Douar Samra, Atlas Mountains

5 beautifully quirky places to stay

Abbazia Di San Pietro in Valle

Are you looking for a hotel with a difference? Somewhere with personality and character? We’ve put together a list of five beautifully quirky places to stay around the world…

The Train Station Inn, Nova Scotia

The Train Station Inn, Nova Scotia

Built in 1887 by the Intercolonial Railway, Tatamagouche Station is one of the most unusual places on our fabulous top five. So how did a Canadian railway station turn into a very individual inn? The passenger service through Tatamagouche ended in 1960 and was scheduled for demolition in 1973. Aged just 18, James LeFresne decided to purchase the station and save it from demolition. Restoration began in 1987 and in 1989 the station re-opened as the Train Station Inn. In 1990 James was awarded entrepreneur of the year and in 2006 the Train Station Inn was awarded the number 1 spot of the top 10 most unique places to stay in Canada. The converted station is full of original, restored features – breakfast is served in the ladies’ waiting room! The 1928 dining car is open daily for lunch and dinner. The inn comprises of seven converted railway carriages, each with their own bathroom and individual charm reflecting the time period. The caboose carriages offer a totally unique bed and breakfast experience.

Lofoten Cottages, Lofoten Islands

Lofoten Cottages, Norway

These traditional converted Norwegian fishermen’s cottages are set on the scenic Lofoten Islands. The bright red fishermen’s cottages were used by fishermen when landing their catch and had space for simple lodgings. Now fully renovated to include modern necessities such as central heating and fully fitted kitchens, they are perfectly located to explore the stunning Lofoten Islands. Some of the cottages are constructed on stilts and offer truly breath-taking views over the seashore.

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Douar Samra, Atlas Mountains

Douar Samra, Atlas Mountains

This village hotel is set in a secluded mountain hamlet and was built with the help of villagers. It offers an authentic taste of Moroccan mountain life. The main house has no electricity, but the open fires and abundance of candles create a magical atmosphere. Each of the 8 bedrooms have their own individual character and all have en-suite showers. Rustically stylish, and decorated with colourful locally produced furnishings. Perfectly located for walking holidays in the beautiful Atlas Mountains.

Palacio Del BailÍo, Andalucia

Palacio Del Bailio

This luxury 5-star period hotel dates back to the 16th and 18th Centuries. Built on the site of a Roman villa this character-filled hotel perfectly blends traditional Moorish style with contemporary design. The Roman ruins can be seen through the glass floor built into the lounge and courtyard. The garden filled with citrus trees and rare plants is the ideal place to relax and unwind. The impressive carved Moorish gates welcome you and the mixture of marble corridors, Tuscan inspired murals and spa built around the old Roman baths make it a truly unusual and sumptuous hotel.

Abbazia Di San Pietro in Valle, Umbria

Abbazia Di San Pietro in Valle

Converted from an 8th Century Benedictine abbey this hotel boasts 12th Century murals and bell-tower. The simple bedrooms are set around the two-story cloisters within the magnificent San Pietro abbey. Situated in Umbria, with stunning views over the valley, the hotel garden offers fabulous panoramic views. The hotel is run by the Constanzi family and they have created a serene atmosphere in this beautiful building and stayed true to the abbey’s spiritual past and embraced it, from the terracotta floors to the stone walls and high wooden ceilings.

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

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