5 Places to Stay with Unique Onsite Experiences

4 skylodge capsules cliffside in peru

As winter approaches in the northern hemisphere, the weather turns, the air chills and darkness arrives earlier in the day. We tend to focus on the holiday season to keep warm inside, but we also start to dream and plan adventures for the New Year. Exotic and exciting destinations become the focus, and after decisions are reached on where to go, the research begins on where to spend the night. To help plan your next excursion—or perhaps to just fuel your daydreams—here are five iconic destinations, places perhaps already on your list, where it’s not just the location, but also the “where to stay” options that provide unique on-site experiences.

A Lodge in the Sky Over Peru

couple in skylodge capsule cliffside in peru
Photo Courtesy of Natura Vive.

Want to sleep even higher up on a mountainside and spend the evening in slightly more luxurious accommodations? Peru has a unique option. Often a bucket list destination thanks to the impressive Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, this wondrous country offers much more to its visitors including the Sacred Valley of Cuzco.

When staying there, not only do visitors need to respect the altitude of over 10,000 feet above sea level, but they can also appreciate it with an experience at the Skylodge Adventure Suites. After a 400-meter climb, spend the night including dinner and wine with incredible valley views inside a private cliffside capsule. Then wake up at sunrise to peaceful views and enjoy breakfast before making the choice to either rappel or zip line back down to civilization.

A Namibian Watering Hole Near Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei Lodge on-site local “watering hole” for a sunset cocktail
Photo Courtesy of the Sossusvlei Lodge

Africa, often labeled “the trip of a lifetime,” offers many itineraries across the colossal continent, but one country definitely making the case for the once-in-a-lifetime trip tag is Namibia. Vast, wild landscapes devoid of civilization, opportunities to safari along the Chobe River, and a skeleton coast on the Atlantic Ocean are all popular Namibian stops, but the destination not to miss is the Red Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei.

To arrive at the dunes by sunrise (for perfect light), it is recommended to stay close by and the Sossusvlei Lodge offers a fantastic glamping (glamorous camping) style retreat. When spending the evening make sure you head over to the on-site local “watering hole” for a sunset cocktail with your binoculars. From the bar, one can see the actual local watering hole in the distance and watch wild animals of every sort carefully come by for their drink too.

Sleep Cliffside in Mexico

Just two hours outside the capital of Mexico City, visitors can find a small rural town known as Malinalco. Part of the identified “pueblo magicos” (magic towns) inside Mexico, the town holds a magical past and now today serves as a gateway to adventure. One such adventure starts with a sunset hike up a mountainside to spend the night inside a cliffside cave.

Camping at La Grieta remains a rare experience that entails spending the night harnessed to a safety line. The short hike up leads guests to an area of two small caves roughly twenty meters above ground. One area serves as the place to socialize and take in the home-cooked meals over a fire. While the other, a smaller crawlspace, provides a cozy place with incredible valley views used solely for sleeping.

Local tour operators offer the experience and take care of meals and sleeping arrangements (including a sleeping bag). To learn more and find all the adventures available in this town, listen in to the Magic of Malinalco.

The Art of Tea in Dublin

art tea food at the merrion reflecting art on the walls
Photo Courtesy of The Merrion Hotel

Sometimes we crave city travel and the cultural experience of world capitals. The European winter often translates to lower travel costs and that makes for a great reason to visit a place where the weather is always a question mark—such as the case in Ireland.

In Dublin spend time about the city entertaining a pint of Guinness and walking in the footsteps of literary icons or appreciating the art available on display across the city including right inside your hotel. Select The Merrion Hotel and make a reservation not just for a luxurious room, but also for its “Art Tea.” Select from the menu of global tea options and enjoy classic finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream but don’t just taste the desserts, appreciate the art. Art Tea isn’t just high tea, but all the desserts are designed to mimic or represent the very art hanging on the walls of the Merrion Hotel.  Can you think of a more civilized way to appreciate art?

Under the Sea in the Florida Keys

For those wanting to stay in the states and visit a unique slice of America, they can warm up to more than sunsets in the Florida Keys. With any trip to these islands or “keys” off the southern tip of Florida, one must spend time on and in its colorful waters. Known as a SCUBA diver’s paradise, visitors can not only dive in to check out the local reefs but can also dive in and check in for the night.

At the world’s only underwater hotel, Jules Lodge offers divers the opportunity to spend a few hours for lunch or an entire night roughly twenty feet below the surface.  Not quite the 20,000 leagues under the sea the name might suggest but still quite unique. Get a famous underwater pizza delivery or upgrade to local lobster and enjoy an evening under water.


Still bundling up and still dreaming of unique overnight experiences definitely consider one or more of these five unique options when choosing places to stay in 2019.

To learn more about Craig and his travels, visit stayadventurous.com.

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Craig Zabransky is an ex-global management consultant for top-tier banks gone rogue. After a year-long travel sabbatical, he decided to leave Wall Street to pursue his passion for travel. With the belief travel is a gateway to positive life change he podcasts, writes, blogs, and photographs his adventures to inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. To date, he has traveled through more than 55 countries, 40 U.S. States, 5 continents, and is still traveling from his home in the Florida Keys. For more of his story visit his site StayAdventurous.com.

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