We’ve blogged before about today’s travelers and their desire for unique spaces and new experiences. People are over generic accommodations. They want novelty—something that will capture their imagination and look good on their social media feeds. You can choose to offer that novelty in a myriad of different ways, from decor to events to amenities.
Some of the most interesting properties stand out from their competitors for the unique structures they call home. Here are a few unexpected spaces that were converted into hotels to great effect:
The San Pedro bull-fighting ring was built in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1866. After a long history of hosting the most famous matadors, it closed in 1975. And in 1989 it reopened as the . The hotel, which received an International Architectural Award for outstanding restoration, preserves and celebrates the history of the original structure. The restaurant and bar encircle the El Ruedo (the ring) offering extraordinary views of the unique property.
Island military fort
Two former military sea forts off the coast of Portsmouth (built for defense in 1859) have been converted into luxury resorts owned by Solent Forts. Both properties have spacious suites, luxury spas, bars and restaurants, function rooms, game rooms, and rooftop hot tubs. The larger of the two, No Man’s Fort, even has a laser battle arena. Guests (both overnight and day visitors) can partake in a number of activities including fishing, cocktail making, and wine and cheese tasting.
A 19th-century prison in Germany was converted into . They purposefully retained a lot of its prison character, leaving bars on windows and a caged reception. Guests can choose to stay in cell rooms or comfort rooms and are offered striped pajamas so they really feel the part.
Cranes are typically used to make buildings, but in Amsterdam uses one as a building itself. Three luxury, eclectically-decorated suites (named Free Spirit, Mystery, and Mystique), as well as a panoramic lounge and a rooftop hot tub, are built into the scaffolding of the crane. Situated on the banks of the river IJ, guests can enjoy exceptional views of the trendy NDSM neighborhood it calls home.
Before travelers fly away on an airplane, they can sleep in one at Jumbo Stay Hostel. The converted Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet sits at the entrance of the Stockholm Arlanda Airport and offers dorms, standard rooms, and suites for rent. They even have a cockpit suite that provides panoramic views of the airport.
Airplanes aren’t the only vehicles being refurbished by lodging operators. Featherbed Railroad Caboose Bed and Breakfast offers nine suites housed in nine different converted railroad cabooses. And they’re all situated in a park-like setting on the shores of Clear Lake, California.
Visitors looking to enjoy the beautiful countryside of Round Top, Texas can stay in converted shipping containers at Flophouze Hotel. They boast six different suites, all with a kitchen and each sleeping between three to six people. Intrigued? The company also offers design, consulting, and installation services so you can build your own.
Grain silos have been converted into an eco-friendly hotel in Little River, New Zealand. SiloStay consists of eight units that each sleep two people. The two-story silos have a kitchen and living area on the first floor, and a bedroom and ensuite bathroom on the second.
It may sound strange to sleep in renovated drain pipes, but that’s exactly what you can do at in Linz, Austria. The units offer very simple (just a queen bed and bedside table) but comfortable accommodation. There are no on-site staff or amenities. Door codes are emailed to guests and reservations are made using a pay-as-you-wish system.
You don’t need to be this out-of-the-box to win the hearts of travelers, but unique details do help you stand out from the competition. We hope these extreme examples helped get the creative juices flowing.