Pick of the Pillows: The best unique hotels in the world to visit this year

Wednesday, 19th February 2020

Doug Kington

christchurch canterbury skyscape outside hot tub

Whether you are looking to stay in a traditional Viking-style turf house or stargazing from a floating ice hotel, 2020 is an exciting year for staying in amazing places. Here are five of favourite hotels from around the world that are bound to make any trip extra special.

christchurch canterbury skyscape bath at sunrise

1. SkyScape, New Zealand

Sleep may well be the last thing on your mind at SkyScape. With glass roofs and walls, this accommodation is all about wide-eyed appreciation of the cosmos. Snug in the native bush of South island’s Omaha Hill Station, the three recessed SkyScape units (two are opening early this year) provide ground-level star gazing from a king-size bed. Watching, mesmerised, as the Milky Way arches overhead, you’ll appreciate why this area has been declared an International Dark Sky Reserve. The night skies are some of the clearest in the world. At SkyScape you can even gaze at the heavens from an outdoor cedar bathtub, contemplating the Southern Cross with a glass of New Zealand chardonnay in hand.

Spend a couple of nights here and you’ll certainly connect with nature. Off-grid, accessed by dirt road and fed by pure spring water from the Ben Ohau Range, SkyScape offers farm tours as well as gourmet breakfasts and evening platters using fresh local produce.

Emma Thomson, Travel Writer says

“Tucked Hobbit-style into the hillside, SkyScape was the perfect one-room hideaway to escape to. I spent the day touring the merino sheep farm with owner Bevan and the afternoon sipping fine wine while watching hawks hunt rabbits on the tussock-laden landscape. My lasting memory? Soaking in the outdoor bathtub watching the steam rise up towards the shooting star-streaked night sky.”

Take me there

A two-night stay at SkyScape stats from £375 per person, incl. breakfast s and can be incorporated into any tailor-made New Zealand holiday.

torfhus retreat exterior summer 2

2. Torfhus Retreat, Iceland

Visitors to the south of Iceland can live like a Viking in an exclusive community consisting of turf-covered houses, a private restaurant and stables, close to the attractions of Iceland’s Golden Circle. Each guesthouse has its very own basalt hot tub, and the rural setting is perfecting for seeking out the Northern Lights. 

Take me there:

This secluded experience offers a place to relax and unwind and can be incorporated into any South-East Iceland holiday.

swedish lapland icehotel30 art suite feline lair ak
Feline Lair by Brian Alvin McArthur and Dawn Marie Detarando

3. ICEHOTEL, Swedish Lapland

As exquisite and enchanting as its suites are, there’s far more to the Icehotel than art appreciation. It’s about adventure, wilderness, the northern lights and authentic Nordic cuisine. It’s about visiting one of the world’s iconic destinations and trying something new – form sleeping on ice to wilderness ‘bathing’ or mushing your own teams of huskies.

The seasonal ICEHOTEL  has ephemeral magic, melting back into the River Torne each spring, while Icehotel 365 captures visitors year-round.

Take me there

Our love affair with the world’s coolest hotel began in 1990 when it first emerged in the village of Jukkasjärvi. Three decades on, we’re proud to be it’s leading worldwide partner, offering an unrivalled collection of ICEHOTEL holidays and the only direct flights from the UK.

emerald lake lodge yoho exterior

4. Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada

Set on peaceful and stunningly beautiful Emerald Lake in the heart of the Yoho Provincial Park, Emerald Lake Lodge exudes warmth and tradition, offering visitors rustic yet comfortable rooms in a world-class location ideal as a spectacular base for exploring this stunning area of the Rockies.

Located just 25 minutes from Lake Louise and within easy reach of the Icefields Parkway, Yoho Provincial Park and heart of the Rocky Mountains, this traditional lodge offers an affordable and cosy stay in one of the most beautiful areas of the mountains.

Emerald Lake offers pristine jade-coloured water with a backdrop of mountains and tumbling creeks. Start off your stay by visiting the lake first thing in the morning, when it’s clear and calm. Take a canoe out on the lake or relax in the outdoor hot tub mid-afternoon and then make your way to the magnificent dining room serving exceptional Rocky Mountain cuisine.

Take me there

Add the Emerald Lake Lodge to any tailor made itinerary for the Rocky Mountains perhaps combining Alberta and British Columbia.

sweden lapland sunset cube treehotel

5. Treehotel, Sweden

Elevating the concept of a country weekend to a whole new level, The Treehotel is a modern hotel in the midst of the Boreal forest in Sweden. This awe-inspiring concept is a literal breath of fresh air and a stay here will blow your mind.

Nestled high amongst the century-old pine trees, guests can select from five rooms: The Cabin room boasts a traditional log cabin structure with grandiose windows for panorama addicts, while The Blue Cone has a den-like feel and its own footbridge. There is also the UFO, the Mirrorcube and The Bird’s Nest. All rooms are suspended several meters above the ground, offering incredible views and opportunities for spotting the Northern Lights.

Take me there

Experience the Treehotel for yourself on one of our short breaks in Swedish Lapland.

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