11 Crazy Family Fun Bucket List Hotels
A good hotel has everything that its guests need to have a pleasant stay there and then some. But many hotels are not just great; they are unusual, some because of their locations, others because of some outstanding features. Among the ten unusual hotels below, some are built into or around natural formations, others are housed in buildings that were once used to serve a different purpose. Still, other hotel buildings are constructed in unusual shapes. Visit the sites of the individual lodges for information such as room costs.
Dog Bark Park Inn
Located in the little-known north-central Idaho town of Cottonwood, in a building constructed in the form of the biggest beagle in the world, the Dog Bark Park Inn is one of the most pet-friendly hotels in the country. It is one of the most highly rated, too couples have spent their honeymoons there, and the July 2009 edition of Reader’s Digest put it on their Best of America list. The inn is filled with carvings made by the chainsaw artist Dennis & Frances, who works exclusively for the owners. There is a loft room in the head of the dog, and a cozy alcove in the “muzzle.”
The Dog Bark Park Inn is perfect for true dog lovers. When you pull up to the hotel you will be greeted by two gigantic dogs. They aren’t real dogs though, they are the structures that make up the hotel. Yes, you sleep inside the world’s largest Beagle. The dog theme continues on the interior where guests will notice that their toilet resembles a fire hydrant and the entire decor of the room is filled with all types of dog-related items. This place is a cool place to stay at, especially since the rooms are cozy lofts, with a penthouse located in the Beagle’s head.
Farmington, New Mexico
The Cave Hotel, as its name suggests, is situated in Kokopelli Cave in Farmington, in northwestern New Mexico, 70 feet beneath the surface in the face of a cliff. The walls may be very ancient they date from at least 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs became extinct but its features are thoroughly modern and include a jacuzzi and a TV with a DVD player in addition to the fully equipped kitchen. They do not serve meals here, however. From the Cave Hotel, one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the single meeting place of four states, as well as the many snowcapped mountains and the spectacular southwestern sunsets. Even before the hotel was built, the cave served as an office space! Much of the time, depending on daily conditions, Kokopelli is difficult to access, so you have to really want to be there in order to get there.
Upper Lake, California
Featherbed Railroad is made of a series of cabooses, each one decorated with a different theme there is one that resembles a bordello in Las Vegas, another the Orient Express, immortalized in the detective story, with its Art deco-style furnishings; and then there is the Easy Rider caboose, furnished with a Harley Davidson memorabilia and a replica of an old motorcycle. The hotel is located about twenty miles north of San Francisco, on the shore of a lovely lake, making for a beautiful view that no guest will ever forget! The trees in the area are hundreds of years old. There is truly something for everyone at this place!
Jules Undersea Lodge
Key Largo, Florida
Our next unusual hotel is in Key Largo. It is exactly what its name indicates the facilities are built 21 feet beneath the surface of the water, so you have to dive to get in. Jules Undersea Lodge started out during the 1970s as a research lab, and many scientific studies are still conducted there.
There are two rooms in the hotel, each with a round window that looks out into the sea, which sports some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Where else can you look out the window of your own hotel room and see fish of all kinds of barracudas, angelfish, snappers, parrotfish, and others peering in at you? The ground, too, is home to corals, sea anemones, sponges, and shellfish. It looks like an underwater sea garden. You can explore this marvelous place as long as you remain a guest here, using the diving gear and the unlimited supply of tanks provided by the owners of the Lodge themselves.
What makes this hotel so unique is that the rooms are located underwater. Yes, you read that correctly, it isn’t just a clever name. Guests who choose to stay at this hotel will have to scuba dive 21 feet down in order to get to their rooms. Once in their rooms though, guests will be able to stay fully submerged for several days at a time if they wish. Relax in the solitude that only the deep sea can offer, and take some time to scuba whenever you want.
Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a Teepee but still be able to watch HBO and relax with all the modern luxuries we have come to take for granted? If so, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona is right up your alley. Each guest gets his or her own teepee equipped with cable TV, heat and AC, as well as a full-sized bathroom with a shower. The rooms are very spacious and families will love staying at this unique hotel.
The Wigwam, a boutique hotel, is a registered historic monument. The three villages that make up the present motel chain, located in different states the Arizona branch being situated in Holbrook, in the northeast are all that still remains of an original collection of seven that were first built in the 1950s. Their founder, a man by the name of Chester E. Lewis, was inspired by the Indian villages he had seen in Kentucky (wigwams are not, of course, native to the Arizona region), and over a decade or so he built his motels.
The Arizona branch of the Wigwam is rich in treasures, both historical and natural. There is a small museum opposite the lobby made from slabs of petrified wood, and the atmosphere of the past is heightened by the motel’s location near a number of Indian reservations.
Here is another hotel built around a train. Nestled way up north in the mountains of Fairbanks, Alaska, the Aurora Express has many of its rooms decorated with themes from the decades immediately following the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia. The exteriors of the cars are gaily painted in bold shades of yellow and blue and sleeper cars also form part of this train-hotel. In one of the cars, the reflection of the vivid pink chairs and the blue floral carpeting onto the metal ceiling creates a multicolored, psychedelic effect, and above one of the beds is a painting of the Virgin Mary flanked by a wooden statue of an angel on either side.
The Aurora Express is actually a train converted into a Bed and Breakfast. Guests who stay here will enjoy gorgeous views of the majestic, snow-covered mountains that are located just steps away from the hotel. The rooms are spacious and clean, and train lovers, as well as history buffs, will get a kick out of staying in this period-authentic relic of transportation past. If you are going to visit Alaska, this is the way to experience the purity of the countryside.
Numerous other works of art are found throughout the train, and many of the beds feature luscious, beautifully colored blankets and pillows. Many guests have found the Aurora Express to be a great place to stay. The food is delicious and the cars are classic. For one of the guests, the Aurora Express is her favorite place to eat in all of Alaska.
Post Ranch Inn
Big Sur, California
This luxury hotel has been given one of the absolute best settings indeed – among the cliffs of California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is composed of eight separate structures, each with its own name – the Cliff, Pacific, Ocean, Coast, Peak, Tree and Mountain – and each constructed in its own distinct design. For example, the Coast House is a circular building surrounded by a grove of redwood trees.
The Post Ranch Inn also has a spa where guests can receive a variety of therapeutic treatments, of which a few are Swedish massage, crystal and gemstone therapy, body exfoliation, Hungarian herbal body massage, and wildflower facial treatment. Plus, they hold one- and two-hour sessions on the ‘intuitive healing arts’ such as sacred touch, mandala painting, and fire ceremonies. Amenities include a swimming pool, a gourmet buffet breakfast served every morning, a whale watch with mimosa, and morning yoga six days a week.
Four guest packages are offered by the hotel Hideaway, Romance at the Ranch, Ocean Escape and Gift Certificates. Each package includes a certain number of nights with a given set of services. The Post Ranch is also a great place to hold a wedding or a honeymoon.
Northern Rail Train Car Hotel
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Yet another train that also serves as a hotel! This time the setting is north of Two Harbors, Minnesota, along the state’s far eastern shore of Lake Superior. Each of its seventeen guest rooms has a theme of its own, as suggested by the name – Victorian, Oriental, Safari, Northwoods. Since the inn lies within walking distance of the big city of Duluth, guests can easily enjoy the major activities that are held there, such as the State Snowmobile Trail System.
The rooms are divided into three suites – king conductor (two rooms), queen conductor (only one room and this is the most popular in the entire hotel, so if you want it, you should call to reserve it well in advance) and porter – and the rooms in each suite offer a different set of services. The king and queen conductor suites, for instance, have separate living areas with microwaves, DVD players, electric fireplaces, and mini-fridges, none of which is found in the porter suite.
A wide range of events are held at the Northern Rail, some of them seasonal (canoeing, kayaking, golfing, birding, hiking) and some year-round. Guests come to the Northern Rail Train Car Hotel from all over the world.
Cedar Creek Treehouse
Many of us remember how we enjoyed the backyard treehouse as children. But few of us, indeed, would dream that anyone would set up a hotel in one. Yet there is at least one such hotel in existence the Cedar Creek Treehouse just outside majestic Mt. Rainier National Park, with Gifford National Forest also being in the vicinity. The tree in which the hotel has been built is two centuries old. An observatory sits atop the building. CBS News travel journalist Peter Greenberg has placed Cedar Creek on a list of the ten most unusual hotels in the world.
New York City
Our final hotel is unusual even among unusual hotels. Situated in New York City, the Library Hotel is the perfect place to stay for the individual who would like to gain a little knowledge and spend the night at the same time. The lounges outside the bedrooms house shelves and shelves of books on every conceivable subject, so almost every guest is sure to find the material here that interests him or her. What is more, each of the hotel’s ten floors is devoted to a category in the Dewey Decimal System.
East Brother Light Station Point
This former lighthouse is now a hotel that is one of the most beautiful places to stay in the San Francisco area. People who decide to stay at this hotel will need to jump onto a boat to get there since it sits on a secluded island in a straight that separates San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. From the island, guests have breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline and the Marin Coastline. A delicious dinner is included in the price of your stay, and the money guests pay is directly funneled back into the preservation of the island. No chain hotels can make the same claim.
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