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10 of the Weirdest Vacation Rental Properties That Are Actually Affordable Enough to Stay At

There are conventional rentals, and then there are rentals so breathtakingly unique, they'll make you gasp and squeal with glee.
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Publish date:
October 24, 2016
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vacation, weird, airbnb

Our world is chock-full of ineffable creations, both man-made and natural. We get it—it's a colossal world out there, so massive that it can deem daunting when deciding what international destinations to visit in the course of a lifetime (not to mention your fragile bank account).

Don't let indecision get you down; we've whittled down some glorious lodging options for you to check off your vacation to-plan list. After all, there are conventional rentals, and then there are rentals so breathtakingly unique, they'll make you gasp and squeal with glee. You can opt for big hotels, small inns, or shady motels, but when it comes to travel accommodations, no travel agency can trump these unique (and affordable) web directories available throughout the world.

Ahead, we've scoured every option to pinpoint some of the coolest, quirkiest, and all-around awesome rental listings. You'll want to spend a night in each and every one, just for kicks. From glamorous treehouses to magical seashells and extravagant igloos, here are ten posh rentals we're adding to our bucket lists stat.

1. Seashell House

Built using everything from a traditional concrete foundation to recycled materials, the "Conch House" must surely be one of the most enchanting residences on the glamorous tropical island of Isla Mujeres—if not the world. If you're looking for accommodations that are particularly unusual (not to mention Instagram-worthy), the Seashell House is a whitewashed, curvilinear villa in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and it's looks just like, well, an actual seashell. If that fact itself isn't fun enough, the inside is shaped like the actual inside of a seashell too (we predict it's probably pretty echoey). Take the round staircase up to the master bedroom, which boasts glorious views of the Caribbean sea. After all, nothing speaks "romantic getaway" more than 180-degree panoramic views of the crystalline ocean.

2. Safari Tree House

There are tree houses, and then there are tree houses. This house lands solidly in the latter category, situated in the center of the African Bush. Located on a wildlife preserve, the wood and thatch tree house is elevated so you'll get a one-of-a-kind view of the surrounding wildlife. Since it is literally in the middle of a wildlife reserve, giraffes, zebra, impala, birds, and buffalo will wander freely around and under the tree house (so be careful when you step out of the house). Watch the passing animals from the treehouse or take a stroll to the lodge building to observe the watering hole. You can even enjoy the stars in the private boma after you cooking on the fire, but no worries; the kitchen is large and fully equipped with everything you need.

3. Igloo Village

Why it's awesome: Remember that snow fort your dad built you back in the day? This is better. Experience world famous glass igloos in a frosty setting that would make even Santa jealous. You'll be treated to warm memories around the fire, but you better be close with your travel partners, because you'll all sleep in one big bed. Their frozen units come complete with winter sleeping bags and faux fur blankets to ensure maximum comfort. Sure, it might be a little chilly, but when it all comes down to it, a base Patagonia coat will almost always do the trick. After all, one rarely gets the opportunity to sleep in a bona-fide structure made entirely of ice.

4. Wine Barrel

For dedicated wine enthusiasts, this is quite literally a dream come true. A farm in northern Germany is attracting hundreds of guests with a passion for ale after converting huge wine barrels into beds. That's right; all barrels are equipped with double beds and individual bathrooms. The wonderful cluster of giant wine rooms overlooks vineyards and sections of the verdant Black Forest. Named after the kind of wine that was stored in each of the enormous oak barrels, these 19th-century suds receptacles have been producing brews that helped people pass out for decades. What better way to sleep off your hangover?

5. Cube House

For fans of the Rubik's cube, this riveting yellow house in the center of Rotterdam awaits. The Cubic Houses are an intriguing (and revolutionary) architectural wonder located in the Netherlands. They were conceived and constructed by architect Piet Blom in the 1970s when he was asked by Rotterdam town planners to solve the dilemma of building houses on top of a pedestrian bridge. The kooky space is spread over three floors and accommodates up to four people, with a cozy box room at the top that offers epic 360-degree views. Structurally, the cubes sit tilted on a hexagonal pole and are made up of concrete floors, concrete pillars, and wooden framing. Aside from the uniqueness of the asymmetrical design, the cubic houses are meant to represent an abstract forest. If you want to experience a taste of the city life as well, Amsterdam is less than an hour away by train.

6. Bubble Under The Stars

Why stay in a tent when you can stay in a transparent bubble under the stars? Stargaze like never before in this bubble lodging that offers unrivaled views of the starry sky. Nestled within the French countryside, the space accommodates up to two people. Surrounded by fields and forests, and with unobstructed views of the sky, this out-of-the-norm retreat promises peace and quiet—and imagine the romantic possibilities! For $170 a night, outdoor buffs can enjoy a stay in the bubble room (made from transparent plastic) and soak up stunning scenery, natural beauty, and astronomy. The bed is literally located inside the spacious bubble so guests can fall asleep surrounded by the stars, and there is a private bath with a Jacuzzi in the attached enclosure.

7. Dog House

You want cute and quirky, you got cute and quirky. You can now head to Idaho and take a nap in a giant freakin' dog. To be quite honest, this bizarre, beagle-shaped B&B inn in Cottonwood, Idaho, is worth visiting for the LOLs alone. Located at the edge of Cottonwood in rural Idaho, expansive views of prairie grain fields and surrounding mountains are spectacular at any time of year. There are oodles of outdoor activities (horseback riding, jet-boat tours, etc.) nearby, and the owners are happy to provide recommendations to guests. You can even cozy up with selections from their library of books, games, and puzzles—many of which are dog themed. Naturally, dogs are welcome to stay, too.

8. The Boot B&B

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn't know what to do. OK not really, but this boot does invite you to enjoy a fairytale experience of soleful relaxation in the quiet luxury of The Boot. Nestled within a grove of hazelnut trees, The Boot opens onto a private courtyard surrounded by a fragrant garden. Guests are welcome to wander the paths of the 2.4 hectare garden during their stay, and seasonal organic fruit is available from the orchard. Situated in the heart of the Tasman region, the Boot offers the ideal setting for unwinding from the hectic hubbub of life and sparking up some magical romance.

9. Glass Treehouse

If you're craving nature and want to return to your childhood roots, this structural glass treehouse is for you. Architect designed and built, the steel body is tucked into a group of mature hardwood trees. This is a far cry from the treehouses you used to play in as a kid; this impressive glass structure right outside Florence offers undisturbed views of the Tuscan landscape from the comfort of your queen-size bed. The transparent home blends in with its surroundings and acts as a lookout for contemplation and peaceful solitude. There's also a small kitchenette, en suite bathroom, and a private outdoor terrace.

10. Gingerbread House

Headed to Maui? If you're a fan of the famous Russian bedtime story Hansel and Gretel, this gem is sure to blow your mind. If you want a magical spin on your tropical escapade, consider crashing in this gorgeous garden cottage, where Jimi Hendrix reportedly stayed during his travels in the '70s. Recently remodeled, it is lined with cedar on the inside so it smells utterly delightful when you walk in (like a real gingerbread house)! Set on 4.5 acres of land, it boasts a vegetable farm, fruit trees, and a stream. Don't worry—while The Brothers Grimm story held an evil grandmother, the hosts of this site are absolutely lovely (and do not lure children to cook and eat them).

This post originally appeared on instyle.com: 10 of the Most Bizarre Vacation Rental Properties You'll Ever SeeOther stories from InStyle you might be into: