7 pads so unusual and spectacular they don’t even seem real 

You’re not dreaming. Pearl-white cave houses overlooking the Aegean, medieval mansions with secret rooms, and villas built in the middle of the ocean really do exist—and you can stay there. Discover seven unbelievably spectacular and unusual properties that are destinations in themselves. These spots definitely belong on your list of places to stay before you shuffle off that mortal coil. Some of them are on the pricier side (they are, after all, astonishing), but they become way more affordable if you book ‘em with a group. We don’t think you’ll have much trouble finding recruits.

The Island Rock Villa in Honduras

When you need a break from the human race, there’s no better spot than a rock in the middle of the ocean. Rising above the water on Dunbar Rock, this fully staffed villa is a diver’s paradise … and a haven for anyone who just needs some space. An on-site dive crew guides guests through the glass-clear waters surrounding the property, where colorful coral reefs and ocean life abound. (Dive boats depart from the rock multiple times a day.) Guided dives, meals, and even unlimited drinks from the open bar are included in the rate. And of course, every bedroom in this spectacular house has a water view.


An ancient palace in Positano

This opulent hilltop manse was built by a wealthy sea merchant in the 18th century. Exquisitely preserved historical details—including original frescoes, antique tiles, and terracotta floors—are complemented by modern amenities such as glass-enclosed showers, a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, and a swimming pool overlooking the Amalfi Coast. The views—like the artwork—are downright priceless.


A Zen dome home in Sedona

If your dream is to inhabit an airy eco-friendly abode amidst nature and sunshine, we have an idea: Pack some Birkenstocks and escape to the Arizona desert, where a soaring geodesic dome offers a serene Sedona base. Take in heart-stopping red rock views from the deck (reached via a spiral staircase), the sun room, or the big triangular windows inside the dome. Nearby hiking trails bordered by juniper and cactus invite peaceful desert adventures.

 

A medieval manor in the countryside

Harry Potter has nothing on this impossibly romantic estate in Hereford, England. Surrounded by an authentic moat and 800 acres of wild woodlands, this beautiful ancient mansion is an unparalleled destination for enthusiasts of history, magic, and medieval adventures. Oak floors, vaulted and beamed ceilings, stained-glass windows, a magnificent banquet hall, and even secret doors evoke a dreamy bygone era. Corsets, cloaks, and codpieces not included in the rates.


A glass Spa House by the bay

Relax and say “spaahh” at this ultra-luxe Cape Town architectural gem, where even the most burnt-out workaholic is sure to find a bit of bliss. This light-filled modern house was literally built for relaxation. A turquoise infinity pool rests below a breathtaking mountain backdrop, and an underwater (below the pool) Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and massage room promise plenty of opportunities to soothe your soul.

Skyward paradise in Santorini

Your Instagram account will never be the same once you’ve captured this otherworldly abode carved from a cave. A stunning Jacuzzi and walled balcony afford one of the most picturesque views on the planet: The famous sunset over the Aegean as seen from lofty Oia. (If it’s not on your bucket list, get a pen.) The home’s cloud-white cave walls framing the azure sea and sky remind us of heaven. Book a stay with your favorite angels for the perfect escape.


A historical Trullo home in Puglia

Trulli are old stone conical homes found only in the Puglia region of Italy. Most of these structures were built in the 19th century, and today, they’re protected by UNESCO World Heritage law. Book a stay in one of these historical treasures for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This wonderfully preserved trullo house is surrounded by gardens (from which you’re welcome to pick ingredients). In true Italian style, there’s even an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven. Mangia!

 


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