HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
SECRET PANEL ROOM
History buffs, take note: You can rent a room for two in this 1699 home on Cape Cod that's loaded with antiques and art, and it's only a short walk to the cute shops in downtown Sandwich. Don't miss the Revolutionary War-era escape tunnel, which opens from a wooden panel by the fireplace and leads into a safe room.
LIGHTHOUSE HILL RANCH
Johnson City, TX
Talk about unexpected: An 86-foot stone lighthouse that sleeps up to 15 smack in the middle of Texas' Hill Country. Even more unexpected: A secret room ideal for kids to sleep or play in (but they'll have to figure out how to get inside, first). Don't miss the sweeping views from the fourth-floor observatory, or splash in the negative-edge pool with a slide.
ENGLISH COTTAGE ROOM
This quaint upstairs cottage room for two includes a whimsical cobblestone wall with a faux tree. Look closer, though, and you'll find a little green door in the tree that leads to an adorable hideaway perfect for the young at heart – or anyone who wants to curl up with a good book. Other perks include a private patio and quick access to Tacoma and Seattle.
THE RAINBOW HOUSE
Ready for something truly different? Stay for a week at London's artsy four-bedroom Rainbow House. One of many eye-popping features is a hidden trapdoor in the bedroom: Open it, and you'll find a slide that whisks you down to a living area and kitchen. Other highlights include a gorgeous multicolored spiral staircase, a bed that rotates 360 degrees, and a rooftop garden.
CHATEAU DE FARCHEVILLE
Sign us up for this dream rental: A French castle that has 22 bedrooms, 34 bathrooms, and plenty of "concealed doorways, hidden passages and secret rooms." Adding to the intrigue: Medieval prison cells near the underground wine cellar. The grounds include a huge cobblestone courtyard, a moat (of course), a gorgeous indoor pool, and a cinema room. It also comes with a princely price tag.
SECRET PASSAGE GUEST HOUSE
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This "urban ranch" guest house for four features easy access to downtown Albuquerque, an outdoor area with a fire pit and family games like tetherball, and a unique set of climbable bunk beds. The best part, though? It has a secret passage to the bathroom, closet and deck, hidden discreetly behind a wall of shelves.
KID-FRIENDLY COUNTRY HOME
Full of tunnels, playrooms, and secret rooms, this family-friendly retreat for up to 25 people in western Washington bills itself as a place "where kids entertain themselves." There's even a slide leading down to a play space full of ride-on toys. Grown-ups can relax on the large deck or around the fire pit. The home also isn't far from Olympic National Park.
THE JADE HOUSE
Dominical, Costa Rica
As if the ocean views, wrap-around balconies, three swimming pools, and swim-up bar aren't enough, this luxurious rainforest villa also has a kids' hideaway that's only accessible through a secret entrance in the wall. It sleeps up to 16, and you'll need your rest: Nearby activities include waterfall rappelling, surfing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, yoga, and ATV tours.
In true offbeat Brooklyn fashion, this Bushwick apartment features a "Harry Potter-esque" hidden room for one guest built entirely with reinforced bookcases. Need to get in? Just find the can of sesame tahini, which functions as the doorknob. The subway is just a few blocks away, offering easy access to Manhattan.
The builders of this contemporary Alpine home for up to 10 guests decided to bury it in the ground to keep views of the dramatic surrounding scenery as undisturbed as possible. To enter, you'll have to descend into a hidden tunnel inside an old barn nearby. Outside, you'll be steps from the famous Therme Vals, a hotel and spa complex where you can bathe in waters from mountain hot springs.
HISTORIC SECRET PASSAGE HOME
This 1850s home for up to eight people near California's wine country sounds appealing enough, but this one features a secret passageway likely to have been used by a bootlegger years ago. You'll also be treated to a babbling brook and redwood grove outside, and a chef's kitchen and claw-foot soaking tub inside.
SECRET DOOR GUESTHOUSE
The only thing better than staying in a quaint suburb of Dublin? Getting to unwind in a light-filled, loft-style studio apartment for four that's completely hidden behind a secret door on a quiet street. Bars, restaurants, and harbor views are just a few minutes away; you'll also have access to a tiny stone courtyard.
ENCHANTED MANOR OASIS
Los Angeles, CA
This darling stone home tucked away in Los Angeles sleeps up to six – that is, as long as you utilize a secret attic room that's hidden away behind an unassuming bookcase. You'll want to bring your kids, because there's a tree house, gorgeous outdoor pool and grotto, and an eye-popping playhouse that's a replica of the main house, complete with its own TV, DVD player, and miniature fireplace.
Tennessee might be the last place you expect to find a medieval castle, but here you go. It sleeps up to six and includes a secret staircase hidden behind a moving bookshelf. If that's not cool enough, you'll have your own pub, and the master bedroom ceiling is painted like the Sistine Chapel's. Outside, there's a multi-level deck with river views, and acres of forest courtesy of a neighboring nature preserve.
CUSTOM OCEANFRONT HOME
Tropical paradise awaits with this Hawaiian rental for up to eight. It even includes a secret room, but the owner isn't giving any hints: "If you can find it ... you can sleep there." Of course, your search may have to wait awhile, because there's a pool with a concealed rock slide and waterfall, ocean views from the lanai, a gourmet kitchen, and two outdoor showers.
WHITE NAVONA HOME
Up to seven guests can pile into this chic apartment in the heart of Rome. If the private terrace and zen garden aren't intriguing enough, look for the little stone-carved door that leads into a cellar – it was made inside a secret passage that used to connect the building to a nearby church. There, you can sample sausage and wine.
MAGIC VILLA AT REUNION
Try these words on any kid reluctant to go on another family vacation: "Secret loft with an Xbox and talking portraits." They can get there via a tucked away spiral staircase, or through hidden doors in their own "Harry Potter" and princess-themed bedrooms. Of course, there are plenty of other rooms to explore in this sparkling new home for up to 26, including a pool with a lazy river and water cannon, a movie room, and a game room – all 6 miles from Disney World.
HILLTOP GOTHIC CASTLE
Bring up to 22 people and make this 11,000-square-foot castle on 500 acres your own kingdom. Find the hidden passages that lead to the rooftop spires, enjoy the basement bar and game room, take a boat out on the private lake, or huddle around the fire pit on a chilly evening. Guests can enjoy miles of trails and even a disc golf course without leaving the property.
THE WHITMAN ON FORSYTH PARK
If you can tear your eyes away from the gracious Savannah streets and Forsyth Park's moss-draped oaks, you can join the search for a secret bedroom hidden away in this meticulous Queen Anne (hint: try playing some pool). The home has room for up to 16 and features abundant porches and balconies, a media room with an 80-inch projection screen, and a private courtyard.
CHIC SECRET PASSAGE APARTMENT
Romance abounds at this Paris apartment for up to four, but first you'll have to find it: It's off a secret, picture-perfect cobblestone passage, hidden away behind a store front. The bright, modern apartment is no slouch either, and it's in walking distance to some of Paris' must-sees, including Notre Dame and the Seine.