5 cool and unusual sleepovers to try in 2019

Anna Brech

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We love a fluffy dressing gown as much as the next hotel hopper, and a miniature gin freebie will never go amiss.

But what really stands the world’s finest hotel stays apart from the rest is a dash of something different.

When we bed down somewhere extraordinary – in terms of its vision, staging or special features – it remains etched in our minds forever more.

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Nothing in the world beats a mind-blowing setting, or evocative detail from a long-lost era, to make your spine tingle with delight.

With that in mind, here’s five of our favourite sleepovers around the globe to tick off your bucket list in 2019. Grab your passport and get set for a night like no other…

A 19th Century prison, Helsinki

Fancy channelling an Orange Is The New Black vibe? We’ve got just the place for you.

Hotel Katajanokka in the Finnish capital Helsinki is a former prison with all the features you might expect from a jailhouse of old.

Guests here are treated to barred windows and original Panopticon stairwells, along with a basement chapel and isolation cell.

But if the 19th Century red-bricked institution seems a little austere from the outside, you don’t have to look far for trimmings.

Large beds, luxe toiletries and a weekend sauna add a boutique twist that would no doubt have hit the spot for the inmates who once wandered the corridors here. 

Head behind bars in Finland

A desert island, the Philippines

If life on the insanely picturesque island of Palawan is a bit too “been there, done that” for you, take off in a private boat instead.

The hidden coves of the Bacuit Archipelago await at your service, presenting a dream-like canvas of limestone karsts and powdery white bays.

Depending where your whims take you, one of these can be your bed for the night, complete with a private chef and beach BBQ.

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Tuck into freshly grilled seafood by the waves before retreating into luxury one-man mesh tents (no mouldy sleeping bags here).

A few nights of sleeping beneath the stars on your secret idyll, and you’ll feel like a whole new person. Robinson Crusoe, eat your heart out.

Bed down on the beach in the Philippines

A lodge made of salt, Bolivia

If you’re the kind of person who worries about your salt intake, put things into perspective at this one-of-a-kind retreat.

Hotel Luna Salada is perched on a plateau by Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt plain, and is made entirely from salt blocks.

Floors, tables, chairs: even the beds are carved out of the grainy stuff, and you’ll feel it crunch beneath your feet as you walk about.

The views across the shimmering flats are quite sensational, and best admired from the vantage point of the hotel hot tub, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the landscape.

Night times are equally wow-worthy, as the remote sky lights up in a dazzling blanket of stars. Grab a glass of fruity red wine, and girdle your appetite for home-cooked Andean cuisine. Need a little seasoning? You won’t have to look far.

Add a salty twist in Bolivia

A jungle longhouse, Borneo

Borneo adventure

Sure, you can trek through the rainforest, but how much better to actual stay there, too.

Nanga Sumpa Lodge in Sarawak lets you get right to the core of Borneo’s lush tropical interior, with a unique “village stay” by the banks of Delok River.

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Sitting by a jungle longhouse, this basic wooden lodge offers a rare glimpse into the Iban people’s way of life, and you really couldn’t get more remote.

Drift off to the chirrups of the nocturnal forest canopy, before heading out to spy orangutans, pygmy elephants and crocodiles on a dawn river safari. Magical.

Cut loose in the rainforest of Borneo

The world’s highest inn, Nepal

High up in the Himalayan peaks – so high possibly only a mythical beast could confidently find their way – lies Yeti Mountain Lodge in Kongde.

Claiming to be the world’s highest hotel at 4,2350 metres, this unique eagle’s nest hideaway is dwarfed by a line-up of the world’s largest mountains.

Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyo, Gyajung Khang and Ama Dablam tower like centaurs around its rim, providing the most spell-binding breakfast view you could ever hope for. 

You’re miles above even the nearest village here, with nothing but the snow-dusted contours of the Khumbu valley stretching out from all angles.

But even with the off-radar setting, this cosy lodge still manages to throw in perks such as homegrown organic veg and a well-stocked bar. You know, the essentials…

Reach for the stars in Nepal

Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock and hotels’ own


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