As yet another long weekend approaches many of us are packing our bags and heading out of town to take advantage of the break. Whether it’s a relaxing stay on the coast or a getaway to a game park, hotels have become a common holiday experience. Most of us are accustomed to the small and nondescript rooms of Sun Internationals that line our city streets. Dull and bland, their impersonal rooms are the most forgettable part of any vacation. But that’s all about to change. Enter the ‘Concept Hotel’ – an experience you won’t be forgetting any time soon.




In response to rising real estate prices, a range of mini-hotels have been created world wide, maximising on what little space is available. Not for the claustrophobic this new breed of hotel optimizes on space, packing in the patrons as tightly as sardines. One such hotel is Dasparkhotel in Austria where rooms are constructed out of concrete drain pipes. These mini rooms are then scattered across the hotel grounds. Each miniature room is equipped with electricity, a double bed and a skylight window to ease living in what is essentially a sewerage pipe. The hotel’s main building is just a short stroll away and houses all other amenities, including bathrooms and a restaurant.

Another option for those who want the sleep-and-go experience is the Qbic Hotel in Amsterdam. This little project carries a strong resemblance to Japan’s ‘pod hotels’ where guests rent out tiny incubator like cubes which are sufficient for sleep alone. The experience is pretty much plug-and-play – your credit card acts as your room key and any amenities you require are dispensed from a vending machine in the lobby, removing the need for hotel staff completely. These small, prefab rooms are created to fit into any pre-existing architecture and measure just under seven square metres. Each room is fully equipped with high speed internet, flat screen TVs and luxurious Swedish beds. The rooms can be customised at the touch of an LCD screen turning a tranquil blue room into a vibrant red space without the hassle of paint and wallpaper.

From the small to the bizarre, for those who desire a more fulfilling travel experience there are several wacky options. In SA’s Mother City there’s the Daddy Long Legs hotel which boasts superbly designed apartments as well as the zany rooftop Airstream Caravan Park – an innovative platform to house the hotel’s penthouse suites. Each room has been carefully designed and styled by commissioned artists, making each room a truly unique experience.

For the hot and thirsty, there’s the well known Ice Hotel in Sweden. But now there’s a home for the snackish with a selective pallet. In the South-Western corner of Bolivia a hotel has been constructed entirely out of salt. The Hotel de Sal Playa is constructed from salt bricks and salt mortar and absolutely all structures, from the floors to chairs, are made from salt. A tad bizarre, if nothing else, at least you know you’ll never run short of your favourite seasoning.

At the Propeller Island Hotel, kids’ rooms come complete with electric coloured walls while miniature golf courses surround the beds.For adults with a longing to experience life underground or behind bars, the Propeller Island hotel can provide just that. Complete with harsh overhead lighting and mildly uncomfortable beds this room truly offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.