Boutique war bunkers, underwater bedrooms, and hobbit huts with no electricity: New Channel 4 show reveals the world’s most secret hotels, from Scotland to New York
- Channel 4 promises that it will ‘explore the most hidden and remote hotels on the planet’
- Properties that feature include Britain’s most remote mainland hotel and a hotel inside a decommissioned 747
- We also go through the keyhole of a hotel in New York that takes guests back to the 1960’s jet age
If you like a heap of hidden and a side order of remote with your holidays, then you’ll find these hotels mouthwatering.
Here we present some of the accommodation that features in fascinating new Channel 4 show World’s Most Secret Hotels, which starts on Sunday, January 29, at 6.45pm.
Channel 4 promises that it will ‘explore the most hidden and remote hotels on the planet, from underwater retreats to remote desert lodges, and from cliffside dwellings to treetop cabins’.
Hotels that feature in the show include Britain’s most remote mainland hotel, a former decoy bunker in Wales that’s now luxury accommodation, a hotel set up inside a decommissioned 747 and the highest mountaintop hotel in Europe, plus a hotel in New York that takes guests back to the 1960’s jet age.
There are also eye-opening properties that take guests back to basics and beyond… with no running water or electricity.
Scroll down for some jaw-dropping holiday inspiration…
CAERWENFOR COTTAGE, WALES, EPISODE 1: A stone cottage sunk into cliffs formed more than 500million years ago
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DECOY BUNKER, MONMOUTHSHIRE, WALES, EPISODE 1: A Second World War bunker built specifically to throw German bombers off the scent of nearby strategic targets, now luxury accommodation
BURGH ISLAND HOTEL, SOUTH DEVON, EPISODE 1: When it first opened in 1929, the hotel attracted the cream of 1920’s society. Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Noel Coward and aviator Amy Johnson were just some of its famous clientele. Today guests come to revel in the Art Deco glamour. However, keeping this hotel running is no simple task, especially as it’s dependent on the daily tides…
SEXTANTIO LE GROTTE DELLA CIVITA HOTEL, MATERA, ITALY, EPISODE 1: The programme travels to Italy to visit an ancient clifftop settlement thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth, and it’s here that viewers will discover Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita hotel. Channel 4 says: ‘We see how the hotel is built into the caves, which are excavated up to 30 metres, and characterised by a monastic simplicity with no televisions, mini-bars or electricity. Candles are used for lighting and we discover how the housekeeping staff have come up with a novel way to guide their work – by donning head torches’
TREEHOTEL, HARADS VILLAGE, SWEDISH LAPLAND, EPISODE 1: Above is one of the seven floating structures that comprise the Treehotel. The show reveals why and how these ‘starkly distinct woodland wonders’ were built
SHINTA MANI WILD HOTEL, CAMBODIA, EPISODE 1: This hotel is a series of 15 tents deep in the wilderness and accessible only after a three-hour drive from Phnom Penh. Access is via a 400-metre (1,312ft) zip wire
CLEY WINDMILL, NORFOLK, ENGLAND, EPISODE 2: This ten-room luxury hotel, steeped in history, has hosted global popstars
JUMBO STAY HOTEL, ARLANDA AIRPORT, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, EPISODE 2: This is the first 747 hotel in the world. Originally the largest passenger plane ever built, it was decommissioned in 2002 and opened for business as a 32-bedroom hotel in 2009
MASHPI LODGE, ECUADOR, EPISODE 2: Set within 17,OOO hectares of rainforest is the Mashpi Lodge – a ‘unique hotel’ located 1,200 metres (3,937ft) above sea level in a cloud forest. Channel 4 says: ‘We discover how building this hotel was a huge logistically challenging operation not least because the architects were trying to safeguard the unique habitat as well as trying to create an eco-hotel for visitors to experience the beauty of the area’
WADI RUM BUBBLE LUXOTEL, JORDAN, EPISODE 2: A remote and unusual series of transparent ‘bubble’ tents that ‘look more like a cluster of spacecraft on Mars than luxury desert accommodation’. Channel 4 reveals: ‘We see how food and supplies have to be shipped in across 330 kilometres of arid desert once a week, and how water has to be brought in every day from ten kilometres away – in intense heat’
THE DAIRY AT DENEND, ABERDEENSHIRE, EPISODE 3: A remote boutique hotel in a spot where for centuries agricultural workers came to harvest barley
KAKSLAUTTANEN ARCTIC RESORT, URHO KKONEN NATIONAL PARK, FINNISH LAPLAND, EPISODE 3: The resort is spread out over a huge six-and-a-half-square-kilometre site with private cabins dotted throughout the woods to form individual retreats. Channel 4 adds: ‘Here we learn of this getaway’s very unique accommodation, 65 state-of-the-art, Arctic-resistant glass igloos complete with 360-degree views to take in the Northern Lights’
FREE SPIRIT SPHERES, VANCOUVER ISLAND, EPISODE 3: Deep in the undergrowth, on a five-acre site, is a unique collection of globes suspended from trees. Channel 4 says: ‘For owner and designer Tom, a former power engineer and boat builder, the floating spheres are a marriage of treehouse and sailboat technology. Through the use of innovative CGI graphics, we discover how these spheres stay stable and afloat – hung from old-growth trees and anchored to the ground for stability. We also learn about the quirky technology used to keep them insulated by using multiple layers of reflective bubble wrap’
TWA HOTEL, JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NEW YORK, EPISODE 3: This hotel is hidden airside amid the hustle and bustle of JFK Airport. Channel 4 says: ‘The interiors hark back to the spirit of the 1960’s jet age – complete with a 21st century twist’
THE GARVAULT, KINBRACE VILLAGE, SUTHERLAND, SCOTLAND, EPISODE 4: This is mainland Britain’s most remote hotel. Channel 4 says: ‘While the isolation might be a tonic for weary travellers, we discover how running this six-bedroom hotel is a challenging operation here, made harder by the fact that it is completely cut off from the national power grid and water board’
KOLARBYN ECO LODGE, SKINNSKATTEBERG, SWEDEN, EPISODE 4: This is described as ‘a rustic retreat of 12 hobbit-like huts that are replicas of those built by people making charcoal from as far back as the 1800s’. Channel 4 adds: ‘With no electricity or running water at this primitive resort we learn of the guests’ back-to-basics experience as they are shown how to build their own fires to cook food and pump their own water for showers’
HARLINGEN HARBOUR CRANE HOTEL, NETHERLANDS, EPISODE 4: Originally a working crane, this was used until 1996 for the unloading of timber freight from Russia and Scandinavia. Accommodation is 17 metres (55ft) up and comprises one bedroom, a lounge and a kitchen. One room that’s unchanged is the control room, where guests can spin the crane 360 degrees to choose their view – whether it’s the Wadden Sea or the bustling city of Harlingen
ALILA JABAL AKHDAR RESORT, OMAN, EPISODE 4: A stunning $52million five-star hotel that’s camouflaged into the landscape with a minimalist style
EARTH CONKER AND MOON CONKER, CAMBRIAN MOUNTAINS, SOUTH WALES, EPISODE 5: ‘For those prepared to brave the trip,’ says Channel 4, ‘the wilderness in the Cambrian Mountains conceals a remarkable holiday hideaway – very much off the beaten track, isolated and hidden with no phone signal or real signposting, a winding road reveals two high-tech orbs that seem to have been dropped from the cosmos – the Earth Conker and The Moon Conker. Made from aluminium and clad in thick insulation these orbs are compact singular bedrooms in a sphere that can sleep two guests’
AIRSHIP, DRIMNIN, SCOTLAND, EPISODE 5: Drimnin is one of the westernmost points of the British mainland – the nearest large town is a five-hour round trip. So this mini hotel is ‘the ultimate retreat for those looking to escape civilisation’. Channel 4 adds: ‘It’s made from around 3,000 lightweight aluminium components, all of which had to be precision laser cut and welded into sections that could be assembled on site’
GLACIER HOTEL GRAWAND, VAL SENALES, ITALY, EPISODE 5: In Italy more than 3,000 metres (9,842ft) above sea level perched on a glacier, sits Glacier Hotel Grawand, it’s a mecca for ski enthusiasts and hikers in search of an adrenaline fix. This is the highest mountaintop hotel in Europe and every inch of this alpine style hotel was designed with views in mind, says Channel 4
TAINARON BLUE RETREAT, MANI PENINSULA, GREECE, EPISODE 5: This hotel was originally a watch tower built to defend the land and give warning of any hostile approach. It was discovered by an architect in 1994 who fell in love with the majestic views and put in motion plans to transform it into a boutique hotel. Channel 4 explains: ‘However, conservation regulations restricted any alterations to the building’s appearance, so local stone was used for the reconstruction. Using traditional methods, skilled stonemasons were used to rebuild the walls – 100 centimetres thick at the base and 60 centimetres thick at the top. With the tower rebuilt the team set about building an infinity pool that teeters on the lip of a 180-metre drop. From start to finish the whole project took seven years to complete and is now a blend of traditional ancient materials with modern 21st century finishes’
THE TOWER, RAF WAINFLEET, SKEGNESS, EPISODE 6: The Tower is ‘an unusual, brutalist compound, rumoured to have harboured unexploded bombs’ and is ‘a must for those with an interest in military history’. Channel 4 continues: ‘For over 80 years The Tower was the heart of the Royal Air Force’s bomb testing range, but when RAF Wainfleet closed down in 2009 and was due for demolition, the owners saw an opportunity to turn it into the perfect top-secret retreat. Visitors can sleep in a Jetstream passenger plane or a decommissioned Lynx helicopter that’s now luxury accommodation’
UTTER INN, LAKE MALAREN, SWEDEN, EPISODE 6: It looks like a fishing hut, but this is actually a tiny hotel with a submerged bedroom accessed by a three-metre ladder. Access, unsurprisingly, is by boat, with visitors required to bring their own food and arrange in advance when they want to be collected to leave
- World’s Most Secret Hotels starts on Sunday, January 29, at 6.45pm on Channel 4 and is voiced by Ruthi Henshall.
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