World's most extraordinary hotels

Story highlights

  • Lonely Planet's 'most extraordinary' hotel can be found in India's Thar Desert
  • Zipline into a Laos tree house for a unique stay
  • A 17th century prison is now an Italian inn
  • A New York lighthouse also made the 'extraordinary' list

They're not always the most popular or conventional hotels. And that's exactly what Lonely Planet is going for with its inaugural picks for the world's best accommodations.

The travel publisher's panel of experts chose their top 10 in each of three categories: "most extraordinary places to stay," "best-value accommodations" and "top eco retreats" for its list of top hotels. Some are unique, out-of-the-way spots while others are more well-known.

Picks run the gamut from trendy hostels to luxury eco-lodges. Check out Lonely Planet's recommendations in the "extraordinary" category above and see whether you agree.

"This collection is one-of-a-kind, carefully curated by the most well-traveled people on Earth," said Tom Hall, LonelyPlanet.com editorial director, in a press statement. "Our authors provide their honest opinion and never take freebies in exchange for positive coverage, so you can trust our reviews."

Lonely Planet is far from the only travel outfit ranking its favorite lodgings. Best is all in the eye of the beholder. To expand your quest for the best, check out TripAdvisor users' picks, Fodor's best hotels of 2013 or the world's best airport hotels. Cap off a stay with a meal at one of the world's best hotel restaurants.

Lonely Planet's top hotels:

Most extraordinary hotels around the world

    1. Mihir Garh, Rajasthan, India

    2. Planet Baobab, Gweta, Botswana

    3. Prendiparte B&B, Bologna, Italy

    4. Qasr Al Sarab, UAE

    5. Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, TAS, Australia

    6. Free Spirit Spheres, British Columbia, Canada

    7. Taskonak Hotel, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

    8. Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

    9. Saugerties Lighthouse, New York, USA

    10. The Gibbon Experience Treehouse, Bokeo Reserve, Laos

    Best value hotels around the world

    1. The Backpack, Cape Town, South Africa

    2. Sydney Harbour YHA, Australia

    3. Inkosana Lodge, Champagne Valley, Drakensberg, South Africa

    4. Plovdiv Guesthouse, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

    5. Hotel Gruner Baum, Glorenza, Sudtirol, Italy

    6. Oztel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    7. Fauzi Azar Inn, Nazareth, Israel

    8. We Hostel Design, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    9. Hotel Hotel Hostel, Seattle, USA

    10. On the Corner, Kolomyya, Ukraine

    Top eco resorts

    1. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica

    2. Bulungula Backpackers, South Africa

    3. Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania

    4. Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Aguas Calientes, Peru

    5. EcoLodge Chepu Adventures, Chiloe, Chile

    6. Maison Anglaise, Taroudant, Morocco

    7. Earthship Rentals, Taos, New Mexico, USA

    8. Dana Guest House, Jordan

    9. Nuli Sapi, Papua New Guinea

    10. Baikaler Eco-Hostel, Listvyanka, Russia