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by Allen J. Sheinman | March 13, 2018

Allen J. Sheinman, managing editor of Meetings & Conventions magazineBorealis Basecamp in AlaskaBooking.com, a popular online hotel-booking site, has designated an ever-growing list of properties under its umbrella as the most unique in the United States -- and they’re not kidding. What follows are 10 hotels that take hospitality to a whole new level… in the Twilight Zone.

1. Borealis Basecamp, right, 25 miles north of the Alaskan city of Fairbanks, offers a front-row seat for the aurora borealis, aka northern lights, thanks to overhead curved-glass windows in the six guest geodesic domes that reveal every twinkle in the skies above. Set on nearly 100 acres of private land some three miles from the nearest road, this place was made for some serious snuggling.

2. Dunton Hot Springs, in Dunton, Colo., consists of 13 hand-hewn log cabins (some vintage enough to have been erected by grizzled miners of an earlier day) arranged in a circle around a saloon and dance hall. Stay here and you’ll feel like you’re living inside an old episode (but a good one) of Gunsmoke.

3. Victor Tiny Home in Teton Valley, Idaho, is so cute and cozy, you won’t mind sucking in your stomach while you’re ensconced within the 190-square-foot space. The place somehow sleeps five, though we’re not sure that means horizontally, and you can let it all out at nearby Grand Teton National Park.

4. Emil Bach House in Chicago is named for its original owner, a co-owner of the Bach Brick Co., but is best noted for its architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed the place in his now-famous prairie style in 1915. The house is on the U.S. Register of Historic Places and is an official Chicago landmark. Two plush guest bedrooms are on the second floor; rates start at $495 per night.

5. Thyme for Bed in Lowell, Ind., is a beautifully appointed monolithic dome with just three guest rooms whimsically named In Your Dreams (a master suite with see-through fireplace and Jacuzzi); the Pheasant Room (with a custom-wood canopy bed, a wood stove and enough wood trimmings to go through a case of Lemon Pledge per month); and the Victoria Room, all wrought iron, lace and lavender, plus the inevitable TV and DVD player. Comforting note: In this time of extreme weather, the dome can withstand winds of up to 300 mph.

6. Circle S Ranch in Lawrence, Kan., has been a working ranch since 1862 and now offers 12 suite-style guest rooms, along with facilities for corporate retreats and nearby hiking, horseback riding, fishing and more. Meet you in the party barn!

7. Kentucky Castle in Versailles, Ky., is just what the name implies: a real honest-to-goodness castle seemingly plopped into the heart of Kentucky horse-farm country. Ten luxury rooms and suites start at $225 per night (but don’t end there), and like any good castle would have, there’s an on-site Master Bourbon Steward to keep your spirits up, way up.

8. West Quoddy Station is in Lubec, Maine, the easternmost point in the United States, which means you can stay here and tell everyone else in the country about the sunrise before most of them even see it coming. The Keepers Cottage, one of five ridiculously charming accommodations, is a reconstruction of the 1806 West Quoddy Head Light Keepers House and comes with two Queen bedrooms, a living/dining room, a kitchen and a bathroom — not bad at $140 per day and $900 per week.

9. The Borden Flats Lighthouse in Fall River, Mass., dates from 1891 and ranks as one of the nation's only offshore caisson-style lighthouses open to the public, which is ferried to and fro by a sea shuttle. Okay, time to come clean: This is not really a hotel as such; guests can stay here provided they sign on to participate in the Lighthouse Keepers Program, where they learn how to keep the place functioning and work on local conservation projects. And don't worry about stumbling around in the dark at night; it’s a lighthouse, remember?

10. Kokopelli’s Cave in Farmington, N.M., is a spelunker’s dream some 70 feet below ground. Originally carved out to create office space for a geologist, it now provides guests with one master bedroom, living and dining areas, a full kitchen and bathroom with a waterfall shower, and a Jacuzzi, all nestled into 1,700 square feet. Please don’t paint your primitive animal pictures on the walls — that’s just so Cro-Magnon.