3/22/13

Hotel Everland - Traveling Hotel

When I first saw Hotel Everland, designed by Lang and Baumann, I was intrigued by the idea of a traveling hotel.  While the concept of a moving hotel is definitely original, I was skeptical about its ability to function as a hotel, the circulation of the hotel room, as well as the practicality of moving it from place to place.


Hotel Everland is a one room hotel with a king bed, bathroom, and lounge area.  The concept was that the hotel could only be booked for one night.  However, the mini bar was fully stocked and included in the price, and breakfast was delivered to the door.


The hotel was constructed for the Swiss national exhibition in 2002.  It was built in Burgdorf and transported to Yverdon where it overlooked Lake Neuchatel for 4 months.  From June 2006 to September 2007, Hotel Everland sat on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig in Germany.  Visitors could look at the hotel during the day, and after closing hours, it was reserved for the overnight guests.  The final destination of Hotel Everland was Paris where it sat on the roof of Palais de Tokyo from October 2007 until spring 2009, overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  After its stay in Paris, the hotel traveled back to Switzerland and has not run as a hotel since.  There are also no current plans for a future tour.

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I'm not surprised that Hotel Everland's operation as a hotel was very brief.  The practicality of a one-room hotel on top of a public building that can only be booked for one night is almost non-existent.  I have a feeling that of all of the hotel's guests, most were artists or architects who stayed in the hotel simply to study and appreciate the design.  But as a functioning hotel, there are many problems.  For one, you can only book one night which requires people to switch hotels if they are staying in the city for longer than one night.  Once travelers reach their destination, most do not want to pack up their bags and move again.  Also, the hotel was public to museum guests during the day during its stay in Germany which means that the guests only got to enjoy their room to themselves from 6PM until the next morning.

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Also, besides the amazing view, the hotel really doesn't have much to offer in the way of amenities.  There is no swimming pool, fitness center, or restaurant - additions that have become the norm in most 4 and 5 star accommodations, to which I'm sure Hotel Everland was comparable in price.  I would think that in order for Hotel Everland to be able to really serve as a functional hotel would be for it to be a parasite on top of an existing hotel and be able to use that hotel's services and amenities.

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Despite the flawed concept of a one-room traveling hotel, I think that the design of Hotel Everland is actually really wonderful.  There are windows on all sides, and the ends of the hotel are all glass, maximizing views with lovely picture windows.  Even though the room is rather small and compact, the amount of light allowed in by the windows makes it appear much larger on the inside.

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If it weren't designed to be a hotel room with no kitchen, this could actually function rather nicely as a studio apartment.  Perhaps the interior could be renovated to include a small kitchen nook.  I think that the other possibility for putting Hotel Everland back in use is to partner with a hotel chain and rent the room out through them, which would not only make it easier for guests to book and stay at, but allow guests to use hotel amenities and perhaps stay in a regular room if Hotel Everland were to remain available for only one-night stays.

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Otherwise, I think Hotel Everland will just remain a part of the collection of beautiful designs that just don't function.  Perhaps it will become a part of a design museum in Switzerland.  Despite its lack of success as a functioning hotel, Hotel Everland not only exemplified collaborative design, but challenged the concept of a hotel.

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