More than a place to rest your head: Unique Hotels

When I travel I'm looking for memorable experiences, things to think about while I'm living the more repetitive lifestyle of home. I'm not the only one, many people accumulate traveller's tales to tide them over the conversational winters of work, and some of the killer ones I've heard haven't been about the city or country the storyteller visited but about where they lay their heads at night.

One of the unique accommodation classics has to be the treehouse. These fantasies go back to many young dreams of pleading on bended knee to sleep over in the backyard treehouse but never being allowed. In this case it's a practical measure, as Suzy, who recounts the tale, says, “The Amazon is full of critters that can get you but they tell you the worst ones can't climb trees.”. She stayed at the Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel, she says it's the world's oldest treehouse hotel and connected by four miles worth of wood bridges and walkways, which she says was like staying in the ewok village. Her favourite Amazon story is of awaking one night to find a friendly monkey had gotten into her treehouse and was getting into the chocolates – even more like the ewok village...unfortunately they were rum truffles with a generous alcohol content. She was only woken up when the poor monkey got a bit tipsy and started rubbing up against her foot in an overly friendly way. No one believes this story, but she carries a photo round in her purse to prove it, of a very poorly looking monkey sprawled on top of an open box of chocolate liquers. This is one of those don't try this at home stories, kids, she got into a lot of trouble for the drunk monkey.

Ken's story involves a far more mentally challenging roof, Benesse House, in Kagawa, Japan. From the photos it's not only a one off architecturally, all invisible eternity pools and hard, unusual shapes and lots of glass, but it's also a modern art museum. Art inside and out, more like it. The way he tells the story he was actually staying in a museum, but when they close it to visitors for the night the guests have the run of it. I happen to know that Ken is one of those people whose main fantasy as a kid was being locked in a department store or museum overnight so there was an extra kick for him. But it's the video footage of him pretending to be a Bond villan riding in his own personal mini monorail that has everyone crowding round raising his cache of cool. He basically spent the whole time pretending he was Bond locked up in some kind of high tech, art-lovin', baddie hideout waiting for a scantily clad woman to enter his room and take him to see the boss via the massage table...

Staying on the the art theme, but at the so kitch it almost hurts your eyes to look at it and hurts your stomach from laughing, end of the scale, my mate Nick stayed at Mario's Palace, the crazy wide eyed, painted pub in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Broken Hill, outside the pubs walls, is a desert mining town of the most serious drinking, hard living kind, but inside it's all Italian fountains and green and graceful glens. When he saw the film he thought it had to be a set but he was very very happy to see that it's the real deal and he has he photos of the pub and stories about its regulars to prove it – most of them involving him going on middle of the night drives out into the desert in huge 4WDs ,floodlights blaring looking for critters to shoot... Though when there are ladies present at the retelling he adds a disclaimer that no cute animals were harmed during the story.

But the story I will always pay for dinner to hear is Oli's tale about staying in the haunted survival pod in The Hague. Staying in a bright orange survival pod of the kind the Titanic could have done with more of wasn't enough for Oli, no, in his story it has to be haunted as well. These pods are of the hard, not blow up variety, and they came off an oil rig built in the 70's. His was decked out in luxury - as well as a chemical toilet it had a disco ball, fairy lights and a silk lined sleeping bag, the idea being that he and his intended act out the final scenes of From Russia with Love. Unfortunately just as things were getting interesting the pod started to rock – they made all the * if this pod's a rockin'* jokes but it just wouldn't calm down until they were lying on separate sides of the pod. The ghost didn't want to see any nookie. When he woke up in the middle of the night and decided to try for round two the rocking started again. Brilliant. And he thought The Hague was going to be just beautiful and serious..

In the quest to have some of my own dinners paid for I'm saving up for a trip to stay in that crane, the one which has the double shower and a remote control which will turn it around. I'm sure it's in a cool place but I don't know if I'll need to leave the entertainment of my room. Certainly a relaxing holiday with the difference...

More Wacky places to stay

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