There’s no shortage of interesting and extravagant hotels in the world, from the weird and wonderful to the sheer luxurious. Holiday homes designed to look like a giant snake in the forest and an exclusive hotel where you can dine with giraffes are among the more unusual holiday accommodation on offer!
It can be difficult for a hotel to stand out from others. Conservative estimates suggest there are an incredible 17.5 million guest rooms at hotels worldwide. The world’s biggest hotel company is Wyndham Hotel Group, with more than 9,200 across the globe. Marriott International is second, with more than 7,600 properties.
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With massive competition in just about every part of the world, just how can tourist operators effectively make sure their accommodation grabs the eye? Some hotels have gone above and beyond to ensure they stand out from the crowd!
1. Nido De Quetzalcóatl, Mexico City
Perhaps the most unusual design for holiday homes is the Nido De Quetzalcóatl, a complex resembling a giant serpent, nestling in a forest near Mexico City. Ten houses twist through the forest, covering an area of around 5,000 square metres.
Surrounded by gardens, expanses of water and an established oak forest; the creative and quirky AirBnB accommodation was designed in 2000 by Mexican architect Javier Senosiain – one of the first people to create organic architecture. He rose to the challenge of building holiday homes on the irregular terrain.
Visitors are invited to stay in a habitat that integrates us into nature, without impacting the local ecosystem. The surrounding Quetzalcóatl Park was created to preserve the green belt area. The body of the Quetzalcóatl serpent is made of ferro-cement with iridescent hues of golden emerald and deep violet blue.
Its body seems to penetrate the earth, then emerge onto the surface again and so on through the forest. It houses separate two-level holiday homes, each measuring 6.5 metres high by 8.6 metres wide. With interior walls that are a warm, earthy colour, the windows offer beautiful views of the gardens.
2. First World Hotel & Plaza, Pahang, Malaysia
Officially listed by Guinness World Records as the largest hotel in the world; First World Hotel & Plaza boasts an incredible 7,351 rooms. This huge hotel opened in 2001.
Adjoining the First World Plaza, which is a 500,000 sq. feet area comprising an indoor theme park, shopping centre and plenty of different places to dine; the main entrance of the hotel is a lush tropical rainforest. Guests can then stroll through to a lobby resembling a Spanish courtyard.
All the rooms have modern amenities and are furnished comfortably. Facilities include a fitness centre with a gym and workout room, a lounge bar, a casino, bowling alley, Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum and plenty of children’s activities. There are also conference facilities and a business centre with internet access.
3. Bertrams, Devon, UK
Sleeping in a double decker bus is one of the more unusual hotels on offer in the UK! Bertrams is a hotel within an iconic double-decker bus, converted and decorated 1950s-style. The decor makes guests feel as if they have stepped back in time – but with all the modern luxuries you would expect from a top hotel!
The bus sleeps five guests and has a luxurious hot tub to wind down after a day exploring. Truly one-of-a-kind accommodation, it is located in the grounds of Fosfelle country house in Hartland, Bideford, where there is also a herd of alpacas.
Ideally situated for easy access to Devon’s wonderful beaches, the Coastal Path, adventure parks and exciting things to do for all the family, the bus was actually in service on the Crawley and Horsham routes in London before being retired. It was brought to Hartland and given a new lease of life as a hotel in 2018.
4. Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Located in Nairobi, Kenya, Giraffe Manor is truly one of the world’s most unusual hotels. It’s like being on a safari without needing to leave your luxury hotel. Enjoy intimate interactions with endangered giraffes over breakfast, as the resident herd poke their heads through the window for a bite of your food.
The exclusive boutique hotel is owned by The Safari Collection and appears on Instagram more than just about every other hotel in the world. Giraffe Manor, nestling in 12 acres of private land in the middle of a 140-acre indigenous forest, is one of the most iconic buildings in Nairobi.
The historic manor house dates back to the 1930s. It boasts an elegant interior, lush green gardens, picturesque courtyards and sunny terraces, giving guests the impression that they’re stepping into the film, Out of Africa.
The resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffes poke their long necks into the hotel windows in the hope of a treat from the adoring guests, before returning to their forest sanctuary – they’re not silly!
How can hotel managers make positive changes?
While most hotel managers aren’t in a position to have exotic animals in their gardens, or provide unique holiday homes resembling a giant serpent, every hotelier can make positive changes, however small. Make affordable upgrades to your property in order to attract more visitors. It’s as simple as that.
A survey by Expedia reveals people visit an average of 38 websites before making a booking for holiday accommodation, so you need to make every effort to grab their attention. Eight in ten travellers read reviews before booking, so take steps to attract the right kind of comments.
In 72% of cases, travellers will pick a hotel with more positive reviews over one with a known brand name or even a lower price. Almost two-thirds of travellers say they are leaning more towards the sustainability of their trip, while cleanliness also ranks as a high priority.
Installing automatic doors can also have appeal for guests, helping to improve the flow of pedestrian traffic in the hotel, while also increasing the property’s aesthetic appeal. In particular, they are more convenient for guests entering with bulky luggage, especially elderly or disabled guests and those with children, who might struggle with heavy manual doors.
In the hospitality industry, first impressions are always important. Make sure your guests have a lasting good impression that puts you ahead of the competition.