Five hotels with an unusual twist

From a hotel for car fanatics in Germany to staying in a former Boston jail, Piper Terrett looks at five quirky hotels.


V8 Hotel, Stuttgart

"Car fanatics will love" Stuttgart's V8 Hotel, says The Daily Telegraph. The German hotel's themed rooms feature "vintage cars, racing paraphernalia and drive-through cinemas". And, "if you never had the chance to sleep in one of those car-shaped beds as a child", the hotel can "make it happen, even for grown-ups", says The New York Times. Based around a decommissioned post-World War II military terminal, V8 features beds made of cars, including Mercedes and VW Beatles, plus a car museum and other furniture made from vintage vehicles.

Doubles from £110 a night (; 00 49 7031 3069 880.

No Man's Fort, Portsmouth

This "hulking fort" emerges from the Solent like a "Bond villain hideaway", says Sarah Gordon in the Daily Mail. One of a range of forts created 150 years ago by Lord Palmerston to protect Portsmouth against the threat of French invasion, No Man's Fort is now a 22-room luxury hotel with a helipad, rooftop hot tubs, a spa and even its own putting green although you have to get the harbourmaster's permission to use it as it's next to a busy shipping lane.

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Owned by former Dreams bed-shop chain entrepreneur Mike Clare, its rooms are decked out in "creams, blues and nautical touches" and are "all about comfort". The sea views are "spectacular". Indeed, agrees Fiona Duncan in The Daily Telegraph, "nothing much can beat lying in bed with the blinds open, the moonshining on the sea and the Solent lapping [against] the fort's stone walls".

Doubles from £400 a night (; 0330-333 7 222).


Palacio de Sal, Bolivia

Bolivia's Salt Palace on Uyuni's salt flats is "completely constructed from salt, including most of the furniture", writes The Daily Telegraph. The luxury hotel built from a million 35cm bricks made up of compressed grains of salt boasts an "impressive" lobby, bar, 30 rooms with private bathrooms, central heating and electricity. Even the golf course and swimming pool are made of salt, but "licking the walls is strictly prohibited", says Steve Nolan in the Daily Mail. And the restaurant's signature dish? "Salt chicken, naturally," says The Telegraph.

Doubles from £85 a night (; 00 591 684 20888).

Crazy House Hotel, Vietnam

"This bonkers building, created by architect Dang Viet Nga, could be straight out of a Salvador Dali painting," says the Radio Times. The fairytale five-storey structure located in Da Lat City, in Vietnam, is meant to represent "the organic twisting element of a banyan tree". Nga says he wanted to bring people back to nature and used "unshaped cubes and unshaped planes" to form the building. Inside the hotel are "winding passageways" and concrete sculptures, such as an eagle sitting on an egg and a tiger emerging from the wall.

Doubles from £22 a night (; 00 84 63 3 822 070).


Liberty Hotel, Boston

If you're looking for something really different, "stay at the Liberty Hotel", says Jeff Mills in The Times. Once the Charles Street jail "home to some of Boston's most infamous criminals" it is now a "smart establishment".

In fact, the minimalist, modern Liberty is the very antithesis of "old Boston", says Kathy Arnold in The Daily Telegraph. The 298-room hotel still has the jail's original dome, with "exposed red bricks, the catwalk, iron gates and even cells", which are put to work in the Clink restaurant as dining cubicles. The former drunk tank is now a cocktail bar called Alibi, while rooms on the eighth floor upwards offer "grand views" of the Charles River.

Doubles from £155 a night ( 00 1 617 224 4000).

Piper Terrett is a financial journalist and author. Piper graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, in 1997 and worked for Germaine Greer and for Adam Faith’s Money Channel before embarking on a career in business journalism. 

She has worked for most top financial titles, including Investors Chronicle, Shares magazine, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money. She lectures part-time at London Metropolitan University and is the author of four books.