Eli Orzessek looks at some of the strangest places that Booking.com rents out.
Whether you'd rather stay in a crane, a bookshelf, or a Yellow Submarine, there are plenty of hotels out there that go far beyond the traditional. For your next stay, consider one of these quirky choices:
Crane Hotel Faralda
It doesn't get much wackier than this – in Amsterdam, you can spend a night in a former harbour crane, set 50m above the NDSM shipyard. Despite its industrial appearance, the hotel contains several luxurious suites, each air conditioned and decorated with a different theme. Crane Hotel Faralda bills itself as a hotel for "creative and passionate free spirits" – but if you fit the bill, remember that what happens in the crane stays in the crane.
Kakslauttan Arctic Resort
Saariselkä Fell, Finland
Get the best possible view of the northern lights from the comfort of your own personal igloo. Located in the Saariselkä Fell region of Finnish Lapland, this unique property offers glass igloos – perfect for star-gazing – as well as traditional wood chalets. The hotel is also home to the word's largest smoke sauna, perfect for relaxing in after a day in the snow. To add to the experience, husky and reindeer safaris can also be arranged, and guests can also rent cross country skis, Nordic walking sticks and snow shoes.
With a history dating back over 150 years, this hotel consists of three forts – Spitbank Fort, No Man's Fort and Horse Sand Fort – and is one of the UK's most unique hotel venues. Originally commissioned by British Prime Minister Lord Henry Palmerston under the threat of invasion from the French and Napoleon III, by the time the forts were ready, the French threat lo longer existed. They became known as "Palmerston's follies", but eventually found use during World Wars I and II. Today, you can enjoy a private island experience in No Man's Fort and Spitbank Fort, while Horse Sand Fort is used as a museum.
Little River, New Zealand
The name says it all – at this accommodation, you'll be staying in a custom built grain silo. Located between Christchurch and Akaroa, SiloStay was created by Stuart and Angela Wright-Stow of the Little River Gallery. Eight sleeping silos are on offer and they've all been built utilising sustainable products, local resources and talent – with the end result being uniquely luxurious serviced apartments. They also include a ceiling 'hatch', so you can lie back and look at the stars.
Huilo Huilo Montaña Mágica Lodge
Puerto Fuy, Chile
This magic mountain of a hotel is located in Puerto Fuy, Chile is covered in natural vegetation and even features a permanent waterfall cascading down its slopes. As you'd imagine, it's a fantastic place to get back to nature, suitable set in the middle of a native forest. The rooms here are cosy, with wooden interiors – including natural timber with the bark still attached – and murals of local wildlife on the walls. Guests can also enjoy an array of activities, including skiing, cycling and horseback riding.
If you never managed to sleep in one of those coveted racing car beds as a kid, here's your chance. The V8 Hotel is the perfect stay for car-lovers and it's appropriately located just a stone's throw away from the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen factory. The hotel itself was formally an airport building and includes 26 individually designed 'V8' rooms that will have you in petrolhead heaven. Sleep in a bed made out of a classic Citreon DS in the Vive La France room, or spend a night in a car wash or gas station. Or for a taste of luxury, reserve the Mercedes Suite at the top of the former airport tower, with a fantastic view of the collections of Motorworld.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Spend a night in jail next time you visit Christchurch – this budget backpackers hostel is set in the historic former Addington Prison that was in operation from 1874 to 1999. Despite the bars on the windows, you'll feel right at home as you curl up in your cell at night – although the beds are probably a lot comfier than they once were. Some of the rooms still have drawings by former inmates on the walls and when you arrive you can even have your own mugshot taken.
Make like the Beatles and head off for a Magical Mystery Adventure on this Yellow Submarine themed houseboat in Liverpool Marina. You'll find yourself immersed in 1960s culture here, with a stylish lounge decorated with Beatles gold discs, the mod scooter from the film Quadrophenia and designer vintage furniture from Paris and New York. The master bedroom is based on the suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and there are two other bedrooms, so you can bring the kids, or a couple of friends. As well as the Yellow Sub, Hollywood Barges also offer a Joker themed boat and a Titanic hotel.
Book And Bed Tokyo Ikebukuro
With all the reading material this Tokyo hostel provides, you might not end up getting much sleep. At Book and Bed, you can actually sleep in the actual bookshelves – and there's a huge array of reading material to choose from, in both Japanese and English. Curl up in your bookshelf cave, or spend some time hanging out in the communal lounge and strike up a conversation with a fellow bookworm. There's also a small bar when you can try a variety of interesting Japanese and international beers.