CNN International, “Business Traveller”
Richard Quest, 14 February 2009
QUEST: Welcome back to "CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER." Over the years, I've shown you many different types of overnight accommodations. But we've never shown you anything quite like this. The Null Stern Hotel, zero staff, in Switzerland. This is different.
Underground in this Cold War nuclear bunker, no frills takes on a whole new meaning. For $9 a night, you get a bed, hot water bottle and a room with no view. And there's no heating, limited hot water and breakfast is not included. It's not the lap of luxury. And that's the point for the artists, Frank and Patrik Riklin.
FRANK RIKLIN, ARTIST: Actually, we try to keep the angst of the general megalomania of this time (ph). For example, it's also the entrepreneurs (INAUDIBLE) of the Atlantis (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST: For the brothers, the Null Stern Hotel was nothing more than a concept, an art installation.
For the businessman, Daniel Charbonnier, it was a real hotel and a business opportunity.
DANIEL CHARBONNIER, MD, MINDS IN MOTION, SA: It gave me the vision. If they have -- they have almost showed me what I have been looking for all my life, which is the essence of hospitality. They have showed me like the life of the essence of the hospitality business, which is that you can make a guest happy with just people taking care of other people without anything else around, the flat screen and the big Jacuzzi, everything that is just on top of it.
QUEST: It's obviously a great gimmick. But why on earth would anyone want to stay here?
RITA MAYER-ZIEGLER, TRIAL GUEST: It wasn't very warm. You could hear the air ventilation system. But the experience of staying overnight with so many people in one room was great.
QUEST: Guests can share in standard class.
But you will actually have people sleeping like this.
RIKLIN: Yes, yes, all together.
QUEST: Or a great tiller luxury suit for just a couple of dollars more.
Null Stern doesn't open until April and already 1,000 bookings have been made.
The irony is, with their art becoming commercial, the brothers' zero- star concept may well end up adding zeros to their own balance sheet.
PATRIK RIKLIN, ARTIST: We couldn't make this idea if we are interesting in only money. But if the art can show something for the economic -- for the business world, then it would be also interesting for us as artists.
QUEST: The Null Stern, many meters below ground, but one thing is for sure, you won't be having to dig deep to stay here.
QUEST: All this saving money, who knows where we'll all end up staying.
And that's "CNN BUSINESS TRAVELLER" for this month. I'm Richard Quest, at the Null Stern in Switzerland.
Wherever your travels may take you, I hope it's profitable. And I'll see you next month. I think. If I every get out of here. Hello? Hello? Concierge?