A sandcastle hotel sounds like a dream come true. But the Dutch have made it happen! Read on to find out all you need to know about staying in real sandcastle hotels.

The Dutch Pop-Up ‘Zandhotels’

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The first sandcastle hotels, or ‘Zandhotels’ as they’re known in Dutch, first appeared in the summer of 2015. The developers were inspired by similar ice hotels that are rebuilt each winter in Canada and the Scandinavian countries.

According to TripSavvy, sculptors built one sandcastle hotel in Oss, in the southern Netherlands, and another in Sneek, in the province of Friesland. Looking at them from the outside, they really do like human-sized sandcastles.

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The Zandhotels are marketed as being made from all sand, which applies to the walls, floors, and other design features. But in the interest of keeping things comfortable for guests, the furniture and linen, shower, bathroom fittings, and carpet inside are sand-free. The sandcastles come complete with electricity and free wireless Internet.

Originally, the Zandhotels were created as pop-ups, but the task was repeated over the following summers. Both towns have a strong sand culture with sand-sculpture festivals held in both every summer. Interestingly, neither Oss nor Sneek is a coastal city. The hotels offer overnight accommodation during the summer only.

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The Zandhotels are authentic sandcastles in that they really are built using sand, but they are slightly sturdier than those you’d make at the beach as a child! The interiors are made with special sand that has been treated with hardener to eliminate the chances of the hotel caving in on guests. Wood frames are also utilized for reinforcing purposes, but those are covered with another layer of sand so as not to destroy the illusion.

A sandcastle hotel does sound like the stuff of dreams, but unfortunately, this experience is for adults only at the present time. All guests must be older than 18, the legal age in Europe.

So how much will it set you back to stay in a real sandcastle in the Netherlands this summer? The price is around $170 per night for two people.

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How To Get To The Sandcastles

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We’re definitely spoiled for choice with not one but two Zandhotels to choose from every summer. The sandcastles in each location are equal so deciding which one to visit will come down to what city you would prefer to see and where will be the most convenient for you to add to your Netherlands itinerary.

The town of Oss is located in the province of North Brabant. It will take you less than an hour and a half to drive there from the capital city of Amsterdam. Train travel departing from Amsterdam Centraal Station is another option and will take approximately 90 minutes.

Oss is the less scenic of the two towns but still offers some impressive tourist highlights. History enthusiasts, in particular, might be interested in visit Oss because it is home to the famous Vorstengraf burial sites. The tombs were built sometime between 2000 BC and 700 BC.

By comparison, Sneek is also just under an hour and a half drive from Amsterdam, although this time you will be traveling north. The train trip departing from Amsterdam is considerably longer and takes about three hours as it includes stops in Amersfoort and Leeuwarden.

For many, Sneek is the more appealing destination because the town features iconic canals, similar to those in Amsterdam. The city also boasts a marina and sailing schools, since it serves as a sailing center in the Netherlands.

Both cities are worth seeing and both Zandhotels are worth staying it. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what works better for you as a traveler.

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Other Curious Hotels Around Europe

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There is a culture of wacky hotels across the continent and a sandcastle hotel isn’t even the most curious of them. One of the most unusual is Null Stern in Switzerland—a hotel that doesn’t have a roof or any walls. It consists only of a double bed and a set of bedside tables and lamps. The views of the surrounding Swiss mountains would be surreal, but you wouldn’t want it to snow!

Sweden also hosts its very own Treehotel which really is the coolest treehouse you always wanted as a child. The seven tree rooms of the hotel are organized into a large bird’s nest.

As we mentioned, the Zandhotels were inspired by the ice hotels in Scandinavia. Sweden’s Icehotel was the first to be built and is reconstructed every year by using the ice from the Torne river combined with snow. The beds are made from ice, though you’re provided with warm materials that separate you from the freezing furniture. Luckily, the bathroom facilities are not made from ice. Typically, there are no other amenities provided in ice hotels. You’re just paying for the experience.

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