Tree hotel in North Sweden.

We hand-pick places that we feel are truly original. Many reflect their owners’ passion for distinctive architecture and design. Some border on quirky (and may have crossed over the line). Several are quite posh. And a few are downright rustic. But what all of our properties have in common is that they’re exclusive – in the best sense of the word. Each is singular, memorable and definitely worth writing home about. Or at least a tweet or two…

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Balloons Of The World

Inflated with hot air, water, gas, or human breath, balloons are sold as playthings, used for memorials and celebrations. They are admired during hot air balloon festivals, and just recently, one made international news: A helium-filled balloon took former Austrian paratrooper Felix Baumgartner some 24 miles above the earth to set the new world record for the highest skydive. He plummeted 128,100 feet on Oct. 14 at a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour, landing in over nine minutes. — Lloyd Young

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The Tourist Tiger Trail

Tiger Temple, a Buddhist monastery at Kanchanaburi in Thailand.

What is happening: Why is a tiger walking with the masses? Apparently, Hernfa walks daily with the Abbot and humans at the monastery. This was a rare day when two young cubs (see Phayu chewing on dad’s tail?) came along. They walk alongside humans as if they’re just part of the crowd. Tourists wait their turn to be photographed petting the big, tame tiger.

How the photographer got the shot: Lee had three minutes to keep pace with the tigers, keeping a low angle while walking backwards.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Explanation: Normal cloud bottoms are flat. This is because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. As water droplets grow, an opaque cloud forms. Under some conditions, however, cloud pockets can develop that contain large droplets of water or ice that fall into clear air as they evaporate. Such pockets may occur in turbulent air near a thunderstorm. Resulting mammatus clouds can appear especially dramatic if sunlit from the side. These mammatus clouds were photographed over Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada during the past summer.