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EXCLUSIVE VACATIONS PLACES
A mind-boggling art project and a hotel made of ice and snow
Every winter since about 1990, sculptors have built a hotel and bar made of ice blocks from the nearby Torne River. When the spring thaw arrives, the facilities melt. New ones are created the next winter, usually opening in early December.
Sleeping in an ice room is an unforgettable -- though not entirely comfortable -- experience. After all, it's apt to be minus 20 or 30 degrees.
For summertime visitors, there's a lodge with chalets and lots of authentic Lapland adventure. The sun never sets for 100 days, and the temperature rarely rises above 75.
World's largest hotel suite, Lebanon
(Grand Hills Hotel and Spa)
The world's biggest hotel suite is part of the Grand Hills Hotel and Spa in the mountain village of Broumana between the ocean and downtown Beirut (about a half-hour away) in Lebanon. The hotel has 115 rooms in a resort setting shared with furnished apartments, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
The Royal Residence has six floors and private swimming pools. Guiness World Records declared it -- at just under 44,500 square feet -- the largest hotel suite in the world. It was finished last year.
Ithaa Undersea restaurant, Maldives
(Conrad Maldives Rangali Island)
Ithaa Undersea restaurant sits 16 feet below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a hotel resort in Hilton's luxury brand that occupies two islands. Maldives is a country of almost 1,200 islands about 300 miles from the southernmost points of India and Sri Lanka.
Diners eat beneath glass walls at the Ithaa Undersea restaurant. The cuisine is decribed as Maldivian-Western, and the restaurant seats about 12. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, according to the resort's website.
World's largest swimming pool, Chile
Thinking about swimming a few laps before breakfast?
Check out this man-made "lagoon" ? dubbed the world's largest outdoor swimming pool ? at the San Alfonso del Mar vacation property resort at Algarrobo, Chile.
The coast-hugging pool is all man-made with a bit of patented technology that uses water from the nearby Pacific Ocean to fill it.
According to the Guinness World Records, which deemed it the world's largest pool in 2007, the lagoon measures 3,324 feet long. The pool was completed in December 2006.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
There are many blue holes off the coast of Belize, but the "great" Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the one most visible in a flyover--and the most famous one for diving. The hole is about 1,000 feet in diameter and 412 feet deep. The Blue Hole sits on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, about 50 miles east of Belize City.
The late Jacques Cousteau and a filming crew explored the underwater cave whose roof collapsed about 10,000 years ago.