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Really Roughing It: Five Hotels Built From Unexpected Materials

Ice Hotel

You’ve heard about ice hotels–the one in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden is probably the most famous, re-built every year from 3,300 tons of ice–but what about mud, salt, or mangrove?

Adam Roberts writes in The Economist‘s Intelligent Life magazine about five of the world’s weirdest places to bunk, from the Hotel Djenne Djenno in Mali (like the rest of the town of Djenne, it’s made all out of mud) to the Hotel Palacio de Sal on the Bolivian salt flats, advertised as the “best salt hotel in the world.” (Don’t lick the walls, he says.)

Salt Hotel

But the list of bizarrely built hotels is long and strange. Name a material, and there’s probably a hotel out there that incorporates it. Trees? Check. Opal? Check. Architecture monographs? Check. Why? Maybe it’s so we can get as close to camping as possible without actually pitching a tent–nature seems more palatable when we pay for it. Or maybe it’s because hotels’ experimentation pays off by selling more rooms while the most even the wackiest office tower can hope for is getting featured on a postcard (or painting). Either way, I’m no fan of -8 degree Celsius rooms.WB