The world’s most extraordinary hotels in pictures


Mihir Garh, Rajasthan 
“The fort sits in splendid isolation amid the Thar Desert near Jodhpur. It looks like an enormous sandcastle, a mirage, and is not just a unique place to stay; it’s a shrine to the artistic and architectural traditions of Rajasthan in general and Jodhpur in particular.”


Planet Baobab, Botswana
“Botswana’s Makgadigadi Pan comprises the world’s largest network of salt pans – a thirsty, mirage-inducing landscape of flat, shimmering expanses under hard blue skies. Halfway along the sole tarred road through this arid moonscape, a statue of an anteater towers at the dusty verge. It is a surreal sight, and an appropriate signpost for the distinctive Planet Baobab.”


Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy
“A medieval high-rise turned romantic hideaway, the Torre Prendiparte is unlike anywhere else you’ll ever stay. The living area is on the first two floors and comprises a snug, classically-furnished living room, mezzanine bedroom, and kitchen. Above this is the former jail where you can still see graffiti left by prisoners on the 2m-thick walls.”


Qasr al Sarab, UAE
“Rising from the shifting sands, Qasr Al Sarab appears like a mirage on the edge of the vast Empty Quarter desert. Outside high crenellated walls echo fortresses of old. Inside rooms continue the dream of Arabian Nights with sumptuous fabrics, carved Islamic designs, woven rugs, wooden doors and metalwork lanterns.”


Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania, Australia
“A stay at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge plunges you into the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness, with luxury that feels as organic as your surrounds. The cabins are nestled privately in the bushland, with wallabies bounding past the windows and wombats shuffling amid the trees.”


Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada
“Suspended in the trees on sturdy guide ropes, Vancouver Island’s Free Spirit Spheres look like giant eyeballs peering deep into the British Columbia woodlands. Step inside and the handmade orbs – accessed via spiral rope staircases or slender steel bridges – are lined like comfy boat cabins with built-in beds and cabinets.”


Taskonak Hotel, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
“Göreme has dozens of beautiful cave-hotels but Taşkonak manages to dish up the cave-suites and stupendous views Cappadocia is famous for without breaking your budget.”


Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
“One of few such lodges within the extraordinary 328,000 hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a Unesco world heritage site.”


Saugerties Lighthouse, New York state, USA
“Saugerties Lighthouse is a historic 1869 landmark that makes a wonderful base for exploring the scenic Hudson valley. It is 100 miles north of New York City, and the red brick building has played a pivotal role in safely guiding steamboats, barges and other vessels safely along the Hudson river over the years. More recently (in the mid 1990s), the lighthouse was transformed into a two-room B&B, providing safe haven of a different sort.”


The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos
“The tree houses erected by conservation group Animo are a thing of architectural wonder, straddling the giant trunks of strangler fig trees. But more extraordinary still is that to reach these vertiginous eyries you’ll have to trek through the fecund realm of the tiger, then catch a series of exhilarating zip lines strung across the forest canopy, before flying into your night’s accommodation.”

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