What is your ideal vacation? Although most answers vary from tours across Italy, hiking through the Rockies, or a wooden cottage in the middle of nowhere, most include sipping on the beverage of choice. For many people, it’s wine. And if that includes you, you might want to consider a trip designed for wine lovers like yourself. At the Quinta da Pacheca estate in Douro, Portugal, you will stay in luxuriously renovated giant wine barrels in a gorgeous vineyard. That’s right, wine barrels, the quintessential wine experience.
Vacation in a Giant Wine Barrel
There are 10 giant wine barrels designed by property owners Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves. Each one is about 270 square feet. They look like simple pinewood casings from the outside, but the bedrooms are elegant and luxurious once on the inside. They contain private bathrooms with walk-in showers, large round beds, skylights to watch the stars through, private porches, air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi. You can also explore the 116-year-old vineyard on the 140-acre estate just outside of the giant wine barrels.
“Quinta da Pacheca created the wine barrels as a bold architectural project of suites to reinforce the originality of the wine tourism offered at the site,” a vineyard representative said. “In an idyllic romantic setting, these wine barrel rooms will provide visitors a unique experience to the nature and significance of the Douro wine region.”
Of course, what’s a wine lover’s vacation without actual wine? The hotel provides wine-tasting events, plus samples of locally-made olive oil and jam. Additionally, there’s a stunning restaurant appropriately called The Wine Room for dinners, serving upscale and authentic Portuguese food. And there are wine-making rooms guests could observe.
For the less die-hard fans, there are normal rooms at the hotel aside from the giant wine barrel suites. Each barrel costs about £219 (about $286 USD) per night, the perfect dream vacation to save up for. And the perfect wedding destination.
A Brief History of Quinta da Pacheca
The vineyard dates back to the XVI century, when the vines belonged to the Monasteries of Salzedas and St. João de Tarouca. Then, it was owned by Da. Mariana Pacheco Pereira, an imposing woman who ran the property on her own, according to documents dated back to April 1738. Then, in 1903, D. José Freire de Serpa Pimentel bought the estate and modernized it. It wasn’t until 1977 when the wines became commercialized with the brands of Quinta da Pacheca and Quinta de Vale Abraão.
Then, in 1995, Quinta da Pacheca opened its doors for wine tourism, with guided tours on the property. This idea developed into The Wine House Hotel Quinta da Pacheca, which opened in 2009. But in 2012, the families of Paulo Pereira and Maria do Céu Gonçalves partnered in ownership of the estate with the intent to enhance the wine tourism trade. Since then, it’s become one of the most visited estates in the Douro Region, and its wines and tourism have received awards for their excellence. 
Other Unique Hotel Experiences
If a giant wine barrel isn’t your ideal vacation, there are plenty of other strange and wonderful hotels all over the world to choose from.
Calling all bibliophiles to this hotel in Japan, called the Book and Bed Tokyo. The rooms look like a used bookstore with a cozy nook with a bed, reading light, and electrical outlet. It’s simplistic and fits only one guest a room, more of a hostel than a hotel, and perfect for a reading getaway.
The Manta Resort on Pemba Island, Zanzibar, offers the Underwater Room. There, the guests sleep below the surface with walls of glass to watch the surrounded reef fish swim around the bed. At night, there are lights to attract octopuses and other interesting species.
You may have heard of ice hotels but Bolivia’s Palacio de Sal is a luxury hotel made of salts. Including the building and all the furniture (but not the pillows and blankets).
Speaking of ice hotels, there’s the Golden Crown Levin Iglut, Levi, Finland. Each igloo features a kitchenette, a double bed, a full bath, a rustic fireplace, and glass windows to view the stunning northern lights.
If you love the rainforest, visit the Treehouse Lodge Resort in Iquitos, Peru. It could only be reached through an hour-long boat ride. The thatch-roof structures reside in the thick of the rainforest, with a front-row seat to squirrel monkeys, macaws, sloths, and other native creatures. 
- “A vineyard in Portugal lets you sleep in a giant wine barrel, and it’s every wine lover’s dream come true”. Business Insider. Andrea Romano. March 4, 2019
- “This Vineyard Will Let You Sleep Inside These Giant, Luxurious Wine Barrels.” Thrillist. Joe McGauley. March 7, 2019
- “Our History.” Quinta Da Pacheca.
- “10 of the World’s Most Unusual Hotels.” National Geographic. Steve Larese. October 13, 2016