Thursday, 26 April 2007

Strange stays

I quite enjoy finding places to stay that are a bit out of the ordinary. A convent on the Giudecca in Venice (now, alas, closed); a medieval hostelry in Vezelay; little family run hotels in most European capitals.

But those are tame compared with some of the hotels you can stay in.

What about a holiday in a big beer can? The Smukkefest in Denmark offers the chance to sleep in a giant Carlsberg can. Inside is a can-shaped fridge. Inside that are cans of  Carlsberg...

Naturally, the cans are positioned in six-packs!

Ice hotels are springing up all over, of course - though usually seasonal. Nothing original here; I made an igloo in the back garden once (though I wasn't allowed to sleep in it).

Underwater hotels are a bit more intriguing. There's one currently under construction in Dubai - 'Hydropolis' -  that takes the concept much further than the small lodges currently in existence. It would have to be in Dubai - the only country that is currently building its own pyramids, its own new islands (Dutch polder-makers watch out!), and a development called 'The World'.

Costs are estimated to be between USD 300m and 500m. A project of this size and innovative character could surely only happen in Dubai - where two towers, the Burj Dubai and Al-Burj (yes, burj means 'tower' in Arabic, so that's a highly imaginative pair of names)  are competing for the prize of tallest building in the world. It's mad out there.

Of course it was also mad out there in Imperial Rome, the court of Versailles, medieval Flanders, and eighteenth century Bath. Which left us with some great architecture... we can hope!

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