Stay weird – Oddball holiday housing


Online queries for quirky, unconventional vacation stays are hot in 2023.

Treehouses, yurts, salt mines, cabins in spectacular settings, historical buildings, underwater hotels, converted industrial premises and off-the-beaten-path are on trend for this year’s savvy traveller seeking something new and edgy for an eclectic holiday experience.

battleface checks out some of Europe’s odder rooms for rent.

The Netherlands – Overnight stays in a harbour crane

From decades of work as a beacon to seafarers entering Harlingen, here comes a room with a view like no other. Guests in the harbour crane can determine their own view from the controls within this luxury suite high above the cold North Sea with sunset views to the West Frisian Islands. The cage ladders to access the crane have been replaced with two lifts – the first rises to a platform between the crane’s massive support legs, with the second accessing the heart of the crane. Beam me up Scotty!

Sweden – Underwater hotel room in Västeråsfjärden

Utter Inn is an underwater hotel in the middle of Västeråsfjärden, harbour topped by a small red cottage with a deck for sunbathing and access to swimming.  Up to 2 guests sleep three meters below the surface with panoramic windows facing in all directions; hopefully to the see the local curious fish cruise past.

Germany – Berlin’s Caravan Hotel

‘Peace to the huts and war on the palaces’ sums up why Hüttenpalast  was created, with lovingly restored caravans making up the room-stock in a family run hotel in the Berlin neighbourhood of Neukölln. The journey from disused factory space to a 600m2 hotel offering caravans, lofted spaces and wooden cabins makes for the coolest of stays in Berlin – so long as you’re cool with getting with the community spirit required to enjoy this shared space.

Italy – Treehouse in Tuscany

In the Italian region best known for rolling hills, historic towns, art, architecture and incredible cuisine comes a vacation stay for the birds. Casa Barthel is a luxurious treehouse suite a mere 20-minutes’ drive from the centre of Florence, yet a whole world away from Italy’s ‘Cradle of Renaissance’. In typical Italian style, there is nothing shabby-chic in this lofty room that delivers a stylish ‘wow’ befitting its lofty perch.

Romania – Transylvanian Log Cabins

Legends, vampires and the mysteries of rural Romania await guests at Transylvania Log Cabins near the remote village of Pesteana. Whether it’s a vacation during the snowy winter season or a warmer summer adventure, the beauty and wildlife of the Retezat mountains are literally at the doorstep of these sturdy yet utterly charming wooden cabins.

France – Converted airplane in Pays de la Loire

There’s no flight time boredom or jet lag associated with a long stay inside this aircraft. St Michel Chef Chef is where you’ll find Air Formation, an authentic plane that’s now accommodation for up to four in a campsite bustling with activities and access to amazing local beaches.

England – Converted lighthouse in East Sussex

Built in 1832, surviving WWII bombing and with 360° views of the English Channel, Belle Tout is a little-known gem for holiday accommodation on England’s South coast. The original bunk room of the lighthouse is on the upper floor of the tower and known as Keeper’s Loft. As the name indicates, its where the real work was done, and the original ladder is still the only way to access it (save some love for the housekeeping staff).

Portugal – Boutique Eco-Tenting in Odemira

Remove your shoes, switch of your phone and tune in to the sweet sound of nothing at Aterra. This glamping experience claims to deliver its guests a simple, uncluttered experience away from technology, materialism and reliance on others. Sounds SO relaxing!

Ireland – Medieval fortress in Wexford

Live and sleep just as the Irish did 1500 years ago in a replica village fort that was typical in medieval Ireland. There is only one room for living and sleeping with guests slumbering on platforms on raised loft areas. All cooking is done over an open fire with period costumes supplied for the ultimate immersion into an ancient lifestyle.

Iceland – Lava field cottage in Mývatn

Aska Cottage is a very modern cabin on the edge of a 300-year-old lava field and is uniquely Icelandic in its styling and appointment. If adventure is your thing, then Aska Cottage is the perfect launch pad for volcanic tours, viewing Europe’s most powerful waterfall, whale watching, or geothermal mud bathing.

Poland – Stay overnight in a salt mine in Bochnia

The Eastern Mountain Stables Chamber once housed pit ponies that were used to mine salt from the earth, and now accommodate tourists. It’s said that the micro-climate of the deep salt mines deliver health benefits to guests, and with temperatures at a stable 12-13°C and no chance of any noise from the outside world, the deepest hotel might just offer the deepest slumber too.


The Landmark Trust – Holidays in history

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An avid international traveller, surfer, lover of the oceans, writer and researcher. Specialising in green travel and tourism.