Are you adventurous with your choice of where to stay when you book a break away, or do you go straight for something familiar and less risky?
I’ve managed to prise my partner’s finger off the hotels’ book now buttons, and ease him into the world of Airbnb. I’m thrilled to say he has been tempted away from the executive suites, and has fully embraced slightly alternative accommodation offerings, even venturing as far as googling ‘quirky’ or ‘unusual’ places to stay.
Our late-night searches recently led to us spending a night in a beautifully hand-crafted treehouse in Suffolk, before taking on a three-night cruise on the Norfolk Broads. Upcoming trips will include channelling our Romany Gypsy in a traditional caravan, and glamping in a Moroccan-inspired yurt!
He will admit, he’s a convert. Our stays were delightfully different, and marvellously memorable.
The uniqueness of your holiday home adds a little extra je ne sais quoi to your trip, but I think choosing ‘quirk’ offers so much more than that. It becomes more of a personal experience from the outset. Here’s my seven reasons why you should book somewhere a little out of the ordinary.
1. The search is more exciting!
As you scroll through castles and gatehouses, lighthouses and chapels, mansions and millionaires’ apartments, your imagination goes wild! You giggle at the thought of some, and gasp at others. You narrow it down to 20, then ten… then wonder if you made a mistake not shortlisting the little riverside log cabin in the woods, so you go back to your search again. You choose one and check availability. Yes! It’s free! You book, knowing it’s going to be… different.
2. You’re super-hyped when you arrive!
Is it as jaw-dropping as you hoped? The anticipation of seeing your idiosyncratic holiday idyll will have you super-hyped before you step out of the car. My quirky choices have all surpassed my expectations and left me wanting more. It feels like a true journey of discovery, where even the check-in experience can be unusual. Like, “Please pick-up the key from the chicken coup – and help yourself to any eggs.”!
3. Exploring is more fun…
It’s not just the rooms at these unusual properties that can take you by surprise, it’s the furniture and the special little touches that complete the experience. At our recent treehouse stay, we discovered a wardrobe that opened into Narnia, complete with lamppost and lion (I kid you not)! At every twist and turn there were more fabulous features just waiting to be found. A carved owl on the gate-post, a hidden stained-glass panel that glowed into life at the flick of a light-switch, hand-made bathroom tiles painted with local scenes. You feel like a kid again, rummaging through the bookshelves and cupboards and peeking your head around each door to discover the hidden gems beyond.
4. Going to bed is an adventure
Instead of somewhere to simply rest your head, your quirky cottage, caravan or castle makes going to bed, and waking up, an adventure in itself. It may have a skylight, perfect for stargazing, or an extravagant four-poster bed fit for a king. And waking in distinctive surroundings will most definitely fix a smile on your face before dawn has even broken.
5. It feels like it’s all yours!
No matter how personal a hotel tries to make its service, you can’t escape the fact that you’re a number on their database. You’re Room 16, with allocated table number six for breakfast. You walk past 15 doors, each with identical rooms behind them, before arriving at your own.
When you book somewhere out of the ordinary, it’s like stumbling upon booty that’s all yours. You’re no longer on the conveyor belt of travellers passing through, you become a part of this place’s story. It feels perfectly acceptable to live in your own little fantasy world.
6. It’s perfect Instagram material
The pull to post pictures is all-consuming. You can’t help but revel in the eccentricity of your discovery and tell the world that you’ve found something special. You play with the angles and filters and share with the world your nirvana.
7. It’s a great conversation piece
You’ll find yourself recounting the story, time and again, of how you stayed in the most unusual place. And watching people’s faces when you tell them you’ve just stayed in a bomb shelter, or a hobbit house never gets old. Why not rouse a little curiosity in others – perhaps they’ll be tempted to try the atypical too!