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The Hotel Hit List
If the Mayans were right about the apocalypse happening in 2012, then we would only have a less than a month left on earth, which means there's no time like the present to seize the day and do the things you've always wanted to!
Hotels.com invites you to do just that with its hotel hit list – ten hotels that promise to really make a difference to your vacation just in time for your annual year-end travels.
Dine with the sharks without getting wet in the Maldives, sleep in a hotel made entirely of ice or live like a Mughal Emperor in India. Whatever your preferences are, there’s sure to be a hotel here that you’ll want to experience at least once in your lifetime.
1. Akköy Evleri Cave Hotel, Turkey
Rooms start from S$111* a night on Hotels.com
History buffs can harken all the way back to biblical times at the Akköy Evleri Cave Hotel, located in the ancient mountain village of Akköy in Cappadocia, Turkey. Stone houses are carved into volcanic rock formations, giving travellers a taste of how it feels to literally live inside a cave.
Things to do nearby: Besides being a haven for history lovers, Cappadocia is also a region of natural wonders. Explore the surrounding Byzantine caves, take a jaunt through the myriad underground cities from ancient times, or simply take in the breath-taking scenery from the top of the mountains.
2. Icehotel, Sweden
Rooms start from S$288* a night on Hotels.com
Vying for the title of Coolest Hotel is Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, the world’s first hotel made entirely of ice and snow. Full hotel amenities are available in this art project that is rebuilt from scratch every winter, ensuring a different hotel experience each year. The whole hotel is kept at a chilly minus eight centigrade, and all the furniture is made of ice – yes, even the beds. The hotel provides warm clothing and sleeping bags for guests, but warm accommodation is available in nearby town Kiruna should you wish for more toasty surroundings.
Things to do nearby: Despite sub-zero temperatures,there is no shortage of activities to partake in at and around Icehotel. With dog sledding, river rafting, the Torne River and the Lapland wildlife to distract you from the freezing cold, outdoor junkies and nature lovers alike will be hard-pressed not to leave Jukkasjarvi with an unforgettable experience.
3. Crazy Bear, United Kingdom
Rooms available on Hotels.com
If a life of excess is something you’ve always wanted to experience, then spoil yourself silly at the Crazy Bear. Opulence comes to life in Crazy Bear’s uniquely flamboyant rooms, with Persian rugs, pewter seating, jade-marble flooring and crushed velvet curtains adorning its rooms for a truly glamorous atmosphere. Add an infinity pool and a steaming-hot Jacuzzi to the mix and you’ve got yourself one sexy vacation before potentially throwing in the towel.
Things to do nearby: This excessively luxurious hotel is ironically situated right smack in the middle of ultra-conservative Beaconsfield. Regional attractions include Windsor Castle for history and architecture lovers, and Legoland for those young at heart.
4. Taj Lake Palace, India
Rooms start from S$580* a night on Hotels.com
Get your love on in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India at this former royal palace that has been voted the country’s most romantic hotel. Built in the 18th century, this hotel boasts floors inlaid with marble and walls decorated with arabesques in the same style as the famed Taj Mahal for a truly luxurious stay. A private boat from the City Palace transports guests to the hotel, where they wake up to pure tranquillity and breath-taking views of the Aravallis, the oldest fold mountains in the world.
Things to do nearby: Itchy-footed guests not content with being waited on hand and foot at the Lake Palace can either explore the three other islands on Lake Pichola, or immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry that is India on the main city of Udaipur. Admire ancient Indian architecture at the Udaipur City Palace rising 244 metres above the lake, go horseback riding in the middle of the Aravalli Mountains or take an excursion to the myriad temples on the outskirts of the city.
5. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
Rooms start from S$1,311* a night on Hotels.com
Bring new meaning to beach holidays and literally dine with the sharks at Ithaa, the world’s first undersea restaurant located five metres below sea level in the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Accessible from the mainland only via seaplane, the hotel also offers spa treatments in glass-floored rooms situated above the lagoon’s coral reef, giving guests a spectacular view of the rich marine life below. Now this is true island life!
Things to do nearby: Besides lounging on the miles of white-sand available on the two private beaches this resort spans, guests are spoilt for choice for activities. Go catamaran sailing, windsurfing and canoeing over clear, cyan-coloured waters or dive right in and frolic with the manta rays. Excursions and trips to local fishing villages and shops are also available for booking at the resort.
6. The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary, Australia
Rooms start from S$412* a night on Hotels.com
If the books you read as a child made you long to live in an actual tree house, look no further – for The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland offers you just the opportunity to relive your childhood. Perched high in the rainforest canopy in the Cairns Highlands, this eco-friendly resort blends privacy and luxury for absolute comfort in the wilderness. Each treehouse is made from timber and glass and comes with full amenities including a kitchen, spa bath and balcony complete with rolling green countryside views.
Things to do nearby: The resort is located a scenic90-minute away from Cairns, and is surrounded by stunning waterfalls, crystal clear lakes and majestic trees and walking trails. Guests can sample the local produce and wines at the nearby restaurants and old world teahouses, indulge themselves with a full array of rainforest massages and treatments, or go on excursions to admire the surrounding wildlife.
7. Jumbo Stay, Sweden
Rooms start from S$74* on Hotels.com
If you’ve always wanted to know what it was like to be in the cockpit, now’s your chance with Jumbo Stay in Stockholm-Arlanda, Sweden, the first jumbo jet hotel in the world. Converted from a real 1976 Boeing-747 aeroplane, Jumbo Stay offers guests all amenities you’d expect to find in a hotel, and even a conference room in the first-class cabin for business travellers. All the original controls have been kept to preserve the authentic aviation experience, and with the plane sitting on a disused runway in Stockholm, this would be a dream come true for aviation enthusiasts.
Things to do nearby: Located on a runway in Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, the Jumbo Stay is already a destination in itself. Travellers who wish to venture out can also take the rail or bus to Stockholm, the capital and hub of all things Swedish. Check out any one of the city’s 70 museums for some culture immersion, admire the city’s cutting-edge architecture or simply sit in a café and people-watch in this intriguing city of old and new.
8. Quinta Real Zacatecas, Mexico
Rooms start from S$147* a night on Hotels.com
One of the world’s most unusual hotels, the Quinta Real Zacatecas makes it into our list for being built into the grandstand of a former bullfighting ring. Not only does this location have a history that goes way back into the 1800s, it is also Mexico’s oldest bullring. Paved with cobblestones and landscaped with abundant greens to reflect the grandeur of the city, the luxurious 49-room property is one of the most charming and romantic corners of the city of Zacatecas and would make a great place to have one last vacation.
Things to do nearby: The Quinta Real and its surroundings are a must-see for travellers who have a taste for stunning architectures and historical landmarks. Located alongside a 16th century watercourse, the hotel is just 10 minutes away from the centre of Zacatecas, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage colonial city in central Mexico. Quinta Real is also situated just three blocks away from the famous Francisco Goitia Museum, the three-storey shopping haven at Mercado Gonzalez Ortega, and theZacatecas Cathedral, which is renowned for being the ultimate expression ofMexican baroque.
9. The Marmara Antalya, Turkey
Rooms start from S$80* a night on Hotels.com
Bringing new meaning to “room with a view” is The Marmara Antalya on the Southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the first and only fully rotating hotel in the world. The building is designed to gently and constantly rotate a full 360 degrees, by being floated in a special pool system. Guests are treated to a constantly changing panorama of mountains, the Mediterranean sea and the resort grounds.
Things to do nearby: Immerse yourself in history at the Hadrian Gate, a triumphal arc built in the name of Emperor Hadrian who visited Antalya in the year 130, admire the tenacity of the Kesik Minaret, the only surviving part of a temple turned mosque turned church from the 2nd century, or simply unwind and work on your tan at the hotel’s private beach – there’s something for every traveller here at Antalya.
10. Imperial Boat House Beach Resort, Thailand
Rooms start from S$94* a night on Hotels.com
Teakwood rice barges that were used in the past on the Chao Phraya River have been converted into suites at this unique resort in Koh Samui, perfect for travellers hankering for a different experience in a destination brimming with resorts. Guests will get a taste of the nautical life with suites designed to look like boats, moored in the gardens by the sea. Each suite is equipped with full hotel amenities, ensuring that you will lack nothing but still get to experience a slice of history.
Things to do nearby: The pristine shores of nearby Choeng Mon Beach allows for a truly relaxing vacation for travellers who want nothing more than to lie on the beach and read a good book, but water sportoptions also abound for those who want to get active. Go swimming in the protected bay, rent a jet ski, or try windsurfing, then wind down the day with some grilled buttered corn or grilled chicken from the street food vendors on the beach.
*Prices stated are accurate as of December 2012.
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