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Stay Socially Distant in a Mountainside Hotel Room With No Walls or Ceiling

The hotel lets you sleep under the stars, "inside" a room.

null stern hotel
Courtesy of Null Stern

Connecting with nature is important. One study estimated that, based on surveys, people in the US spend about 92% of their time inside. Getting outside is good for your health and can seriously improve your mood. But you probably know this based on your own experiences. 

You can tip the scales on that 92% figure by camping or heading to the newly expanded Null Stern Hotel, called Zero Real Estate. The concept was first introduced four years ago as the brainchild of conceptual artist brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin, and hotel professional Daniel Charbonnier. Those outdoor rooms were themselves a twist on a "Zero Star Hotel" concept they developed in 2008, creating a room in a nuclear bunker. On July 1, the outdoor concept will open seven new suites without walls or roofs. 

outdoor hotel
Courtesy of Null Stern

You're basically booking a luxury hotel room in Switzerland that's sitting on a mountainside with no walls or ceiling. The rooms are scattered around eastern Switzerland, including rooms in St. Gallen-Lake Constance, Toggenburg, Heidiland, Appenzellerland AR, Thurgau, Schaffhauserland, as well as Liechtenstein. All seven places will open a single room next month.

"The idea was that each destination would re-use existing resources from surrounding hotels and stage it in a new and extraordinary location," the announcement says of the rooms. Each room gets Modern Butler service, the project's title for a butler that's actually someone who lives nearby and can serve as an expert on the surrounding region. (In addition to serving you a drink in bed and bringing along some food.) "The Modern Butlers are members of the local communities and most of the room night fee is used to pay their salary," Charbonnier tells Thrillist.

Additionally, the rooms are being sanitized thoroughly as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Many doctors and scientists are advising against travel and the reopening of cities at this point in the pandemic. However, if you're going to travel anyway, you could probably do far worse than an open-air room where you're the only guest. The situation is changing constantly, but at the moment Switzerland has travel restrictions in place until June 15, when some restrictions within the EU will be eased. 

The expanded no-wall hotel concept is taking reservations now. However, with so few rooms, availability is likely to disappear in a hurry. Each room, including Modern Butler service, costs about $308 a night (CHF 295). And, of course, alternate accommodations are available for bad weather. Being outside is great, but a roof can be useful from time to time as well.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.