8 unbelievable hotels to discover before everyone else does
By Rachael Funk
You're a trailblazer. Your unquenchable thirst for adventuring through the avant-garde makes you a great travel companion and (probably) super fun at parties. As you broaden your world, you may find yourself tiring of the cookie cutter hotels you endure for the sake of new horizons. This year, demand more. Quit settling for the same starched sheets and preposterously thin pillows at chain hotels. Quit choking down watery coffee and wondering how early you can check out. Instead, treat yourself to novelty. Treat yourself to luxury. If you want to be truly audacious, treat yourself to all eight of these exceptional hotels that are just waiting to be discovered.
The Witchery by the Castle
An extraordinary choice for travelers who long for luxury, romance, and mystery, The Witchery by the Castle brings gothic fantasy to life. Each of the nine suites drip with sumptuous décor, from the rich fabrics cascading over the windows to the irresistibly decadent four-poster beds. The extravagant accommodations will ignite your imagination at every turn. Each room is stuffed with captivating antiques and impressive finishes such as the secret bookcase in the Library suite which leads to a hidden library-style bathroom or the organ pipe headboard in the Vestry suite.
The indulgent grandeur of The Witchery is matched only by the extravagance of the property's gastronomy. Revel in the charms of the Secret Garden, gather your coven for candlelit afternoon tea in the Witchery's original dining room, or opt for private dining to sample the hotel's highly acclaimed Scottish cuisine. An unforgettable atmosphere paired with a professional, discreet staff makes The Witchery by the Castle a one-of-a-kind mystical getaway.
Magic Mountain Hotel
Huilo Huilo Reserve, Chile
Hidden deep in the forest paradise of northern Patagonia, there is a remarkable hotel inside a man-made volcano. A property completely made of wood and stone, the lobby area is accessible via a suspended rope bridge near the top of the volcano. Each day, there is an eruption which sends water cascading down the outside of the building, feeding the living walls and creating a magical ambiance.
The wooden interiors lend a cozy, rustic feel to each of the 13 rooms. You can relax in one of the outdoor hot tubs carved out of tree trunks or enjoy the spa facilities which include swimming pools, massage, treatments, a sauna, and more. Thanks to its location in the middle of the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, you can also make trips to the nearby lagoons and hot springs or pick from an array of activities such as horseback riding, fishing, hiking, sailing, rafting, skiing, and more.
Arctic TreeHouse Hotel
If a trip to the Arctic Circle is in your near future, book a stay in one of the five stunning Arctic GlassHouses of this immaculately designed hotel. Each of the Arctic GlassHouses include a sumptuous lounge with a fireplace, two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a spacious deck area, a private sauna, and, of course, floor-to-ceiling windows from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Lapland scenery.
The state-of-the-art TreeHouse suites sit on short stilts and connect guests with their Arctic surroundings through the panoramic glass windows. When conditions are right, guests can snuggle up in bed and enjoy a clear view of aurora borealis stretching over the shallow valley below. For those who crave a truly outrageous luxury experience, you can book a night at the Arctic Forest Spa – the hotel's privately located sauna in the forest. The program includes a traditional Finnish Sauna, outdoor Jacuzzis under the night sky, towels and swim suits for ice swimming in the lake, and other thoughtful amenities to create the perfect night of relaxation and seclusion.
Crazy Bear Hotel
Eschewing tired convention and uninspiring décor, the Crazy Bear Hotel in Beaconsfield offers 45 individually designed guestrooms from the charismatic "Tiny" category up to the ultra-glamorous suites which feature roll-top baths that fill from the ceiling, heated floors, leather and velvet walls, floors, and ceilings, and a long list of extravagant amenities.
Soak in the opulence of the crystal-studded chandeliers, the 24-carat gold leaf painted staircase, and all the hidden surprises on the property. The hotel's unapologetically flamboyant interiors flirt with themes reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge, Las Vegas, and other high-drama celebrations of the glory of a lavish lifestyle. Never compromising their dedication to elaborate luxury and service, you will be delighted by the fine dining and specialty cocktails in the on-site restaurant and bar.
Sala Silver Mine Hotel Suite
Guests who are brave enough to spend a night in the luxury accommodation buried about 500 feet underground will be delighted by the secluded tranquility of this two-person suite. A five minute elevator ride straight down will bring you to the candle lit suite deep underground. You will be provided with a tour of the mine and a basket of refreshments, then left alone to enjoy the solitude.
The underground lakes and winding galleries provide a romantic escape for visitors who are interested in staying in the converted silver mine. Since there is no cell phone reception that deep underground, you will be able to contact the on-call staff through an intercom, but otherwise look forward to an uninterrupted evening.
Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island, Maldives
For those who prefer sunlit extravagance, Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives is sure to stir up a spirit of adventure. Spoil yourself with exclusivity, 5-star extravagance, and the splendor of life on a private island. Here, you can expect generous all-inclusive service, indulgent pampering, and the world's largest all-glass undersea restaurant, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant.
A barefoot venue, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant requests that guests remove their footwear before entering the dining area. From inside, you can sink into an underwater world of spectacular views and fine dining. Reservations are mandatory and each table only seats two in order to maintain an intimate atmosphere, so be sure to plan ahead.
A veritable castle on a hill, Mashpi Lodge seamlessly combines the biodiversity of the jungle surrounding with the top-notch services of an elegant, 5-star hideaway. Floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows give you a front row seat to the Ecuador's Mashpi Reserve, built for sustainability and conservation. The modern design and contemporary décor keeps guests connected with nature whether they are inside, taking in the views from the open-air panoramic terrace, enjoying the viewing platform, or taking an easy walk to the Life Center to learn more about the protected life within the reserve.
Running on hydro-electricity and employing energy efficient LED lights over 75% of the property, Mashpi Lodge is taking care to maintain the property's lowest carbon footprint possible. Water for the lodge is sourced from local rivers and is treated in an on-site water plant. Organic produce is grown locally for the kitchen, serving Ecuadorian cuisine which pays homage to the country's rich gastronomic heritage. The lodge also has an exceptional outdoor spa and wellness area.
Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai Resort
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Get the royal treatment and then some in Thailand! Built into 60 acres of immaculately kept grounds, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai Resort is not just a resort, it's practically a 13th century kingdom. Filled with moats, magnificent architecture, traditional rice paddies, soaring spires, and all the luxuries of the modern day, no details are overlooked. Everything is pristine from the spacious accommodations to the gilded dragons lounging on the lobby's staircase. Guests can choose between opulent villa or Signature residence accommodation for when they are not exploring the splendor of the resort.
Not to be outshone by the awe-inspiring design of the property, the world-class service at Dhara Dhevi is unmatched. Guests can expect professional touches such as nightly turndown service, golf cart rides around the property, limousine service, cooking lessons, babysitting, activities and demonstrations in the Art and Craft Village, an open-air shopping village, a library stuffed with thousands of books, the list goes on. The resort also boasts a spectrum of outstanding cuisine and a highly lauded spa and wellness complex.
This article was created in collaboration with Great Value Vacations.