Look, the Super 8 is always going to be there. Any time you please, you can find someplace normal, with a parking lot and an ice machine, to hang your hat and lay you down on a nice Posturepedic mattress. But if you’re looking for something beyond the ordinary, look no further than AirBnB. This super-popular home rental app has all kinds of high-end options, but also plenty you might classify as strange and exotic.
Here’s our guide to 8 of the niftiest AirBnBs out there. Happy hunting!
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Cost: $228 per night
Apparently, it’s still hip to be square.
In the late 1970s, architect Piet Blom came up with the idea of constructing an urban forest made of off-kilter cube houses held up on concrete bases, with the idea of optimizing the use of space in modern cities. Sadly (I think?) his vision of a human cube jungle never became a reality, but he did build 18 of these novel structures in Helmond and 39 in Rotterdam.
And you can definitely rent out one of these curious houses on AirBnB! It comes with two bedrooms — a master with one double bed and a junior with two singles. The Cubehouse row is located close to restaurants and Rotterdam’s charming markets.
Weaverville, NC, USA
Cost: $79 per night
It’s not quite the van down by the river that Chris Farley used to rave about, but it’s the next best thing.
Kidding aside, this is the cutest little spot to spend a romantic evening out in nature. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a converted bus fit for human habitation. It makes a suitable accommodation for two, with one bed and one bath. Guests love the special touches that went into this little project, which was clearly a labor of love.
Buses aren’t just for taking kids to school anymore!
Where better to keep on keepin’ on than in a literal keep?
La Flocellière is a French castle dating all the way back to the 11th century. One a strategically significant fortress, it was later converted into a stately aristocratic manor. These days, the lady of the house rents it out to guests who dream of walking in the footsteps of long-dead French nobles. You’re invited to dine with the lady, relax in the living room, swim in the heated in-ground pool, and wander the centuries-old gardens of the estate. There are 5 bedrooms to choose from, each with its own personality.
On top of all this, the castle is only 5 miles from the Puy du Fou (Hill of Lunatics), one of the best theme parks in the world.
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Cost: $393 per night
Isla Mujeres is a small island just off the coast of Cancun. It’s the home of the Seashell House, a unique architectural curiosity that’s just about what it sounds like. It’s the perfect place to escape from the noise and crowds of busier areas. Of course, staying in such an unusual house also kind of makes you a center of attention, as passersby will certainly stop to marvel at the unconventional contours of this white hacienda.
The house can accommodate 4 people, with two bedrooms, two and a half baths, a kitchenette, a barbecue, and a pool.
Orondo, WA, USA
Cost: $525 per night
Are you a Tolkien fan? Or just someone who always dreamed of spending a night in a fancy bunker? Either way, you’ll love this real life Hobbit hole in Washington State. You’ll find this cozy nook up a little pathway, dug into the side of a hill in the Columbia River Gorge.
The Hobbit hole is suitable for two guests, as there’s only one bedroom and one bath. There’s a fireplace and central heating, so you can rent the place any time of year. But there are a few provisos that may cause you to think twice.
There’s no kitchen onsite, so this is a little more like camping than staying in a hotel. There’s also no WiFi, air conditioning, TV, or laundry. In the wintertime, you can expect snowfall, so you’ll need a car with four-wheel drive to come and go. Plus the path up the hillside is fairly steep.
But those inconveniences are all worth bearing in my book if you get to play Hobbit!
Cost: $148 per night
If you’re really looking to get away from it all, this unique home in the northeast of Iceland may just be the AirBnB for you. Located on the outskirts of Akureyri, the regional capital, this three-apartment villa affords you a view of the windswept nearby inlet with iron-clad mountains in the distance. In the darkness of Icelandic winters, you’ll have a pristine view of the Northern Lights, while in summer you’ll enjoy nearly round-the-clock sunlight.
Each apartment comes with one bedroom and one bath, plus a kitchenette — although there is no oven onsite. You’re also close enough to Akureyri that you can easily make the trip into town to grab supplies.
7. Casa Arbol
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Price: $167 per night
If you’re looking to explore the flora and fauna of Central America in an eco-friendly way, you can’t do much better than this two-story treehouse for grown-ups on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. Situated within a wildlife area, this is the place to be if you’re an animal lover and a fan of the great outdoors. It’s also ideal if you’re hoping to work on your tan, since Casa Arbol is just a five minute drive from three top-shelf beaches. Here, you’ll be part of a small community of sustainable luxury treetop accommodations.
There’s WiFI, a kitchen, a TV, a shared pool, and a free TV. But you are required to rent a 4×4 in order to book a stay.
Near Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cost: $305 per night
If you’re gonna go Dutch, why not go all the way with it and rent a full-blown windmill?
Dating back to 1874, this lovely building can sleep 6 guests with ease, making it a perfect (and affordable) rental if you’re traveling with the family. You’ll have the whole mill to yourself — three bedrooms (two beds apiece), one bath, and a full kitchen. You can make your stay even more quintessentially Dutch by renting bicycles — just make sure you reserve them ahead of time. And if you run into any problems, the owners live just a few miles down the road.
I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the perfect home base from which to explore Amsterdam and the scenic, low-lying countryside.
This is really just a sampling of the amazing rentals you can find on AirBnB. Have your own amazing find? Please share it with us. As always: happy trails!