How to find the best ‘quirky’ accommodation at home or abroad

Kagga Kamma Capetown

Kagga Kamma CapetownFancy staying on a desert island, a tree house, a fairytale palace… or how about a cell in a disused prison? (You know, to impress someone special). In this article I’ve uncovered the top 5 resources to help you find THE quirkiest, most unusual and memorable places to stay at home or abroad

A big part of any trip is where you stay. Obviously where you end up depends on your budget, your age and whether you’re travelling solo, with a partner or in a group.

When I was younger and backpacking across borders, I used to stay in shared dorms. £3 a night places where you gently drift off to sleep to the sound of crickets, running water… and the sound of strangers snoring and farting.

It’s great fun travelling that way because you often meet interesting people and set off on adventures together but these days Sophie and I try to look for something a bit different (staying with me ensures she still gets to enjoy the snoring and farting).

Here are just some of the types of buildings and spaces that have been transformed into places to stay:

Ice Hotels
Train Carriages
Signal Boxes

Now obviously it’s not always practical or affordable to stay in a converted lighthouse, an ice hotel, or a great big castle for a whole trip. But just spending 1 or 2 nights somewhere quirky can be a real highlight of any holiday.

5 great resources where you can find a wide range of quirky accommodation

1. Quirky Accom

These guys claim to have the ‘largest directory of unusual places to stay on the planet’ and they certainly have an impressive collection on offer both in the UK and abroad. It’s the not the most visually stunning website in the world but the dropdown search facility is easy to use.

2. Go Unusual

Go Unusual currently have 320 unusual properties on their books. You can quickly navigate the homepage and find the newest and most popular offerings. They also have a special offers section to help you hone in on those bargains. This is by far the most user friendly of the websites on offer.

3. Canopy and Stars

If you’re into camping, yurts, cabins or tree houses this is well worth a look. Much of the accommodation is ideal for group or family trips too, and a number of their listings can fit 4 – 8 people. They currently offer places in the UK, France, Portugal and Spain. There are fewer listings than some of the other sites on offer, but these are all detailed and well researched.

4. One Off Places

This is definitely worth a look. They include visitor reviews, detailed descriptions and have a dedicated area for special offers. Make sure you search for properties via the homepage. If you try searching via any other page for some reason you have to enter the continent, country and the region or it won’t list any results.

5. Unique Sleeps

Well worth a mention. Unique Sleeps are a UK based website that currently offer quirky accommodation in 16 different countries. There’s a handy slider on the left hand side that lets you set your price range, guests, and the number of nights you want to stay.

That’s it!

If you have any recommendations or have stayed in an unusual hotel or space yourself please leave a comment below.

And remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive! Can’t find anything in your price range? Go out there and blag it. You can often get amazing deals just turning up or speaking to someone when you’re out there.

I’ve stayed in a rondavel overlooking a beautiful waterfall in Uganda (£4.50 a night)… a tree house on the beach in India (£7 a night)… a palace in India (£15 a night) a hammock in the middle of the jungle in Venezuela (free).


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