Holiday Talking Points: Our Top Ten Most Unusual Features
"How was your break?"
What do you say when you're asked that question? The usual responses tend to go along the lines of it being great, thanks. Maybe you'll throw in some local sightseeing you did, or mention a lovely pub you went to for Sunday lunch.
But just for a change, what if you could answer endlessly (and excitedly!) about a treehouse with its very own bat monitoring station, a converted church with a hot tub and a garden zipwire, or an underground desert cave hotel, complete with shopping mall?
As always, we're here to help pep up those post-holiday conversations - as well as ensure you have a memorable time, of course! So here's our selection of quirky properties, each one boasting a stand-out unusual feature.
Whichever you choose, it's sure to keep everybody talking long after you've returned home.
Main image: Bunkhouse Chapel
Rufus's Roost, North Yorkshire Moors
Unusual Feature: Bat Monitoring Station
Secluded on a relaxed, family-run farm campsite, Rufus's Roost is a childhood-fantasy, double-turreted treehouse that promises five-star comfort and luxury.
(You get to arrive by walking across a raised boardwalk, through the heart of the forest. How great an entrance is that?)
With soothing views of the North Yorkshire Moors, a log-fired stargazing hot tub, and a TV-and-games den that's accessed by a fun slide, this is no ordinary treehouse. But it's the internal bat monitoring station that'll grab your attention - complete with binoculars, and a dedicated ‘Beast, Birds and Bugs' log for you to record all those amazing wildlife sightings in.
Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy (Australia)
Unusual Feature: Underground Shops!
Discovered in one of the country's hottest climates, Australia's desert town of Coober Pedy has played a starring role in many a Hollywood movie.
The town's natural sandstone landscape is seriously incredible. But don't worry, you won't have to suffer those stifling temperatures once you've viewed it. The unique, award-winning Desert Cave Hotel features cool overground and underground suites, not to mention the world's only underground bar and gaming room.
Oh, and you can shop til' you drop in the hotel's underground mall, too! In fact, why not treat yourself to some stunning opal jewellery? You deserve it.
Le Monteil Revolution, Central France
Unusual Feature: Your Own Chicken Coop and Eggs
A delightful slice of rural French paradise, Le Monteil Revolution was specifically created for you to roam freely, breathe easy, and think clearly. What bliss!
Stay in one of two off-grid geodesic domes (don't worry, you'll have your own private bathroom), and once you've unpacked, bask in the soothing country views from your very own Japanese hot spring-inspired tub.
This is a place where the animals can roam as freely as you, so you can expect to meet affectionate cats, playful dogs, pigs, and friendly miniature donkeys during your stay. Not forgetting your very own coop of cared-for chickens, where you can collect delicious eggs every morning.
Dragon's Eye, West Wales
Unusual Feature: Rotating Bed
The winner of Channel 4's ‘Cabins in the Wild' TV series, this amazing pod-for-two actually resembles a wide, glinting dragon's eye, looking out over the lush Welsh landscape from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Inside, you'll find a crackling wood-burner (the only dragon fire you'll have to worry about!) and a goodie-stuffed welcome pack. Meanwhile, the elevated patio is ideal for sunset-watching over a glass or two of bubbles.
But it's the round, rotating bed that'll steal your hearts. Perfectly positioned for you to enjoy those soothing lakeside views from every direction, night and day, there's simply no better excuse for long, lazy holiday lie-ins.
Balancing Barn, Suffolk
Unusual Feature: (Where Do We Begin?)
It's probably easier to list all the features that aren't unusual about this breathtaking, utterly original, Dutch architect-created holiday home.
Clad in awe-inspiring reflective steel tiles, the thirty-metre-long home is ‘balanced' over the Suffolk landscape, set on the edge of a nature reserve for the most remarkable views.
Inside, you can expect unusual delights that include glass floors, and canvases and carpets based on paintings by John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough (both of whom painted in Suffolk).
Outside, you'll have six private acres of garden to enjoy...plus a swing suspended from underneath the house, which kids both big and little will find hard to resist!
Bunkhouse Chapel, Wales
Unusual Feature: Indoor Slide
Gorgeously positioned beside the River Wye, close to the Brecon Beacons, Bunkhouse Chapel is the ideal setting to reconnect with a group of your favourite people, with its cool, quirky ‘sleepover' feel.
For starters, there's a 12-bunk communal sleeping area that's primed for late-night conversation peppered with plenty of giggles!
While you're awake, you can enjoy the many contemporary flourishes you'll find in this grand, high-ceilinged building. Challenge your loved ones to a game in the private table-tennis area, or give your feet a rest by using the slide, instead of boring old stairs.
St. Curig's Church, Snowdon
Unusual Feature: Garden Zipwire
A divine conversion of a 19th century church, you can revel in the magnificent backdrop of the Snowdonia mountains outside, whilst enjoying a whole host of original features inside.
For example, how about sleeping beneath an exquisitely carved stone pulpit, or taking a bottle of fizz out to the hot tub? If you prefer something more energetic, there's always the option of a game of table tennis...played beneath a spectacular 19th century mosaic ceiling.
But it's the garden zipwire we love the most, complete with views of the Snowdon Horseshoe. If you can catch it whizzing past, that is!
Villa Gold, Sicily
Unusual Feature: ‘Golden Egg' Lounge
Futuristic in style, and perched on a hill, Villa Gold is a bucket list-worthy Sicilian dream home, featuring spectacular panoramic views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Created from cooling aluminium, and with a private swimming pool waiting for you outside, it's hardly surprising that Villa Gold has been featured in renowned global magazines.
Surrounded by polished wooden flooring, you can relax with a drink inside a gleaming ‘golden egg' lounge feature...that just has to be experienced once in every lifetime.
El Ray, Dungeness
Unusual Feature: Railway Carriage Kitchen
Glass-fronted, and stunningly set along the Dungeness shingle-scape, El Ray is the ideal escape from hectic daily life.
Not only is the breathtaking Kent headland designated a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation, the glorious sea views make this a naturally soothing place to visit.
Enjoy amazing views from every room, with toasty underfloor heating for ridiculously cosy evenings in. And for an added touch of quirkiness, you'll find that the kitchen has been expertly created from an original 19th century railway carriage.
(You read that right!)
Hobbit Hideaway, Moray
Unusual Feature: Roof Dome and Sky Watcher Telescope
Combining the ‘wow-factor' elements of an architect-designed masterpiece with the breathable beauty of nature, Hobbit Hideaway has been naturally crafted from locally-sourced, renewable and recycled materials.
You can expect amazing scenery from your prime position at the foot of Moray's glorious Ben Rinnes, while inside you can take advantage of comforts including the hand-built ‘snuggle seat', set by a gorgeous wood-burning stove.
Meanwhile, the spectacular roof dome has been custom-built to let natural light flood inside, whether from the sun, moon or stars. With this area of Scotland so well-known for its magnificent dark skies, the Sky Watcher telescope is sure to capture many sparkling, starry delights during your stay.
We hope you've enjoyed perusing all these unusual features - which one was your favourite?
If you're in need of even more inspiration, grab a cuppa and browse our Host Unusual categories, for quirky hand-picked stays that are completely out of the ordinary!