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Why the Zero Star Hotel in Switzerland deserves five stars

Zero Star Hotel in Teufen, Switzerland

At the zero star hotel in Switzerland, you get to sleep under a million stars.

Imagine a queen size bed with fine Egyptian linen sheets. Now, imagine a butler handing you a glass of sparkling wine. And now, remove the ceiling and the walls of your imaginary hotel suite. Et voilà: you're staying the night at the Swiss Zero Star Hotel.

The world's first zero star hotel in 2009

Out of all places, Switzerland surprised the world in 2009 by launching a zero-star hotel. Here in the birthplace of luxury hotels, a converted nuclear fallout shelter made headlines as the world's first zero-star hotel.

That is zero as in null, nada, none. This art installation originated when two creative brains chose an abandoned fallout shelter as an exhibit space. Frank and Patrik Riklin are the twin performance artists behind the Atelier für Sonderaufgaben agency. Their concept of bare necessities resonated with enough budget-minded guests as it was booked for weeks on end. The tagline was ingenious, too: "Null Stern - The only star is you!"

A zero star hotel under the open sky in 2017

The Riklin twins are two performance artists from Switzerland. After the success of their first zero-star hotel, they returned in 2017 with an open-air installation in the picturesque Appenzell region.

Copyright Claudio Baeggli/

Frank Riklin about the brothers' aversion to luxury: "Our artistic perspective is to go in the other direction. There is freedom in the 'zero' to define luxury anew."

Guests could stay at this ingenious open-air "suite" for 295 francs per night, which included a butler in rubber boots and an outhouse. The great outdoors offered unobstructed 360-degree views of the impressive Alpstein region.

Zero Star Hotel in Teufen, Switzerland
Copyright Claudio Baeggli/

The Riklin brothers' zero star suite in 2022

Amid the global turmoil, many of us have been experiencing sleepless nights. We simply ask for peace and quiet, a place to retreat and feel safe.

Frank and Patrik Riklin decided to do the opposite. Their latest project is a topsy-turvy statement: it’s a literal “anti idyllic suite” that is supposed to prevent guests from sleeping.

Copyright Gianluca Colla/

Placed next to a gas station along a street in Saillon, Valais, the artists’ latest zero-star hotel makes quite a statement. According to the Riklin brothers, this hotel suite is a place to reminisce about current affairs, social and political movements, as well as our own actions.

In addition to the gas station hotel room, the brothers have designed three more open-air suites in the commune of Saillon. Two are embedded in vineyards; another offers unobstructed views of the Rhône Valley.

Each zero-star suite comes with butler services, a welcome drink with a platter of regional appetizers, and breakfast from the local bakery.

Copyright Atelier für Sonderaufgaben

We award the Riklin brothers' ingenuity five stars and hope they will continue to surprise us!

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

Dimitri Burkhard

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