Ever wondered what it would be like to wake up in castle, retreat to a monastery or have the run of a whiskey warehouse? Now you can make it a reality!
For a stay less ordinary, check out these five bizarre and beautiful buildings turned hotels – all with rooms at budget prices…
1. Monastery Hostel, Milan, Italy
Don’t worry, when you stay in Milan’s Monastery Hostel you won’t have to take any vows or cloister yourself away, just soak up the peaceful vibe in your air conditioned room with private bathroom and free Wi-Fi.
Join the other “monks” for complimentary breakfast and chill out in the lounge watching the HD big screen TV. Indulge in Italian hot chocolate or grab treats and souvenirs from their in-house mini mart. Use the computer and iPad to check on the “real world” outside your monastic retreat.
Dorm beds from €24pn, private rooms from €90prpn
2. Surf Hostal Backpackers, Pichilemu, Chile
Admittedly, from a distance it looks like a shipwreck, but the Surf Hostal Backpackers is a way-cool place to indulge in your sailor fantasy without leaving dry land!
Top side are three dorm rooms with private lockers and shared facilities and down in the galley the self-service kitchen and cosy lounge are great places to plan adventures with your fellow shipmates. Call the friendly staff when you arrive at the local bus terminal and they’ll come pick you up!
Dorm beds from €13.50prpn
3. Castello di Galeazza, Ferrara, Italy
Become a member of the family at the Castello di Galeazza, a fully-functional castle that invites you join their non-profit Reading Retreats in Rural Italy program.
Once you do, this castle becomes your guest house where you’re welcome to peruse the extensive libraries in this bibliophiles’ dream come true. Frescoed ceilings, even in the guest rooms, add to the stately decor – but the atmosphere is down-home and casual.
Self-catering facilities are available for lunches and snacks, but breakfast and dinner are served family-style. Although there is no obligation, you’re welcome to pitch in feeding the animals, gathering garden produce or helping prepare farm-fresh meals from scratch to really get in the spirit!
Rooms from €50prpn
4. Islay-Port Charlotte Hostel, Islay, Scotland
Leave it to the Scots to turn an old whiskey warehouse into a home away from home! As a guest at the Islay – Port Charlotte Hostel, you’re considered part of the extended family in this picturesque coastal village where you can still hear Gaelic spoken.
With spacious rooms, self-catering facilities, washing machines and hot water always available in the urn for a warm cup o’ tea, the atmosphere radiates the kind of contentment felt when savouring one of the single malt whiskies that once matured in this warehouse.
Dorm beds from €14.38pn, private rooms from €29.96prpn
5. Zhangzhou Wei Qun Lou Inn, Zhangzhou, China
Like stepping into the past, Zhangzhou Wei Qun Lou Inn provides a fascinating glimpse into the bygone days of China in this re-creation of a traditional 19th-century Chinese roundhouse.
Despite the historic atmosphere, you’ll have free Wi-Fi, toiletries and washing machines. The bright blue roofs look from afar like the aprons of Chinese girls, so it is affectionately called the Apron Inn.
Rooms from €7.26prpn
Looking for more ideas for bizarre places to stay? See the world’s top ten weird hotels and hostels
Words: Lela Lake