[ By Steph
in Boutique & Art Hotels
Waterfalls stream down the sides of mountain-shaped, moss-covered structures, while white horses gallivant in front of castles that look like they were ripped right out of a book of fairytales. These 15 hotels are among the most magical places to stay anywhere in the world, from ancient palaces in India to gleaming ice hotels in Quebec. While some are a peek at how the 1% live, others are surprisingly affordable.
Magic Mountain Hotel, Uruguay
If elves took up residence in Hobbiton, this is what their homes would look like. The mountain-shaped structure is dotted with arched windows and obscured with lush greenery. Waterfalls stream down the sides to drench the moss, ferns and flowers. Located within the remote Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, the hotel requires an adventurous spirit to even access, but it’s well worth the effort. Nearly everything is constructed from locally, sustainably sourced wood.
Neemrana Fort Palace, India
A 15th-century palace built into the hillside in India is now a five-star, 55-bedroom hotel with kingly views over the nearby village. Neemrana Fort Palace is full of authentic decor from periods throughout India’s history and contains displays that educate guests about the palace’s fascinating past. Though rooms here start at just £50 per night, guests are given the royal treatment, with options including poolside spa treatments and hot balloon rides over the valley.
Fairytale Hotel in Belgium
Sleep in a surreal medieval-style chamber within a massive wooden Trojan Horse at Belgium’s La Balade des Gnomes Hotel. This bizarre retreat boasts ten unique rooms sculpted with the natural earthen building material known as cob to create all sorts of curved custom surfaces. The horse is just one of the hotel’s suites – others include a troll’s lair and a Macquarie Island room with a boat-shaped bed.
Crazy House Hotel, Dalat, Vietnam
The aptly named Crazy House Hotel in Vietnam began as the private residence of architect Hang Viet Nga, who clearly let her imagination run wild in creating an organically shaped structure reminiscent of the Barcelona ouvre of Antoni Gaudi. Made from the base of a dead tree, the house is full of ladders leading into hidden nooks and through tight tunnels. Rooms cost as little as $22 USD per night.
Thorngrove Manor Hotel, Adelaide, Australia
The Thorngrove Manor Hotel could easily double as a princess castle at Disneyland, it’s so picturesque. Located in Adelaide, Australia, the castle-like structure looks centuries-old but was actually built in 1994 as part of a vineyard. Though all the rooms are together in one building, there are no common spaces, and couples staying there never need to see other guests.
Ice Hotel, Quebec, Canada
Lotus flowers, trees, polar bears and other relief carvings are found all over the ice and snow walls of the stunning Hotel de Glace in Quebec, which opens each January with a new theme. The 2013 theme, pictured, was “A Journey to the Center of Winter.”
Kulturinsel Einsiedel Treehouse Hotel, Germany
Whimsical is one word you could use to describe the Kulturinsel Einsiedel Hotela> (“Culture Island”) hotel in Germany, which includes a network of cute little treehouses accessible by ladders and rope bridges as well as an ‘Enchanted Castle.” It’s basically a fantasy playground that intends to turn adults back into kids for the duration of their stay.
Nothofagus Hotel, Uruguay
Another wonder to be found deep within the Huilo Huilo Biological Resort is the Nothofagus Hotel, a 115-foot-tall wooden structure built around an ancient oak. The spectacular atrium also contains an illuminated waterfall that splashes from the seventh level down to the first. The hotel offers 55 rooms and suites with views of the forest and the Mocho-Choshuenco volcano.
Châteaux dans les Arbes Hotel, France
Stay in a ‘tree castle’ with its own private hot tub on a spacious balcony at France’s Chateaux dans les Arbes Hotel. Far from the rustic sensibilities of most tree houses, these bed-and-breakfast suites feature private bathrooms, mini bars and ornate architectural details.
Hotel de la Cite, Carcassonne, France
Another fairytale castle, the Hotel de la Cite is a medieval-style chateau in the midst of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The citadel of Carcassonne proves an atmospheric setting for the storybook complex, which served as the inspiration for the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver, Canada
Otherworldly spheres seem to float in thin air at the Free Spirit Sphere Treehouse Resort set among the towering trees in Vancouver, Canada. Each sphere is about nine feet in diameter and contains a single bed, a settee, cupboards and counter space.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex, UK
A 60-foot-high crumbling stone wall complete with a medieval gate greets you at the 900-year-old Amberley Castle, located at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, England. And if the historic structure itself wasn’t enough for you, the grounds are also the setting for one of the world’s most beautiful treehouses.
Grand Barrail Chateau Resort, Libourne, France
“Before entering the 19th-century Grand Barrail Chateau Resort & Spa, you pinch a single grape from the vines surrounding the property, roll it in your fingers and pop in in your mouth.” That’s the way Kiwi Collection introduces the Grand Barrail Chateau Resort in Libourne, and it sets the tone for the rest of the experience at this posh 41-room, 5-suite hotel in the Bordeaux region of Southwest France.
Taj Lake Palace, Rajasthan, India
Take a boat out to your room at an 18th-century palace in the middle of Lake Pichola in Rajasthan, India. The four-acre man-made island features rooms filled with hand-painted motifs, mosaics and stained glass, while the pavilions are inlaid with gilt molding. The opulent hotel has drawn the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II and the King of Nepal.
Ashford Castle, Mayo, Ireland
Ireland’s oldest castle, Ashford Castle dates back to 1228 and is the very definition of a medieval fortress, complete with towering turrets. Once owned by the Guinness family, it opened as a hotel in 1939 with its original features carefully restored. It’s also the home of Ireland’s first school of falconry.
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[ By Steph in Boutique & Art Hotels & Travel. ]
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