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You’ve Never Seen Hotels Like This! 30 Hotels You Won’t Believe Are Real

What makes a vacation stay one you’ll always remember? Amenities and luxuries aside, these incredible hotels and resorts are ones that you’ll be talking about for years with their jaw-dropping architecture and next-level design. A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look; perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your next vacation destination.

Mirror Houses, Welcome Beyond – Italy

Mirror Houses
Image Credit: Welcome Beyond.

Have you ever seen a house made of mirrors? Among mountains and historic streets in northern Italy, it’s all modernity and luxury at Mirror Houses, a jaw-dropping Welcome Beyond property. Looking for a design-inspiration vacation? Welcome Beyond offers an original collection of beautiful boutique hotels, villas, and vacation homes with an eye for architecture and design all around the world.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba – Mexico

Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Image Credit: Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

Nestled along a secluded yet desirable stretch of pristine beach in Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is an award-winning resort with a stunning design. The resort’s spacious lagoon villas are particularly eye-catching and offer sunset views from their rooftop decks with private plunge pools.

Acre – Mexico

Image Credit: Acre.

Among the palm trees, cacti, and agave plants of the Baja Peninsula, Acre‘s treehouses make for an unforgettable stay in paradise. Each treehouse includes a king-size bed, a private terrace, and a bathroom complete with an outdoor shower for a luxurious stay among baja breezes.

Chisa Busanga Camp – Zambia

Chisa Busanga Camp
Image Credit: Chisa Busanga Camp.

In the heart of Zambia’s Kafue National Park, Chisa Busanga is inaccessible most of the year as this pristine landscape becomes a floodplain, but when waters recede, it reveals one of the most unique accommodations imaginable. Designed to imitate the nests of weaver birds, each of Chisa Busanga’s four nests offers both seclusion and luxury, with a front-row view for some of the best stargazing you’ll ever experience.

Bay Villa, Welcome Beyond – Greece

Bay Villa
Image Credit: Welcome Beyond.

Another stunning Welcome Beyond property, Bay Villa is nestled among rolling hills and white sand beaches on the Greek island of Skiathos. The villa’s sleek design, with an infinity pool and all-natural color scheme, sets off the stunning yet rugged scenery all the better. Space for up to eight guests makes this the perfect spot for your next family getaway.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Image Credit: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Opened in 1999, the sleek sail of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is among the most impressive features of the skyline of Dubai, shattering architectural records and quickly becoming an icon of a rapidly-changing city. If you think the exterior is impressive, wait until you see the inside: more than 19,000 square feet of 24-carat gold leaf was used to embellish the interior.

Comporta Dune House, Welcome Beyond – Portugal

Comporta Dunes
Image Credit: Welcome Beyond.

You’ve never seen a beach house like this before! Just an hour and a half from Lisbon, Comporta Dune House is a Welcome Beyond property just as inviting as it is beautiful. Steps from the ocean, this breathtaking property brings the outside in seamlessly for a beach getaway like no other.

Entre Cielos – Argentina

Entre Cielos
Image Credit: Entre Cielos.

Talk about one impressive vineyard getaway! In the shadow of the snow-capped Andes Mountains and nestled among the vines of Malbec grapes of Mendoza, Argentina, Entre Cielos is a sleek wine hotel and spa bringing guests closer to nature and themselves. Spend your days here sipping wine and taking in the gorgeous view or trying out the vinotherapy treatments at the six-stage circuit hammam spa.

Coulibri Ridge – Dominica

Coulibri Ridge
Image Credit: Coulibri Ridge.

Perched on a lush jungle ridge in the Caribbean island paradise of Dominica, the newly-opened Coulibri Ridge is an impressive boutique resort that doesn’t sacrifice form for function. This ultra-sustainable property is powered by solar panels and uses filtered rainwater to supply the water needs of the entire property, making it a leader in sustainability practices in the Caribbean and beyond.

Etéreo, Auberge Resorts Collection – Mexico

Image Credit: Auberge Resorts Collection.

Set along a pristine stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline among protected mangrove vegetation, Etéreo‘s unique stacked design is thoroughly modern yet not out of place among the rich community it calls home. Local materials like lava stone and native Tzalam wood meet design elements sourced from Mexican and neighboring Central American creators for a thoughtful and welcoming flare.

Fairmont Century Plaza – Los Angeles, United States

Fairmont Century Plaza
Image Credit: Fairmont Century Plaza.

Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles has been called “The Hotel of the Future.” Originally built in the 1960s and recently reopened after extensive refurbishing, this expansive hotel is known for its unique curved lines, including interior hallways. 

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands – Maldives

The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
Image Credit: The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands.

These aren’t just any overwater bungalows! The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands mimics the pristine lagoon it calls home with its stunning spherical design. This breathtaking resort in the Maldives has a luxurious spa that sits at the center, with its ring-shaped design making a true statement.


FORESTIS Dolomites
Image Credit: FORESTIS.

Stunning, unobstructed views of the snow-capped Dolomites are front and center at FORESTIS, a minimalist and design-driven escape in a corner of Italy too few travelers discover. Clean lines and muted colors offer a peaceful escape that puts nature first.

A-Frame Club – Colorado, United States

A Frame Club
Image Credit: A-Frame Club.

Home to 31 cabins designed to mimic the natural tree line, AFrame Club offers a distinct 1970s aesthetic along with clean lines and natural materials to bring the outside in. Could there be a dreamier Colorado escape than this? 

Rosewood São Paolo – Brazil

rosewood sao paolo
Image Credit: Rosewood São Paulo.

Designed by Jean Nouvel and artistic director Philippe Starck as a “love letter to Brazil,” Rosewood São Paulo is a fascinating mix of new and old. Located in Cidade Matarazzo, this mixed-use destination in the city center is home to both the new, ultra-modern vertical garden tower and the historic Matarazzo Maternity building, a former hospital of great symbolic significance in the city.

Kura – Costa Rica

Image Credit: Kura.

“Tropical minimalism” is the aesthetic at Kura, a beachfront resort that is part of the sustainable and stylish Cayuga Collection. Clean lines, plenty of glass, and a stunning infinity pool highlight the expansive jungle and ocean views from this one-of-a-kind property along some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.

La Concha Resort – Puerto Rico

La Concha Resort
Image Credit: La Concha Resort.

With its emblematic ocean-front seashell-shaped structure emerging from the sands of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s most beautiful beach, La Concha Resort is a retro gem and architectural landmark in one. Recent refurbishing has transformed this beloved beach destination in the neighborhood of Condado into one of the most sought-after spots in the city.

Tierra Chiloé – Chile

tierra chiloe
Image Credit: Tierra Chiloé.

With sweeping views of unexpected Patagonian landscapes, Tierra Chiloé‘s dramatic facades make an immediate statement, though its sustainability and connection to the land make it instantly inviting. One of three breathtaking Tierra Hotels properties inviting visitors to experience some of Chile’s most impressive destinations, Tierra Chiloé offers a perfect mix of unforgettable experiences that both adventure travelers and wellness seekers will love.

Nobu Los Cabos – Mexico

Nobu Los Cabos
Image Credit: Barbara Kraft.

Nobu’s Asian roots are on full display at the brand’s first Latin American project, Nobu Los Cabos. Designed by WATG and Studio PCH, Nobu Los Cabos seamlessly combines minimalism and luxury with natural elements that reflect the dramatic landscapes of Baja California.

Pendry Washington DC, The Wharf – United States

Image Credit: The Wharf, Washington, DC – Matthew Borkoski Photography.

Pendry Washington D.C. – The Wharf is set along the Washington Channel for stunning waterfront views just as impressive as the area itself. An exciting new development project, The Wharf is working with several different architects to ensure a diversity of styles with consistent threads in this exciting and revitalized part of the nation’s capital. 

Playa Viva – Mexico

Playa Viva
Image Credit: Playa Viva, Photo by kevsteele.

Breathtaking oceanfront treehouses nestled along Mexico’s Pacific Coastline make Playa Viva a destination for a beach getaway unlike any other. Not only is Playa Viva stunning, but it’s also sustainably minded. This beloved eco-resort sits on a gorgeous 200-acre property you’ll find a joy to explore.

Radio Hotel – New York, United States

Radio Hotel
Image Credit: Radio Hotel.

A hotel new to the bustling New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights, Radio Hotel stands out with a “Lego-like” structure and eye-catching, colorful exterior you need to see to believe. Designed by renowned architects MVRDV and Stonehill Taylor, the 23-story hotel stands out among a neighborhood of low-rises while reflecting the vibrancy of the diverse community it calls home.

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel – Illinois, United States

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
Image Credit: Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.
Mimicking the waves of Lake Michigan, the 82-story Radisson Blu Aqua Tower was among the tallest buildings in the world designed by a female architect, Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. Private hotel room balconies at this resort-style property in the heart of the city offer stunning views of Chicago and the lake.

Shipwreck Lodge – Namibia

Shipwreck Lodge
Image Credit: Shipwreck Lodge.

Located among the shifting dunes that have made Namibia’s Skeleton Coast one of the most extreme and otherworldly landscapes of Africa, Shipwreck Lodge mimics the shipwrecks, old and new, that litter this desolate stretch of Atlantic coastline. Designed using local timber with sustainability at the forefront, it’s one of the world’s most unique and impressive ecolodges.

Tierra Patagonia – Chile

Tierra Patagonia
Image Credit: Tierra Patagonia.

Facing the iconic peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, Tierra Patagonia sinks back into the landscape to put natural beauty on center stage, though its sleek design and thoughtful attention to detail make this incredible hotel an icon in its own right. There’s no better spot from which to explore Patagonia.

Tswalu – South Africa

Image Credit: Tswalu.

The largest private game reserve in South Africa, Tswalu offers incredible mountain views, stunning, expansive grasslands, and an array of design styles and inspiration at its various accommodations you need to see to believe. Its new semi-underground restaurant, Klein Jan, is another architectural and culinary highlight at Tswalu. The culinary brainchild of South Africa’s first Michelin-starred chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, it’s a feast for all the senses.

Umay Melides – Portugal

Umay Melides
Image Credit: Umay.

Take a look at that swimming pool! Umay Resort in the tiny town of Melides, Portugal has welcomed celebrities, sports stars, and curious travelers alike to this one-of-a-kind spot, with much more to offer travelers than just stunning design.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami – United States

Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami
Image Credit: ArX Solutions.

Set to be the tallest residential building in the United States south of New York City, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences Miami will rise 1,049 feet above Biscayne Bay. This luxury hotel will boast 360 private residences and 205 guest rooms and suites, transforming the Miami skyline with its unique cube design wrapped in a “glass skin.”

Wilderness Bisate – Rwanda

Wilderness Bisate
Image Credit: Wilderness Bisate.

Lush jungle and volcano views await at Wilderness Bisate, a truly unique lodge in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Award-winning design and unmatched experience make this the perfect spot for a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the mountain gorillas that call this famous park home.

Wilderness Little Kulala – Namibia

Wilderness Little Kulala
Image Credit: Wilderness Little Kulala.

Among the dunes and salt pans of Sossusvlei in the otherworldly Namib desert, Wilderness Little Kulala emerges from desert sands to offer travelers a totally unique, sustainable experience in one of Africa’s most breathtaking destinations. Spaces recently redesigned for even more seclusion abound; each suite offers a private plunge pool and roll-out bed for stargazing. 

Bonus: Mira Earth Studios – Mexico

Mira Earth Studios
Image Credit: Mira Earth Studios.

Opened in April 2023, Mira Earth Studios promises to be yet another inspiring destination for a design-centered escape. Located in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe, it blends seamlessly with the peaceful, light-filled valley it calls home for the perfectly tranquil, centering getaway you’ve been dreaming of.

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.