Looking for something out of the ordinary for your next holiday? Here is our top 10 of the most unusual places to stay. Take your pick.

1. The Ice Hotel, Sweden

Consistently getting top scores in readers' surveys, the Ice Hotel is the coolest hotel around (literally). Built afresh every December with ice from the River Thorne in northern Sweden, and featuring specially commissioned artwork each year, this fairytale hotel is a very romantic retreat (you sleep on ice blocks covered in reindeers skins), if you can face the sub-zero temperatures in the rooms. There is an ice bar, a wedding chapel and more traditional cabins for those who don't like to be quite so chilled. Go now: with the impact of global warming, the option of staying at this amazing hotel might not be with us for long. (website: www.icehotel.com)

2. The Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Garish but great fun, The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is the mother of all themed hotels. It boasts 109 rooms, every one of them individually decorated. Try the Caveman Room, all rock and animal prints, or the Bridal Falls, which features a huge stained glass window and a massive waterfall shower. There is a room with a stuffed buffalo head hanging above the bed, and one with a miniature mill structure. The Madonna Suite is another extravagant option, although newly-weds might prefer the aptly named Just Heaven or Cloud Nine rooms. For those not staying, dinner in the completely over-the-top bright pink Steakhouse is the next best thing. Some of it is a bit dated now (the hotel opened over 45 years ago), and it's not exactly what you would call good taste, but there is no doubt the designers had a ball working on this one. (website: www.madonnainn.com)

3. Hydropolis, Dubai, UAE

Think of hotels in the UAE and quite a few superlatives will spring to mind. This tiny Gulf country is home to some of the world's most spectacular hotels: there is the Burj al Arab, the only 7-star hotel in the world; The Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel ever built; and (currently under construction) the Burj Dubai, which will be, when completed, the tallest skyscraper on earth. Hydropolis, the world's first underwater resort, however, promises to be in a class of its own. Inspired by Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, it is a huge engineering achievement, and the ultimate underwater fantasy for the 21st century. (website: www.crescent-hydropolis.com)

4. The Witchery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Located in a historic building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, The Witchery (so named because of the many hundred who burned as witches on the Castlehill in the 16th and 17th centuries) is the perfect place for a romantic weekend away. ‘Theatrical', ‘gothic', ‘decadent', ‘sexy', ‘magical'... There is no shortage of adjectives to describe this atmospheric hotel, which has won a host of awards. The rooms are all lavishly decorated, with warm oaks and rich velvets featuring prominently, and each houses unique antique pieces. The bathrooms too have to be seen to be believed: the one in the Old Rectory boasts gothic ceilings, marble floors and a bathtub for two. Be warned though: there are only seven suites and they get booked up months in advance. (website: www.thewitchery.com/accom.html)

5. The Asakusa Capsule Hotel, Tokyo, Japan

Unique to Japan, capsule hotels offer businessmen who have missed their last train home a place to crash for a few hours before going back to work. They are not for the claustrophobic - you sleep in a capsule averaging 1m by 1m by 2m (3ft by 3ft by 6ft) alongside another 20 or 30 people, whom you will hear cough, snore or shout in their sleep. The capsules are surprisingly comfy though. Just remember to switch your mobile off and leave your smelly trainers in your locker. The Asakusa Capsule Hotel in Tokyo is one of only a handful that accept women.

6. Fur'n'Feathers, Queensland, Australia

Stay in a tree house for a few days. Located on the Atherton Tableland in Northern Queensland, only 90 minutes from Cairns, Fur'n'Feathers is a 100-acre private eco wildlife sanctuary hidden in the middle of the rainforest. Lush vegetation and a fantastic array of Australian animals draw wildlife enthusiasts, who come here to spot the weird looking platypus and the elusive cassowary, as well as possums, tree frogs, tree kangaroos, bandicoots, parrots and more. (website: www.rainforesttreehouses.com.au)

7. Gamirasu Hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey

It can get hot in Cappadocia in summer, and bitterly cold in winter. The answer to these extremes of temperature? Go under. The locals have been living in cave houses for centuries: insulated by volcanic rock, the rooms, carved in the cliffs, are a pleasant 17-20°C (62-68°F) year round. The Gamirasu Hotel near Urgup is an exquisitely restored 18-room cave house located in a former Byzantine monastic retreat (part of the hotel was used by Christian monks until recently): just make sure you don't get lost in this underground warren if you've had a few drinks with your meal. (website: www.gamirasu.com)

8. The Shady Dell, Bisbee, Arizona, USA

Fancy a step back in time? Rewind back to the 1950s at the Shady Dell in Bisbee, Arizona. This trailer park opened in 1927 to cater for travellers of Highway 80, which stretched from San Diego to Savannah. And 80 years on, the same old retro trailers are still there, shiny chrome and all, for the delight of vintage fans. Some even have original black-and-white TV sets and phonographs with a selection of vintage records, and there is also a 1957 Valentine 10-stool diner on site. (website: www.theshadydell.com)

9. The Fox Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark

Trendy types on a budget will love the Fox Hotel in Copenhagen. Staying here is a bit like being locked in an art gallery after hours. Decorated by a group of 21 young artists who were pretty much given carte blanche, the hotel's rooms have been furnished in different ways and with different styles - there is one inspired by a 1960s thriller, for example, while another has been decorated in the Japanese Manga style. (website: www.hotelfox.dk)

10. Celica Hostel, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Celica might be a hostel, but is fast becoming one of the most popular bedding options in Ljubljana. The former military barracks, built during the reign of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were occupied by various military forces for over a century before being demilitarised after Slovenia's independence in 1992. A group of local artists then took over and did the place up. The 20 prison cells do have bars on the windows and doors, although the staff are a lot friendlier than the warders of yore, and you are free to escape any time to check out the sights of the picture-perfect Slovene capital. (website: www.souhostel.si)

Photo credits:
(From top to bottom)
Main photo © ICEHOTEL, The Helices, Doug Meerdink & David E Scott
© The Madonna Inn
© The Witchery
© Fur'n'Feathers
© Gamirasu
© Shady Dell
© Fox Hotel
© Celica

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.