We take a look at the most unique places to stay during your holiday this summer
Writer: Marcus Kääpä
Following over two years of uncertainty and caution, the world is opening back up and calling on travellers of all kinds to fulfil their journeying dreams that have been brewing throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the cold weather making way for the summer season in Europe, everybody from adventurers to R&R lovers are looking at options locally and abroad to bring their holiday plans to fruition.
And a unique holiday wouldn’t be complete without a quirky base of operations. From the UK and southern France to Greece and Estonia, we dive into some of the most characterful stays in Europe for the upcoming travel season.
Crazy Bear Group
DESTINATION: Stadhampton and Beaconsfield, UK
COST PER NIGHT: £129 - £987
Within the charming town of Beaconsfield and the quaint village of Stadhampton dwells the Crazy Bear (Group). Despite the name, the company does not cater to a Viking horde, but more so a fictional aristocrat seated by a fireplace with their gun dog.
The Beaconsfield hotel in particular suits lovers of bold colours, grand staircases, ornate decorations and interior excess. It embodies this feeling, going above and beyond when it comes to luxury rooms, king-sized beds, centred copper baths, wood, stone, shining gold, chandeliers and the occasional stuffed animal head.
During your stay, the Crazy Bear Group offers a host of experiences, from expert Thai massages to a bougie dining experience inside or out, and even has the capacity to host business meetings, weddings and private parties, all within arms-reach of the rural beauty of southern England.
Cabanes Flottantes du Lac de Pélisse
DESTINATION: Dordogne, France
COST PER NIGHT: £149 - £195
Cabanes Flottantes du Lac de Pélisse, the “Floating Cabins of Lake Pélisse”, by their very nature reimagine and out-do the traditional lakeside stay.
Accessible only by rowing boat, the buoyant wood cabins offer a unique place from which to experience rural France.
Lake Pélisse itself sits in the southern French countryside, a small and serene body of water in the Dordogne, a region punctuated with medieval towns and castles that can be reached by bike or car.
And at the lakeside itself, fishing, swimming and boating are just a few of the activities to make your stay memorable.
Cerchio Del Desiderio – Glamping Abruzzo
DESTINATION: Abruzzo, Italy
COST PER NIGHT: From £128
Domes, yurts and yoga make Cerchio Del Desiderio the go-to glamping site in Abruzzo (Italy).
Hidden amid olive groves in an Italian hill-scape close to its western coast, the many green geodomes mark out the unique glamping site. Both the domes and the yurts available to visitors come with fully furnished interiors designed for quality comfort, with panoramic windows to watch the landscape, modern utilities, fireplaces, BBQs, private bathrooms and cosy beds.
Cerchio Del Desiderio is a place that merges relaxation, reflection and leisure under the sun and stars of south Europe. On top of offering yoga activities, visitors can wine taste at nearby wineries, traverse bike trails or ride on horseback through the mountainous countryside.
And to beat the Italian sun, the glamping site has an above-ground pool to cool off swimmers, the perfect way to end a day of Italian adventure.
The Windmill at Adamas
DESTINATION: Adamas, Milos, Greece
COST PER NIGHT: From £100
Historic structure turned rustic stay, the Windmill at Adamas (also Adamantas) combines traditional stone and simple Greek style with a unique view of the island of Milos.
The windmill is situated close to the oceanfront, where the crystal blue Myrtoan Sea meets the white sands of the island, one of many within the region. It is a perfect location for romantic getaways where you can explore the harbour town of Adamas and sunbathe before a swim in the scenic waters.
Away from the beach, visitors can enjoy a short stroll to many bars and restaurants in the Adamas area to dine on fine wines and classic Greek seafood dishes.
DESTINATION: Porumbacu de Jos, Romania
COST PER NIGHT: From £156
A home under a hill is not an everyday sight.
At Dealul Verde, “The Green Hill”, you have the chance to stay in truly rural dwellings, with turf-sloped rooves in a region surrounded by Romanian forests and adventure.
Comparable to the well-known Hobbit homes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous works of literature, the houses are open, comfortable and designed for dining and socialising.
Wide open spaces made of white stone and simple wooden surfaces, these homes make perfect communal areas for families or larger groups.
Each of the eight bedrooms in a home host a different theme based on the values of traditional trades, such as farming, craft, weaving or artistry, to provide visitors with a taste of Romanian tradition. And beyond the turfed homes, visitors can spend time horse riding, cliff scaling, off-road biking, at the adventure park or resting in the sauna.
DESTINATION: Stuttgart, Germany
COST PER NIGHT: £116 - £597
The spirit of German engineering taken to the next level - meet the V8 Hotel.
This stay is for car lovers and admirers around the world. Part hotel, part shrine to the wheeled machine, the V8 Hotel mixes passion for themed cars (such as off-road and classic racers) with the biggest auto brands (Jaguar and Mercedes to name just two), in which both the interior design and the beds themselves are the cars that petrolheads know and love.
The hotel sports multiple tiers of rooms to stay, from the “humble” V6 – Double Rooms, to the hotel-specialist V8 – Themed Rooms, and the exclusive V12 – Mercedes Suite.
Beyond the rooms, the hotel offers dining and bar services, an auditorium and boardrooms to host business meetings, a car show room, and of course, a day sports car tour drive through the Black Forest – a truly German experience!
Lovtag Treetop Hotel
DESTINATION: North Jutland, Denmark
COST PER NIGHT: From £240
Raised high into the canopy of a Danish woodland, the Lovtag Treetop Hotel is hygge.
Stylish in its simplicity, the hotel is made up of multiple unique and minimalist modern cabins. Each sports a tree trunk that grows through the cabin itself, large panes of glass that watch over the forest, and access via bridge-like walkways to add to the spirit of adventure.
Visitors will be leaving no modern utilities behind. The cabin is fixed with a kitchen, heating, electricity and an en suite bathroom, so that you can rest and relax with a coffee and look out over the trees before a journey into the woods of North Jutland.
Barrel Camping Pods – Paekalda Holiday Centre
DESTINATION: Rummu, Estonia
COST PER NIGHT: From £73
Small and compact, the barrel camping pods at Paekalda Holiday Centre are perfect for a short stay amid the natural beauty of Estonia.
Sitting side-by-side like a row of wine barrels, these pods have end walls of glass to watch the sun set over a lake and room enough for a small family of three. External campsite kitchenettes and bathrooms make the barrel pods a perfect stopover for hikers or nature lovers who spend their days exploring the wilderness beyond.
Based in the Paekalda Holiday Centre complex, visitors have access to bar and dining services and saunas as well as many water and woodland-based activities.
The SnowCastle of Kemi
DESTINATION: Kemi, Finland
COST PER NIGHT: £397 - £445
Looking for a quirky stay next winter? The SnowCastle of Kemi sits in the northern reaches of Finnish Lapland, the home of ice, snow and the northern lights.
The entire SnowCastle complex is made up of the SnowHotel, SnowRestaurant and SnowChapel (the latter for weddings, ceremonies or meditation), with internal temperatures reaching a frosty –5 degrees Celsius – even the bed frames are carved from ice!
Guests are wrapped up in warm clothing, sleep in thermal bedding and can sup on chilled spirits served in ice glasses in between dining on hearty Nordic dishes, including reindeer fillet.
And no two seasons are the same. Each year, the best snow architects gather in Kemi and create the SnowCastle in a new way, hand-carving a unique wonderland from the winter’s ice and snow for the season’s new visitors.