Weird Hotels 'round the World

When it comes to accommodations, there's good weird and there's bad weird. I've stayed in a few of the latter kind -- like an uber-budget flophouse in Paris where the door wouldn't close all the way and stray cats would sneak into our room while we were sleeping. The hotels below, on the other hand, are trying to make a statement, being weird on purpose in a creative way, and generally look like comfortable places to stay. (Except maybe the oil rig escape pod.) Check 'em out.

Jules' Underwater Hotel

If you're really into diving (and you don't work on a submarine), this hotel-slash-research lab may be the only opportunity you'll ever have to stay underwater for days at a time without surfacing. Located 21 feet under the waters off Key Largo, Florida, the only way in is via scuba, and it's got two bedrooms, a common room, bathrooms and a galley -- so it's really more like an underwater time-share apartment than a hotel. Rooms are around $500/night. Here's one of them:

And this is the hotel entrance:
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The Poseidon, 5-Star Underwater Hotel

If the Jules seems too downmarket and you want to stay in the Four Seasons of underwater hotels, the soon-to-be-completed Poseidon in the Bahamas will be more your speed. The entrance to this hotel is via tunnel (so you don't have to get wet), and the hotel is equipped with lights and fish-feeders, so there's always a show out your window. If you've got $1500/night to drop on it, make a reservation!

There's another hotel named the Poseidon planned -- this one in Fiji -- and they've created this virtual tour of the facility.

Oil rig escape pod

Capsule_dog

On the other end of the ocean-themed comfort spectrum, there are the Netherlands' Capsule Hotels, which are actually 1970s-era oil rig escape pods (to be lowered into the water in case of evacuation). More pictures are here -- and actually, it doesn't look that uncomfortable inside.

A section of used drainpipe

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It's actually called DAS PARKHOTEL, but I call 'em like they are. Located in a park alongside the banks of the Danube, these old pipes are outfitted with an unexpectedly comfortable interior - full headroom, double bed, storage, light, power, woolly blanket and light cotton sleeping bag. Bathroom facilities are available in the public bathrooms in the park. If this sounds a lot like camping out, it is -- hence the hotels "pay what you wish" policy. Just leave a few Euros behind when you go. [link]

An old wine cask

DeVrouwe_exterior

These four huge casks are actually the Hotel de Vrouwe Van Stavoren in the Netherlands, and at one time they each held approximately 20,000 bottles worth of wine each. Tiny, airtight rooms which are probably still outgassing alcohol vapor -- is this a good idea? But it certainly looks cool.
DeVrouwe_interior

Pictures by Paul Rekker.

A 747 in the Costa Rican jungle

Plane_outsidearea
This plane was once operated by South African Airways and Avianca Airlines -- now it sits in the Costa Rican jungle, interior repaneled in rich wood, as a two-bedroom hotel suite. (It appears to be owned by a "normal" hotel, located on a beachside bluff nearby.) Pictures by Vincent Costello.

(Via Budgettravel.)

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The Best (and Worst) States for Summer Road Trips
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As we shared recently, the great American road trip is making a comeback, but some parts of the country are more suitable for hitting the open road than others. If you're interested in taking a road trip this summer but are stuck on figuring out the destination, WalletHub has got you covered: The financial advisory website analyzed factors like road conditions, gas prices, and concentration of activities to give you this map of the best states to explore by car.

Wyoming—home to the iconic road trip destination Yellowstone National Park—ranked No. 1 overall with a total score of 58.75 out of 100. It's followed by North Carolina in the No. 2 slot, Minnesota at No. 3, and Texas at No. 4. Coming in the last four slots are the three smallest states in America—Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut—and Hawaii, a state that's obviously difficult to reach by car.

But you shouldn't only look at the overall score if you're planning a road trip route: Some states that did poorly in one category excelled in others. California for example, came in 12th place overall, and ranked first when it came to activities and 41st in cost. So if you have an unlimited budget and want to fit as many fun stops into your vacation as possible, taking a trip up the West Coast may be the way to go. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi is a good place to travel if you're conscious of spending, ranking second in costs, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the quality of your trip, coming in 38th place for safety and 44th for activities.

Choosing the stops for your summer road trip is just the first step of the planning process. Once you have that covered, don't forget to pack these essentials.

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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