It brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘hitting the hay’.
There’s a trend among some nature-lovers and spendthrifts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to opt for accommodation where the beds are freshly raked hay.
Hay hotels offer exactly what the name suggests. For as little as 8 euros (£7 / $11) a night, backpackers, couples and families can rest their heads in a way nature intended, in converted barns.
Such holidays also generally include activities such as horse riding, canoeing, mountain-biking and archery, and the chance to buy fresh meat, cheese and other farm produce on site.
The Hofgut, a hay hotel situated just outside the small town of Kassell in Germany, has been operating for some years now. The manager, Sarah, said: “I suppose some people might find the idea unappealing, but for anyone who wishes to snuggle up close to nature it’s perfect.”
To the sceptics, she says: “Think back to when you were a child - this would be heaven! What’s changed since then?”
Apparently, hay hotels have become popular for honeymoons, although it has to be remembered that there’s a strict no-smoking-in-bed policy.
by Andy Moreton
If you prefer freshly-laundered bed linen, fluffy pillows and an alarm call that’s not a crowing cock, Luxique can offer the best deals at luxury hotels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Naked alpine ramblers have been warned to keep their clothes on from this spring – at least in one area of Switzerland - or face fines.
Apparently, hiking through the heather with nothing more than a rucksack and a pair of strong boots is a growing pastime, especially among Germans.
The walkers have been at liberty to wander free of clothes and of prosecution because there’s been no law to prevent them. But the Swiss canton (state) of Appenzell Innerrhoden has now said it will slap fines of 200 Francs (£122 / $175) on any holidaymaker who’s caught rambling au naturel.
“We have been receiving many complaints,” said Markus Dörig, a spokesman for the canton. “The local people are upset and we in the government share their concern. How would one feel if one was to go walking and suddenly came across a group of naked people?”
Not surprisingly, there’s been disappointment among naked hiker websites in Germany. One said it was a harmless pursuit aimed simply at getting back to nature. “Abandoning unpractical clothes enables a direct contact with the wind, sun and temperature,” it said.
The area of Appenzell Innerrhoden is well known for its natural beauty but not its liberalism: the canton gave women the right to vote only in 1990 under pressure from the Federal High Court and international human rights groups.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers more than just the bare facts about an unrivalled selection of luxury hotels in SwitzerlandAscona to Zurich. from
Here at Luxique, we deal in only the most luxurious places to stay, but I thought I’d share with you details of one of the cheapest – and arguably the most depressing - hotel experiences.
The Null Stern (no star) hotel in Switzerland is inside a converted nuclear bunker. There’s no heating, so guests are issued with hot water bottles. They also get complimentary ear-plugs to help dull the racket of the ventilation system and slippers to walk across the icy concrete floors.
Being a nuclear bunker, there are no windows; the only view of the outside world is a row of monitors in reception. Customers enter a draw for the luxury of a hot shower in the morning. Breakfast? Forget it.
The Null Stern was the brainchild of twin brothers, Patrik and Frank Riklin. It was originally an art project, but it proved so popular they decided to run it full-time.
“Our motivation was to create something that was the antithesis of the seven-star hotel in Dubai,” said Patrik (the Burj-al-Arab, no doubt). “The interest in the hotel has been huge – we’ve had inquiries from Japan, China, Vietnam, the US and Turkey.”
The only condition placed on the brothers by the council in Sevelen, in the St Gallen canton, was that, in the event of a bomb or nuclear attack, they made it available within 24 hours.
Now the tariff: a military bunk bed will cost you £6 ($9) a night, while a ‘luxury’ room with an antique bed from a condemned hotel will set you back £17 ($25).
The Riklins plan to welcome their first paying guests in the new year and if the project is well received, they plan to open more. “The rest of Switzerland has a lot of defence buildings like this in idyllic surroundings,” said Patrik. “People could hike from bunker to bunker.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re heading for Switzerland and don’t particularly feel ready for a period of self-denial, have a look at Luxique’s varied selection of luxury Swiss hotels.