Whether you’re away from home on vacation or for a business trip, why not make it an especially delightful experience by staying at one of America’s unique and unusual hotels?
Sleep in luxury in a cave grotto, scuba dive underwater and watch fish swim by your window on a coral reef, put your feet up inside a surprisingly posh railroad boxcar, or hole up in a former jail cell — these are just a few options that will turn your typical trip into a truly fun, once-in-a-lifetime jaunt.
Here, Newsmax has put together a list of the 50 most unique hotels in America, each one guaranteed to elevate any trip.
1. The Liberty Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts — No bread and water here, but the hotel in a previous life was the granite-walled Charles Street Jail, dating from 1851 and formerly housing inmates such as Malcolm X and ex-Mayor James Curley. Eighteen of the rooms are actual former jail cells, but with some luxurious accommodations no convict would recognize. Alibi, the hotel lobby bar, is housed in what once was the jail’s drunk tank.
2. The Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho — This hotel offers the truly offbeat experience of sleeping inside a giant dog. Shaped like a huge beagle and measuring 30 feet high, the hotel also features doggie-themed rooms and a gift shop selling chain-sawed dog statues.
3. The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts — This is the actual site of the infamous 1892 axe murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, allegedly by their daughter Lizzie, although she was acquitted of the horrendous hatchet slayings. You can stay in the John V. Morse room where Abby was slain, and get a free guided tour of the home, and there are rumors, of course, that the house is haunted.
4. Winvian Farm in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut — This upscale hotel offers 18 unique cottages, including a tree house cottage, the Beaver Lodge, with a lattice of interwoven branches over the bed; the Maritime Cottage, with the appearance of a lighthouse; the Camping Cottage with a tented bed; the Charter Oak Cottage, built silo-style around a huge live oak tree and several others. You can even stay in a room inside a helicopter.
5. Wigwam Village in Holbrook, Arizona — Located on historic Route 66, the Wigwam Village offers visitors a chance to sleep in a Plains Indian teepee, complete with vintage cars in the parking lot. There are 15 “wigwams” and a museum, and the hotel sign inquires, “Have you slept in a wigwam lately?”
6. The Aurora Express Bed and Breakfast in Fairbanks, Alaska — Take a step back into railroad history at this bed and breakfast, which features five cars with names like the “Bordello” and the “Golden Nellie Caboose,” fully restored into luxurious sleeping accommodations. Eat in the Dining Car with its stunning overhead painting of the Northern Lights.
7. The Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Court in Bisbee, Arizona — The hotel’s 11 fully restored vintage travel trailers — with names like El Rey, Airstream, and Royal Mansion, dating from the 1950s — whisk you back to the nostalgic days of American road travel. TVs play only in black and white and old magazines and vintage music on the radios complete your fantasy of stopping off from a trip on the highways back in the “I Love Lucy” days.
8. McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland, Oregon — Take a journey back to school in the 57 guest rooms, many of them former classrooms. In McMenamins, rooms are decorated with desks and blackboards and drinks are served up in the Detention Pub. An elementary school in 1915, it closed around 1974 or 1975 and reopened as a hotel in 1997 with the ceremonial ringing of the principal’s bell.
9. Kokopelli’s Cave Bed Breakfast in Farmington, New Mexico — Spend the night reliving your “Flintstones” fantasies while snoozing in a 1,700-square-foot rock-walled cavern located 70 feet beneath the surface and reached by walking down a cliff face on sandstone steps. Once inside, you’ll find a waterfall shower, Jacuzzi tub, and a replica Native American kiva. There’s only one cave which accommodates four, so reservations are mandatory.
10. Turpentine Creek in Eureka Springs, Arkansas — Do you like cats? Big cats? Then you’ll love Turpentine Creek, a wildlife sanctuary housing tigers, lions, cougars, and leopards. Visitors can stay in five posh lodges or even a tree house bungalow. Enjoy feeding time for the big cats and wild feline education lectures while savoring the Ozark Mountains scenery.
11. The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee — If you haven’t seen the daily parade of the Peabody Mallard Ducks, you’ve missed something very special. The Peabody’s 464 guest rooms, including 15 suites, are luxurious in the Old South manner, but the highlight is watching the “Duckmaster” escort the ducks through the lobby at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day in what has become a Memphis tradition dating from 1932. The ducks live in a Royal Duck Palace on the roof and, when their three-month tour of parade duty is complete, they are released back into the wild.
12. The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California — Since 1966, the Queen Mary, a luxury ocean liner built in England in the 1930s, has rested in Long Beach as a posh hotel with 314 rooms, shops, a spa, and world class dining. The first class staterooms and suites are said to be haunted and there is a tour of the liner’s paranormal hot spots available.
13. The Heceta Head Lighthouse in Yachats, Oregon — This working lighthouse/hotel on the Oregon coast dates back to 1893 and the 205-foot-high lighthouse sends its beam of light up to 21 miles out to sea. While viewing the light, you can stay at the bed and breakfast — which accommodates 15 guests — in the Mariner’s Room, the Lightkeeper’s Room, Victoria’s Room, the Cape Cove room, or the Queen Anne Room, and enjoy a seven-course breakfast.
14. Out ‘n’ About Treehouses Treesort in Cave Junction, Oregon — Guests stay in 18 luxuriously appointed treehouses with names like “Treezeebo” and “Yurtree,” and some of the picturesque aerial homes can be reached only by traversing a swinging bridge or riding a zipline. Located near the magnificent Siskiyou National Forest, the hotel offers a truly unique woodlands adventure.
15. Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida — Thirty feet under the ocean is one of America’s strangest lodgings — a self-contained hotel that includes hot showers, cozy beds, TV and music, a stocked kitchen, and 42-inch windows through which you can watch fish cavort among the mangroves. If you’re not a certified SCUBA diver, Jules’ lodge provides a Discover SCUBA course, which enables you to swim down and enter the lodge’s two comfortable and adventurous rooms. However, you do have to be able to swim.
16. The Ultima Thule Lodge at St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska — You can’t get there by car — it’s 100 miles from the nearest road — but if you want a genuine, luxurious Alaskan wilderness experience, it’s well worth flying in by private plane. Five private two-bedroom cabins, a wood-fired sauna, hiking, fishing, and sumptuous dining along the Chitina River make this an experience to be savored.
17. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado — Given that this hotel inspired Stephen King to write “The Shining,” your stay could be a bit spooky, but will be relieved by the 1909 posh hotel’s suites, lodge rooms, condos, and Presidential Cottage. Highly rumored to be haunted, the hotel notes that the Stephen King Suite and rooms 401, 428, and 1302 are especially known for paranormal activity, just in case you’d like to schedule a spectral visit during your stay.
18. Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware — A great classic 217-room hotel dating back to 1913 and featuring Old World grandeur, the hotel also features a 1,250-seat Du Pont Theater, where you can catch the latest Broadway shows during your stay.
19. Travaasa Hana Resort in Hana, Hawaii — Resting at the remote eastern tip of Maui, the hotel offers spectacular views of the ocean with rooms which include whirlpool spas. There is no TV or air conditioning, but plenty of healthy spa activities, yoga, and Hawaiian cultural classes and events.
20. The Drake Hotel in Chicago, Illinois — A full-service luxury hotel, the Drake has 537 rooms and 74 posh suites, and overlooks scenic Lake Michigan. Scads of celebrities, political luminaries, and presidents have stayed at the upscale Drake. Best of all, in 1954, when Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe got married, the blissful vandals romantically carved their initials in the Cape Cod Room’s bar. The initials are still there. The Drake’s afternoon teas are a tradition that have attracted Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Empress of Japan.
21. Crowne Plaza Hotel at Historic Union Station in Indianapolis, Indiana — This converted train station gives you a choice of sleeping in one of its 273 luxury rooms or staying in an authentic railroad Pullman car room.
22. Fanta Suites in Greenwood, Indiana — Fantasy is the key, and each of the hotel’s themed suites is built around a specific dream state. Stay in the Space Odyssey Room inside a 10-sided recreation of a Gemini space capsule, or try Caesar’s Court, with its marble whirlpool and columns. Indulge in the Geisha Garden Suite, the Pink Cadillac, the Sherwood Forest room, or the Wild Wild West, where you sleep in a tepee or covered wagon. Or pretend you’re James Bond in the Casino Royale Suite. Either way, your imaginings become real for a night.
23. Jazz Quarters in New Orleans, Louisiana — Located next to the famed French Quarter and across the street from Louis Armstrong Park, this hotel is for music lovers only, with rooms named after famous jazz musicians and a selection of Creole cottages, some dating back to the early 1800s
24. Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan — Want to escape busy city traffic? Then try this hotel for your vacation, where cars are forbidden and the favored transportation is by horse-drawn carriage. Out of its 386 rooms, no two are the same in decor, so you can never tire of return visits, but choose carefully — it’s open only from May to October.
25. Northern Rail Traincar Inn in Two Harbors, Minnesota — Spend the night in a railroad boxcar at this rustic bed and breakfast. With 17 rooms built in antique railroad boxcars, the hotel opened in 2002 and features campfire evenings in cool weather, complete with fire-roasted s’mores, on the northern shore of Lake Superior.
26. Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi — Spend a night like the old blues players did — in two-room shacks that were once homes to poor sharecroppers. You can even take a blues guitar lesson in the lobby. The hotel has its own juke joint where the blues can be heard while sipping a cold beer, and it also hosts a guitar and bass jam camp.
27. Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast in Bardstown, Kentucky — Once the old Nelson County Jail, this hotel features seven guest rooms inside stone walls measuring 30 inches thick. Originally built in 1874, the inn was still a jail until 1987, and it even includes an “upstairs dungeon” for housing the more recalcitrant prisoners.
28. Earthship Biotecturein Taos, New Mexico — A sustainable community with solar and wind power, thermal heating and cooling, and contained sewage treatment can be enjoyed for nightly stays for those itching to live “off the grid.” There are four unique desert dwellings, or “Earthships,” where you can stay and learn how to make your own home more energy efficient and self-sustaining.
29. Treebones Resort in Big Sur, California — Sixteen plush yurts — round canvas-walled and topped tent-like abodes — give stunning views of the Pacific from their redwood decks, or guests can stay in a truly unique “human nest” constructed of woven wood branches, for campers who want to relish the great outdoors. The resort also features eco-tours and kayaking.
30. Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties, New York — This bed and breakfast is located in an 1869 lighthouse on the Hudson River and offers two rustic guestrooms with enchanting views of the river, tours of the lighthouse, and a maritime museum room.
31. Garth Woodside Mansion in Hannibal, Missouri — Stay where Mark Twain did — in a hotel named after his good friend John Garth. On the outside, the historic hotel looks like every other haunted mansion in every horror movie ever made but, inside, the eight rooms and three cottages are decorated in plush Victorian style to waft visitors back into the past.
32. Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana — You don’t have to rough it just because you might want to awaken your inner cowboy. Triple Creek offers log luxury ranch cabins and ranch homes, gourmet cuisine, fabulous scenery, cattle drives, and riding adventures.
33. Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina — Known primarily for golf, the 102-year-old granite-walled Omni Grove has other delightful features, such as a subterranean whirlpool spa surrounded by rock with multiple water treatments and an elevator built inside an old chimney.
34. Hotel Donaldson in Fargo, North Dakota — With 17 artist-inspired rooms which are very cutting-edge in design, the Donaldson lures you into a peaceful, artful sleep after enjoying its rooftop hot tub and bar and the HoDo Restaurant, serving organic, locally grown foods.
35. 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio — Ever stay in a hotel which had is own in-house art museum? 21c does, and the 100-year-old building, once the Metropole Hotel, has 156 luxurious rooms and a rooftop cocktail terrace. The museum continually presents the work of well-known artists.
36. The Skirvin Hilton in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — With 225 rooms downtown, the Skirvin celebrated its 100th birthday in 2011. In the past, it has hosted Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hoffa, Roger Staubach, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Bob Hope and, legend has it, still hosts a ghost. Effie, a housemaid who supposedly had an illegitimate baby fathered by the owner, lived in an upstairs garret and leaped with her baby to her death. When you’re not ghost-watching, try the Red Piano Bar or the Park Avenue Grill.
37. The Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant in Ronks, Pennsylvania — Like trains? Located in the middle of Amish country, the Red Caboose has 38 rooms, most of which are located in 25-ton train cabooses or sleeping cars. The motel also features a dining room, a petting zoo for the kids, and Amish buggy rides, and is located near the Strasburg Rail Road line and the Pennsylvania Train Museum.
38. Sylvan Lake Lodge in East Custer, South Dakota — Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the lodge was built in 1937 and now includes 32 cabins that provide luxury living near Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, and the Crazy Horse monument. And you just may wake up with a buffalo or two grazing in your front yard.
39. Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee — The hotel offers lodging in either Pullman train cars or the MacArthur or Empress Buildings, and guests can enjoy themselves in the Track 29 music venue, the Revelry Room, or the Comedy Catch, the hotel’s on-site comedy club. The main dining room features the elegant dome of the Chattanooga Terminal Station, which the hotel once was before transitioning in 1974.
40. Settlers Crossing Bed and Breakfast in Fredericksburg, Texas — Live like early Texas settlers did in seven log cabins and homes, and even a stone barn with rifle slits in the front, dating back to the 1790s. Your historic experience is enhanced with genuine antique furnishings. Giant oak trees on the 35-acre property lend luscious scenery to the surroundings.
41. Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah — Get ready to gasp. Amangiri features accommodations built into the wall of majestic rock formations and offers hiking, climbing, balloon rides at dawn, and fossil hunts over some of the most spectacular landscape on earth, as well as wellness retreats, yoga, and a spa.
42. Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont — Formerly owned by Sinclair Lewis and Dorothy Thompson, this very upscale resort offers 20 lodge, farmhouse, or cottage rooms, a 15,000-bottle wine cellar, and world-class dining in an area famed for skiing and snowshoeing, along with fly fishing, sledding, hiking, and ice skating.
43. Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia — Of course they have golf, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and spas, but what hotel you’ve stayed at offered its own in-house planetarium complete with a telescope and observatory dome? Posh accommodations, including three tree houses, give spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
44. The Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas — With its curved metal roof, the Hangar Hotel is designed to replicate an aircraft hangar from the 1940s. Catering to flight enthusiasts, the interior features airplane memorabilia and models, as well as guest rooms with rattan and mahogany furniture, bomber jacket upholstery, and an observation deck to watch planes take off and land from the adjacent Gillespie County Airport. It also features a searchlight from WWII measuring 10 feet in height and a flyable 1946 North American Navion airplane.
45. The Baldpate Inn in Estes Park, Colorado — Perched 9,000 feet atop Twin Sisters Mountain, the Baldpate Inn takes its theme from the mystery novel “Seven Keys to Baldpate,” and was christened by the book’s author and hotel guest, Earl Derr Biggers, who also wrote the Charlie Chan series of detective novels. Guests oddly responded by donating keys to the hotel. Today, the 20,000 keys left at the 100-year-old hotel stand as the world’s largest key collection, according to the hotel’s website. Rooms are available in private cabins or the main lodge, where guests can view the hotel’s autographed photo collection, which includes entries from several presidents, movie stars, luminaries like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Jack London, and Western heroes like Buffalo Bill Cody.
46. Hotel Vertigo in San Francisco, California — Are you an Alfred Hitchcock fan? If so, don’t miss this step back into Hitchcock-style ambiance in the hotel that made a cameo in the movie “Vertigo.” The film continuously plays in the lobby and, the website states, “The hotel’s baroque-modern sensibility represents a head-spinning union of old and new.” Located in the posh Nob Hill area, the hotel used to be known as the Empire.
47. Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel in Mt. Tremper, New York — Owned by Kate Pierson, the red-headed retro singer with The B-52s, the Catskills motel features ’50s decor in its eight suites, which are awash in retro kitsch, which Pierson calls “mind-blowing mid-century modern/space age/rocket-your-socks-off decor.” The property sits on nine acres on scenic Esopus Creek and walking into any of its rooms brings an instant flashback to the era of early rock ‘n’ roll.
48. Falls Brook Yurts in Minerva, New York — Mongolian-styled yurts offer a backcountry experience to those wishing to get back to Mother Nature. Wood-floored and canvas-walled, with open skylights giving a view of the overhead stars, the yurts have kitchens and propane lights, easy access to secluded woodland hiking trails, and the bubbling of Falls Brook at night to help you fall asleep.
49. El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas — This quirky Bunkhouse property has everything you might want in a unique hotel — a collection of travel trailers with names like Vagabond, Battleship, and Little Pinky, a 22-foot-diameter yurt, several brick-floored tepees, and even cozy wall tents. While there, check out the workshops on camp cooking, camp construction, and Movie Mondays, complete with free popcorn and films.
50. Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada — With a lobby decorated with hundreds of clowns dolls, paintings, and costumes, clown-themed rooms with paintings of Bozo, Emmett Kelly, and Pagliacci, the Clown Motel makes it very clear that you better like clowns if you stay there. To make things more interesting, the motel is reportedly haunted by long-gone clowns who pop up now and then to terrify visitors.
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