Travel lets us escape everyday routines, and these wonderfully weird rentals are no place like home.
Mirrored House, Pittsburgh
An artsy local couple dreamt up this house within the upscale suburb of Fox Chapel. They covered the exterior with reflective surfaces, while the inside of the house features original artwork and, yes, more mirrors. It’s a fitting base for travelers in town to visit the Andy Warhol Museum or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece (90 minutes by car). One reviewer says: “Staying with Martin was a lesson in living. Every detail of his home communicates a passion for art and design, and my short stay was a chance to realign my own aspirations for home life.” How many vacation rentals can be so transformative? $165 per night with a two-night minimum; airbnb.com
Survival Cave, Tarancón, Spain
About 4.5 miles from the tiny Spanish town of Belinchón (population 376), this cavernous retreat is for travelers who truly aspire to get away from it all—including electricity and running water. To their credit, Airbnb hosts Lucía and Paloma are pretty direct about the rental’s lack of amenities. The property description reads: “Enjoy a simple holiday! … If you succeed, you will be a real survivor.” Looks like no one’s taken them up on the challenge yet…or at least endured to tell the tale. The Survival Cave has zero reviews.$49 per night with a two-night minimum; airbnb.com
Hello Kitty Apartment, Kunming, China
Near the Chinese metropolis of Kunming, known as the City of Eternal Spring for its idyllic climate and gorgeous flowers, awaits one cute—and cultish—vacation rental. Fans of the Hello Kitty brand have a reputation for being hard-core enthusiasts, inspiring branded items ranging from slow cookers and electric guitars to EVA Air’s Hello Kitty jet. Invented by the Japanese company Sanrio in 1974, Hello Kitty now rakes in $5 billion a year. So it’s no surprise, really, that someone would deck out an entire apartment with the pink pop icon. $28 per night; roomorama.com
Concrete Boombox, Kehena, HI
Hawaii’s Kehena Beach is known for its black sand, lava, frequent dolphin-sightings, and an unofficial “clothing optional” policy.But that’s not where the exotic attractions end. The beach is also the site of one of the most unusual vacation rentals around: a two-bedroom concrete home shaped like, well, a 1990s-era boom box. Featuring panoramic windows so that guests can enjoy the gasp-inducing views from everywhere in the house, it’s the ultimate beach getaway. $175 per night with a three-night minimum;homeaway.com
The Boot, Tasman, New Zealand
Straight out of a Dr. Seuss illustration, The Boot is a private bed and breakfast located within a short drive of New Zealand’s best wineries, beaches, and famed Abel Tasman Park. Reviewers frequently laud owners Judy and Steve for their attentive hosting skills, as well as the quirky architecture. Guests enjoy many components of the quintessential B&B experience, such as chocolates on the pillows and breakfast delivered straight to the door. According to Judy and Steve, The Boot offers “complete privacy for a truly romantic getaway.” At the very least, it’s a chance to knock boots in, well, a giant boot. $221 per night; 9flats.com
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