Watching the Northern Lights glistening on the sky’s natural canvas may be on your bucket list already, but be prepared to up the ante.
A Netherlands-based developer is creating a floating, snowflaked-shaped glass hotel from which guests can stare in awe at the Aurora Borealis from their beds.
The project, which began in 2008, is called Krystall and will be getting underway again after the financial crisis rendered it postponed.
Eighty-six luxury rooms will be encased within a glass structure alongside conference rooms and a spa, all of which is only accessible by boat, to ensure its five-star status.
The stationary hotel will be installed near Tromso in northern Norway reportedly between fjords, with work to commence mid-2015 and an estimated opening projected for late 2016.
The most unusual hotels around the world
The most unusual hotels around the world
1/10 Cabanes als arbres, Spain
Begged your parents for a treehouse when you were a kid? Based in the heart of the Sierra del Montseny, just outside Barcelona, Cabanas als arbres lies an ecological haven. Surrounded by the beautiful Forest of The Guilleries, it offers guests the chance to spend the night in one of ten bespoke treehouses. Its ecological commitment means they have no electricity or running water, but all guests have access to The Vileta, a traditional 14th century country house which has showers (plus a bar and swimming pool).
2/10 The Mine Suit, Sweden
Probably not one for claustrophobics - located 155m underground in one of the world’s best-preserved mine settings is The Mine Suit in Sweden’s historic Sala Silvermine. Guests are treated to spectacular open water and cave diving environments and can explore the lakes in the close to freezing temperatures. But showers, toilets and a lounge are located above ground, one member of staff is available (also above ground) for guests throughout the night and can be communicated with through intercom radio.
3/10 Karostas Cietums, Latvia
Latvia’s former military prison opens its metal-barred doors for guests who fancy more of a criminal experience. Karostas Cietums has remained unchanged since its beginnings in Tsarist times. It was built with the cheery ethos of breaking its inhabitants’ spirit, so forget the basic hotel rule of hospitality, these guests will be treated to the delights of an authentic prison meal and sleep in a prison bunk. Until 1997, it served as a place where military persons served their terms for breach of discipline. Prospective visitors must sign ‘The Agreement’ before their stay, contractually obliging them to be treated as detainees - abuse from guards included.
4/10 La Balade des Gnômes, Belgium
This enchanted boutique Belgian B&B offers ten individually designed bedrooms, inspired by fairy tales from all over the world. Winding staircases and a stunning array of carved wooden features at La Balade des Gnômes bring magic to life in this quaint hotel. Journey through the Arabian Nights, outer space, a troll-hideout with its own goldfish stream, or an old captain’s ship where guests can gaze at the stars above in a boat floating in a pool. It even has a Trojan Horse suite. This imaginative gem is hidden away in an unassuming farmhouse designed by the architect Dominic Noël.
5/10 Icehotel, Sweden
Brrrrrace yourself for the ultimate ice-chic experience. The temperature in the Icehotell ranges from –5 to -8ºC (but can drop to -30º outside) and guests sleep in a thermal sleeping bag on a bed built by ice blocks and a mattress topped with reindeer skins. The hotel boasts a range of activities from cocktailing at the world-famous Icebar to exploring Arctic trails, being mesmerised by the Northern Lights tour, dog sledding and skiing - it's also launched an art project with works made of ice.
6/10 Spitbank Fort, UK
Just off the coast of Portsmouth lies this sea fortress/luxury private island. Disposed of by the Ministry of Defence in 1982, it was originally home to soldiers who would guard approaches to Portsmouth. It's now been converted into a luxury venue and hotel which boasts a hot pool and sauna on the roof, and a fire pit. Eight of the former gun emplacements are now the Fort’s range of suites all of which boast stunning sea views. But be warned, it was also featured on an episode of Most Haunted.
7/10 Sleepbox Hotel, Russia
Who needs views? The futuristic Sleepbox Hotel in Moscow hosts a series of windowless pods (which can be constructed anywhere). Capsule hotels have already opened at Heathrow Terminal 4, Times Square and Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. The minimalist future spells cheap and basic accommodation – with no extra services required. As Sleepboxes can be booked for a whole night or just a few hours, it's easy to imagine that they might not be used just for sleeping...
8/10 Propeller Island City Lodge, Germany
Described as an 'aesthetic sensation for the eyes and ears', German artist Lars Stroschen's has created a habitable work of art in the heart of Berlin that fuses 'innovation and pragmatism' aimed to inspire guests with its ‘vision machine’. Each room is designed around a different theme to scramble the senses and perceptions. Think Fun House. With the likes of Sleep-in coffins for Nosferatus, the City Lodge is at the eccentric end of city retreats.
9/10 Montaña Mágica Lodge, Chile
Set in the heart of the Huilo Huilo nature reserve in Chile, this impressive structure boasts a waterfall coming out of the top of the hotel. It is a lodge built by the craftsmen of surrounding communities. There's a mini golf track that snakes its way through the forest on a course forty feet above the forest floor, and hot tubs made from dug out tree trunks on a deck overlooking the forest. Who needs selfies when you can take pictures like that?
10/10 Water Discus, Dubai
Although the hotel doesn’t exist yet, Deep Ocean Technology is a company on a mission to build an underwater hotel in Dubai. Comprised of two discs, each above and below water (up to 10 metres beneath the sea surface), the hotel would enable guests to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world without the need for breathing apparatus.
Deep Ocean Technology
It will be constructed, in pieces, in dry docks, the architect said, before being assembled on location.
Explaining the physics and design of the hotel, Koen Olthuis, Dutch architect and founder of Waterstudio, a specialist in floating structures, said: “The floating [base] is very big and because of that also very stable. You will not notice any movement.
Video: Watch the Northern Lights
“Different to any vessel this hotel is floating real estate and will not move. The shape provides most of the stability but additional technology with dampers, springs and cables is used to take away any acceleration.
“Same look and feel as a land based hotel but then on the most beautiful spot on the water. The hotel is not connected to land so all the logistics will be provided by boats.”
According to Mr Olthuis, who wouldn’t reveal the actual cost of the project, the budget is 15 per cent more than it would have been if it were built on land.
He said that a crucial caveat to the hotel’s construction was for its creation to be “scarless” on the pristine environment surrounding it.
“We call it a scarless development. If you take it away after hundred years or so it will not leave any physical footprint. That is the only way to bring developments to such a precious and beautiful marine environment in Norway or Maldives.”
Waterstudio is working in collaboration with Mr Olthuis’s other firm, Dutch Docklands, undertaking a number of ambitious projects including 80-million sq feet of floating developments in the Maldives in a joint venture with the Indian Ocean nation.
“Our joint venture projects with the Maldivian Government and the Ocean Flower in particular have taken all our attention the last years,” Mr Olthuis said.
“Now that the construction of the 185 floating villas for the Maldives has started we restarted the paused project [Krystall] in our portfolio.”
It is hoped that the hotel will be “self-supporting and sustainable” using top of the range technology in an area close to an international airport, helping to buoy the “growing eco-tourism market.”
“Dutch Docklands has learned to live with the water instead of fighting it,” the firm states. “Floating houses are common in the Netherlands but we took that technology abroad and scale it up in size.”