Tablet’s selection suffers no shortage of arresting modern hotel designs. A select few, though, are so strange as to seem almost otherworldly. These ten hotels were designed by boundary-pushing human architects, or so the official story goes; the truth, we suspect, is out there.
Tasmania, Australia — We’re assured that there’s no truth at all to the rumor that Saffire Freycinet is a sort of giant robot stingray, defending Coles Bay from all manner of sea monsters and Godzilla-like mutants. Whatever its real purpose may be, in its role as an ultra-luxe eco-villa hideaway, it’s absolutely convincing.
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Patagonia, Chile — Though cleverly built from native wood, it’s clear from a glance at Tierra Patagonia that this thing is just waiting for a signal from its extraterrestrial creators, instructing it to take to the skies. Chances are, of course, that it’ll stay firmly rooted to earth for the duration of your stay….
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Rioja, Spain — The (possibly fictional) American architect Frank Gehry provides a convenient cover story for a number of inscrutable architectural forms all around the world. What exactly the Marques de Riscal’s titanium structure is for, we may never know, but at the moment it happens to house a first-class winery, spa and luxury hotel.
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New York, New York — Most people who look at the Standard High Line are distracted by the exhibitionist tendencies of its inhabitants. It’s a natural enough mistake to make. But zoom out and what you see is a classic arcade-style Space Invader, hiding in plain sight, straddling downtown New York’s famous converted railway park.
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Shanghai, China — The honeycomb-like outer structure of the Andaz Xintiandi looks like an artifact from some undiscovered future architecture — meanwhile the interiors offer a warm and only slightly uncanny vibe, like something from the near-future Los Angeles of Spike Jonze’s artificial-intelligence romance Her.
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Rimini, Italy — If you wanted to hide a bit of the future in an unlikely place, the Italian seaside resort town of Rimini fits the bill perfectly — and i-Suite, with its glossy surfaces, curvaceous forms, and acres of LCD screens, certainly feels like a visitor from a more technologically advanced civilization.
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São Paulo, Brazil — Though it was allegedly produced by the Brazilian master architect Ruy Ohtake, there’s no direct proof that Hotel Unique isn’t a sort of intergalactic Noah’s Ark, sent to Earth to study the beautiful people of São Paulo in their naturally glamorous habitat.
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Bonn, Germany — Another building that’s clearly not meant to be immobile, the Kameha Grand seems built for speed — all the more suspicious in the fairly sedate city of Bonn. On the surface it’s simply a world-class business hotel, but we’re willing to bet there’s more to its geothermal power plant than meets the eye (and we suspect designer Marcel Wanders is not of this earth, either).
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Patagonia, Chile — Though it keeps a low profile, and is built from simple local materials like wood and slate, there’s no question Remota exhibits an otherworldly influence. We’re not saying architect Germàn del Sol had access to advanced non-human technology when he created this green masterpiece, but it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.
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Selfoss, Iceland — The idea that a building of this caliber was originally intended simply as housing for workers at the nearby geothermal plant is simply ridiculous, which is why the cover story was quickly changed — we’re now meant to believe this is nothing more than a plush, stylish, and architecturally adventurous luxury hotel, poised right at the seam between two great tectonic plates….
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