By Jake Hamilton, i-escape Editor
Looking for somewhere like nowhere on Earth? These 9 totally unique hotels are the stuff of dreams
1 Hotel Marques de Riscal, Spain
Location: Elciego, the Basque Country
Wow factor: Gehry’s cloud lampshades
Price: From £295
Frank Gehry’s extraordinary concept hotel is a magnet for style-seekers. Nestled in the heart of one of Spain’s oldest wineries, if you look closely at the rippling titanium exterior you’ll make out the pinkish-purple necks of wine bottles, from where Gehry drew inspiration. No wonder. The hotel is a gourmand’s paradise, with magnificent food and wine.
2 Tierra Chiloe, Chile
Location: Chiloe island, Castro
Wow factor: Rooms have sheet-glass windows
Price: From £231
This architectural hotel on Chiloe island is a conceptual tour de force. Geometric in structure, it mimics the island’s striking traditional stilted homes, and its 24 bedrooms take every opportunity to frame the astonishing views with large cutting-edge-sheet glass windows. For extra thrills, Tierra Chiloe offers whale-watching excursions from Dec-May.
3 Vigilius Mountain Resort, Italy
Location: South Tyrol
Wow factor: The infinity pool has Alpine views
Price: From £198
Designed by Wallpaper‘s favourite Milanese architect, Matteo Thun, this astonishing mountain hideaway in the Italian Alps is reachable only by cable car, but the views at the top are out of this world. A 21st-century take on the traditional Tyrolean lodge, with two decks of rooms housed in rectangles of glass, the hotel boasts an impeccable spa and sunrise terrace.
4 Hotel Viura, Spain
Location: Laguardia, the Basque Country
Wow factor: The stylish prices
Price: From £96
Another Basque Country superstar, this dazzlingly unique hotel is located bang in the middle of a 17th-century wine village, which only adds to its otherworldly appearance. It may look like a bizarre stack of half-toppled cubes from the outside, but the light-filled interiors reveal a welcoming calmness. Come for the architecture, stay for the food and wine.
5 Ion Hotel, Iceland
Location: Thingvellir National Park
Wow factor: Sipping cocktails in a hot pool under the Northern Lights
Price: From £266
Perched on stilts in a magical wilderness in southwest Iceland (an hour’s drive from Reykjavik), this sustainable designer hotel largely constructed from reclaimed materials (including driftwood) juts out from a mountainside but feels right at home. We loved the low-key bedrooms, the lovely cuisine, and the thrilling ‘wake up’ call for the Northern Lights.
6 Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia
Location: Kangaroo Island
Wow factor: Sunken lounges with ocean views
Price: From £1168
One of the world’s most awe-inspiring island hotels, this achingly cool luxury lodge perched above Hanson Bay on South Australia’s answer to the Galapágos looks like an art installation plonked down on an island wilderness. Lavish yet laid-back, its 21 suites don’t come cheap – but for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure this is impossible to beat.
7 Croft 103, Scotland
Location: Sutherland, Durness
Wow factor: Each cottage has 2 clawfoot bathtubs!
Price: From £271
This is heaven at the top of Scotland: a pair of striking self-catering cottages (sleeping 2) in Britain’s most northwesterly village with stunning views of sea, mountain and sky. Sleek, spacious and with bathrooms to die for, Croft 103 is for couples looking to escape to the middle of nowhere.
8 Awasi Patagonia, Chile
Location: Torres del Paine National Park
Wow factor: Luxe cabins at the world’s end
Price: From £1641
A collection of designer cabins located in Chile’s spectacular wilderness, this one-of-a-kind retreat comes with capacious rooms, a brilliant restaurant-with-views, and private hot tubs so you can soak as you stargaze. It’s certainly pricey, but that includes your own 4×4 and a personal guide for excursions.
9 Ty Hedfan, Wales
Location: Brecon Beacons National Park
Wow factor: Skylights so you can stargaze in bed
Price: From £193
An award-winning architectural gem, this astonishing house rental on the edge of the Brecon Beacons cantilevers over a babbling brook and boasts a ‘hovering’ living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, 4 bedrooms, a playroom and a secluded garden. As a family staycation, it’s the stuff as dreams are made on.