THE BLOG
07/29/2014 03:51 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2014

10 Stunning Hotels in Unexpected Places

While cities such as Shanghai, Dubai, and Toronto have long been known for their futuristic-looking hotels, they've hardly cornered the market on cutting-edge properties. These days, some of the world's most innovatively designed accommodations are popping up in less cosmopolitan places, from a national park in Iceland to the misty rain forest of India. Some feature minimalist décor that enhances the natural surroundings, while others offer first-rate amenities in places not typically known for luxury. Either way, these 10 stunning hotels provide memorable experiences in places where you'd least expect to find them.

by Christina Valhouli

  • Fogo Island Inn
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fogo Island InnWhere: Fogo Island, Newfoundland This hotel looks like a cross between a shipping container and a sleek cruise liner, and has a dramatic location on an island off Newfoundland's northeast coast. All 29 suites at Fogo Island Inn have floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the dramatic ocean views. The inn also has a library, cinema, yoga space, and wood-fired rooftop sauna. What's more, Fogo Island Inn is heavily invested in the local community; every piece of furniture and textile was made by hand from a local artisan, and all earnings are reinvested back into the community, which is known for its fishermen and boat building Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Newfoundland Guide
  • Amanoi
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Amanresorts Where: Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam A recent addition to the Aman resort family is located within Vietnam's Nui Chua National Park, with views of rolling hills and the South China Sea. The design at Amanoi has all the modern elements that Aman hotels are known for. Guest rooms are spread out over 31 pavilions and the décor blends contemporary elements with traditional Vietnamese touches. For those who want to stay active, there's a Pilates studio and lakeside yoga pavilion. Amanoi can arrange private tours of Nui Chua National Park or guests can simply relax at the Beach Club. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Vietnam Guide
  • Dunton River Camp
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dunton River CampWhere: Dolores, Colorado Dunton River Camp is the newest outpost from Dunton Hot Springs, a resort that was built on the site of an old ghost town. The River Camp is located about four miles away and has just eight luxury tents on the banks of the Dolores River. The look is contemporary rustic, and guests will be glamping in style thanks to full bathrooms, gas stoves, and hand-woven blankets. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Colorado Guide
  • ION Luxury Adventure Hotel
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of ION Luxury Adventure Hotel Where: Selfoss, Iceland Built from sustainable material and powered by hot water from a geothermal source, the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel offers a truly unique experience an hour from Reykjavík. The hotel's location is ideal for watching the Northern Lights, and the in-house bar is named after this peculiar phenomenon. Lava rocks, waterfalls, and natural hot springs can all be found in the area, or spend your time hiking, horseback riding, fishing, or exploring Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel's Silfra restaurant serves modern Nordic cuisine, such as reindeer burger in a brioche bun or a Nordic club sandwich made with salmon. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Iceland Guide
  • Vivanta by Taj—Madikeri
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Vivanta by Taj - Madikeri, CoorgWhere: Coorg, India The new Vivanta by Taj—Madikeri is the only luxury hotel located in the Coorg region in the southwestern state of Karnataka. This area is known for its rainforests, coffee, and cardamom. The design of the hotel is sleek and sustainable; cottages are painted with organic mud paints and the hand-made roof tiles were repurposed from dismantled houses. The open-air lobby and indoor pool make the most of the misty view, and the guest rooms are modeled after a traditional Coorg home. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's India Guide
  • Refugia Lodge
    Photo Credit: Daniel Corvillon Where: Chiloé, Chile The design inspiration for the new Refugia Lodge is Chiloé's "palafito" homes. As such, one portion of the hotel is built on top of concrete stilts, and the lodge's exterior is made from sustainably harvested wooden shingles. The hotel's unique design is meant to deflect wind coming off the sea as well as maximize the use of natural sunlight with strategically placed windows. Refugia has just 12 rooms, which feature handmade textiles and sea views. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Chiloe Guide
  • Hotel Domestique
    Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC Where: Travelers Rest, South Carolina If you're the kind of person who doesn't like to sit still on vacation, then book a stay at Hotel Domestique. This 13-room modern property, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has a huge selection of bike trails in the area, with routes hand-picked by 17-time Tour de France cycler George Hincapie. To explore the nearby vineyards, guests can rent a high-end Carbon BMC bike for a hosted group ride, or break a sweat at the fitness studio or the pool. The guest room décor is a mix of Mediterranean and modern; rooms have wrought-iron beds, French doors, and soaking tubs to help ease sore muscles. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Greenville Guide
  • The Dean
    Photo Credit: Christian HarderWhere: Providence, Rhode Island Providence is best known for being the home of Brown University, but has recently emerged as a design and foodie hotspot. The city finally has a cool new boutique hotel in the The Dean, a former homeless shelter and gentlemen's club. The hotel is decorated with a mix of vintage and modern pieces, many of which were commissioned by local artists, and there's also an in-house beer garden, coffee bar, and karaoke lounge. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Providence Guide
  • Kura Design Villas
    Photo Credit: Kura Design Villas, Cayuga CollectionWhere: Uvita, Costa Rica Kura Design Villas opened in late 2012 in the heart of Marino Ballena National Park, where the rainforest meets the Pacific. The property has just six open-concept villas, which are made from wood, glass, and concrete. The property is also environmentally friendly; electricity and hot water are solar powered. For unwinding, the hotel has a salt-water infinity pool as well as a spa, but most guests will want to explore the marine park. Kura Design Villas can arrange whale and dolphin-watching tours, or explore a natural water cave at nearby Caño Island. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Costa Rica Guide
  • 21c Museum Hotel
    Photo Credit: Courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel CincinnatiWhere: Cincinnati This hotel is one of the newest outposts of 21c, purveyors of art museum-hotel hybrids. The Cincinnati location is located in the 100-year-old former Metropole Hotel. Many of the Metropole's original features were preserved, including mosaic tile floors and intricate plasterwork, but with updated amenities. The décor is modern and playful, and keep your eyes peeled for yellow penguins scattered around the hotel. The 156 guest rooms at the 21c feature original artwork and a sleek design. The hotel also has 8,000 square feet of exhibition space open to the public at no charge. Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor's Cincinnati Guide

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