Travel

The No-Star Hotel

Here’s a hospitality concept tailor-made for the world-wide recession. It’s a product of Swiss ingenuity. Sevelen, Switzerland, population 4,000, boasts the world’s first zero-star hotel.

It’s the brainchild of Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin, and it’s called the Null Stern (No star) Hotel. It’s located in a converted nuclear bunker and offers no amenities, no frills, and no comfort.

The Null Stern has three large rooms, two bedrooms, each of which accommodates up to seven guests, a bathroom with a series of toilets all in a row and gang showers. There’s no heat, but there are plenty of bottles that can be filled with hot water, and complimentary slippers for walking across the icy floor. There are also no windows, but there is a row of monitors in the reception area.

Why would anyone want to stay there? People seem to be treating the hotel as an experience, rather than a place to stay. It’s certainly a social experience. Living is all communal and it’s impossible to ignore your fellow guests. Guests enter a draw to see who gets a hot morning shower — there’s only enough hot water for one — while bed assignments are decided with the spin of an old bike wheel. Bedtime is decided by taking the average amount of sleep everyone wants and subtracting it from a mandatory 7 a.m. wake-up call.

And you get what you pay for. The Null Stern costs about $10US a night. And it’s a concept whose time may have come. The owners are already planning to expand the Zero Star Hotel concept to other bunkers around the world.

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