Holidays with a Difference: 5 Unique Rentals

If you’ve enjoyed a few vacation rentals in your time, you’ll know that most holiday homes are comfortable, well-equipped, and, well, pretty similar.  Maybe it’s time to venture out of your comfort zone and try something different. Next time you rent a car, book one of these vacation rentals and you’re all set up for a holiday with a difference:

cheap car rental costa ricaA Boeing 727 Fuselage in the Costa Rican Jungle

Rent a car in Costa Rica and discover possibly the most unusual holiday rental you will ever see. Hovering above the jungle at the Costa Verde Resort (where the slogan is “Still More Monkeys than People”), a refurbished vintage 1965 Boeing 727 airframe has been retired and now features two fully outfitted bedrooms suspended 15 metres above the ground, overlooking the ocean and Manuel Antonio National Park. The Boeing 727 is no plane wreck.  The interior is paneled in Costa Rican teak with hand-carved, teak furniture from Indonesia. One of the two ensuite bedrooms has two queen-sized beds, and the other has one queen-sized bed. Other luxuries include a flat-screen TV, a kitchenette, dining area foyer, a terrace, a private entrance via a river rock and spiral staircase, and 360-degree panoramas.

A Tree House in Bangkok

If you like the idea of eco-friendly holiday retreats, you can take a trip back to childhood with a stay in a tree house in the “green lung” Bang Nampheung region of Greater Bangkok. These are no make-shift huts made from old planks and flapping plastic, however. Each of the four “glamping” units sleeps 11 in the lofty surroundings of exotic mangrove palms and coconut plantations in a location that can only be reached by boat, bicycle, or on foot. The rooms are arranged like a bird’s nest overlooking the Chao Phraya river, and an organic gourmet restaurant on-site ensures that even the most committed green travellers can sample luxury responsibly.

A Lighthouse in Wicklow, Ireland

Take an active break in Ireland this year: Climbing the 109 steps to the kitchen of Wicklow Head Lighthouse is a workout in itself. Built in 1781, the 29-metre tower was gutted by fire in 1836, but the Irish Landmark Trust has restored it to provide exceptional accommodation for up to four people and their (fit) pets. It features two double bedrooms, a bathroom, a separate downstairs toilet, and electric central heating. Enjoy the novelty of octagonal rooms and arched windows set into metre-thick walls.  With so many steps and the sea on on three sides, this property might not be the ideal choice for families with small children or those with limited mobility, but the sight of the Irish Sea crashing below makes it worth the effort for anyone else.

cheap car hire usaA Spaceship in Wisconsin

Many people enjoy camping in the northwoods of Wisconsin, but not many of them stay in a spaceship.  Okay, so it’s not an actual UFO, but it certainly looks like one. About a four-hour drive from Minneapolis International Airport, the Pod Up North is a unique circular dwelling housing a tiny bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and living room. (Appropriately enough, the TV/DVD player is supplied with a selection of science-fiction movies). Suitable for two people (or up to four people with no personal space issues), the Futuro Pod has private access to Sumach Lake in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, and rental includes use of a 4-person paddle boat and a canoe. It makes a good base for day trips to state and national parks including Copper Falls in Wisconsin and Porcupine Mountains State Park in Upper Michigan. The location is naturally quite remote, so you will need to rent a car.

A Circular Eco-Lodge in Sligo, Ireland

If you are a stickler for things like multiple bathrooms and a central location, theGyreum is probably not top of your list of places to stay. Then again, if the thought of getting back to basics in an inspirational retreat appeals, this huge, timber tent-like structure in Sligo, Ireland, could be just what you need. Meaning “the round place” (from the Greek gyr-, meaning “round,” and the Latin “-eum, for building), the Gyreum is Ireland’s first eco lodge to be awarded the EU Eco-Label for tourist accommodation. Sunk into the ground and blanketed in wildflowers, the Gyreum has wind turbines to generate electricity, geothermal and passive heating, and reed beds to process waste water and toilet effluent. Guests describe the powerful atmosphere of the lodge, which is aligned to three solar events and points toward the megalithic cairns of Moytura, Carrowkeel, and Queen Maeve’s tomb on top of Knocknarea.