England’s Churches Conservation Trust has opened some of the country’s prettiest small churches to nightly visitors, and they’re calling it “champing” (a mash-up of “church” and “camping”). Visitors get the keys to the church for one night (so groups only) and are required to bring their own bedding, drinks, and food (dogs are welcome too). Gaze at the ring of six bells at the Gothic Church of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta near Cambridge, and admire the light streaming through stained glass at Northampton’s All Saints’ Church. There’s no morning service but the aroma of a crackling English breakfast helps you start your day. Since most churches pre-date central heating, champing season runs only from May to September.
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An artwork is carefully chosen for each participant at the Rubin Museum’s Dream-Over night. Photo courtesy Rubin Museum of Art
New York’s Rubin Museum takes things a step further with their Dream-Over nights where participants sleep near works of art and then have their dreams analysed the following morning. The adults-only evening begins with filling the Dreamlife Questionnaire, which the museum staff analyse to assign pieces of art to specific participants. This is followed by meditation sessions, bedtime stories, lullabies, and discussions on “dream yoga” and dream analysis by psychology graduates. Midnight snacks and a delicious Tibetan breakfast fortify dreamers to power through. The exact dates for the 2016 edition are yet to be announced.
The resort is designed to merge outdoor and indoor living, through a set of unique suites and villas. Photo: Beverly Joubert/ol Donyo Lodge Kenya
Kenya’s ol Donyo Lodge invites guests to soak in the majesty of the African sky by spending the night in their “star beds”: open-to-sky beds placed on the roof of the resort’s luxurious villas. Fall asleep counting stars and wake to unobstructed views of Mt. Kilimajanaro. The experience packs in the charms of falling asleep on a village charpoy with the luxuries of five-star hotel digs. ol Donyo Lodge is very close to the Tsavo East and Amboseli national parks, where leopards, lions, and giraffes roam, so it’s not uncommon to hear the roar of a lioness somewhere in the distance.
Get a bird’s-eye view of the Sacred Valley of Cuzco from the comfort of your bed. Photo courtesy Natura Vive
What’s more thrilling than hiking up to Machhu Pichu? Checking into one of the Skylodge Adventure Suites. The resort has three pods suspended from a cliffside, about 1000ft above the ground in Peru’s Sacred Valley, near the city of Cusco. What makes the views even more dizzying is that the room is transparent (floors too). Guests have to climb, hike, or zip line to their pod, but the experience gets far more comfy once you get there. Rooms are equipped with bathrooms, dining tables, and full-size beds—and breakfast is served on the roof with views of the valley and condors flying by.
Release your inner Ben Stiller with a slumber party at New York’s spectacular American Museum of Natural History. For a few nights a year, visitors can explore the gorgeous museum, just like Stiller did in the movie,Night At The Museum. Roam the corridors—blissfully free of visitors past closing time— gawking at the life-size barosaurus skeleton, the magnificent tableaux of Native American culture, and dioramas of sharks, and bison racing down America’s Great Plains. The best part: Visitors unfurl their sleeping bags under a 94-foot replica of a blue whale, or near a posse of life-size African elephants. There are separate sleepovers for adults and children and they both fill up incredibly fast; book well in advance.
is Features Writer on National Geographic Traveller India's web team. She's partial to places by the sea and desserts in all forms. When she isn't raving about food, she's usually rambling on about the latest cosmic mysteries. She tweets as @kamakshi138.
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