Who doesn’t love to pamper themselves with the finer things in life? When we think of plush accommodations, we often picture opulent exteriors in upscale locations.  But wouldn’t it be nice to add a little pizzazz to your typical luxury getaway? What do you think of dining in a medieval castle, drinking wine on your private yacht, or sleeping under the stars in an igloo?  Here are five luxurious but uncommon escapes you should check out on your next holiday.

Medieval Ashford castle in Ireland

Holidays in a Castle in Ireland

Cottages are homey, and 5-star hotels are divine, but nothing captures the imagination like castles. There’s no better place to experience life like royalty than in beautiful Ireland. Over 30,000 castles and castle ruins define the Emerald Isle’s landscape. Some castles overlook raging rivers, a few cling to seaside cliffs, and others tower over towns and cities. But if you are looking for one where you can luxuriate like a king or queen (or ghost hunt or pretend to slay dragons), Ireland has those, too. Loads of them. And most come with a fascinating history and superbly beautiful grounds that you can explore.

Want some next-level luxury? Check out Ashford Castle, Dromoland Castle, or Lough Eske Castle, with their award-winning spas, world-class dining experience, and spectacular suites and staterooms. Some add a personal touch to luxury. At Wilton Castle, the owner delightfully swaps tales with visitors, and at Crom Castle, you can expect the 7th Earl of Erne to open the doors when you arrive. Why not take it a step further and be the master of your own castle? If you fancy that idea, check out the self-catering Clomantagh Castle.

Other notable castles include Blackwater Castle, where Michael Jackson and Sir Walter Raleigh once stayed; Ballynahinch Castle, set in 700-acres of woodland, rivers, and scenic trails; and Gosford Castle, which appeared as Riverrun in the Game of Thrones series.

Relax in Overwater Accommodation in the Maldives

Relax in Overwater Accommodation in the Maldives

Surrounded by clear turquoise waters, the luxury water bungalows in the Maldives are the stuff postcards are made of and the perfect setting for afternoon naps on a hammock or cocktail evenings under the stars. Imagine having your own jacuzzi, all-day access to an infinity pool, a wrap-around terrace, a sundeck, and a cocktail bar.

If you think water villas are a little too laid-back for your fast-paced fancies, think again. As serene as they look, many bungalows aren’t made for lazing all day. Whenever you feel the craving for some marine adventure, grab your snorkel and plunge right into the dazzling blue sea. How about gliding down the steep water slide from your room directly to the lagoon or watching sea turtles and different species of fish swim underneath your bungalow?

Ice Hotel in Sorrisniva, Norway

Stargaze in an Igloo in Norway

Probably the only thing more magical than watching the aurora borealis is viewing it from the comfort of your own igloo. But whether or not you see the dancing lights, sleeping in a suite built entirely of snow and ice is in itself an experience of a lifetime. How cool is that?

Aside from traditional igloos, there are those made of glass. These structures feature 180-degrees of floor-to-ceiling crystal clear windows, which provide an unhindered view of the skies and stars. Norway’s Snowhotel in Kirkenes is open all year round, and you can enjoy a fascinating igloo experience even in the height of summer when the surrounding landscape turns from silvery white to hues of green. The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, set on the banks of the Alta River, offers plenty of outdoor excursions as well.

Get on a husky sled or snowmobile and discover the wonders of the arctic landscape. Experience king crab fishing, hike the pine-covered mountains, or forage for wild berries. After a long day, soak in an outdoor hot tub or visit the sauna before getting a drink at the ice bar.

Galapagos catamaran cruise

Sailing a Yacht around the Galapagos Islands

There is something inherently luxurious about cruising on a yacht.  And more so if you are sailing around a place as exotic and stunning as the Galapagos.  From your sun deck, you can see dolphins leap from the ocean, enormous whale sharks float by, and sea lions dance in the water next to your yacht.

Weave through the enchanting islands, isles, and atolls of the Galapagos archipelago.  On the island of Santa Cruz, you will find giant tortoises in their natural habitat.  South Plaza hosts a colony of land iguanas while red-sand Rabida shelters flamingos in its brackish lagoon.  You can jump into the sea and relish the sights of the diverse marine life underwater.

Numerous companies in the region offer various sailing packages, but if you want personalized service and a tour that allows you to explore the archipelago at your own pace, consider a private Galapagos luxury yachts for touring the unseen islands. Most private yacht rentals provide an onboard masseuse, specialty chef, and photographer.

Glamp in the Desert in Morocco

Glamp in the Desert in Morocco

Countless people go on a soul-searching camp on the Sahara each year.  There’s something about spectacular sunsets, endless vastness, and unparalleled serenity that invigorates the soul. Then, there are the inconveniences: humid days and freezing nights, shared or lack of toilets, bumpy mats on the ground.  But not always.  With glamping, you can escape the clamors of the city and retreat into the utter tranquility of the wild without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences of a 5-star hotel.

Morocco offers some of the most luxurious glamping sites in the Sahara and other nearby deserts.  Picture yourself staying in a spacious safari tent complete with a proper bed, soft pillows, warm blankets, heating, electricity, ensuite bathroom, and even Wi-Fi.  That isn’t all. You get welcome drinks, a four-course dinner under the stars, and a hearty breakfast the following day. If you want adventure, get on a camel ride tour across the beautiful dune formations.  In the evening, you can gaze at the stars before retiring to your tent.