A mountain lodge with a wood-fired hot tub. An Italian palazzo with its own elevator. A ‘horizontal, mirrored skyscraper’ in the Colorado desert. Why settle for just any Airbnb for your next holiday when you could book one with a 19-metre infinity pool? Here are some of the world’s most unique holiday homes to bookmark for your next holiday.
A luxury lakeside villa in Lake Como, Italy1/30
Sprawled along the edge of northern Italy’s Lake Como, this luxurious home has space for 16, as well as some pretty impressive mod cons: there’s a movie room with projector screen, wine cellar, hammam, private boat dock and even an elevator for travelling between floors. The biggest drawcard? That irresistible view, of course. Book now.
Panoramic palace above the Bay of Bengal, Thailand2/30
Looking out over the pristine surrounds of Thailand’s glittering Bay of Bengal, this modern masterpiece is gloriously open to the elements, with an enormous central living space walled by nothing but ocean views. Although there’s an abundance of space (there’s room for 12 guests), there’s one place everyone will likely end up: floating in the 19-metre infinity pool overlooking what looks like the edge of the world. Book now.
A dragonfly’s view of Sound of Mull, Scotland3/30
Make like Kafka and get a bug’s eye view of the Sound of Mull, a remote expanse of the Inner Hebridean Isle of Mull in Scotland. The otherworldly AirShip 2 is crafted from insulated aluminium, with a series of portholes leading to a central window of spliced glass panes – ‘dragonfly windows’ – looking out over 1.6 hectares of countryside, from your cosy lounge room for two, complete with wood-burning stove. Book now.
A cliffside stay in Sacred Valley, Peru4/30
The vertically phobic will understandably shy away from a night (or a mere second) at Skylodge Adventure Suites, a string of three accommodation pods that hang from the crags of a cliff in Peru’s majestic Sacred Valley in Cuzco. Access to the site is also limited to the brave – it can only be reached via a trail of precarious zip lines or a hike that reaches 400 metres in elevation (a professional guide is included in the cost of your stay). The reward is panoramic views, as well as a gourmet dinner with wine and breakfast. Book now.
An architectural masterpiece, Indonesia5/30
In pictures, this bamboo mansion in Bali’s Abiansemal, a 25-minute drive from Ubud and 35 minutes from Canggu, seems to defy gravity as it soars out of lush jungle in a wedding cake of sail-like roofs. In reality, the open-air structure is more than liveable, with sleeping room for four, a private pool and plentiful living spaces — the most impressive being the balcony that opens out onto stunning views of the quiet river tumbling past below. Book now.
A modern cabin in mountain country, New Zealand6/30
Step inside a postcard at Luc22, an alpine property that sits at the edge of Lake Wakatipu on New Zealand’s South Island. It may look rustic but its inclusions say otherwise: there’s a cosy fireplace, rainfall showerhead and clawfoot bath, as well as the pièce de résistance placed on the deck: a wood-fired hot tub. Book now.
A mountain hideaway near Lion’s Head, Cape Town, South Africa7/30
The 008 Villa looks like the kind of place James Bond might bunk for the evening. If money is no object, this is the property for you: with seven bedrooms, two kitchens, a full-time chef and villa manager on staff, it’s a staggering space, even before you consider the singular setting. There are both ocean and mountain views, with Cape Town’s famed Lion’s Head towering (almost) overhead. Book now.
A glimpse of glorious nature in Fauske, Norway8/30
The view from this human-sized ‘Birdbox’ in Norway’s west seems straight from a painting. Enjoy panoramic vistas over pine forests, a meandering river and, in the colder months, enchanting blankets of sparkling snow, all from the comfort of your bed. Its diminutive size is its drawcard, with room for only two, ensuring the cosiest of retreats. Book now.
A ‘gram friendly box in Joshua Tree, USA9/30
Now you see it, now you don’t. The mirrored facade of this futuristic stay for eight in the Joshua Tree desert performs a clever disappearing act, and so will you, once you discover the handsome 30-metre-long heated indoor pool that straddles an uninterrupted view of the surrounding desert through a wall of windows. The “horizontal skyscraper”, which has featured in music videos and an endless array of design publications including Architectural Digest and Dezeen, features floor-to-ceiling sliding doors, 36 hectares of private parkland, including its own private mountain peak, and an eco-friendly construction. Book now.
A contemporary castle in Mexico10/30
Overlooking a slice of south-west Mexico’s Punta Majahua coastline, the sleek, monastic space of this contemporary collection of four condos promises a luxurious and low-key break for two. This spacious stay includes a private plunge pool, views to the rolling ocean and access to the property’s common facilities, including the lap pool and direct beach access. Book now.
A beachfront abode in Okinawa, Japan11/30
Japan’s beautiful beaches are often overshadowed in favour of its soaring mountains and bustling cities. This sleek stay in the country’s far southern Okinawa prefecture has been designed for admiring the coast, with generous floor-to-ceiling windows, a stunning grass-covered rooftop expanse and an easy beachfront location. Book now.
An off-grid natural wonderland, Sweden12/30
Nature buffs will adore this stay in what looks like a giant greenhouse - a Scandi-chic one, of course! - on the shores of Sweden’s largest lake, Vänern. Weaving together living and growing spaces, the lower level is a market garden of sorts, with planter boxes overflowing with lavender and bay leaf shrubs, all within picking distance of the kitchen. Upstairs is a loft-style bedroom for two, which looks directly into the night sky through a glass ceiling. Book now.
A snug bridge house in Amsterdam, Netherlands13/30
An immersive Amsterdam experience is as easy as booking a night in this adorable former bridge house. Dating back to 1928, this brick beauty sits atop one of the city’s iconic canals, next to a fully functioning bridge that opens and closes to allow drifting ships to pass through. It’s perfect for two and the living room windows open directly onto the picturesque scene. Book now.
A luxurious couples retreat in Robertson, NSW14/30
The Spiral House is nestled in the hinterland of the Illawarra Escarpment, with the only neighbours being a sprinkling of cows and some curious wildlife. The views from the circular home stretch even further than the 13 bush-covered hectares the house stands on, thanks to its 800-metre elevation. The best viewing spot? The open-air bathtub stationed on the raised deck. Book now.
A renovated train carriage in Forrest, VIC15/30
Live out your Agatha Christie fantasies in Forrest, a lush enclave along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Your accommodation is the refurbished carriage of a disused 1920s steam train, now stationary in thick bushland. The restoration harks back to the heyday of the former locomotive, with grand Chesterfield loungers, crystal chandeliers and original windows. Book now.
A wellness haven in Puglia, Italy16/30
Settle into bliss under the peaked roof of Trullo Luna, a unique retreat in Italy’s Puglia region. Sleeping three, the home features the distinctive style of the area’s traditional trulli houses, with a stone kitchen, jacuzzi area (common to all guests) and an atmospheric garden of ancient olive trees. Book now.
A clifftop stunner in Santorini, Greece17/30
Yes, it has the cosy yet cool cave-like interiors common to many Santorini stays, but there’s also space for six, wi-fi, a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor plunge pool. However, all of those features melt away when the view from the property’s terrace comes into focus: a sweeping pan of the caldera from the clifftop fringe of the quaint town of Oia. Book now.
A sustainable retreat in Rawbelle, QLD18/30
Don’t let the somewhat sinister moniker fool you: Bloodwood Cabin is light on the earth and its inhabitants. Standing on 8000 hectares of working beef cattle farmland, the entire cabin, which sleeps two, runs on solar power, including the gas-warmed water. While there’s no wi-fi, there’s plenty of other perks in the room: a fridge stocked with local produce, a bed dressed in linen sheets and a deep soaking tub for evenings spent well (doing nothing at all, that is). Book now.
A stunning seaside escape in Fremantle, WA19/30
South Fremantle’s incredible coastline is all yours at Blu Peter Penthouse, an expansive beachfront property built for two. Its white colour scheme lends the home a minimalist, beachy feel, letting the views steal the spotlight. From the enormous balcony, complete with fire pit, hot tub, dining area and hammock, the relaxation can begin — all accompanied by the soundtrack of the mighty Indian Ocean below. Book now.
A rustic cabin in Alonnah, Tasmania20/30
The Shack, a rustic wood cabin on remote Bruny Island, has all the hallmarks of a cosy retreat. Along with exposed timber beams, there’s a fireplace, outdoor bathtub and a rotating crowd of visitors from wedgetail eagles to quolls. There’s also an outhouse for facilities, if you like the opportunity to really go bush. Book now.
A luxury cabin retreat in Ben Oahu, New Zealand21/30
Stargazing doesn’t come more luxe than this superb cabin in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. Massive windows stretch from floor to ceiling, allowing the mountainous surrounds into every room, from the loft-style bedroom to the fire-warmed lounge room. Catering for up to five people, with no TV, it’s the perfect place to bring your best people and settle in for a spell. Book now.
A Harry Potter devotee’s fantasy, England22/30
If you think you’ve seen this facade before, you’d be right. This heritage-listed home in England’s hamlet of Lavenham appeared as parts of Godric’s Hollow, the birthplace of Harry Potter'. There are two rooms that are rented separately, with fluffy bathrobes and slippers and a full English breakfast included in the rate. As for pastimes, you can trawl the adorable medieval town, or, take up the host’s suggestion of toasting marshmallows by the open fireplace. Book now.
A remote apartment in Iceland23/30
Four guests will have the pleasure of taking in the inimitable views of Akureyri, a windswept inlet of north-east Iceland. The deck is the property’s highlight, with views that reach through golden grasslands to Eyjafjörður, one of the country’s longest fjords. Inside, the architecture keeps the focus on the outdoors, with enormous picture windows in the minimalist kitchen and glimpses available from the loft bedrooms. Book now.
A chilly spot in an igloo in Finland24/30
Live like the locals of Finnish Lapland by taking up temporary residence inside an igloo that accommodates up to four with warm, cosy bedding. You’re going to need it, too — temperatures inside the hollowed out snow mound are sub zero, with a heated house nearby for anyone who can’t stand the chill. Book now.
An adorable brick red cabin in remote Norway25/30
Isolation never looked so beautiful. This off-grid red cabin floats on a private atoll in the picturesque scatter of islands known as Vesterøy in Norway’s south-east. The tiny home’s rate includes use of a private boat, garden with fire pit, collection of board games and candles, all perfect accompaniments to the 10-square-metre space, which sleeps four. Book now.
A secluded Yellowstone cabin in Montana, USA26/30
Being snowed in is a desired outcome at Elk Ridge, an atmospheric cabin on a remote ranch near the spectacular Yellowstone National Park. The cabin’s interior is as rustic as its location, with a custom log bed and river rock fireplace warming the lounge room. Other amenities include a fire pit, barbecue and unrivalled access to the area’s incredible wildlife, with everything from elk to eagles stopping by for a visit. Book now.
A frozen ice palace in Melbourne CBD, VIC27/30
Netflix and chill takes on a whole new meaning at this frosty-feel accommodation in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD. Decked out in ice-themed furniture, winter enthusiasts will love the quirky dedication to the glacial theme, with twinkling overhead lights creating the feeling of snow and Perspex stools appearing as though carved from ice. One reviewer said it all in his review of the room: “Cool place”. Book now.
A Flintstone’s retreat in Boulder, USA28/30
Cleverly built by the owner into rust-coloured earth, this Stone-Age-feel spot in Colorado accommodates eight and has an indoor fireplace, fully functioning kitchen and a barbecue on an open-air patio. The property’s best feature? The window built into the lounge room that looks straight out onto the landscape, towards the sandstone beauty of the Grand-Staircase Escalante Monument. Book now.
A missile silo in Roswell, USA29/30
This enthralling Airbnb puts you in the heart of conspiracy theory territory in New Mexico’s Roswell. There’s space for two in the bunker of a disused missile launch silo, with a small entryway poking out of the earth, surrounded by desert. A few things to note: a tour from the property’s knowledgeable host is also included in the price of accommodation and, yes, wi-fi is available 56 metres underground. Book now.