Farmer en suite, Swiss 'zero-star' hotel moves beds to great outdoors

Farmer en suite, Swiss 'zero-star' hotel moves beds to great outdoors
Raphael and Mirjam (R) pose as first guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on an alp mount Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

An overnight stay in a double bed "suite" in a field costs 295 Swiss francs (S$423), but you do get a drink on arrival, breakfast and the services of a "modern butler" -- typically a local farmer in rubber boots.

He or she escorts guests to the site, provides weather reports and delivers local jokes through a broken-down TV set.

Welcome to the "zero star" hotel, a conceptual art project that lets guests bed down in the wide open spaces with unobstructed views of Switzerland's majestic landscape.

Raphael and Mirjam (R) pose as first guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on an alp in front of the peak of mount Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017. PHOTO: Reuters

Created by twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin and partner Daniel Charbonnier, the project aims to explode traditional approaches to hospitality in the wealthy country known for its luxurious top-star mountain and lakeside resorts.

Swiss artists Frank and his twin-brother Patrik Riklin (R) pose in their Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation on an alp in front of the peak of mount Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017. PHOTO: Reuters

"Our artistic perspective is to go in the other direction. There is freedom in the zero to define luxury anew," Frank Riklin said of the minimalist project that opens on Friday in the rolling hills of the Appenzell region near Sankt Gallen.

An outhouse bathroom is a three-minute walk away at a nearby Alpine hut that serves as a backup in case of bad weather, which wiped out 37 of the 60 available nights outdoors last year.

Previous versions of the installation have featured beds in a nuclear bunker and at an elevation of 1,600 meters (5,250 feet) in the mountainous Grisons region.

Raphael (LtoR) and Mirjam receive a drink from butler Koebi Dietrich as they pose as first guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on an alp in front of the peak of mount Saentis near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017. PHOTO: Reuters

This year's offering is nearly sold out after more than 1,300 requests for reservations from people as far afield as the United States, Australia, Iraq and Africa.

While art lovers vie for a night under the stars, Riklin said traditional Swiss hoteliers are not great fans of the project that stands normal customs on their head.

"We are very consciously mixing up the system to create a new reality," he said

Raphael and Mirjam (R) pose as first guests in the bedroom of the Null-Stern-Hotel (Zero-star-hotel) land art installation by Swiss artists Frank and Patrik Riklin on an alp near Gonten, Switzerland June 1, 2017. PHOTO: Reuters

 

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