Sleep somewhere with a story

By Mary PenmanEver wanted to sleep in a converted sewer pipe, stay at a genuine Colorado ranch, or spend the night in an 18th century former prison? The 2011 edition of hotel guide “Unusual and unique overnight” is full of out of the ordinary places to stay, and would make a perfect Christmas gift for keen travellers who like to holiday with a twist.Two of the hotels profiled can be found in Austria. Das Park Hotel in Ottensheim invites guests to stay in renovated and furnished sewer pipes, and the Schneedorf Igloo Village in Tyrol – Austria’s first igloo village – is described as “unforgettable”, offering a chance to escape into a magical and romantic winter world.The book presents a good mix of hotels, from unusual architectural gems and chic city get-aways, to the down right wacky. The majority of the book is devoted to Europe, where there seems to be a concentration of novelty hotels, ranging from a Czech hotel offering a Medieval experience, complete with straw strewn floors and open fires, to a floating underwater hotel in Sweden, which gives guests the chance to sleep in an aquarium.Half of the pages are filled with photographs, whose colours and detail provide a real feast for the eyes. An informative description is provided for each hotel, along with suggested activities. Unfortunately information about booking and prices can only be gained from visiting the book’s website.One of the stars of the short North-America section has to be the Wigwam Motel in California located on the legendary Route 66. Guests here spend the night in modernised versions of traditional Indian Wigwams which are clustered around a pool and interspersed with palm trees.Anyone heading Down Under might like to check out The Boot. Created by Steve and Judy in 2001, the hotel in New Zealand is described as “an unusual, romantic hideaway – in the shape of a giant boot!”Quality is certainly present even where quantity is lacking in the Central, Latin and South America section, whose eight entries include a Bolivian hotel made of salt, a Chilean astronomy resort, and “forest accommodation in a manmade, fairytale mountain” at the Magic Mountain Hotel in Chile.Some of the most stunning places to stay in the continents of Asia and Africa complete the hotel guide, which wants to inspire readers to “sleep somewhere with a story”.The directory was compiled by Steve Dobson, a passionate and adventurous traveller.For more information, visit: