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Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland

by Steve Dobson

Sleep somewhere with a story to share - There is more to somewhere to sleep than just a bed for the night. “Unusual Hotels of the UK and Ireland” looks beyond the boring bedrooms of most chain hotels to find hotels, bed and breakfast properties as well as holiday lets that provide value-for-money memories that will last long after the bill has been paid. Selected from the award-winning online guide, this selection of properties offers unusual and unique accommodation choices for all budgets from £25 for singles to suites costing more than £550 a night. Vintage Airstream caravans, a converted Naval gunboat and an Enchanted Manor on the Isle of Wight. Enjoy the view from Watertowers, Windmills, Monuments and Lighthouses. There are peaceful retreats in Tipis and Mongolian Yurts as well as Prisons, Chapels and Churches. A property where you have to be accompanied by a dog. From a Royal Palace in Surrey, to Rock’n’Roll in London. One with a private railway platform in Snowdonia. Castles, Follies and magnificent Monuments, including one dedicated to a Pineapple.
Your travels need never be boring again.
Extracts From The Book
Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Livingstone Safari Lodge Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: The House in the CloudsUnusual Hotels UK & Ireland: The PineappleUnusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Witchery By The CastleUnusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Wicklow Head LighthouseUnusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Crazy Bear Hotel - Beaconsfield
Livingstone Safari Lodge

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Livingstone Safari Lodge Safari lodges viewing zebra and wildebeest on Romney March

The 600 acre Port Lympne Wild Animal Park is world renowned for its endangered species breeding programmes. The park now offers a 100 acre African safari experience, with tented lodge accommodation in the reserve itself, allowing guests to see giraffes and zebras roaming the park as well as the chance of glimpsing the gorillas, leopards and elephants among its 300 animals.

Obviously health and safety restrictions prohibit an exact replica of Serengeti, and your view is of the Kentish coast rather than Kilimanjaro. However, the animals are certainly real enough, as the reserve is home to the largest breeding herd of black rhinos outside Africa, as well as Siberian and Indian tigers, African elephants, Barbary lions and many other rare and endangered species.

The House In The Clouds

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: The House In The Clouds Former water tank, in Merrie England village

The House in the Clouds was originally intended to provide an adequate storage capacity for a basic water supply for Thorpeness village in 1923. Faced with the difficult task of hiding a rather hideous structure, the engineering team brilliantly disguised it as a house, which from miles around seems to be a cottage lodged 70 ft up in the trees. The supporting steel structure was boarded in to provide unique living accommodation, although for many years accommodation did not include the very top of the tower, which housed the 50,000 gallon water tank. In 1977 the use of the tank for storage was discontinued and it passed into private ownership. As benefits a structure that once held near 350 tons of water. The house is very sturdily built. The many tiny windows offer good light and ventilation. Last refurbished in 2002, it provides spacious accommodation for family holidays.
The Pineapple

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: The Pineapple Stunning, elaborate, eccentric summer house

The Pineapple is an elaborate two storey summerhouse, built for the 4th Earl of Dunmore. Though classical and orthodox at ground level, it grows slowly into something entirely vegetable, conventional architraves put out shoots and end as prickly leaves of stone. It is an eccentric work, of undoubted genius, built of very finest masonry. It probable began as a one storey pavilion, dated 1761, and only grew its fruits dome after 1777 when Lord Dunmore was brought back, forcibly, from serving as Governor of Virginia. There sailors would put a pineapple on the gatepost to announce their return home. Lord Dunmore, who was fond of a joke, announced his return more prominently. The Pineapple presides over an immense walled garden. This, in the Scottish tradition, was built some distance from the house to take advantage of the south-facing slope. To house the gardeners, stone bothies were built on either side of the
Witchery By The Castle

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Witchery By The Castle Indulgent and opulent suites in 16th Century property

Acclaimed Restaurateur James Thomson established the Witchery by the Castle in a building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile in 1979. Originally built for an Edinburgh merchant in 1595, it now includes the jewel-like Witchery dining room and a collection of totally indulgent and opulent suites on the floors above and in an adjacent historic building.

Frequently booked months in advanced, suites are in the demand by A-list celebrities. There are seven suites to choose from – Library, Vestry, Inner Sanctum, Old Rectory, Sempill, Guardroom or Armory. All near-theatrical in their furnishing, lavishly decorated and antique-filled with wall to wall decadence, Gothic decor and roll top baths big enough for two!

Wicklow Head Lighthouse

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Wicklow Head Lighthouse 95 foot navigation beacon

The octagonal stone tower known as Wicklow Head Lighthouse was originally one of pair built in 1781 as a distinctive landmark to eliminate the confusion among mariners who wondered if they were at Howth or Hook Head. It is approximately 95 feet high, and still functions as a long established landmark for sailors.

The lighthouse was originally lit by lanterns each containing twenty tallow candles. However, because they were high on the hill and often obscured by fog, the towers were not effective and a new lighthouse was built lower down on Dunbur Head.

Crazy Bear Hotel - Beaconsfield

Unusual Hotels UK & Ireland: Crazy Bear Hotel - Beaconsfield Luxury design at its most dramatic

The oldest documented building in Beaconsfield has been magnificently restored over four years in a made-to-order, without restraint, makeover. Its re-design can only be described as awesome – dramatic architecture, luxurious materials, spectacular lighting and even an underground extension create an elaborate, luxurious property.

Each of the ten individually designed bedrooms uses materials to dramatic effect. Textured leather, suede, oak, porcelain, velvet and lots of gold leaf decorate rooms which are themselves filled with statement furniture and theatrical ornamentation.


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