Time for some more deliciously offbeat properties, and these mark the advent of a whole new trend in hospitality: adventure guesting.
Jumbo Hostel, Arlanda, Sweden (jumbostay.se)
For flyers who can't get enough of the onboard experience, here's a decommissioned, split-level 747 jumbo jet that's been turned into a hotel and parked in Arlanda, a 10-minute drive from Sweden's Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. Each of the 27 rooms comes with a 24-inch flat-screen TV, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The Jumbo Hostel even has its own café (offering a complimentary breakfast buffet), a business center and 161 square feet of event space. Bathrooms are, of course, shared.
Karostas Cietums, Liepaja, Latvia (http://karostascietums.lv/new/en/kassagaida-en.htm)
This prison-turned-hotel, open from October through April, was built in 1900 but really hit its stride during the Soviet era, when a lively melange of revolutionaries, former officers of the tsarist army, deserters from the German Wehrmacht and everyday enemies of the Stalinist regime were incarcerated. The accommodations haven't been prettied-up too much since the jail closed in 1997; guests experience the bare rooms, prison bunks and minimal meals of old (imagine having your own bread-and-water butler!). Management brags that the place is "considered to be even more impressive than the Alcatraz in the USA." More details are buried somewhere in the hotel's torturously translated website.
Parkhotel Bernepark, Bottrop-Ebel, Austria (dasparkhotel.net)
Recipe for a Parkhotel: Take one large drain pipe and an industrial-sized power saw, cut the pipe into sections, close off either end and presto -- it's a guest room! These barrel-like accommodations come with double-wide Eurofoam mattresses on ergonomic slatted frames, tiny night lamps and a 220-volt electric outlet. There are separate communal bathroom/shower facilities on-site.
Capsule Hotel Asakusa River Side, Tokyo (bit.ly/O1yI4k)
Leave it to space-starved Japan to come up with the phenomenon known as the capsule hotel -- essentially storage spaces for people to sleep in and not much else. Indeed, the Capsule Hotel Asakusa River Side gives the above-mentioned Parkhotel Bernepark a run for its money in the claustrophobia department via 140 such capsules, fully air-conditioned, along with gender-specific communal bathrooms (hmm, group commodes seem to be a sub-theme in this List). There's a separate locker for luggage, which helps because otherwise you'd quite literally be living out of your suitcase.
Palacio de Sal, Colchani, Bolivia (palaciodesal.com.bo)
Travelers on a low-sodium diet might want to avoid the Palacio de Sal, whose outer structure, 16 guest rooms and most fixings (chairs, tables, beds, sculptures) are made entirely of salt. But at least here you get a private bathroom, and the property has its own nine-hole golf course (whose surface is entirely you-know-what). In the dining room, try the salt chicken, a specialty of the house.
Source: Meetings & Conventions