'Sorry, we have no rooms with a view'

17 October 2008

[Spiegel Online, 15 October] The world's first "zero-rated" hotel - a former underground nuclear bunker - is set to open in Sevelen, Switzerland. The abandoned bunker has been transformed into a budget hotel by twin brothers Patrik and Frank Riklin with the moto "less is more": it has not been painted, the beds are from a nearby condemned hospital and hot water is not guaranteed - but what would you expect for just $9 to $13 per night? Patrik insists that the hotel's stark Cold War atmosphere is "damned comfortable." A monitor within the bunker gives guests in the windowless hotel their only view of the outside world. One condition from the Swiss military is that the bunker be ready at all times to revert back to its original function within 24 hours. A group of guests gave the 54-bedded hotel a trial run last week. The hotel can only start commercial operation if given approval by the town in November. However, the Riklin brothers are already setting their sights on setting up a chain of such hotels. "People could hike from bunker to bunker," Patrick said. "Bunkers will definitely go down well with Japanese tour groups," he added.

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