Maybe you’ve heard of (or have) Star Wars Fatigue—and you’re wary of travel fatigue in your accommodation options. After all, neutral, completely-vanilla-in-every-way rooms abound and sometimes you just want to break the mold and try something newfangled. Look no further than the below 20 delightfully distinctive destinations that you can stay the night at to kick your vacation up a notch on the fun factor.
Stay in a Haunted Hotel
In downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming, you’ll find the beautiful Historic Plains Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, built in 1911. This hotel is full of local Wyoming art, stained glass, and several websites claim paranormal activity at the hotel—including Trip Advisor reviews. Visitors to Cheyenne can embark on a Cheyenne Trolley Ghost Tour to learn more about the Historic Plains Hotel ghost activity and the cowboys and Indians of the wild west. Jill Pope, who has worked for Visit Cheyenne and the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, has written two books on haunted Cheyenne and she leads tours and lectures that include the Historic Plains Hotel. Whether you believe in ghosts or just love hearing folklore, a night at the Historic Plains Hotel will be a night to remember.
Experience the Iconic Teepee Motel
In the '40s, it was all about family road trips and The Teepee Motel, for 40 years, was the place to stay for visitors traveling across Texas on State Highway 60. The interstate came next, forcing The Teepee Motel to close for 15 years before Barbara Woods purchased it out of nostalgia and renovated it to what is today. You can now stay at this kitschy motel, and enjoy a slice of Americana yourself, without traveling too far outside of Houston.
Sleep on a Lavender Farm
If you want to fall in love, spend the night at boutique Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The smell of the 25-acre lavender farm alone is reason enough to book a stay. Kids will love seeing the alpacas, exotic azure peacocks, and guineafowl on this working farm and parents will love exploring the farm shop, full of lavender honey, soaps, and salves.
All of the 1930’s buildings are white stucco, with pitched tin roofs, creating a magical Instagram-worthy atmosphere. Ride bikes along the peaceful roads, dine on exquisite farm-to-fork meals at the onsite restaurant, Campo, and learn about the three generations of the Rembe Family that have owned and cared for Los Poblanos.
Experience the Future of Hotels
One way to surprise your kids is to have them answer the door while a robot stands at attention, waiting for them to collect their bath slippers or extra bottles of shampoo. At Hotel EMC2 in Chicago, Robots are at your beck and call, ready to deliver an extra toothbrush, or whatever you might need. How do the robots get around from floor to floor? The elevator buttons are on the outside of the wall, instead of in the elevator’s interior, which aids the robots in their travel.
In the rooms, you’ll find a gold trumpet-looking device to amplify the sound of your cell phone so you can play your music loud and proud. The art throughout the space is funky and cool—including shifting digital art in all of the hallways. Kids will notice the floor-to-ceiling bookrests, made out of every material you can imagine, housing thousands of titles. Hotel EMC2 is tech-forward and thrilling to experience—there's even a glass-box shower located in the middle of the room!
Go Back in Time
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the late 1800’s? Well, you can actually stay at an old townsite in San Luis Obispo, California. At Old Edna Townsite, you can meet the mayor, Pattea Torrence, and roam free around the historic, flower-filled town. You’ll see a large farm and garden, the Macgregor Vineyard, a creamery, the Blacksmith shop, the Bluebelly Barn, Almas Reading Room and Sextant Wine Tasting Room, among other lovingly restored buildings. Spend the night at the Suite Edna Guest House, a lovely, well-decorated three-bedroom farmhouse, built in 1908.
Underground in a Hobbit House
Lord of the Rings fans will geek out at the opportunity to stay a night in a hobbit house. Called the Underground Camping Pod Rental on Crop Farm for Vacation near Nashville, Tennessee, there are sleeping pods, a kitchen and a dining pod, and communal areas around the eco-farm that will bring so much charm into your natural-forest vacation that you will wonder why you didn’t think about a vacation here before. How many people can say they’ve slept underground?
Overnight at an Elementary School
Have your kids ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night in their school? The Kennedy School, in northeast Portland, will make your kids’ dreams come true. This hotel, with original chalkboards, cloakrooms, and hallways, was once an elementary school, circa 1915! Now, parents can have a beer in the brewery, and everyone can watch a flick in the auditorium or take a dip in the saltwater soaking pool. Nearby is the Alberta Arts District, where you can shop in boutiques, grab some hot chocolate and espresso, and visit the local art galleries.
5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland
Check into the Little Red Caboose
Do you have a little engineer or train fanatic in your brood? Check out the 1926 C&O Caboose 90853, located in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Little kids will love sleeping in a retired C&O railroad train car, with a bedroom, bathroom and original cupola (the perfect spot for kids to sleep). Cave Mountain Lake, the James River, Virginia Safari Park, Natural Bridge Caverns are all nearby. Plus, if you’ve ever wanted to do some hiking on the Appalachian Trail, you’ll have easy access.
The Trendy Trailer
In southern California, you can rent an Airstream, which gives you a homelike feel but in the great wide open. With Luxury Airstream Trailers Anywhere in Southern California, you can set up shop under the stars or travel where the wind blows. Rent a 19, 23 or 25-foot trailer and don’t worry about packing sheets or kitchen supplies—each Airstream is outfitted with everything you’ll need for your adventure. These digs are sleek, retro and Instagram-worthy.
Sleep Where Elvis Slept
Tupelo, Mississippi is home to more than the birthplace of Elvis Presley, it’s also where you can find The Hester House. This historic home was once Elvis’ best friend’s house and Elvis himself has spent the night here. Your family can rent this four-bedroom home and enjoy easy access to The Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail, a walking/biking path that connects downtown to the birthplace of Elvis; the farmers’ market; the Elvis Presley Homecoming Statue, Healthworks! Kids Museum and the Tupelo Community Theatre at the Lyric on Broadway.
The Mirror House
Full of artistic flair, the Unique artist mirrored house in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has mirrors inside and out as well as original art all over the home. Picture: funky furniture, skylights, multiple fish tanks, an enormous record collection, an espresso maker, fixtures you won’t see anywhere else and space to accommodate up to 10. There is a stunning indoor/outdoor space as well as a beautiful garden with water features and lily pads. While the property is listed as family-friendly, it might be best to consider this property only for older children.
A Safari Tent Out West
Maybe sleeping on the hard ground isn’t your thing, but hearing nature and feeling the breeze from outside waft over you while you sleep is your thing. Enter The Resort at Paws Up. Here, under the big blue skies of Montana, you can sleep in a luxury tent. Picture everything that a nice hotel has—nice sheets and pillows, a hot shower, a bedside lamp—within the walls of a canvas tent. You’ll be surrounded by tall lodgepole pines, you’ll soak in an outdoor hot tub and have access to all of the fun activities that the West is known for: fishing, white water rafting, horseback riding, archery, ropes course, etc.
The Resort at Paws Up
40060 Paws Up Rd., Greenough
Sleep in a Treehouse
Why not let the kids be in charge of a giant tree house near the Shawnee National Forest in the Ozarks region of Illinois? Every modern amenity—kitchenette, oven, microwave, fridge, coffee pot—is available, plus some other fun ones—campfire pit, exposed interior trees, multiple decks, access to an 1850’s log cabin that sells supplies and tchotchkes, a pond for fishing and kayak rentals. A big perk: you’re located within five miles of The Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock for future nature-y bliss. An even bigger perk: Fido can come too!
Stay in a Cement Stunner
If dramatic cliff-side Pacific Ocean views are your thing (and how could they not be!), then check out the all-cement modern Kehena Point Cliff House. This Hawaiian two bedroom, two bath house, with modern furniture and high-end appliances, has been featured on HGTV's Off Beat American, Travel Channel and Fabulous Vacation Homes—it’s that stunning. Every morning, you’ll enjoy views of forest canopies and papaya fields before heading out to explore the little Pahoa town or the Volcano National Park.
Got a whole crew in tow? Check out Glamping Hub’s Unique Dome, Caravan, and Tiny House Rental for a group vacation in the Catskill Mountains, located in New York. With accommodations for up to 25 people, all sleeping quarters are spread out over 12 acres. There’s a communal outdoor kitchen, an outdoor shower and bath, fire pit, pizza oven and bathroom available. Kids will love swimming in the pond and adults will enjoy watching from the wood-fired cedar hot tub. The property, perfect for multi-generational families, also has bunnies, sheep, and goats.
Go Rustic in a Hut
Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to stay in a Navajo hut, with an earthen floor and a wood-burning stove? The rustic Native American-owned Traditional Navajo Hut Rental for a Secluded Vacation near Page, Arizona accommodates four family members and has a fully stocked bathroom nearby. An outside fire pit is where you’ll cook your dinner under the moonlight. The best part: you’ll wake up to a traditional Navajo breakfast complete with blue corn porridge, fresh fruit and ranch coffee or tea sourced from the land. Keep a look out for roaming sheep, sheepdogs, and horses before you set off for a visit to the nearby Grand Canyon.
Stay in a Seashell
How many people can say that they’ve stayed in a seashell? The world famous Casa Caracol in Isla Mujeres, Mexico has two beds and two baths, along with a stellar swimming pool and fully stocked kitchen. You’ll get away from the touristy areas of Cancun and enjoy the simplicity of the island. The house, or should I say shell, is an architectural marvel complete with seashell bathroom faucets and decorative embellishments throughout. Bring your mermaid tails and swim around in the pool, pretending to be The Little Mermaid—you’ll be right at home.
Get Cozy in a Log Cabin
Go for a digital detox—yes, leave those iPads and digital devices at home—and spend the weekend in a cabin in the woods, eight miles outside of the nearest small town, Sturgeon Bay. The Sunrise Shores Log Cabin is remote and surrounded by tall trees and plants. You’ll hear nature flooding through the open windows and smell wildflowers while you play a board game on the porch.
Of course, when you’ve had enough, you can wander into town and explore the shops, dining and events. Go for a long bike ride, hike through Whitefish Dunes, sip your way through the Door County Wine Trail, visit the many lighthouses, swim in the cool water, or take the kids fishing—there’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve a screen.
— Wendy Altschuler