Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, Northern Territory
As a general rule, you don't want to end up inside a crocodile when visiting the Northern Territory, but exceptions can be made for the top hotel in Kakadu National Park. The Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel, as the name suggests, is shaped like a giant croc. Reception's in the head, rooms in the body. And, instead of a heart, this croc has a swimming pool.
Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, China
You can hardly miss it… the Sheraton on Lake Tai between Shanghai and Nanjing is 27 story giant that looks somewhere between a doughnut and a horseshoe. With 321 rooms and four restaurants, it has become one of China's top resorts, and just in-case it wasn't being quite attention-seeking enough, it lights up at night in multiple colours. See starwoodhotels.com
Dog Bark Park, Idaho
If you're a chainsaw artist planning to run a B&B, you may as well get creative to show off your skills. What better, therefore, than making it look like a giant dog? Billing itself as the world's biggest beagle, Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood, Idaho, sees guests enter their accommodation through a private second story deck hidden on the dog's body. See dogbarkpark.com
The Boot, New Zealand
Another old favourite on the absurdist B&B scene is The Boot, in Tasman at the top of New Zealand's South Island. Attached to the Jester House café, this self-contained cottage goes all Old Mother Hubbard, with the bedroom up a spiral staircase at the top of the boot, and a lounge with an open fireplace at the bottom. There's even a little Juliet balcony where the laces should be.
Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain
When you get Frank Gehry in to design your hotel, it's a pretty safe bet that you're not going to end up with a cookie-cutter box tower. In Elciego, one of the major towns of the Rioja wine region, the Marques de Riscal looks like a beautifully-wrapped present being torn apart, with ribbons flying all over the place. Aside from that, the joint has considerable swank – especially in the rooftop bar terrace and Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Luxor, Las Vegas
Vegas isn't exactly running short on ludicrously gaudy accommodation options, but the Luxor takes the biscuit. A 30 story glass pyramid, with a mock-sphinx standing guard outside, the Luxor hosts over 4,000 rooms and has the world's most powerful light beam shooting out the top. It is not, alas, as big as the Great Pyramid at Giza, but the Great Pyramid doesn't host several shows and a massive casino…
Hotel CasAnus, Belgium
Originally designed as an artwork, the CasAnus is made of polyester and takes the utterly charming shape of a large intestine. As part of the Verbeke Foundation to the west of Antwerp, this one room offering is an overly realistic veiny red and brown thing on the outside, but bright white inside. Luxury, it is not, but it's at least en-suite if the idea of a shower inside such a thing doesn't put you off.
Jumbo Stay, Stockholm
It's shaped like a plane because, well, it is a plane. Or at least it used to be. The decommissioned Boeing 747 has been turned into a hostel for would-be high flyers, and strategically placed just outside Stockholm's Arlanda airport. It's dorm beds in economy class, but those wanting to show off their status can try the double bed in the cockpit
Quinta Real Zacatecas, Mexico
From above, the Quinta Real in Zacatecas forms a highly distinctive circle shape, and that's because the whole thing is a former bullfighting arena. Rooms and common areas have been fitted in and around the 19th century bullring. The colonial style has been carefully maintained, and the Presidential Suites overlook the ring itself. Don't expect any matadors, however.
Inntel Amsterdam Zaandam
Why have one house, when you can have absolutely loads stacked on top of each other like an unruly shelving unit? The Inntel Amsterdam Zaandam takes the form of several traditional houses from the region, balanced on top of each other, with some of them upside down. It's something of a mirage, however – inside, everything connects up, and it's a smart four star hotel.
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