Cape Town - When Airbnb and the Swedish Tourism Board launched an initiative encouraging visitors to Sweden to make use of the ‘freedom to roam’ by hosting publicly-owned land as a "bookable listing" on Airbnb, we thought it couldn’t get any weirder than that.
We were wrong.
It turns out that wonderfully weird accommodation options are available the world over, with South Africa also offering boutique hotels and bizarre backpacker spots that make for quirky stays.
In Mzansi, you can opt to spend a night in a caravan on a rooftop, a ‘pod’ (if you’re not claustrophobic!), an old jail cell and even a giant shoe!
Check out these wacky accommodation options to add to your travel bucket list:
The Old Goal, Grahamstown
The Old Gaol, Grahamstown's second oldest building, is a backpackers situated in a historic monument and heritage site.
According to The Heritage Portal, The Old Gaol is of great historic interest in the architectural history of the Eastern Cape Frontier.
Built in 1824, The Old Gaol used to be the oldest functioning prison in South Africa. Now, for a somewhat eerie experience, you can stay in the cells that used to house prisoners.
Providing affordable board and lodging, it is close to Rhodes University and makes an ideal accommodation option for students visiting the town and festival-goers during the National Arts Festival.
Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel, Cape Town
It’s luxurious yet quirky, making you feel as if you’ve time-travelled to a completely different location until you reach the rooftop and see Table Mountain to be reminded you’re still in SA.
Grand Daddy is Cape Town’s one-of-a-kind boutique hotel with a rooftop experience like no other, boasting trailers that are individually designed with a different theme. Visitors can book to stay at a trailer in the caravan park-like rooftop set-up or one of the rooms in the hotel.
“Not only is our proudly South African hotel a heritage building, we have been operating as a boutique hotel for over 120 years,” says the hotel.
“Our unique Long Street hotel features the popular outdoor Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema, top class eatery called “Thirty Ate”, boutique hotel accommodation and South Africa’s only rooftop Airstream Trailer Park,” adds the boutique accommodation spot.
The Shoe Guest House, Limpopo
The Shoe Guest House, literally the shape of a shoe, provides basic accommodation in the middle of the bushveld in Ohrigstad, Limpopo offering “a real farm experience”.
It used to be a large farmhouse which now serves as a self-catering accommodation option, and runs on 80% solar power.
91 Loop, Cape Town
Cape Town does it again, offering a peculiar accommodation spot that’s certainly not for someone with a fear of small spaces!
Boutique Hostel 91 Loop Street offers visitors the choice of a standard ensuite room, or a pod experience.
The pod – literally a rectangular-shaped space in which one has to climb into to sleep – gives the user an almost-futuristic accommodation experience. Each pod comes with space to charge your phone, reading light and a keycard controlled locker.
Apart from housing a restaurant and coffee shop, it is ideally situated in the CBD, making it convenient for young travellers who want to explore the city day or night.
Weird places to stay around the world
Because where you stay ultimately adds to your overall travel experience, here are 5 places to stay around the world to check out:
Iglu-Dorf Hotel, Switzerland
This hotel is built out of ice! Luckily it features a sauna, warm room and has plenty of hot drinks available at “Snow Bar”.
Keio Plaza Hotel, Tokyo
This hotel in Tokyo boasts rooms especially for Hello Kitty fans. The rooms, called “Kitty Town” and “Princess Kitty” are decorated with furniture and interiors that focus on the internationally famous character “Hello Kitty”.
Sala Silvermine, Sweden
The world´s deepest hotel suite, Sala Silvermine was once considered to be one of the five largest silver deposits in the world. Now you can spend the night in a room that’s 508 feet (154.8 m) deep!
V8 Hotel, Germany
Especially for car fanatics, this hotel has 10 individually decorated car-themed rooms and offers a tour of its classic car collection.
Harlingen Harbour Crane, Netherlands
Fancy a night’s sleep in a crane? Well now you can stay over at Harlingen Harbour Crane which is suitable for day-time and night-time occupation by two people.
With the rooms located in the former machine room and control room, this accommodation option is certainly for a more daring soul. Sleep tight!
The Zero Hotel experience - zero ceiling, zero walls
The romantic notion of sleeping under the stars has never been so literal as it does with The Zero Hotel - located in Switzerland. If you are a lover of the outdoors and wanting to truly immerse yourself in the arms of mother nature then this should be on your bucket list!
It is literally a bed frame, a lovely warm bed, lighting and a solid floor - but there are no walls. The Zero Star Hotel is said to be an expression of art.
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