The Royal Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva is by far the most expensive hotel room in the world, with a single night in its 12 bedroom suite clocking in at $83,200. Back in the 90s there was only a small number of five figure hotel rooms, but as a result of an explosion in the number of millionaires this niche market has sprung up in almost every corner of the world. However, if you’re part of the demographic who haven’t just sold their tech startup for several billion, and can’t afford a single night at almost twice the average American salary, never fear – we’ve put together a list which looks at a slightly broader range of hotels.
Though there are number of ultra luxurious rooms on this list, you’ll see that some of the world’s most interesting, innovative, and futuristic hotels fall into the more affordable price bracket; and anyway, almost all of the most expensive generic hotel experiences are indistinguishable from one another. In our list of incredible, odd and futuristic hotels, rooms made out of sewage pipes, blocks of ice, and shipping containers stand alongside hotel rooms which come with their own butler or personal underwater train.
1. Ice Hotel, Sweden
In 1990 a French artist named Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a building made of ice near the village of Jukkasjärvi in Sweden. When some of his visitors found that every room in the local area was booked they asked permission to stay in the igloo, and in doing so became the first people to stay in an Ice Hotel. For the past 25 years the hotel has accepted artists’ design applications and set about building the winning structure from the snow and ice from the nearby Torne River, using artistry and technology to make this winter wonderland fantasy a reality.
9. Dawang Mountain Resort, China
The Chinese are often known for thinking big and moving fast. At times corruption and safety can be problematic but by sidestepping red tape, projects can move from conception to completion in a matter of years. The forthcoming Dawang Mountain Resort Deep Pit Ice and Snow World could well be one such undertaking
The whole setup has been designed by Austrian architecture firm Coophimmelb(l)au, and is planned to stretch over a cliff face, linking two sides of an abandoned quarry to create a space which includes an indoor ski slope and water park.
8. The Hilton Rangali Island Resort, Maldives
The room pictured above lies 16 feet beneath the surface of the Maldives, under a semi circle of glass that affords the diners a panoramic view of the sea-life. For VIP clients this room is cleared of tables and used as a double bedroom. Guests suffering from claustrophobia or aquaphobia should steer clear, but almost anyone else will be hypnotised by the view afforded by this marvel of engineering. It is currently only possible to book the room for one night in a row, but it does include one of the best breakfasts in beds anyone could hope for.
7. “Sleeping Around” Shipping Container Hotel, Antwerp
Futuristic doesn’t have to mean skyscrapers and underwater chambers – it can be as simple as a hotel which makes innovative use of the materials that surround us. These unique pop-up rooms contain a double bed, rain water shower, air conditioning, and iPod dock, all built into a disused 20ft shipping container. Containers of this kind are moved by boat from China to the west’s ports and, as it is often not efficient to return them, these metal boxes are commonplace in cities such as Antwerp.
6. POD Hotel, Singapore
The problem with the more luxury hotels on this list is simple: they cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately the designers of the POD hotel in Singapore have made an effort to fight back against this and provide (fairly) reasonably priced city centre accommodation that doesn’t compromise on design.
Bedrooms start at around $53, which is very cheap for the city, and range from small singles to queens. Each room consists of a high-design POD, which includes a bed, fold out table, reading light, and locker. Beautifully constructed bunk beds for grown-ups, if you will, although they do look a bit like something from a dystopian sci-fi.
5. Tubohotel, Mexico
The Tubohotel goes down a similar route to the POD, creating small and affordable, but comfortable and unique living quarters for the more adventurous tourist. Instead of shipping containers these rooms are made out of stacked segments of sewage tunnel, stacked into shapes that reflect the Aztec pyramid of the nearby El Tepozteco. The tubes have been well cleaned (!), and fitted with glass doors, curtains, and a double bed to create a minimalist sleeping unit.
4. Burj Al Arab, Dubai
At 321m the Burj Al Arab is currently the fourth tallest structure. A large proportion of this space is uninhabitable, but the remainder of the space is used to house one of the world’s most famous hotels. Since its completion in 1999 it has remained the only ’7 Star’ hotel, and its 202 rooms are notorious for their opulence, with some critics seeing it as a monument to the ‘triumph of money over practicality’. The hotel’s most luxurious accommodation, The Royal Suite, costs $18,716 per night, which makes it the 12th most expensive place to stay overnight.
3. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
On Bali’s southern coastline are the 65 eco-friendly buildings that make up the Alila Villas Uluwatu complex. Precariously perched on a cliff face 100 metres above the Indian Ocean, this award winning project is carefully constructed to follow the principle of environmentally sustainable design. Water conservation and recycling combines with local plants from the nearby savannah ecosystem to ensure the smallest possible impact on the surrounding area.
Pictured above is the cabana lounge, which uses wood slatting to create a ‘porous boundary between interior and exterior space’. This creates a stunning effect when you remember the sheer drop over which the room hangs.
2. Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London
Back in 2000 the Shard’s designer Renzo Piano famously sketched the design for London’s most anticipated building on the back of a napkin. Fourteen years later the building -which is visible from 25 miles away- has recently opened for business, with floors 34 to 52 given over to the UK’s only Shangri-La Hotel.
The wall to wall glass windows afford the residents an unforgettable view of central London, with St Paul’s Cathedral in the foreground, stretching out to include each of the city’s famous landmarks. According to early reviews there’s only one small hitch to this view, which is a result of the reflections in the surface’s glass fragments: At night, when lights are turned on clear images of the hotel’s clients are mirrored back at neighbouring rooms, which makes for a somewhat disconcerting experience.
1. The Hydropolis, Dubai
As it stands this project (like many of Dubai’s most ambitious endeavours) has been put on hold, but despite this the extravagance of the idea means that it warrants a position on this list. The original plan was to build a 220 room hotel twenty meters under the Persian gulf. The estimated cost was going to be $550 million, but only 20% of this was ever sourced.
The hotel was to consist of three sections; a land base, a train, and a jellyfish-like structure of reinforced plexiglass, concrete, and steel. Suites were planned to cost upwards of $5000 per night, but the hotel itself would also receive several thousand visitors per day. Spiralling costs, the financial crash, and fears about the effects on the local marine life and water levels meant that the original plans were shelved, but the hotel’s designers remain optimistic about the future.