Clever sleeps around Europe

Clever sleeps around Europe

by Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

Unusual accommodations should be the highlight of your next holiday; you can always find fun activities, no matter where you end up.

Tree houses for kids & grown-ups

Tree houses in Europe are a step above the ones from your youth. Instead of camping in your sleeping bag and plotting against other kids in the neighborhood, snuggle in a comfy bed and sip champagne at these tree house hotels.

Treehotel, Harads, Sweden: Your only problem in the woods will be deciding which of the seven chic tree houses to stay in. Will it be the modern mirrored box, the funky UFO, or the bird’s nest, which looks like the home of a giant pterodactyl?

Kulturinsel Einsiedel’s Baumhaus Hotel, Neisseaue, Germany: Once inside your eccentric tree house, you’ll feel as though you belong in a fairy tale with gnomes or talking animals. The simple furnishings, including barrel bathtubs and wooden furniture, add to the charm.

Chewton Glen, Hampshire, England: Tree house? More like penthouse. Rent glamorous digs for two to seven people, and relax in the hot tub on your veranda perched high in the New Forest National Park.

Icy cold chambers

If you think rainy winter days in Germany are cold, wait until you spend the night on a bed of ice. Luckily, blankets and special sleeping bags are provided at these icy accommodations.

Iglu-Dorf, locations in Andorra, Germany and Switzerland: Have a slumber party on a giant sheet of ice in a family igloo, or take a romantic respite in a couple’s igloo. Dinner, breakfast, snowshoeing and sauna access are included.

Schneedorf, Ötztal, Austria: Challenge yourself on the ropes course and construct your own igloo with the help of experts. Then defrost in the nearby thermal baths.

ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden: Give a toast in the ICEBAR, watch for the Northern Lights, and snooze in the world’s largest ice hotel. Warm clothing is provided.

From prisons to pensions

Spend the night in these former penitentiaries, where you may be treated like an inmate or a privileged guest.

Karosta Prison Hotel, Liepāja, Latvia: Play the role of prisoner at this desolate Naval jail. Follow the rules, get cozy in a barren cell, and beware of the creaks and bumps. The prison is reportedly haunted, so you may not have sweet dreams.

Alcatraz Hotel, Kaiserslautern, Germany: Reserve a remodeled cell or upgraded room for your next night out in K-town. It’s a far better deal than a trip to the slammer if you choose to drink and drive.

Not-so-creepy caves

You won’t be left in the dark at these cave hotels. Imagine chandeliers, stylish furnishings and room service.

Sala Silvermine, Sala, Sweden: For a secluded stay with your sweetie, tour the mines and sojourn 500 feet underground in the world’s lowest hotel suite.

Matera, Italy: First settled during the Paleolithic era, the caves of Matera later became havens for the poor, and have been restored over the past several decades. Luxuriate in a lavish cave hotel that retains at least a touch of ancient history.

Cappadocia, Turkey: This prehistoric cave civilization now offers hostels, pensions and hotels to meet all budgets. Reside in a mountainside chamber or a bedroom tucked inside a fairy chimney, the area’s distinctive tower-like rock formation.

Europe has even more bizarre hotels, so give in to your imagination as you make reservations for your next vacation. You won’t regret your experiences off the beaten path — they usually make for the best stories.

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