The Story of the Stay: Amazing Hotels Around the World


Travel, for many, is as much about experiencing the destination as it is about where your home base is. A great hotel can allow you to connect even more to your travel experience, especially if the place you’ll rest your head is authentic and unique.

These are some of the most memorable hotels around the world.

Glass Igloos, Finland

At Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Northern Finland’s resort village of Saariselkä, the glass igloos are world-famous. Imagine this: After a long day of exploring the Lappish wilderness of Finland, you settle into a warm, cozy glass igloo as you gaze up in search of the Northern Lights.

The resort is located near Urho Kekkonen National Park, with a landscape that is pristine and uninterrupted. Few people in the world have seen what you will see when you visit this part of Finland. The resort has a handful of other accommodations, including a sauna, restaurants, and snow-activity equipment rental.

Tented Camp, Morocco

Among no more than sand dunes, the luxurious tented camps at Xaluca, Belle Etoile offer an intimate and authentic travel experience – with a touch of luxury, of course. You’ll take a 4×4 Jeep through the breathtaking Sahara Desert to get to the bivouac, or temporary camp, made up of Berber-style tents.

The tents are fully equipped with a bed, blankets, towels, and decor that perfectly captures the region. The bathrooms, with cold and hot water, are shared in standard rooms. The camp also serves a full breakfast and Moroccan dinners under the desert stars. In the luxe rooms, you can also relax in a comfortable sitting space and walk out of your tent to a carpeted common area. You’ll hear the sounds of authentic music as you share dinner with other luxe travellers.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Set in thatched-roof buildings on the bank of the Chobe River, this relaxed hotel is just outside of Chobe National Park, home to Africa’s most iconic wildlife. The ambiance of this rustic hotel is incredible – its thatched roofs capture the rural area in which it is located, its rooms are decorated with warm colours and modern amenities, and its facilities offer endless relaxation.

From the restaurant’s riverside bar or patio, you can sip cocktails with views of the sun setting over the Chobe River. The outdoor pool is hugged by verdant plants, offering a space of tranquility. Plus, imagine eating breakfast in a lush rainforest garden just outside your room, where you may spot a fish eagle, warthog, mongoose, vervet monkey, or fruit bat.

The hotel also offers game drives to spot the iconic “Big 5” of Chobe: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo. Plus, you can take a boat cruise along the river or embark on a fishing trip nearby.

Vineyard estate, Portugal

Attention wine lovers: In Northern Portugal, you can skip the bottle and sleep right in a wine barrel, in the middle of a vineyard in one of the world’s most famous wine regions.

At Quinta Da Pacheca, a UNESCO World Heritage-designated vineyard, the Wine House Hotel also offers standard rooms in a restored 18th-century house. The wine barrel rooms, separate from the main hotel, have a huge window at one end of the “barrel,” with a small patio that looks into seemingly endless rows of grapevines.

The hotel emphasizes its food and wine experiences. Its restaurant, with panoramic views of the vineyard, serves gourmet cuisine made with local produce. In your spare time, you can taste and buy the vineyard’s wine, take guided tours and cooking classes, and more.

When you travel with a guided tour operator, finding amazing stays in exotic locales becomes a lot easier for you. To enhance your tour experience, ask about accommodation upgrades or tours with unique hotels built in.

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