Innovation That Matters

Swiss bomb shelter becomes 'zero star' hotel

Travel & Tourism

We’ve written about numerous no-frills hotels before, but it’s just possible a new hotel in Switzerland may offer the fewest frills we’ve seen. That’s because it’s set up in an air-raid shelter, and it dispenses with nearly all the amenities hotel guests typically take for granted. Located in the Sevelen commune in the St. Gallen canton of Switzerland, the Zero Star Hotel is essentially a low-budget hostel in which guests sleep in a shared, barracks-style room. Walls are concrete, there are no windows or heating—hot water bottles are all that’s on hand to keep guests warm—and hot water itself is at a minimum. Beds range from bunks to more traditional double accommodations reclaimed from a nearby hotel that recently shut down, and guests must take turns showering in a communal bathroom. A live-cam broadcasting images from outside is the closest thing to a view. Flowers and scattered artwork supplied by artist-twins and founders Frank and Patrik Riklin of the Atelier für Sonderaufgaben are the only embellishments to the spartan, military style of the bunker, which must, by Swiss law, be convertible back to military use within 24 hours. Fifteen guests spent an inaugural night at the hotel in October, but it won’t be available for public use until early this year. Rates will be between EUR 6 and EUR 16 per night, its founders say. As belts tighten ever more, consumers may well be satisfied with fewer and fewer frills—particularly when presented in an artistic and creative way that creates a unique experience and provides rich storytelling fodder to share with friends. One to bring to a bunker near you….? (Related: Wine selling & storytelling.) Spotted by: Susanna Haynie



Download PDF