10 amazing places to stay

For a unique sleep, try an overnight in a treehouse, igloo, lookout, work of art, or hanging orb

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Sleep in a sphere

  • Sphere treehouse hotel

    Eryn is one of two oversize orbs made from Sitka spruce and yellow cedar that dangle from conifer trees in a Vancouver Island rain forest.


San Luis Obispo, CA: From the whitewashed walls and glass-doored cabinets, it’s easy to imagine the 1800s, when rattled patients checked into this sprawling Victorian for peace and quiet.

But these days, stays at what’s now the Sanitarium Bed & Breakfast are enhanced by in-room massages, organic eggs, and claw-foot metal tubs that could fit a family of four.

Downright cool: With spare simplicity and works by local artists, the rooms create a calm not found in a typical hotel.

From $190; two-night minimum; 805/544-4124. ―Samantha Schoech


Mt. Hood National Forest, OR: One of the world’s cheapest rooms with a (killer) view comes with a price: a four-hour uphill kick-and-glide over a groomed snowmobile trail. Destination? The historic fire lookout on Oregon’s Clear Lake Butte, one of dozens of U.S. Forest Service fire lookouts around the West.

It has a full-size bed (BYO bedding for additional guests) plus a gas range for fixing dinner, a potbelly stove for staying warm―and a 360° panorama that’ll keep you mesmerized till it’s time to turn in. $50; book at recreation.gov

Tip: For a list of fire lookouts around the West, check out firelookout.org/ lookout-rentals.htm ―Ted Katauskas


Qualicum Beach, B.C.: Meet Eryn (pictured above) and Eve, two oversize orbs made from Sitka spruce and yellow cedar that dangle from conifer trees like spiders from a web in a Vancouver Island rain forest.

Free Spirit Spheres’ treehouses sway ever so slightly in a breeze, and were built for guests of the curious and ecologically minded sort. An outdoor composting toilet is a fair trade for the utter bird-singing peace that comes with hanging in ​a grove of cedar, fir, and maple.

Downright cool: If you really love the orbs, you can buy one for your own backyard. Overnight stay from $118 U.S.; 250/757-9445. ―Faith Durand

Next: A room on stilts and retro trailer lodging



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