We were pleased when a copy of Bed in a Tree, published by Eyewitness Travel, came across our desk the other day. Flipping through, we couldn’t decide which magnificently unusual hotel we liked best.
The book, written by Bettina Kowalewski, surveys 27 of the world’s most unique accommodations, from giant wine barrel guestrooms in Germany’s Rhine Valley to elegant canopy beds atop an ancient tree in the South African wilderness. Each hotel description is complemented by pages of stunning photos and tips on what to do in the hotels’ locales.
Most of Kowalewski’s picks are located in lesser-known (and more interesting) destinations, and they all clearly demonstrate how hotels can be so much more than a place to sleep. While many of the hotels aren’t Cheapo-friendly (hello, $590 a night Ice Hotel in Norrbotten, Sweden!), Kowalewski thankfully includes a few budget-friendly spots.
Here are five unique sleeps featured in the book that are easy on the budget:
Located on a canal in The Hague, though the exact location changes.
The Capsule Hotel in The Hague, the Netherlands, caught our eye with its two James Bond-inspired oil rig pod rooms furnished with beds made of fisherman’s net and sheepskin rugs. (Rooms are even outfitted with karaoke machines!) It would be quite a ride to spend the night bobbing up and down on the water.
Nightly rates: €70-150
Propeller Island City
Albrecht Achilles Strasse 58
Berlin, Germany 10709
As long-time fans of Berlin’s many art hotels, we loved the book’s photos of the 27-room Propeller Island City, located in the German capital. Each room boasts a wildly different theme—you could sleep in a coffin (with air holes, of course), or bask in the light of the “Therapy” room’s multicolored fluorescent lamps. While we’re not sure we’re brave enough to stay in one of the hotel’s wonderfully outrageous rooms, we think it would be a blast to visit.
Nightly rates: €70-190
Ditzroder Weg 18
Bad Laasphe, Germany 57334
Pension Kamerichs, located in Westphalia, Germany, is a B&B—minus the roof. The “room” consists of a white iron bed on a pretty green lawn, plus a nightstand and a chair. Sure, there’s not much privacy—though the lawn humorously boasts a door frame, but the prospect of sleeping out in the fresh air sounds pretty appealing. Marie-Luise Kamerichs, the enthusiastic proprietor, provides old-fashioned nightclothes for the guests (as demonstrated in several funny photos in the book), and breakfast is included.
Nightly rates: €35
Park Plane Hotel
Waitomo, New Zealand
Waitomo, New Zealand’s Woodlyn Park Plane Hotel provides guestrooms on a 1940s Bristol B-170. The plane has plenty of history, having once carried military personnel into Thailand and Hong Kong. The rooms pictured look considerably more comfortable than economy class fold-back seats, and the cockpit unit, complete with the switches and knobs of the control panel, offers an especially unique stay. The hotel’s owner also runs a converted train wagon hotel, a Hobbit Motel, and a World War II patrol boat hotel.
Nightly rates: $85-95
Les Roulottes de La Serve
Les Roulottes de La Serve, located in the beautiful Rhône-Alpes region of southwestern France, offers accommodation in the form of three converted roulettes, or “gypsy wagons.” Each of the three guestrooms boasts a different, dazzling décor, from Asian-inspired artwork in the Roulette des Étoiles to the rustic décor in the Roulette de Manège. The pastoral French location, combined with the novelty of sleeping in a caravan that has roamed the country, has us craving a night in any of these wagons.
Nightly rates: €50-60
About the book: “Bed in a Tree,” by Bettina Kowalewski, was published in September 2009 by Eyewitness Travel. The book also includes vouchers for a 10% discount at 15 of the 27 selected hotels. The book retails for $25.