Restored Chevrolet bus, Myanmar (Elephant Coach)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 09 March

Now that's how to arrive: 7 weird and wonderful hotel transfers

Forget taking a taxi or bus from the airport to your hotel - how passé! The adventure starts the minute you touch down with these crazy transfers...

1: One of the fastest trains in the world, China

Maglev train speeding towards Shanghai (Dreamstime)

Maglev train speeding towards Shanghai (Dreamstime)

The Maglev is one of the speediest trains in the world, reaching a whopping 268mph. What better introduction to the fast-paced city of Shanghai, than to whizz your way from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to the centre of town? There's a speedometer in every carriage, so you can clock your progress – but be quick: the transfer takes just seven minutes (compared to roughly 30 minutes in a taxi). 

How to do it: TravelLocal specialises in tailormade Asia itineraries, and you can request the fast train transfer on any of its trips – including Epic China, China for Families, and Classic China. If you prefer to go it alone, the official Maglev website gives pricing info, but you'll need to book your tickets in person.

2: Catch the Tresco Tractor, UK

The Tresco tractor and guests (Tresco Island)

The Tresco tractor and guests (Tresco Island)

Getting to the tiny island of Tresco is an adventure in itself. You'll fly into Tresco's neighbouring island, St Mary's, which is home to the only airport in the Scilly Isles. From there, you'll be welcomed by island concierge Delwin Thompson, who'll give you a quick guide to the island while he chauffeurs you to a waiting boat. After a 15-minute voyage you'll disembark on Tresco, and be met by a tractor – yes, really – which will chug its way to your hotel. It's a fitting introduction to this charming island, and its rather relaxed pace of life.

How to do it: Book accommodation on the official Tresco website, and enquire about transfer options. For more details about visiting Tresco, check out Sarah Baxter's handy Scilly Isles guide.

3: A traditional Burmese bus, Burma/Myanmar

Restored Chevrolet bus, Myanmar (Elephant Coach)

Restored Chevrolet bus, Myanmar (Elephant Coach)

In post-colonial 1940s Burma, buses were often decorated with traditional handicrafts and decorative wood panels – but unfortunately they've long since been retired from the roads. But for an ornate airport welcome, it's possible to hire a Chevrolet 'old timer' replica bus to transport you to your hotel, and bestow a little of that vintage magic on your trip... 

How to do it: Selective Asia can arrange airport transfers in replica buses as part of its Complete Burma tour, for up to eight people in each vehicle. Looking for a longer ride? Contact the Asia Elephant Coach Company who offer tours of Yangon and further afield.

4: A husky-drawn sledge, Sweden

Husky-drawn sledge in Sweden (Peter Moore)

Husky-drawn sledge in Sweden (Peter Moore)

As if a trip to ICEHOTEL wasn't magical enough, you can be transported from the airport to your hotel door on a snuggly sledge pulled by huskies. You'll be whisked through snow-covered forests to the idyllic village of Jukkasjärvi, where thousands of tonnes of ice are transformed into the glorious ICEHOTEL each year. The journey takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, and the sledges are pulled by 10-14 sparky dogs.

How to do it: An ICEHOTEL Break can be booked through Discover the World. Note that the hotel is only open from December to April; it melts during the spring.

5: Hang-glide into South Island, New Zealand

Gliding over a lake in the South Island (Dreamstime)

Gliding over a lake in the South Island (Dreamstime)

On the edge of Lake Wakatipu, alpine-style lodge Blanket Bay is a haven of peace and luxury, but thrill seekers love making an entrance on its hang-gliding adventures. To arrive in James Bond style, send your luggage ahead from the airport to the hotel, and take to the skies in a tandem hang-glide – you'll land right on the front lawn of the retreat. 

How to do it: Contact Blanket Bay for details – and see the Wanderlust guide to the best of New Zealand.

6: Take to the white water, Costa Rica

Arriving at Pacuare Lodge (Pacuare Lodge)

Arriving at Pacuare Lodge (Pacuare Lodge)

Hotel transfers don't get much more adventurous than those from Siquirres to Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica, where guests can arrive by white water raft. Over 1 hour 30 minutes, you'll enjoy/endure Grade II - III rapids, and revel in the spectacular jungle surrounds. Fret not – your luggage will be transported either in dry bags on the raft or be stored for the duration of your stay in a secure lock-up in Siquirres.

How to do it: Many tour operators offer trips to Pacuare Lodge, and can arrange the transfer. Alternatively, book directly with Pacuare Lodge.

7: Quad bike through salt pans, Botswana

Kicking up dust in Botswana (Dreamstime)

Kicking up dust in Botswana (Dreamstime)

Experience the Makgadikgadi salt pans from the moment you arrive at the San Camp airstrip, in Botswana. Straddling a quad bike, you'll immediately get a feel for this unique landscape, with its endless horizon and lunar-like terrain dotted with palm trees. You'll be met at the airstrip, and the guided transfer takes 45 minutes. The pans are a relic of one of the world’s largest super-lakes, the Makgadikgadi, which dried up thousands of years ago. 

How to do it: Contact The Luxury Safari Company for details.