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Our round-up of the best of the best:

Last updated: 23 February, 2023

Most of the time on holiday, we’re just looking for somewhere to relax after a hard day sightseeing or lounging by the pool. A touch of luxury always helps.

But sometimes, the place you stay could be the reason for a holiday – to experience something special.

You could sleep in a real castle or palace, to experience life from a bygone era of kings, lords and bishops. You could go au-naturelle in a cave, or sleep out under the stars listening to the sounds of the desert, rainforest or African bush.

Here’s our round-up of 60 of the world’s unique and unusual places to stay, that justify a place on any travel bucket list in their own right.

Table of Contents

Abu Camp [star bed]

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Africa’s best (and possibly most expensive) safari camp for seeing elephants has just 6 tents overlooking the Okavanago Delta.

For a really memorable experience, request a night at the ‘Elephant Star Bed’ – a luxury outdoor double room under the stars, from which you can hear the sounds of the bush.

Official star rating:

Amberley Castle [English castle]

Arundel, West Sussex, United Kingdom (UK)

This 900-year-old castle dates back over 900 years, and retains authentic features and interiors: beamed bedrooms, suits of armour in the dining room, gleaming wood panelling and ornate tapestries, all create a feeling of stepping back in time.

Beneath the historic decor lies a smoothly-run 21st-century hotel, with Michelin-esque dining.

Official star rating:

Argos Cave Hotel

Uchisar, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Cappadocia is a fantasy land where the soft rock has weathered into a striking landscape of arches, caverns and eye-popping protuberances. For centuries, locals have carved into the rock for homes, churches, even underground cities – and now hotels.

Argos is once such hotel, offering luxury cave rooms, and arguably the best views in Cappadocia.

Official star rating:

Ashford Castle [Irish castle]

Cong, County Galway, Ireland

Ashford Castle was originally built in 1228 as the stronghold of the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family. Over the centuries, an 18th-century French-style chateau and 350 acres of grounds were added to the estate.

Today, this luxury 5-star countryside retreat offers a castle-themed experience of original medieval features and furnishings, four-poster beds, and falconry displays.

Official star rating:

Beckham Creek Cave Lodge

Parthenon, Arkansas, United States of America (USA)

This extraordinary 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom cave house has been carved into an eye-popping natural cavern in the Ozark mountains, on a private 256-acre estate.

This is the real deal, with rooms, fittings and furnishings complementing exposed, natural craggy rock and the occasional stalactite. Step outside for hiking, canoeing, fishing, and horseback riding.

Official star rating:

Brooks Guesthouse [airstreams]

Bristol, United Kingdom (UK)

This relaxed boutique guesthouse, slap-bang in the heart of Bristol’s buzzy centre, has a secret. Four gleaming Retro Rocket airstream caravans on its grassy roof that you can stay.

Brooks call this ‘urban glamping’ – inside each caravan is a double bed, a seating area and a bathroom. They may not be super roomy, but these vintage beauties have panoramic views over the city.

Official star rating:

Burg Reichenstein [Rhine castle]

Trechtingshausen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

The 67km, UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley is home to 40+ castles, reflecting the importance of the Rhine as a trade route over centuries.

This 1100s Burg has been reconstructed to retain many of its original features. Its 24 guest rooms, while contemporary, are in the heart of the complex.

Official star rating:

Burghotel auf Schonburg [Rhine castle]

Oberwesel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

This 12th-century Rhine castle was the home of the Dukes of Schonburg, who ruled the town of Oberwesel and levied customs on the Rhine’s flourishing trade.

Today’s 27-room hotel has many original features, including four-poster beds; you dine in the ‘Knights Room’ and views from the terrace are fit for royalty.

Official star rating:


Cison di Valmarino, Veneto, Italy

Originally a roman-era defensive fortress dating back to AD 46, the current castle complex is a culmination of centuries of additions by a long history of counts, barons, and lords.

The 50 rooms, in the castle’s heart, feature suitable period styling and furniture, and have views down over the valley and villages.

Official star rating:

Castillo de Grisel [Spanish castle]

Grisel, Aragon, Spain

One of the best-preserved Gothic castles in Aragon, this iconic 11th-century fortress bewitches with its machicolations, crenellated walls (battlements), defensive towers and walkways. Inside, contemporary décor blends seamlessly with original features.

It hosts regular history and cultural events and activities, and groups can book a ‘medieval experience’ or exclusive use. 8 bedrooms, but no restaurant.

Official star rating:

Castillo del Buen Amor [Spanish castle]

Salamanca, Castile and Leon, Spain

This imposing 11th-century fortress, with an enormous moat, has been the home of both Catholic monarchs and powerful bishops; it’s thus featured in centuries of political intrigue and warmongering.

Today, it’s a more tranquil 4-star hotel, beautifully restored to retain even the smallest, original architectural detail. The gardens include a medieval maze and vineyard.

Official star rating:

Chateau de Bagnols [French castle]

Bagnols, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

This 800-year-old chateau-castle was built by a powerful lord Guichard d’Oingt in 1217, complete with high-wall fortifications and moat.

Beautifully-restored, mixing contemporary with historic features, it’s now a luxury hotel offering an authentic taste of wealthy French bourgeoise life; better yet, it’s located in the Beaujolais, surrounded by world-class wine.

Official star rating:

Chateau Eza [French castle]

Eze, Cote d'Azur, France

Charming, authentic and classy, this secluded, 17th-century chateau in Eze (between Monaco and Cap Ferrat) is fit for a prince. Literally, in fact: for years it was the summer residence of Prince William of Sweden.

With unforgettable views over this verdant, fabled sliver of coastline, lapped by turquoise sea, the hotel’s rooms come with four-posters, and ornate, traditional furnishings.

Official star rating:

Chateau Marcay [French chateau]

Marcay, France

This 33-room, 15th-century chateau is a perfect combination of countryside calm and authentic chateau splendour.

The hotel is a true gourmet stop, with a great restaurant, kitchen garden and truffle plantation, alongside its own vineyard (with tours & tastings of course).

Official star rating:

Chewton Glen Hotel [luxury treehouses]

Christchurch Road, New Milton, Hampshire, United Kingdom (UK)

If you’ve always wanted to stay in a treehouse, without comprising on creature comforts, this is the place for you.

One of Britain’s best-loved country house hotels, set amid 130 acres of idyllic English countryside, has luxury treehouse suites with all mod cons. It’s family-friendly too.

Official star rating:

Ciragan Palace [sultan's palace]

Istanbul, Marmara Region, Turkey

Dating back to the 1860s, this was the last palace to be built in Istanbul for the Ottoman royals.

It’s now an opulent five-star hotel and celeb favourite, set on the banks of the Bosphorous, away from the cacophony of central Istanbul.

Official star rating:

Cuevas La Granja [cave house hotel]

Granada, Andalusia, Spain

Granada has a long history of cave communities, notably in the soft-rocked suburb of Sacromonte, formed by those expelled as undesirable by the city: gypsies, Jews and Muslims.

So it’s perhaps not surprising to find this complex of unusual, man-made 18 cave ‘houses’ in nearby Benalua. Each is uniquely design, with a cave-like interior.

Official star rating:

Four Seasons Hotel Florence [Renaissance palazzo]

Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Live life like a Medici at this superb heritage hotel, occupying a beautiful, frescoed Renaissance palazzo.

Set in a majestic 11-acre park just outside Florence’s historic centre, it’s an oasis with typically impeccable Four Seasons facilities and services.

Official star rating:

Four Seasons Lion Palace [Russian imperial palace]

St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia

Step back into the atmosphere of Imperial Russia with a stay at this grand 19th-century palace, just steps away from the State Hermitage, built as a residence for Princess Lobanova-Rostovskaya.

Here, you’ll experience life as a Tsar, with opulent décor, sumptuous interiors, a luxurious spa for maximum pampering, and caviar and champagne served in the classic, wood-panelled lounge.

Official star rating:

Gritti Palace [doge palace]

Venice, Veneto, Italy

The grandest dame of Venice’s classic hotels, the Gritti lords it over the Grand Canal from a superb spot just 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco.

This 15th-century palazzo was once home of Doge Andrea Gritti; expect opulent interiors stuffed with antiques and grand master paintings, glittering Murano glass chandeliers and lots of polished wood and marble.

Official star rating:

Helen’s Castle [stone tower]

Bangor, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom (UK)

Built in 1848, this enchanting 3-storey stone tower rich in local legend, sleeps just 2. Stone walls, spiral staircases, panelled ceilings and single floor octagonal rooms combine to create a homely, castle-esque atmosphere.

Stand on the parapet for spectacular views of the surrounding rolling hills, home to some excellent walks.

Official star rating:

Hever Castle [English castle-manor house]

Edenbridge, Kent, United Kingdom (UK)

This 13th-century castle-come-manor house is best known as the home of Anne Boleyn.

It’s a beautifully-preserved historic gem, with evocative interiors of elaborately-panelled rooms, grandiose four-poster beds and walls bedecked with tapestries and portraits; the exterior features battlements and protective moats outside.

It’s a fascinating museum – and you can stay next door.

Official star rating:

Hidden Canopy Treehouses

Monteverde, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

This intimate little B&B, set in thick jungly forest close to the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest, has rustic bungalows built right into the trees.

The area is rife with exotic life, including hummingbirds, toucans, capuchin monkeys and the occasional slow-moving sloth. The true back-to-nature getaway.

Official star rating:

Hiiragiya [traditional Japanese inn]

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

Ryokans, traditional Japanese ‘inns’, are a deliberately simple affair, designed to be a place to unwind and slowly absorb Japanese culture. After you’ve dined on a sublime 12-course kaiseki-ryori dinner, served by kimono-clad staff, you sleep in tatami-mat guestrooms, all with an air of tranquillity.

Hiiragiya is one of the best – it ticks all the traditional boxes, as well as being close to many of Kyoto’s central attractions.

Best for ages: 18+ | £0 | 1 night

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Overview >

Hotel Burg Liebenstein [Rhine castle]

Kamp-Bornhofen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

This character-filled Rhine castle is one of its most famous, rich in the legend of feuding brothers. A small, family-run hotel now operates in the 13th-century main tower.

Original features predominate – exposed stone walls, low beamed ceilings and a medieval dining room. The restaurant serves up traditional German dishes in the ‘Knights’ Hall’, and there are tranquil valley views from the panorama terrace.

Official star rating:

Hotel Burg Trendelburg [German castle]

TrendelburgTrendelburg, Hessen, Germany

This 13th-century, fairytale-like castle is home to a 38m tower that’s rumoured to have inspired the tale of Rapunzel.

There are 22 hotel rooms integrated within the original medieval structure, with four-poster beds, secret doors and passages, low, beamed ceilings and exposed stone walls creating an authentic castle ambience.

Official star rating:

Iglu-Dorf [igloos]

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

This unique ‘igloo hotel’, on the slopes above Zermatt, not only has front-row seats for views of the mighty Matterhorn, but has specially-built igloo rooms.

All equipment is provided, including thermal mast and expedition sleeping bags. There’s also an igloo restaurant and a (popular) hot tub.

Official star rating:

Kagga Karma Nature Reserve [cave rooms]

Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa

This spectacular nature reserve, three hours from Cape Town, is home to ten unusual (man-made) ‘cave suites’. The suites are integrated into the surrounding topography with cave-like interiors.

Or you can opt for one of their two ‘open-air suites’, situated away from the main lodge for more privacy and utter tranquillity. Guests sleep out under a carpet of stars, and wake to sunrise and uninterrupted views of the bushveld.

Official star rating:

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort [igloos]

Saariselka, Lapland, Finland

The iconic igloo has been used by generations of Inuit for shelter. Air pockets in the ice insulate the inside, which can reach temperatures of 16°C, while outside, temperatures plummet to an icy -40°C.

The brilliant Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers you the chance to sleep in a real one (thermal sleeping blankets and thick furs supplied). Or opt for a luxurious glass-domed ‘igloo’ instead.

Official star rating:

Kasbah Bab Ourika [Moroccan fortress]

Ourika Valley , Marrakech-Safi, Morocco

This countryside castle, ‘Moroccan-style’, offers an authentic get-away-from-it-all hotel stay surrounded by vistas of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, just 40 minutes from Marrakech.

Sited in the beautiful Ourika Valley, it was built by local Berber artisans. The shabby-chic interiors feature traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, Berber rugs and exotic furnishings from Marrakech’s souks.

Official star rating:

Kasbah Tamadot [Moroccan fortress]

Asni, Marrakech-Safi, Morocco

A historic Moroccan kasbah (fortress or castle), owned by Richard Branson, is an extravagant sumptuous and palatial retreat.

Expect sprawling gardens, grand staircases, opulent tented suites with antiques, a colossal infinity pool, and plenty of turrets, terraces and domes. Food and drink are top-notch and served on enchanting dining terraces with stupendous views of the surrounding mountains and local Berber villages.

Official star rating:

Kemi Snow Castle

Kemi, Lapland, Finland

Built each winter, this icy architectural showcase has become one of Lapland’s biggest draws. Designed by a different architect each year, it always includes the castle, a restaurant, wedding chapel and the infamous ‘Snow Hotel’.

The castle contains bedrooms for guests to stay over in; beds made from of ice and room temperatures a chilly 0°C to -5°C. Thick furs and sleeping bags are provided, but one night is usually enough.

Best for ages: 13+ | £350

Kilmartin Castle [Scottish castle]

Lochgilphead, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

A quirky 16th-century castle, complete with spiral staircases and stone-vaulted ceilings, converted into a bijou, 5-room B&B.

It’s located in in history-steeped Kilmartin Glen, on the wild and unspoiled west coast of Scotland.

Official star rating:

Kingswear Castle [artillery fort]

Dartmouth, Devon, United Kingdom (UK)

This bewitching artillery fort, built 1502, a now a 2-room historic hideaway with lovely views across the estuary to Dartmouth Castle.

Interiors are contemporary, with all the home comforts you’d expect, but sufficient original features remain – from thick stone walls, low, beamed ceilings and passageways to bedrooms, to evoke the sense of history.

Official star rating:

Langley Castle [English medieval castle]

Hexham, Northumberland, United Kingdom (UK)

Built in 1350, this is one of the few medieval-fortified castle hotels in England, and previously home to lords, ladies, viscounts and earls.

Now a luxury 4-star hotel, it’s been carefully and beautifully restored, retaining every original feature – exposed stone walls, tapestries on the walls, oversized fireplaces and four-poster beds.

Official star rating:

Lapa Palace [viscount's palace]

Lisbon, Portugal

History blends with romance at this gorgeous, 19th-century Viscount’s palace – now a sumptuous 5-star hotel – set in sub-tropical gardens just outside Lisbon.

Thoughtfully renovated to retain the palace’s original style, it combines original Portuguese 19th-century style with art deco, colonial and native Pombaline styles.

Official star rating:

Les Hautes Roches [troglodyte hotel]

Rochecorbon, Centre-Val de Loire, France

The Loire Valley was, for centuries, famously home to ‘troglodytes’, local residents who lived in caves dug into the soft bedrock. Today, you’ll still find troglodyte homes, restaurants, zoos – and hotels.

This cosy four-star is one of the best, with calming, luxurious ‘troglodyte’ rooms carved into the neighbouring cliff.

Official star rating:

Longitude 131 [tented desert camp]

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

As luxury tents go, they don’t come better than this – 15 luxury tents with uninterrupted views of Uluru (Ayers Rock). There’s nowhere else in the world like it.

Each tent pod is equipped with a lounge, bedroom, bathroom and private balcony, and there’s a luxury spa. It’s the ultimate secluded, low-impact ecolodge and thanks to its isolation, the stargazing is incredible.

Official star rating:

Neemrana Fort-Palace [indian palace]

Alwar, Rajasthan, India

Originally built in the 1460s, this wonderfully restored and enhanced fort-palace hotel captures all of the romance of regal Rajasthan.

Built into the Aravalli Hills outside of Delhi, with views and sunsets galore, it’s a sublime confection of medieval fortress and fairy-tale palace.

Official star rating:

Palais Faraj [Moroccan nobleman's palace]

Fes, Fes-Meknes, Morocco

Built in the early 20th century, this glorious bourgeoisie palace is a cultural, historic and architectural gem.

Decorated throughout in traditional Moorish style with zelliges (mosaics), zouaks (paintings on wood) and stuccos, it’s a showcase of Morocco’s famed artisan craftsmanship. Berber carpets and old photos of Fez’s medina evoke an atmosphere of authentic Arab-Andalusian tradition.

Official star rating:

Parador de Alarcon [Spanish castle]

Cuenca, Castilla–La Mancha, Spain

This 5-towered, hill-top former Arab fortress overlooks an idyllic river valley in Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region.

Inside the imposing walls, 14 atmospheric bedrooms feature modern comforts blended in with exposed stone walls and original features.

Authentic local Cuenca cuisine is served in the castle dining hall, as it would have been 13 centuries ago.

Official star rating:

Parador de Cardona [Spanish castle]

Cardona, Catalonia, Spain

This imposing, 9th-century medieval fortress – a forbidding complex of moats, towers and walls – commands views over the Cardoner river valley from atop a hill above the town.

Now a 4-star hotel, the interiors are a mix of original and contemporary, atmospheric and bland; the Catalan cuisine is decent, the terrace lovely, and it’s only 1.5hrs from Barcelona.

Official star rating:

Parador de Siguenza [Spanish castle]

Siguenza, Castilla–La Mancha, Spain

This 5th-century Moorish castle was conquered and converted to a bishop’s palace in the 12th century; it opened as a 4-star hotel in 1964, 700 years later.

The interior features a wealth of authenticity: suits of armour, giant banners and chandeliers, rooms with four-poster beds, and an impressively long, stone-vaulted dining room.

Official star rating:

Parador de Zafra [Spanish castle]

Zafra, Extremadura, Spain

This majestic castle was originally built in 1437 for the Duke of Feria, in the pretty town of Zafra.

The exterior features imposingly high, crenellated walls of stone, defensive towers and walkways. Interiors blend luxury finishes with original features.

Official star rating:

Perivolas [cave hotel]

Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece

Before it became a romance Mecca, Santorini’s residents carved homes into the rock faces, creating a unique style of traditional architecture. ‘Cave’ houses offered insulation in winter and cooling in the heat of summer.

Nowadays, luxury hotels, like Perivolas, have employed the same techniques to create uber-romantic suites, some with private jacuzzis, all with dazzling caldera views.

Official star rating:

Pousada Palacio de Estoi [viscount's palace]

Faro, Algarve, Portugal

This Neoclassical / Art Nouveau beauty – known as the Algarve’s Pink Palace – was built in the 1840s by the Viscount of Estoi.

Now a luxury 5-star hotel, with all mod-cons, it’s famed for its pink rococo facade, Versailles-style gardens and an elaborate rococo-style interior of frescoes, panelling, ornate stucco ceilings, and gilded furniture.

Official star rating:

Queen Elizabeth 2 [former royal cruise liner]

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The original QE2 cruise liner is spending her retirement in a port in Dubai, where she has been transformed now into a luxury hotel. Her 215 rooms, spread over 13 decks, harken back to her life on the open seas, with interiors that still have a touch of the 1980s, original art pieces, quirky details and carpets from her heyday.

Guests can also join one of the excellent heritage tours, led by a former Cruise Director, who’ll regale you with stories from his time onboard.

Official star rating:

Roch Castle [Welsh castle]

Haverfordwest, Wales, United Kingdom (UK)

Built in the late 12th century, to fortify the Welsh border, this small, 6-bedroom castle features your classic thick stone walls, arched windows, stone staircases leading to single-storey tower rooms.

Interiors are contemporary, so ideal for those who are willing to compromise on authenticity for their home comforts. Also available for exclusive hire.

Official star rating:

Exterior view of the whole palace from the front

Schonbrunn Palace [Austrian Imperial Palace]

Vienna, Austria

The Baroque Schonbrunn Palace – Vienna’s top attraction – was for centuries the summer home of the Habsburgs. And you can check in.

The 2-bed ‘Schloss Schonbrunn Grand Suite’, set within the complex, offers a uniquely authentic taste of the life of the imperial family that ruled Austria from 1282 until 1918 .

Best for ages: 13+ | £21

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Overview >

Silky Oaks Lodge [luxury rainforest treehouses]

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Surrounded by 80 acres of wildlife-filled rainforest, this well-established eco-lodge with rainforest-themed spa treatments is the epitome of wilderness chic.

Opt for a stay in one of their varying-sized luxury treehouses. Built into the rainforest trees, they offer the chance to experience life in a real rainforest canopy.

Official star rating:

Skylodge Adventure Suites [mountain capsules]

Ollantaytambo, Cusco Region, Peru

A room with view? They don’t get better or scarier than these glass-walled pods pinned to the side of a sheer cliff-face above the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Stays are not for the faint of heart. Arrival is by a breathy mountain climb followed by a harness ride to the pod itself (wearing a hard hat and gloves). Guests return to earth via zipline.

Official star rating:

Tainaron Blue Tower [fortified tower]

Vathia, Peloponnese, Greece

This dreamy 19th-century fortification has been beautifully restored into an exquisite 3-room micro-hotel.

Stone walls, low ceilings, stone staircases and tower rooms, giving that authentic castle flavour, complement luxury mod-cons and spellbinding, unobstructed sea and mountain views. An intimate restaurant serves superb Greek specialities using locally-sourced ingredients.

Official star rating:

Taj Lake Palace [maharana palace]

Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Built by the Maharana of Mewar in 1746, and the home of Octopussy‘s all-female cult, this achingly-beautiful lake palace is now a 5-star, 83 room hotel.

White marble walls hide an evocative world of interiors bedecked in semi-precious stones, peacock- and fountain- filled gardens, royal butlers and romantic sunsets.

Best for ages: 18+ | £700

The Enchanted Cave

Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Set into hills, surrounded by acres of wild bushland, you’ll find this one-bedroom, self-contained cave, cleverly carved into the natural contours of the local rock.

There’s a modern kitchenette, fireplace and views out onto a forested valley. A true wild cave sleep experience, without sacrificing on home comforts.

Official star rating:

The Rockhouse Retreat [woodland cave house]

Kidderminster, Worcestershire, United Kingdom (UK)

This unique retreat hidden within 3 acres of woodland, took thousands of man-hours to sculpt, and required the excavation of over seventy tonnes of rock.

A site occupied for nearly 800 years, today it’s a one-bed, self-contained accommodation and an uber-romantic, get-back-to-nature getaway for couples.

Official star rating:

Thornbury Castle [Tudor castle]

Thornbury, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom (UK)

This 1511 Tudor castle, turned luxury hotel, hosted King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn on their honeymoon. It was the home of Queen (then princess) Mary I.

It’s everything you expect from a castle: Tudor-style interiors, large open fireplaces, panelled rooms with four-posters, archery and falconry in the grounds.

Official star rating:

Tree Hotel [treehouses]

Harads, Norrbotten County, Sweden

This brilliantly wacky treehouse hotel offers you the chance to sleep in a UFO, a bird’s nest, a biodome and a mirrored cube.

The 8 unique treehouse rooms are suspended 4-6m above ground in pine tree forest, accessed by step ladders. It’s the ultimate ‘nature getaway’, and you may see the Northern Lights.

Official star rating:

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park [swag bags]

Northern Territory, Australia

Most come here to see the jaw-dropping geological formation ‘Uluru’ – a.k.a. ‘Ayers Rock’ – but this exceptional spot is also the place to come for the authentic Australian outback experience.

Aside from dot painting, playing a didgeridoo or nibbling on witchetty grubs, many tours offer the chance to sleep in a traditional ‘swag bag’ – under a sky shining with a billion stars. All very Crocodile Dundee.

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Witchery by the Castle [Medieval eccentricity]

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

This wildly flamboyant restaurant with rooms, hunkered beneath Edinburgh Castle, is truly unlike anywhere else.

The nine theatrical suites, hidden in turrets accessed by steep spiral staircases, accessed through a warren of medieval buildings, feature everything from four-poster beds draped with opulent red and gold damasks, gilt-framed oil paintings and the odd suit of armour.

Official star rating:

Wolwedans Dune Camp [desert star beds]

NamibRand Nature Reserve, Erongo Region, Namibia

This enigmatic, pioneering lodge, set amid the sands of southern Africa’s largest private reserve, balances 5-star luxury with desert escapism.

There are 6 tented rooms, each with a private deck that allows you to move the bed outside and sleep out under the stars, listening to the whispering sounds of the desert.

Official star rating: