All around the world enterprising people are turning the strange and unusual into unique living environments and helping to create sustainable living and greener lifestyles for tourists to enjoy. One of the first activities green living encourages is recycling; bottle banks, separated waste and clothing collections are all common sights these days. Some of the different forms of recycling that responsible tourists can examine are hotels that have been constructed by adapting original buildings, vehicles and industrial waste to create new and exciting places to stay.
Many enterprising individuals have turned everyday objects and abandoned promises into unique holiday destinations. One of the most outstanding places is Italy's cave rooms at the Hotel Le Grotte della Civita in Matera, Basilicata.
For centuries people lived in the cave houses that were hacked out of the cliffs around Matera but in the 1950's adverse publicity about the squalor and unhygienic living conditions led to the area being cleared. After many years of abandonment a development company have since fitted out the old caves, installed modern facilities and created a hotel with a difference.
One of the truly recycled buildings is Sweden's Ice Hotel, every year between December and April the company constructs a new art themed hotel in the Arctic circle out of ice and snow from the river Torne. This provides sustainable travellers with another distinctive holiday experience. One where you get to sleep on blocks of ice in warm sleeping bags and reindeer skin rugs. Commentators have said that it is like waking up in a cloud.
Each year a theme is agreed, sculptures and artists arrive and during December the hotel takes shape. By early April the sun is getting high enough to start melting the walls of the hotel and gradually it is returned into the river Torne to emerge in its new guise the following year.
Going straight to jail and not passing Go isn't everyone's idea of fun but in Gambier, South Australia that's exactly what you can do. The old Jail in Mount Gambier gives backpackers that real doing time feeling. Original rough iron beds in the cells, the former chapel have been converted into a TV lounge and meals are served in the authentic mess hall. This is one of a number of former prison institutions around the world that have been transformed into over night accommodation for weary travellers.
Daspark Hotels in Lintz, near Essen in Germany, have come up with one of the more novel ways of creating pod rooms. They have used large sections of robust concrete storm drains and turned them into cylindrical bedrooms. Each piperoom has a double bed, lamp, bedding, storage space and a power supply. The come with a lockable door and the amenities are situated nearby where there is a shower block and canteen and minibar. The rooms are controlled by a code lock meaning possessions can be safely stored and payment is based on whatever you can afford basis.