The 20 Most Unique Hotels In The US (Bucket List Hotels)

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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Whether you’re looking for weird and wacky ranches, themed places to stay, beautiful eco-lodges, or just downright stunning design hotels with a quirky edge, you can find them in America.

So, with such a large area to explore, how can you find the best and different places to stay in the USA? Well, here are the 20 most unique hotels in the US. Let’s dive in and find out more!

The 20 Most Unique Hotels In The US

1. Great Wolf Lodge – Leominster, Massachusetts

Great Wolf Lodge New England Image by:

Family-friendly spots don’t come much better than this unique hotel in Massachusetts! With a water park, treehouse-style climbing walkways, bowling alleys, and more, Great Wolf Lodge is the ideal place to let your inner child out.

Each suite and room is themed after an animal or an outdoorsy vibe, so despite the family-centric chaos outside, you can feel like you’re getting the woodland cabin or mountain lodge experience at the same time.


Book here!

2. Amangiri – Lake Powell, Utah

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So many people talk about designing with their surroundings in mind, but the luxury Amangiri Hotel takes it to a whole new level. Located in the heart of the Utah desert and with sand tones throughout the design, it feels like you’re at one with the landscape.

It’s a stunning place, but it’s not super cheap. You can choose from the minimalist suites or opt for the tented pavilions for more of a nature and adventurous vibe. The best thing about Amangiri is the tailored wellness experiences that are designed to recharge your batteries and get you back in touch with nature.


Book here!

3. Hotel McCoy – Tucson, Arizona

Hotel McCoy – Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine Image by:

If you love mid-century modern design and want to be surrounded by beautiful artwork then look no further than the Hotel McCoy in Tucson, Arizona. With a distinctive retro aesthetic, you feel like you’re being transported back in time.

Chill by the saltwater pool, take advantage of all the lawn games on offer, or sit back and listen to some live music in the evening. There are murals everywhere here, so make sure to bring your camera!


Book here!

4. Gaylord Palms and Convention Center – Orlando, Florida

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center Image by:

Can you get more Floridian than having live alligators in your hotel? Well, that’s exactly what the Gaylord Palms and Convention Center offers in central Orlando. If you love wildlife, then the partnership that this hotel has with Wild Florida, especially with their talks and animal interaction events is going to make this the perfect unique US hotel for you!

If you love themed hotels, then the fact that the Gaylord Palms has a giant ship in the atrium with pirate and princess shows, and a huge water park, is going to be a bonus. So, if you want a quirky, family-friendly hotel in Orlando but don’t want to splurge on Disney, this is the place for you.


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5. Liberty Hotel – Boston, Massachusetts

The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston Image by:

Ever wondered what it’s like to spend a night in prison without having to actually go to prison? Liberty Hotel in Boston is actually a former prison that has been lovingly converted into a luxury hotel. In fact, one of the most famous former inmates of this prison was Malcolm X!

Despite all the gorgeous interiors and mod-cons, the Liberty retains some of the original features like some of the cell bars to remind visitors of the hotel’s storied past. There are also nods to this in the name of the popular restaurant, Clink, and the cocktail bar, Alibi.


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6. Treebones Resort – Big Sur, California

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Want to make the most of beautiful Big Sur’s natural bounty? Well, consider checking into the Treebones Resort. Made up predominantly of gorgeous yurts with amazing views, this low-key and chilled-out glamping resort is ideal for all ages.

If you prefer having actual walls, check out their Tiny House which has some of the best Pacific Views on the resort. With two onsite restaurants, one of which is an omakase sushi restaurant, you barely have to leave the resort to have an amazing time!


Book here!

7. Out’n’About Treehouses Treesort – Takilma, Oregon

Out’n’About Treehouses Treesort – Takilma, Oregon Image by:

Known as having the “biggest concentration of tree houses in the world”, according to the owner Michael Garnier, Out’n’About Tree Houses Tree resort is the biggest and best place to stay in the Pacific Northwest if you love hanging about in forests and being high above the ground.

This place is all about having fun in the great outdoors. Their ‘activitrees’ include zip lines, swings, rafting, horseback riding, and much more. With their tallest tree house, the Majestree, sitting 47 feet off the ground, this is not for people with vertigo, but it is a whole lot of fun for the whole family.


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8. Sheldon Chalet – Denali National Park, Alaska

Sheldon Chalet, Denali National Park, Alaska Image by:

Just because somewhere is unique, it doesn’t mean to be weird or quirky. The Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park is simply stunning and unlike anything anywhere else in the world. This remote but luxurious chalet is an all-inclusive wonderland and even includes a private helicopter transfer to and from the lodge.

Everything about this chalet is designed to celebrate Alaskan nature. From the panoramic views of the mountains to the focus on local Alaskan ingredients from the chefs, everything here is a testament to this beautiful state.


Book here!

9. Beckham Creek Cave – Buffalo River Valley, Arkansas

Beckham Creek Cave – Buffalo River Valley, Arkansas Image by:

Fancy staying in a luxurious cave complex in the Ozark Mountains? Beckham Creek Cave is going to be right up your street. With over 280 acres of land and spiraling subterranean rooms and corridors, this truly is one of the most unique hotels in the US.

Built directly into this natural cavern, this is the ultimate place to stay if you love being surrounded by nature, but also want to have all your modern amenities close to hand. There’s also unparalleled privacy on the site with secluded grounds for you to explore.


Book here!

10. Hix Island House – Puerto Rico

Hix Island House – Puerto Rico Image by:

Rising up out of the beautiful greenery of Puerto Rico is a concrete behemoth that is so effortlessly cool and stylish that it needs to be seen to be believed. This sustainable wonderland was lovingly designed by the architect John Hix and takes advantage of the natural sunlight and warmth of the island.

With four villas to choose from, each with unique design flairs, but very much in the minimalist style, you can have your pick of the bunch. There are also yoga sessions available in the designated yoga and pilates pavilion to help you reset and unwind.


Book here!

11. Jules’ Undersea Lodge – Key Largo, Florida

Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Florida Image by:

Are you an avid scuba diver or want to get your PADI license and stay in a quirky hotel at the same time? Jule’s Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida is the ideal place for you. If you can’t dive yet, the guys here have developed a 24-hour PADI instruction course that ends with your overnight stay in the underwater lodge.

One of the coolest things about this place, apart from being able to see all the marine life, is that the team will actually deliver pizza to your underwater lodge! I’d like to see Uber Eats beat that!


Book here!

12. Joshua Tree Acres – Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree Acres, Joshua Tree National Park, CA Image by:

Looking to get off the grid and recharge your batteries? Joshua Tree Acres offers exactly that as it’s made up of a series of gorgeous air streams in the middle of the stunning Joshua Tree National Park. Each with its own deck and charming amenities, you can chill out, surrounded by natural beauty.

If you’re after some more space, the most recent addition to the Joshua Tree Acres is the JT Villager, a small cabin that harks back to 1947 and has been lovingly restored. It was actually one of just a handful of homes in the national park, so it’s a beautiful historic place to stay.


Book here!

13. The Madonna – San Luis Obispo, California

Madonna Inn Image by:

Commonly featured as one of the most unique hotels in the US, The Madonna in San Luis Obispo is a central Californian icon. When it opened in 1958, it was a small boutique hotel with just 12 rooms and now it’s a sprawling and quirky complex of 110 rooms and suites.

The cool thing about The Madonna is that no two rooms are the same. Every room is individually themed and completely different, meaning that you can find the perfect vibe to suit your personality. Some of them are completely out there and super bright and colorful, so be careful when you choose your room!


Book here!

14. The Frying Pan Tower – North Carolina

The Frying Pan Tower – North Carolina Image by:

Located 32 miles off the coast of North Carolina, you’ll find a huge tower, affectionately called The Frying Pan Tower. As a former safety post for mariners, the tower is now a research center and eco-tourism hub, helping to educate and learn more about the Atlantic Waters in the area.

The eco-tourism package allows you to stay on the tower, enjoy amazing sunsets, hit golf balls off the roof, snorkel, fish, and sunbathe on the helipad. This is not an adventure for people afraid of heights or open water, but it’s definitely one of the most unique hotel experiences in the US.


Book here!

15. Jackson Hole Hideout – Wilson, Wyoming

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Could we have a list of the most unique hotels in the US and not feature a tree house hotel? Jackson Hole Hideout is the perfect collection of interlocking tree houses and rope bridges, bringing out the big kid in every traveler.

As one of the outdoor meccas of the US and located just minutes from the mountain town of Jackson Hole, this is an adventurer’s paradise! Jackson Hole Hideout also offers a variety of specialized retreats including a yoga and spa retreat, and a culinary retreat that highlights the local, organic produce of the area!


Book here!

16. Idaho Potato Hotel – Boise, Idaho

Big Idaho Potato Hotel Image by: Idaho Potato Hotel

Okay, so this is going to sound like a joke, but it definitely isn’t. Located just outside of Boise, Idaho, is the Idaho Potato Hotel. Yep, you read that right. You can stay in a building shaped and painted to look like a potato, the people of Idaho love them so much.

Originally created for the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour, this insane potato has been converted into a hotel room with a queen-sized bed and a small lounge area. In an adjoining building, you can find a bathroom and even spa facilities. This is such a mad place, that it can only exist in America.


Book here!

17. The Wigwam Motel – San Bernadino, California

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Taking on your very own Route 66 road trip? Well, nestled alongside this iconic stretch of highway is The Wigwam Motel, just outside San Bernadino in California. Towering high, you can see these conical structures for miles, and is definitely a unique place to stay in the US.

However, these aren’t your traditional canvas wigwams. These are genuine little rooms with walls and all, shaped like Native American tents. Inside each one, you’ll find cable TV, comfortable beds, and even a mini fridge!


Book here!

18. The Hobo Inn – Mount Rainier, Washington

The Hobo Inn Image by:

There are some weird and wonderful stays on this list, and The Hobo Inn certainly makes the cut. Located in Elbe, Washington near the gorgeous Mount Rainier National Park, The Hobo Inn is made up of a series of abandoned train cars, all painted in different colors.

With a dedicated dining car that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks, it’s an ideal spot if you’re spending all day hiking and don’t want to stroll into town afterward. It’s not high luxury, but it’s quirky and fun, and a great base for exploring one of the best US national parks.


Book here!

19. El Cosmico – Marfa, Texas

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Want to get those hippy desert vibes with cool accommodation, yoga on tap, and just general good vibes? Well, El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, between Austin and El Paso, is going to give you just that. With accommodation that varies from air streams to wigwams to yurts to safari tents and tiny cabins, every stay here is unique and different.

Spanning 21 acres of desert camping ground, El Cosmico can often feel like a fun summer camp with events on like DJ sets, mind-body workshops, and boozy bingo. So, whether you’re looking to hang out with like-minded people or sit back in a hammock or hot tub and relax, this place has you covered.


Book here!

20. Red Caboose Motel – Ronks, Pennsylvania

Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant Image by:

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the historic railroad culture of Pennsylvania, there’s no better place to do so than at the Red Caboose Motel in Ronks. Welcoming visitors since 1970, there are now 38 cabooses to choose from, each with its own distinct vibe.

There’s also a mall car where you buy gifts to commemorate your stay and an on-site restaurant. If you’re looking for a train-themed event space, there’s also a huge converted barn that’s hosted weddings, with families staying in the various cabooses afterward.


Book here!

About The Author

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, drink, and adventure. She specializes in budget and adventure travel content and can usually be found climbing some rocks, eating some tacos, or waiting around at the nearest airport. Her best budget travel achievement was spending a weekend in Paris with Roland Garros tickets for under £150, although she's always on the lookout for even better adventure and travel deals! If you want to keep up with her next adventure, check out her website at Wandering and Wine.

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Picture of Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, drink, and adventure. She specializes in budget and adventure travel content and can usually be found climbing some rocks, eating some tacos, or waiting around at the nearest airport.

Her best budget travel achievement was spending a weekend in Paris with Roland Garros tickets for under £150, although she's always on the lookout for even better adventure and travel deals!

If you want to keep up with her next adventure, check out her website at Wandering and Wine.

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