Architectural Design  

Five Innovative, Exotic Hotels

Seeking to push the boundaries of the hospitality experience, these hotels make use of epic environments and wacky materials.
 Underwater Hotel in Dubai

The hotel, as an institution, symbolizes escape. For a brief period, burdened visitors can transcend the mess and clutter of their conventional lives, and find peace in the gloriously isolated, concierge controlled ambiance of the hotel world, where bleached linens and marble hallways abound. Hotels are fantasy made manifest, and these particular hotel constructions blur conventional lines, transforming imaginative splendor into a livable experience.

1. Dubai’s Underwater Hotel

For centuries humanity has dreamt of underwater kingdoms. The legend of Atlantis existing as a habitable underwater space sparked people’s desire to sink our land-dwelling lifestyle into the watery majesty of the sea. However, nobody wants to drown, especially on vacation - so for years yearning for a submerged sea sanctuary was stifled by the indisputable construction realities of not being able to build a large-scale livable structure underwater.

Yet the great luxury pioneers of Dubai (a country made famous for their outlandish feats of construction including an indoor ski resort) have finally made our mere dreams a tangible reality by planning to build a lavishly glorious underwater hotel.

The hotel, aptly termed ‘The Underwater Hotel’ will integrate an above-water component with twenty-one underwater luxurious rooms, a dive center and a bar, all with aquarium views of the ocean, and the hungry sea life just waiting to eat you. 

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2. Hilton’s Eco Argentinean Mountain Hotel

Finally someone built a hotel into the natural landscape of a mountain. While it is not as viscerally exciting as a volcano hotel, Hilton’s 350 mega-hotel incorporates a chameleon green roof that changes hues to match the mountains coloring throughout season changes. Designed by Argentinean architect Mario Roberto Alvarez, the hotel was detailed to evoke the mighty and tranquil feeling of being inside a hallowed out mountain.

The eye-shaped building will get its water from the pristine waters of the Naheul Huapi Lake, and in addition to the hotel, the Hilton will serve 250 built-in homes with hotel services. Set to open in 2013, the hotel will mark the first time an international hotel chain will have a based service in Argentina.

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3. The Tree Hotel, Sweden

Many adults are simply not ready to give up the tree house escapism they cherished so deeply as children. Enter the genius of the Tree Hotel, a five building hotel made up of independent structures built high into a Swedish forest line. Inspired by a local treehouse built for a documentary film, founder Kent Lindvall and his co-founding wife, recruited top Swedish architectures to design the uniquely uncanny tree rooms which include a structure shaped to look like a UFO, a giant bird nest, and a mirrored cube that camouflages itself by reflecting its environment.

However, the construction of such a gleefully outlandish hotel has its share of construction dilemmas. For instance, “What happens to the permanence of the structure when the trees grow?” Well, the tree hotel grows right along with them - by removing the structure’s bolts and lowering them along the tree’s trunk, the structure can remain at the same elevation, while peacefully cohabitating with its living counterpart.

The experience is immersive to say the least. Visitors have to leave their cars at the guesthouse and walk the forest path to their suspended tree rooms by foot. While the hotel currently is made up of only five rooms, the Lindvalls hope to expand the hotel to 25 rooms hidden among the dense forestry.

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4. The Ice Hotel

Located a mere three hours north of the Tree Hotel, the Ice Hotel is another outlandish Swedish landmark that is just what its name suggests: a hotel made out of ice. Visitors to this iconic hotel can sleep in stylishly sculpted igloos reminiscent of Arctic life, but supplemented by moody neon lighting achieved by fiber optics.

The hotel is rebuilt every year in November using over 4,000 tons of snow and ice. The limited building materials do not confine the hotel’s amenities, the wacky escape has honeymoon suits, a cinema, a vodka bar and reception area. However, visitors most definitely must bring a jacket, or eight, as even the hotel’s furniture, fittings and sculptures are made entirely out of ice.




5. The Space Hotel

In a move to outdo all the wacky contenders on this list, the Russian firm Orbital Technologies plans to open the first space hotel in humanity’s history in 2016. Also referred to as the ‘Commercial Space Station’ the hotel will float 250 miles above Earth, and can accommodate up to seven extremely wealthy galactic travelers at a time. However, drifting in the cosmos is not as effortless as it sounds, travelers will have to undergo a three month long training before embarking on their voyage.

Although space is infinite, the amenities at this space hotel are not. The sealed capsule will not even have a shower and all food eaten will be chosen before the launch and sent to space in dehydrated form.

Whether these hotels symbolize a shift in traveling trends, or are simply fleeting –albeit expensive – flights of fancy, they offer a drug free trip that is sure to inspire guests in strange and unusual ways.

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