Swiss bunker becomes first zero-star hotel – Yahoo! News
SEVELEN, Switzerland – Tourists in Switzerland can soon sleep in the world’s first “zero-star hotel,” a former nuclear bunker several yards below the ground.
A group of 15 guests inaugurated the hotel, sleeping the night from Thursday to Friday in the former bunker embellished with artistic decoration and real hotel duvets.
But that was only a trial run, and regular operation of the hotel will require approval of an operating budget by the town of Sevelen.
The hostelry in the northeastern region of St. Gallen, which is part of the town’s project to convert the hardly used nuclear bunker, is aimed at guests with a modest income.
“Using the weapon of art, we have created a low-budget hotel, which has charm, takes into account guests’ individual wishes and thus becomes quite something,” said twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin, artists commissioned by local authorities to convert an ancient neighboring factory into a culture center and integrate the bunker.
Organizers said the price per night will be between $9 and $13.
The shared bathroom has been converted into a fountain with swimming flowers, and a live cam is sending images from the outside onto a large screen in the windowless building.
Town Mayor Roman Zogg said the nuclear bunker was empty most of the time, except on rare occasions when the army used it for training courses.
“The maintenance costs loads of money,” he said.
Zogg said he was convinced the hotel, which could host cultural events and ski and hiking camps, has good chances of success.
In case of emergency, the hotel could be converted back into a nuclear bunker within 24 hours in line with a Swiss law that says all civil defense buildings have to be ready for use within one day.
The hotel can start commercial operations if the town’s population approves the $73,600 project credit in a meeting scheduled for Nov. 11.
Budget Travel Extra Mile Awards for innovation – Yahoo! News
NEW YORK – New services and features from Kayak.com, American Airlines, JetBlue, Google and TripAdvisor honored with Extra Mile Awards from Budget Travel magazine.
The magazine gives the awards for developments that make travel “easier, more enjoyable and more affordable.”
The top 10 winners for 2009, listed in the magazine’s October issue, are:
_Kayak.com, for new features like search sharing, a real-time map of available airfare and an iPhone application.
_New York City, for new public spaces like making Times Square car-free and turning an abandoned railway into a walkway called the High Line.
_Apple, for equipping the 3GS iPhone with a built-in applications store for anything you might need on the road.
_American Airlines, for the One-Way Flex Awards loyalty program, which helps occasional travelers earn rewards.
_JetBlue, for offering amenities at the gate, like the Re:Vive bar kiosks at JFK airport.
_Intrepid Travel, for carbon-offsetting all of its itineraries by early 2010.
_Google, for offering the Street View mapping feature for theme parks and trails.
_Delta, for bringing back customer service in style with Red Coats, agents dedicated to troubleshooting at a number of airports.
_Hyatt, for “new surprise perks to new and loyal customers.”
_TripAdvisor, for new tools like the Vacation Rental Calculator, the Top Values Tool, and the Fees Estimator.
Details at http://www.budgettravel.com.