Aydinli Cave Hotel

For a truly memorable stay, break free from hotel chains and check into one of these unusual hotels. Hamster wheel included.

Aydinli Cave House Hotel, Göreme, Turkey

3 of 20

Explorers looking to quell their inner speleologist can stay at the Aydinli Cave House Hotel, which opened in 2008. Located high above the old village center in the heart of old Göreme, Turkey, the 14-room family-run hotel is carved from natural rock and the traditional stone of Cappadocia, where parts of the cave’s structure date back 750 years. Rooms are decorated in natural, earthy decor and are named after their origins. The former pigeon nests and food storage room, referred to as Divanhorne, or the Living Room, offers original carvings and a private terrace with the best view. The Sirahane, or Wine Place, comprises two large rooms connected by a mini stairwell. One was used to squash grapes for the production of wine and pekmez, a Turkish grape molasses, and the other, Cardark, is where bread was baked. Before exploring Cappadocia, experience a traditional Turkish buffet breakfast or take in the panoramic views of Göreme and Rose Valley from the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum or hike through Pigeon or Rose Valley. There are also Turkish cooking classes, a kilim-weaving tour and belly dancing for those wishing to connect with Turkish culture. Aydinli Mahallesi, Aydinli Sokak No. 12, Göreme, 50180 Nevsehir, Turkey; thecavehotel.com; Room Rates: $90–$235

—Alix Strauss

World's Most Unusual Hotels

Aydinli Cave House Hotel, Göreme, Turkey

Explorers looking to quell their inner speleologist can stay at the Aydinli Cave House Hotel, which opened in 2008. Located high above the old village center in the heart of old Göreme, Turkey, the 14-room family-run hotel is carved from natural rock and the traditional stone of Cappadocia, where parts of the cave’s structure date back 750 years. Rooms are decorated in natural, earthy decor and are named after their origins. The former pigeon nests and food storage room, referred to as Divanhorne, or the Living Room, offers original carvings and a private terrace with the best view. The Sirahane, or Wine Place, comprises two large rooms connected by a mini stairwell. One was used to squash grapes for the production of wine and pekmez, a Turkish grape molasses, and the other, Cardark, is where bread was baked. Before exploring Cappadocia, experience a traditional Turkish buffet breakfast or take in the panoramic views of Göreme and Rose Valley from the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum or hike through Pigeon or Rose Valley. There are also Turkish cooking classes, a kilim-weaving tour and belly dancing for those wishing to connect with Turkish culture. Aydinli Mahallesi, Aydinli Sokak No. 12, Göreme, 50180 Nevsehir, Turkey; thecavehotel.com; Room Rates: $90–$235

—Alix Strauss

Aydinli Cave Hotel

World's Most Unusual Hotels

On a Sri Lankan riverbank stands a lone, slightly misshapen, enormous elephant. As you approach cautiously, you realize this creature isn’t some freak of nature; it’s an eco-lodge of grass and twigs that sleeps up to 10 people in its belly.

Kumbuk Hotel belongs to a peculiar breed of hotels that continue to crop up worldwide, winning over travelers with their sheer novelty. Some of these unusual hotels have never-knew-you-needed-them amenities like an in-room sailboat, while others go for shock factor: ever slept in a coffin bed or a rescue pod? Still others are in improbable locations: the depths of a silver mine; atop a coral reef. But what all the world’s most unusual hotels promise is that you’ll be talking about your stay long after you check out.

Make no mistake: while these unusual hotels may look crazy, they aren’t the result of hoteliers gone mad. The owners are often forward-thinking architects or tinkerers inspired to make their small hotel creations into quirky destinations in and of themselves. They’re well aware that anything strange attracts publicity and curious travelers.

Berlin’s Propeller Island, for example, has become popular among artists, who seek stimulation among the green padded walls, floating beds, and fun-house interiors, which, not surprisingly, have been featured in many music videos. While it jives with Berlin’s artsy reputation, some other unusual hotels go to more radical lengths to blend in with their surroundings. The salt pans of Bolivia make the Palacio de Sal hotel—constructed entirely from salt blocks (even the beds)—a true product of the environment.

Sure, your usual tastes probably run sweeter—say, to a hotel pool, a king-size bed with a down comforter, and tasteful décor. Yet there’s something liberating about letting loose and giving in to a strange suite once in a while—just as there’s something reassuring about knowing these properties exist and thrive. In cases like Sweden’s futuristic all-suites Treehotel, unusual hotels can even be beautiful examples of out-of-the-box design.

Still, that doesn’t account for a life-size hamster hotel where guests are greeted with masks on arrival. That’s just downright strange—and you need to see it to believe it.  

—Adam McCulloch

Explore More