and with its own stretch of beachfront, it can arrange nannies so that you can take advantage of its spa and yoga classes.
Live like a memsahib in this slice of Raj history. This is one of the last hill stations to be built by the English and is situated in a cool spot, deep in the forest right by the Matheran Hill Station, 90km from Mumbai. This is the place to take the kids away from the heat of the city, to read them the Jungle Book, to twiddle your moustaches, knock a few croquet balls about and go riding in a skirt.
Kumbuk River Eco Lodge
This eco-lodge 250km from Colombo will blow kids’ minds – it’s set within a giant straw elephant, and you sleep in the belly! Guests might also spot real-life elephants in the moonlight, or glimpse peacocks roaming at sunrise. You can explore the fascinating riverfront and miniature island, trek on the other side of the property (in Yala, Sri Lanka’s most famous wildlife sanctuary), take a guided tour to the wildlife parks and historical sights, go night-driving to spot animals, or simply relax in the herbal plunge pool.
The Guinness Book of Records lists this unique hotel as ‘The World’s Biggest Image Building’ and it certainly stands out in a slightly run-down area of Hebei Province. The three gods are Lu, Fu and Shou, the gods of good fortune, prosperity and longevity, which should make for a happy stay. You enter through Lu’s foot and then can take your choice of ten floors of rooms.
Cooper Pedy Desert Cave Hotel
This famous mining town amidst the sandstone of South Australia gives you the chance to sleep underground in the kind of cave that opal-miners used to build to get away from the desert’s searing heat. Accommodation includes triple rooms. There are also subterranean shops and opal-display areas, and tours let you noodle for your very own piece of opal.
The Canopy Treehouses
You wake to the sound of parakeets when you stay in one of the six two- and three-bedroomed treehouses within this 100-acre private wildlife sanctuary in ancient rainforest in Queensland. You might see cassowaries, rare Lumholtz tree kangaroos, endangered green possums and shy platypus, while red-legged Pademelon wallabies abound and coppery brushtail possums will visit your balcony every night.
A hobbit motel is just the latest addition to this unique farm-stay 2hrs from Auckland, where artist Billy Black brings Kiwi culture to life on stage – there’s also a train motel, a plane motel and a boat motel. Activities available include caving adventures, blackwater rafting, 4×4 bike-riding, and horse-riding.
Poseidon Undersea Resort
This extraordinary resort is built underwater in the South Pacific. Guests are transported by helicopter and submarine to the middle of an enormous lagoon then down by lift to its guestrooms complete with acrylic transparent walls so that you can watch the marine life around you. Special family programs are promised.
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