10 Of The World’s Most Innovative Hotels

Warning: these photos will make you hate February on the East Coast even more.

While snowbound on the East Coast, we’ve been fantasizing about escaping to less brutal climes. And we’ve found some excellent fuel for these fantasies: Taschen’s 100 Getaways Around the World, a stunning selection of the world’s most innovative hotels and guesthouses. From a glammed-up Swedish treehouse to a camp of sci fi-esque “eco-pods” in Switzerland to a desert resort in Abu Dhabi, this is hospitality at its most inventive. Some of the spots are cozy, affordable bed and breakfasts; others are glitterati favorites and dizzyingly priced. Here, 10 of the 100 getaways:


The Treehotel

Located in Harrads, a village in the north of Sweden, the Treehotel promises to fulfill childhood fantasies of living in the treetops like Tarzan. Six different “treerooms” and a freestanding sauna perch in branches 13 to 20 feet off the ground. The UFO room is, yes, shaped like an alien pod, and the Mirrorcube–literally, a cube with mirrored exteriors–reflects the surrounding natural beauty, which sometimes includes the Aurora Borealis. While many treehouse getaways have cropped up around the world of late, this one is the most design-forward of the bunch: the rooms are eco-friendly, with hydroelectric underfloor heating, and instead of a sewage system, each has an electric-powered combustion toilet that incinerates waste at 1,112 F.

The Whitepod

More than 4,000 feet above sea level in the heart of the Swiss Alps, this cluster of 15 geodesic domes resembles a sci-fi movie set. Covered in white canvas in the snowy winter and green canvas in the summer, these futuristic igloos camouflage into the surrounding mountains. The pods are lit by lanterns and heated by wood-burning stoves. Visiting pod-people pay up to $400 a night in winter.

Casa Zinc, in Punta Del Este, Uruguay

Designer and antiques dealer Arron Hojman originally intended to open a new showroom for his favorite vacation-home pieces, but the space somehow turned into this hotel. His six-room getaway is decorated with odd junkshop finds–apothecary jars, soda bottles, and vintage globes and radios. Most of the hotel’s furniture, too, is recycled: Hojman used reclaimed doors, vintage lightshades, repurposed chairs from an elementary school, and windows salvaged from a defunct train station in Uruguay. With a façade of corrugated zinc, the Casa manages to make an industrial aesthetic charming instead of alienating. And unlike some of the other resorts in this book, this magpie hideaway doesn’t cost an arm and a leg–rooms are about $160.

Golden Rock Inn, Gingerland, Nevis, Caribbean

Created from the buildings of a 19th-century sugar plantation, this dreamy compound was restored and expanded in 2009 by New-York based art stars Brice and Helen Marden. Along with the aptly named landscape architect Raymond Jungles, they painted the doors of its 11 stone cottages with sumptuous reds and oranges and designed sprawling gardens, rock sculptures, and stone footpaths.

The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi

Built in one of the largest uninterrupted sand deserts in the world, this 212-roomed resort seems a quixotic hallucination–in fact, its name translates to “Mirage Place.” Built by 5,000 workers over the course of three years, the resort’s palatial villas feature an amoeba-shaped pool, views of camel crossings, a world-class spa, and gourmet restaurants.

For more dreamy escapes, click the slide show above. 100 Getaways Around the World, edited by Margit J. Mayer, is available from Taschen for $59.99 here.


About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.