Obviously, the instinct for travelers, including myself, is to find hotels where we will be as comfortable as possible for the budget we are on. If it can be avoided, many travelers will avoid the hole in the wall mom and pop operation for the more luxurious brand name hotels. Many travelers are loyal to chains such as Best Western or Holiday Inn. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this. I understand the comfort of reliability, especially when you’re traveling and out of your environment/comfort zone. But the fact is that there are so many bizarre and unusual hotels across this vast land of ours that are worth a look. Yes, it is scary to try something new, but these wonderful and unique lodges are famous not only for their status as outliers in the industry, but for regularly providing comfort to their guests as well.
Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, ID
This gem, located in a small town in northern Idaho, is about as unique in design as they come. Usually the expression “in the dog house” comes attached with a negative connotation. In this instance, guests are actually staying in a building designed to look like a 35-foot tall beagle. Their motto even reflects this: “Where sleeping in the dog house is a good thing.” The building itself is filled with adorable dog statues and canine-related décor. And don’t worry, the rooms themselves are extremely comfortable, and the food at this bed & breakfast is superb. No, they don’t serve Iams.
Winvian Cottages, Morris, CT
This is certainly one of the more expansive entries on the list. Even though it only has 18 rooms, these 18 rooms are actually individual cottages, and each cottage comes with its own unique theme. The golf cottage offers guests a chance to literally walk out their front door and chip their way over to a very nearby putting green. Guests for whom still haven’t let the child within them die can enjoy the treehouse, with a full bar inside of it. Then there’s the cottage designed to look like a cottage from Mark Twain’s classic novel Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. So yes, there’s something for everybody here.
Jules Undersea Lodge, Key Largo, FL
This one certainly isn’t for everybody, particularly the claustrophobic and hydrophobic. Others will be astonished by this truly one of a kind stay. At this hotel, guests scuba dive down 21 feet to get to their room. Yes, it is an actual underwater hotel, like something from science fiction movies. Once in your room, you can sip on a glass of wine while looking out your window. Don’t expect mountains for your view though; look for the tropical fish instead.
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, NY
There are only two rooms at this bed and breakfast, but those lucky enough to make a reservation here will get to simulate the experience of living in a lighthouse, only with far, far better accommodations. This lighthouse, which has stood in the middle of the Hudson River since 1869, allows guests an unrivaled picturesque view of the gorgeous surroundings. It’s a half-mile removed from land, but it is well worth the journey.
Turpentine Creek, Eureka Springs, AR
For the more adventurous guests, this lodge allows travelers to sleep in luxurious, comfortable rooms… surrounded by lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Each room is designed with exquisite African décor, in order to simulate the feel of a living in the vast African landscape, as if the lions and tigers didn’t do that already. During the day, guests can take guided tours and look at exotic animals, such as leopards and servals. You won’t find an experience like this anywhere else in North America, let alone the Ozarks.
If you want to stay at the Comfort Inn, that’s understandable. If you like the routine and the familiarity, thousands of other Americans do as well. But if you want to spice up your vacation, these are some places to visit that will do precisely that.
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