The world has some pretty spectacular places to visit. Image via Adobe Stock

Out of the ordinary: Five of the world’s most extraordinary places to stay

Love to travel, but want something special and extraordinary?


The world has some pretty spectacular places to visit. Image via Adobe Stock

Here are five of the world’s most extraordinary, spectacular and out-of-this-world hotels and places to stay to inspire you…

Extraordinary travel destinations

Mihir Garh, Rajasthan, India  

Resting in splendid isolation in the Thar Desert near Jodphur, Mihir Garh exudes a fantastical, regal charm. Designed to emulate an enormous sandcastle, a mirage in the nothingness of the desert, the luxurious hotel gives new meaning to the word “bespoke”.

Nine vast and opulent suites offer every extravagance from custom-made clay fireplaces to designer king size beds, while the building itself artfully reflects the surrounding landscapes.

The circular huts echo the huts of local tribe, the Bishnoi; a spectacular frescoed wall features India’s national bird with a bejewelled tail; and a mural of a Rajasthani beauty mirrors the elegant women in bright, block-printed saris at the roadside.

Planet Baobab, Gweta, Botswana

Nestled amid the shimmering, mirage-inducing expanses of Botswana’s Makgadigadi Pan, Planet Baobab is a true oasis in this harsh landscape.

Echoing the surrealism of this funky Afro-chic hotel in the heart of the desert, a statue of a giant anteater tower on the dusty verge at the entrance to welcomes you in.

Named after the baobab trees overlooking its thatched African huts, Planet Baobab is home to one of the largest and coolest pools in the Kalahari, which is just a stone’s throw away from the elephant’s paddling pool and a truly unrivalled spot to cool off and soak up your surroundings.

Walkways wind between the impressive 4000-year-old baobabs, their hefty trunks, and intricate branches atmospherically illuminated at night, to a pool and bar-restaurant deep in the bush, which serves interesting and delicious dishes from all across Africa.

Sleep in traditionally-styled bakalanga or baobab huts, take a midnight tour onto the saltpans to see the stars, and get up close and personal with meerkats at dawn. This is Africa like you’ve never seen it before.

Qasr Al Sarab, United Arab Emirates

Escape the fierce desert sun at the Qasr al Sarab.

Appearing like a mirage on the edge of the vast Empty Quarter desert, Qasr Al Sarab rises from the shifting sands to create a luxurious oasis. For a true desert escape, this desert resort by Anantara is a world apart.

High crenelated walls echo fortresses of old, while inside, rooms boast carved Islamic designs, rich woven rugs, sumptuous fabrics, wooden doors, and metalwork lanterns. Museum-quality artefacts dating back to date farmers and Bedouins of old can be found in the elegant library.

Lounge sheik-style on poolside terrace divans and enjoy a Bedu feast on fireside carpets in the sand.

Trek across the vast dunes on camelback or “dune-bash” down them in a 4WD; have your hands painted with henna or learn about the indigenous Saluki dog breed.

Aydinli Cave House Hotel, Göreme, Turkey

Escape the world with a stay in a rock-carved hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Explorers looking to quell their inner speleologist can experience a modern twist on Cappadocia’s troglodyte living in one of Göreme village’s cave-hotels. Located high above the old village centre, the Aydinli Cave House Hotel is a 14-room family-run hotel carved from natural rock and the traditional stone of Cappadocia, where parts of the caves structure date back 750 years.

This small and friendly hotel has oodles of rustic charm.

Before exploring Cappadocia, experience a traditional Turkish buffet breakfast on the hotel’s rooftop terrace that has breathtakingly beautiful views of the ethereal moonscape of rock valleys beyond.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cappadocia is packed with things to see and do. Visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum or hike through Pigeon or Rose Valley.

There are also Turkish cooking classes, a kelim-weaving tour, and belly dancing for those wishing to connect with Turkish culture. 

The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos

Swing through the trees like a gibbon in this incredible and unforgettable treehouse experience in Laos.

Wake to the sonorous call of the endangered black-crested gibbon from the comfort of your bed in a treehouse a hundred feet up in the triple forest canopy of the Bokeo Reserve. Erected by conservation group Animo, architecturally astounding treehouses straddle the giant trunks of strangler fig trees and embrace breath-taking views.

One of the best parts of the experience is the journey to your rustic abode.

To reach these treetops eyries you’ll have to trek through the dense jungles that are home to tigers and other exotic mammals, then catch a series of thrilling zip lines strung across the forest canopy, before flying into your night’s accommodation.

Dine on freshly-delivered fare from a nearby campfire by the lights of fireflies and the sound of cicadas.