Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hit the Hay (literally) in Germany

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Leave it to the Germans to combine livestock with lodging. In the last decade, hundreds of farms throughout Germany have transformed old barns and potato warehouses into heuhotels, or hay hotels, where guests spend the night on a bed of dried grass.

The eco-friendly hotels (no sheets to change) are cheap and appeal to the country’s many cyclists, nature lovers and outdoorsy families. Sleeping accommodations range from open lofts filled with bales of hay, to feed stalls furnished with wooden platforms. And while a few hotels have added more civilized amenities like privacy curtains and bottles of wine to take to bed, most still require that guests bring their own sleeping bag and towels.

Barnyard nuptials may be a growing trend. At the Kleyhauers Heuhotel in Wangerland, near the North Sea (49-4461-700-092; www.kleyhauers-ferienbauernhof.de), couples can check into the “bridal suite." For 23 euros each, the bride and groom will find a small platform of hay for two, a bottle of sekt and Christmas lights strung in the shape of a heart. (Other hay rooms are 14.5 euros, with breakfast.)

Never mind that there is a herd of smelly cows in the adjoining stall. In the morning, you can enjoy the freshest milk with your muesli.

A list of hay hotels throughout Germany can be found on www.heuhotels.de, a Web site created by an association for farm vacations and hay hotels. Another site, in German only, like the others, www.heuhotelferien.de, specializes in Lower Saxony.

Sounds interesting...definitely not for you if you want pampering though!

Source: NYTimes

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