Three unusual hotels that are a step up from the Premier Inn

Cosmoledo Eco Camp
A cosy container: but beware the horned crabs on the beach

Most hotel rooms look the same. These three unusual hotels will provide a memorable stay.

Cosmoledo Eco Camp: shipping containers in the Seychelles

Getting to Cosmoledo Eco Camp isn’t easy, says Teresa Levonian Cole in the Financial Times. A ten-hour flight takes you from London to Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles. Then I caught two further domestic flights and embarked on a two-hour boat journey “racing over waters of transparent blue, turquoise and jade, before, finally, the white and green of Cosmoledo began to coalesce on the horizon”.

Such a feeling of distance is rare these days. Guests stay in “lavish” lodges and villas – or “eco pods” (“which are, unmistakably, shipping containers). These are no ordinary shipping containers: each of the eight is “cleverly designed with wood flooring, framed maps, good lighting, excellent bathrooms, aircon and comfortable twin beds”.

A retractable glass wall opens onto wooden decking and the beach, “alive with horned ghost crabs”. The pods can even be moved without leaving a trace. ($1,900 for two, bluesafari.com.)


Kachi Lodge: out of this world

Kachi Lodge is a new luxury accommodation on the “heart-stoppingly beautiful” Salar de Uyunisalt flats in Bolivia, says Gemma Bowes in The Times.

With the towering red Tunupa volcano as a backdrop, the lodge resembles “a lunar space Kachi Lodge, Uyuni, Boliviastation, with six Nasa-designed geodesic bedroom tents connected by wooden boardwalks and a huge, semi-transparent dining dome”. And just like in space, oxygen is limited due to the high altitude. “We’re at 3,600 metres and out of breath from the slightest exertion,” says Bowes.

The interiors are “homely and cool, with wood-burners, designer lighting, proper bathrooms built in Amazonian hardwood with hot (well, warm) solar-powered showers, and heaps of gorgeous Bolivian textiles, all stripes and pompoms, to lend some funky Latin American zest.”

Chefs from Nativa, a new restaurant in Bolivia’s capital, Sucre, provided the food. It consisted of sensational reworkings of street-food staples with a touch of European fusion, and was perfectly suited to the harsh conditions outside. (Two nights from $1,980, kachilodge.com.)


Quinta da Pacheca: a barrel of laughs

 

The Wine House Hotel Quinta da Pacheca estate, Douro, Portugal - © The Wine House Hotel/Solent News/Shutterstock
An oenophile’s dream: living in a wine barrel

 

Wine-loving travellers can now fully indulge in their passion by staying in a converted wine barrel at Quinta da Pacheca, says Almara Abgarian in Metro.

The barrel suites are exact replicas (at least on the outside) of the pine-wood barrels used at the working 280-year-old estate, located in the Douro wine region of Portugal. Owners Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves modified the barrels to include a circular double bed, a bathroom with a walk-in shower, skylight windows and a private terrace. They also have Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

The estate has 140 acres of vineyards to explore, and a restaurant. Then there are, of course, the wines to try – red, white, rosé and port. The bottles are kept in a nearby 18th-century house. Guests can also sample the locally made olive oil and jam as part of the experience. The barrels don’t come cheap. But “then again, you get to realise every wine lover’s dream, so it might just be worth it.” (From €190, quintadapacheca.com.)