Sleep under the stars in a ‘hotel’ without walls

Get back to nature by staying in a ‘property-free room’ out in the Swiss countryside

Written by
Time Out editors

Walls and ceilings have their uses, for sure, but sometimes you can do without them just fine, such as when you’re staying in an open-air hotel.

This seems to have been the thinking behind Zero Real Estate, a series of stripped-back hotel rooms in the great outdoors – stripped-back to the extent that all you’ve got is a bed, a floor, a bedside table and not much else. But that’s all part of the experience.

The idea comes from two Swiss artists, Frank and Patrik Riklin, and hotel expert Daniel Charbonnier, who launched the Null Stern Hotel project in 2016, centred around hotel rooms with ‘zero stars’, set up in unusual locations. The open-air Zero Real Estate rooms are an off-shoot of that project, allowing guests to sleep in seven hotel ‘suites’ scattered around beautiful spots in eastern Switzerland.

A stay in the rooms also includes butler service, supplied by someone who lives in a nearby village. As well as bringing you breakfast in bed, the ‘butlers’ can also tell you about the local area and even keep you up-to-speed on the latest village gossip, should you want it.

If nature doesn’t play ball on the night of your stay, you’ll be able to sleep in alternative accommodation (i.e. somewhere with walls and a roof), but if there’s just a light shower that you want to tough out, you’ll be equipped with umbrellas and a flashlight.

All being well, though, you’ll be enjoying what the creators call your “property-free room” out in the wilderness all night, waking up to a truly stunning view – and that breakfast in bed, of course.

Clearly, the rooms will appeal to those keen for a holiday but not wanting to travel abroad at the moment, providing yet another reason to enjoy a Swiss staycation. The suites are also subject to relevant hygiene and protective measures – and being without walls and ceilings means they also get a fair bit of natural ventilation.

Rooms can be booked now at the Zero Real Estate website, in areas including Lake Thurgau, Schaffhauserland, St Gallen and Appenzellerland. 

Searching for more Swiss holiday ideas? Get inspired with our guide on how to have a great staycation this summer

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