Alternative Hotels

Six Hotels in Unlikely Places (Photos)

See the former jam factory turned art hotel and more lodgings with interesting past lives.

Recycling is de rigeur, and no one wants to see a perfectly good historic property go to waste. That (and, of course, the marketing draw) is why you see so many hotels popping up in spaces once used for other purposes, whether primary school or former jam factory. Someday, you might be heading off for a night's rest in a hotel that was once…

 

by Marisa Lascala

727 Fuselage

A Jet-Setting Plane

Hotel Costa Verde 727 Fuselage, Costa Verde, Costa Rica

A Jet-Setting Plane

Hotel Costa Verde transported the shell of an old 1965 Boeing 727 to the jungle—making it look like it "landed" among the treetops. The result is part-hotel suite, part-treehouse.

 

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A Jet-Setting Plane

The now-teak interior is big enough for two bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a dining area, and the spacious balcony offers a toucan's-eye-view of the jungle beyond. We know some travelers find it hard to sleep on planes, but we don't think anyone will have any trouble here.

A Quinta da Auga

A Run-Down Paper Factory

A Quinta da Auga Santiago de Compostela, Spain

A Quinta da Auga

A Run-Down Paper Factory

When the Lorenzo García family found the property that became A Quinta da Auga, it could hardly be called a former paper factory—the site was basically in ruins, with vegetation climbing over the 18th-century stone walls.

A Quinta da Auga

A Run-Down Paper Factory

The hotel today, now a Relais & Châteaux property, boasts 59 guest rooms in the old warehouse, with scenery provided by the river and aqueduct that once powered the paper mill. 

Ahilya Fort

A Centuries-Old Fort

Fort Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, India

Ahilya Fort

A Centuries-Old Fort

Emerging from the stone cliffs above the sacred Narmada River is the Ahilya Fort, built in the mid-18th century for Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar. Today, o'er the ramparts you can watch boats glide down the Narmada courtesy of Prince Richard Holkar, a descendant of both Ahilya Bai Holkar and the last Maharajah of Indore. (He's also an accomplished chef.)

Ahilya Fort

A Centuries-Old Fort

When Holkar started renovating the fort in 2000, it had no running water. Today, though it still retains the impressive exterior of an 18th-century fortification, the inside is posh enough to receive a Relais & Châteaux distinction.

Waldeck Capital LLC

An Augustinian Monestery

Augustine Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic

Waldeck Capital LLC

An Augustinian Monastery

If you want peace and relaxation when you travel, you could do worse than holing up in a place where monks used to meditate. (Actually, there are still monks in residence, but they're now in separate living quarters near the hotel's grounds.)

Waldeck Capital LLC

An Augustinian Monastery

Before undergoing a transformation in 2006, the property was seized from St. Thomas’s Monastery during the Communist era, and then returned following the Velvet Revolution. Other buildings on the grounds also have historical significance, including the St Thomas’s Brewery, which, fittingly, now houses a bar in its stalactite- and stalagmite-filled cellar.

A Jam Factory

The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart, Australia

The Henry Jones Art Hotel

A Jam Factory

As you approach Australia's Henry Jones Art Hotel, you'll see that the sign on the front still says "H. Jones & Co…Jams." Finding the harbor-side location a convenient spot for jam production, George Peacock started his factory in 1861, and, under Henry Jones, one of his employees, the business expanded until it took up nearly the entire block of buildings along the wharf.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel

A Jam Factory

Today, the boilers and canning machinery are gone, and the 56-room property has shifted its focus to art, featuring more than 300 works in the hotel, many created by graduates from the Tasmanian School of Art. 

Hotel Re!

A Primary School

Hotel Re!, Singapore

Hotel Re!

A Primary School

Judging from the cool, mod interior of the Hotel Re!, you'd never guess that this building was the place where schoolteachers once drilled elementary school students on their reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.

 

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Hotel Re!

A Primary School

Not only did the 12-story site used to be the Pearl Hill School, but it had the distinction of being the tallest school in Singapore when it opened in 1972. It remained in operation as a school until 2001. Though the blackboards may be gone, the spirit of the '70s remains in the new, psychedelic décor of the 140-room hotel.

 

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