The world's wackiest Airbnbs
Homes for the holidays
Joe O'Shea looks at some of the weird and wonderful properties you can rent on the home-sharing site.
It's the perfect B&B for a romantic weekend getaway in Paris. Just you, a cosy underground crypt and six million human skeletons.
The short-term letting website Airbnb now has over one million rooms available worldwide. And while most are pretty standard, there are quite a few in the weird and wonderful category.
One of the latest properties offered on the site is both strange and incredibly spooky. This Halloween sees the temporary opening of a B&B in the catacombs of Paris, a romantic bedroom and dining area for two in the ancient underground tunnels and crypts that are believed to be home to the skeletons of over six million Parisians.
Photographs on the popular site show the bed placed in front of a wall of skulls and bones and the night amongst the dead is being offered as a special Halloween prize by Airbnb (the company is believed to have paid the city authorities over €350,000 to "rent" the catacombs for Halloween).
But while the catacombs room will only be available for a very short-term, the publicity stunt does highlight the stranger side of the global lettings website, what Airbnb calls "atypical" rental properties that range from castles and houseboats to caves, treehouses and garden sheds.
And while it takes a bit of trawling through the endless listings you can find some weird, wild and wonderful places to stay...
1. The Seashell House, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
€227 per night
The Casa Caracol (Seashell House, above) is exactly as described - a full-sized, two-bedroom house designed to look like a pile of giant seashells.
A private, gated house with its own pool on the island of Mujeres in the gulf coast of Mexico, it's a local landmark. A luxury getaway with a great sense of fun. airbnb.ie/rooms/530250
2. Martello Tower, Dalkey
€450 a night
It's pricey (this is Ireland, after all) but for a unique stay in Dublin, it would be hard to beat this luxurious and historic Martello Tower overlooking Dublin Bay in Dalkey.
Built in 1804 to protect the coast from Napoleonic invasion, it is a National Monument that has been tastefully restored to provide luxury and peace.
There is only one bedroom for two people. But you will feel like a king in this little seaside castle. airbnb.ie/rooms/4263088
3. The 1SQM House, Berlin
€10 per night
More playful art-installation than actual accommodation, this tiny box does exactly what it says on the tin (and you will feel as if you are in a tin). The 1SQM House is a wooden, waterproof box, about the size of a small wardrobe, which has a slide-window and a lockable slide-door (plus a tiny mattress roll and a small desk for your laptop).
Built by a team of Berlin architects, it's on wheels, so you basically pick up the box and roll it around Berlin to site it in front of any of the major landmarks you choose. Not for claustrophobics, however. airbnb.ie/rooms/542031
4. The Stargazer, Devon
€40 per night
Sited in a country garden in beautiful Devon, this little A-frame, clap-board shed on stilts sleeps two people in what can be described as "rustic" accommodation.
It has a glass roof and little else. So while you will have to use the facilities in the nearby cottage, you can sleep under the stars in the Devon countryside. airbnb.ie/rooms/1304651
5. Sparrow Tree House, Cornwall, UK
€139 per night
Live up a tree in Cornwall, with sweeping views over the Lizard Peninsula.
This treehouse offers a bed for two, a small dining area and the run of a garden in wild countryside on the southernmost tip of the UK.
The Sparrow Treehouse is one of a surprisingly large number of airborne accommodations on Airbnb. airbnb.co.uk/rooms/404881
6. Helen's Tower, Bangor, Co Down
€157 per night
Live out your Rapunzel fantasies in this three-story stone castle and tower perched high above the rolling hills of Co Down, deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate.
There is one double bedroom, sitting and reading room, a kitchen and a roof terrace, which offers views (on a clear day) as far as the coast of Scotland. airbnb.ie/rooms/1748915
7. The Clock Tower, St Pancras Station, London
€205 per night
This stylish one-bed mini-apartment is located within the clock tower of one of London's great transport hubs, the gothic St Pancras International Railway Station. Your sittingroom is actually behind one of the giant clock-faces, a bit like sitting inside Big Ben.
There are amazing views out over the city and after your stay, you could always go to the ground floor and get the Eurostar to Paris. airbnb.co.uk/rooms/501171
8. Shepherd's Hut, Isle Of Sky, Scotland
€125 per night
It may seem a little pricey for a hut, but you could hardly find a more isolated, peaceful or picture-perfect location.
On the Isle Of Skye, just off the coast of Scotland, there are actually two self-contained huts set in beautiful countryside, with pubs, shops and restaurants not too far away (well, 8km) if the solitude gets to be too much. There is no public transport and a car is "strongly recommended".
There is one downside for those looking to get away from it all - your phone will have 3G coverage. But you can always turn it off. airbnb.co.uk/rooms/900369
9. Converted Railway Carriage, Cardigan Bay, Wales
€77 per night
This is a very quirky, very well-situated holiday rental, an actual old railway carriage that has been well converted to sleep five people in comfort. There is a wood-burning stove and views out over the bay, where one of Britain's largest colony of dolphins live. It looks like the perfect place for a family getaway - and not too far via ferry from Ireland. airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1143845
10. King of the Castle, Craughwell, Co Galway
€130 per night
This medieval castle, built sometime in the 1400s and restored only recently by the owner Peter, has gotten some rave reviews.
There's only one bedroom, but it's set right out in the countryside and the bath is in the sitting room (Peter explains that with a 600-year-old stone tower, you sometimes have to improvise). airbnb.com.ie/rooms/658697
11. The World's First Self-Catering Pub, Aglish, Co Tipperary
€100 per night
What was once Conroy's Pub in this village near Borrisokane is now a holiday rental that sleeps four. The old mahogany bar is still in place, but as there is no longer a liquor licence, the taps on the counter and the bottles that line the shelves are for show only. It may be a pub with no beer, but it is located close to Terryglass and Lough Derg, one of the most picturesque parts of the Shannon. airbnb.ie/rooms/1223481