A room without a view: second life for Swiss army bunkers

Thu Jan 7, 2016 10:35am EST
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By Joshua Franklin and Arnd Wiegmann

AIROLO, Switzerland (Reuters) - For upwards of almost $200 a night, guests at a Swiss hotel might expect to catch a glimpse of the towering Alps or overlook one of the country's famous lakes.

But visitors to Hotel La Claustra get a room without a view.

The 17-room hotel is buried in the Gotthard mountain range and, with cavernous walls and minimalist interior, offers the chance to spend a few nights in an ex-army bunker.

As images taken for a Reuters photo story show, there is a bleak brick entrance, decorated only with a Swiss flag. Inside, a restaurant, windowless rooms and lounge are all hacked from the bare, surrounding rock.

To see the photo story, click: reut.rs/1OCjbdl

La Claustra is part of a wider trend in Switzerland for recycling the plentiful decommissioned bunkers first carved out to defend the famously neutral country from foreign invasion.

From data centers to museums, from mushroom farms to cheese factories, businesses have been refashioning the former strongholds.

"Along with our processors, our key selling points are the Swiss brand and the physical safety of this bunker," said Frank Harzheim, managing director at Deltalis data center, located in a bunker which once housed up to 1,500 soldiers.   Continued...

A tunnel connects the bunkers at a former Swiss Army artillery fort in Faulensee, Switzerland October 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann