For a stay that’s truly like no other, think outside the hotel chain and check into one of the most unusual hotels in Asia.
These strange stays range from an eco-lodge shaped like an elephant, to a repurposed oil rig, to a museum where you could snooze steps away from a Monet. Some are design-focused marvels, others look like they were dreamt up by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen.
Whatever your style or destination, one thing is for certain: you’ll be talking about your stay long after you leave.
Hang Nga Guesthouse | Đà Lạt, Vietnam
Alternately known as Crazy House, Vietnam’s Hang Nga Guesthouse fully lives up to its nickname. Architect Dang Viet Nga was inspired by Antoni Gaudi to create something that looks straight from a fairytale. The 10 themed guest rooms are filled with interesting details, from ladders shaped like roots to wooden animals to spiderweb-patterned windows.
The Imperial Boathouse Hotel | Ko Samui, Thailand
It’s not surprising to see a hotel with a nautical theme on a tropical island, but this one takes it to the next level. The Imperial Boathouse Hotel is made up of authentic rice barges that once cruised the Chao Praya River. Today they have been renovated into luxury suites that come complete with a bedroom, living room, sky-lit bathroom, and deck. Even the pool is shaped like a boat.
Seaventures Dive Rig | Sabah, Malaysia
For scuba divers, there’s no better access to Sipadan’s famously rich marine ecosystem than Seaventures Dive Rig. The converted oil rig has 27 fully-furnished rooms and offers entertainments like a movie room and a karaoke bar, but the real draw is the diving. A lift lowers divers directly into the reef below and all dives are included in the cost of your stay.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge | Koh Kong, Cambodia
The 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in Cambodia’s Koh Kong is the kind of place that guarantees you a killer Instagram pic. Each of its 12 tented bungalows is perched directly over Tatai River and provides spectacular views from a private sun deck. Modern amenities like wi-fi, flatscreens, and mini-bars ensure civilsation never feels too far away.
Intended for the adventurous traveller yearning for off-the-beaten-track accommodation, the Wanderlust Hotel in Singapore offers eye-popping design and friendly service. Four of the country’s top design agencies were given free rein to create rooms that are modern, funky, experimental, cutting-edge, and one-of-a-kind. It’s essentially a playground for grownups.
Benesse House | Naoshima Island, Japan
Thirsting for culture? Book a stay at museum-meets-hotel Benesse House in Japan. Split between several wings, Benesse House was built by Soichiro Fukutake, an art collector and billionaire heir to a publishing fortune. Fukutake’s spectacular private collection – including works by Twombly, Johns, Gormley, and Monet – fills the space and can even be found in guest rooms.
Kumbuk Hotel | Buttala, Sri Lanka
On the banks of the Kumbukkan Oya River in Sri Lanka stands an elephant that bears a resemblance to a papier-mâché project gone wrong. This odd beast is the Kumbuk Hotel, an eco-friendly experiment constructed from wood and straw. The possible downside? The website promises “two toilets in an interactive setting with nature.” Hmm…
Container Hotel | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
If good things come in small packages, a stay at Malaysia’s Container Hotel is bound to be excellent. The Kuala Lumpur hotel is built from renewable freight containers that have been innovatively redesigned with colorful and imaginative features. Travellers looking for a unique but affordable experience will find it here.
Sharma Springs | Bali, Indonesia
Set along the terraced slopes of the Ayung River in Bali, Green Village is a master-planned community of 18 dramatic, custom-designed homes. The most magnificent is Sharma Springs, an awe-inspiring eco-resort made entirely of black and white bamboo. The six-storey structure includes four bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge and dining area, a media room, a kids’ play room, and an outside barbecue area.