Weirdest European hotels: Planes, trains and automobiles
Sure, you’re a seasoned globetrotter, but have you slept in the cockpit of a jumbo jet, nodded off on a Victorian train, or caught zzzzz’s in your dream car? European hoteliers have transformed planes, trains and automobiles into unique and comfy accommodations that give new meaning to the saying “getting there is half the fun.”
Airplane Suite -Teuge, Netherlands
Spice up your next getaway at the exclusive mile-high club of the Airplane Suite. During the Cold War, this Soviet aircraft carried leaders of the German Democratic Republic and was later flown commercially for an East German airline. Now, the jet that shuttled 120 cramped passengers is reserved for only two and features a sleeping area, bathroom, den and kitchen.
Sit in the suite’s original, unaltered cockpit to feel the power of pilots. Release tension in the sauna and soak in the Jacuzzi. Sprawl across the plush bed and wake up to the aromas of a hot breakfast prepared by hotel staff.
If you want to soar above the clouds, schedule English-speaking flying lessons through www.vliegles.nl. And experience teeth-clenching, eye-closing excitement as a pilot executes dives, corkscrews and other acrobatics during a stunt flight. When you’re ready to land on solid ground, visit Bussloo’s recreational park for outdoor fun or Bussloo Thermen for a day of pampering.
First class won’t seem posh after a night in the Airplane Suite. Book your retreat using via www.hotelsuites.nl or the official website.
Jumbo Stay Hostel -Stockholm, Sweden
Have a layover or vacation in the Swedish capital? Then spend the night at the Jumbo Stay Hostel, a Boeing 747 permanently parked on the tarmac of the Stockholm Arlanda International Airport. More than 400 seats have been replaced with a restaurant and 27 modernly furnished compartments for singles, couples and families.
Room configurations include dorm-style shared sleeping quarters and bath, private bedrooms with in-room lavatories, and family rooms with access to the community restrooms. There’s even a suite for two on the flight deck.
Jumbo Stay Hostel is the ticket, whether you need some shut-eye before an inconvenient 5 a.m. takeoff, have a little one who aspires to be a pilot, or want to impress your sweetie. If you’re a plane spotter who prefers traditional hotels, board the jumbo jet for a meal (don’t worry; it’s not airline food).
The Old Railway Station -Petworth, England
The locomotives of the 120-year-old Petworth rail center await guests, though their tracks lead to nowhere. Stop by the Old Railway Station inn to reminisce about late 19th century opulence, a time when sleeper cabins rivaled five-star hotels and dinner doubled as evening entertainment.
The bed and breakfast’s four Pullman train cars provide a total of eight elegant chambers with private bathrooms; two more are located in the station building. Start your day with an elegant breakfast in the former terminal. Then peruse local antique stores, play 18 holes on Goodwood’s English PGA Championship course, or maneuver a Ferrari at sickening speeds on the Goodwood Motor Circuit.
Pack your bags and visit http://old-station.co.uk to book your coach for a weekend in the British countryside. All aboard!
Controversy Tram Inn –Hoogwoud, Netherlands
Find fun surprises at the Controversy Tram Inn, a quirky B&B in rural Holland. Owners Frank and Irma Appel have elevated trams and a train from mundane mass transit to funky flats.
Each tram sleeping area is furnished with up-cycled items to create motifs representing a different country. You’ll be served breakfast to match, so take tea in Britain, café au lait in France, espresso in Italy or coffee in America. The 70-foot train provides the inn’s largest and most outlandish accommodations. Discover a whirlpool tub in an upside-down sombrero, bed in a wooden boat and tire sink among the interesting amenities.
To check out video tours, rates and availability go to www.controversy.nl.
Cars and Campers
Base Camp Bonn –Bonn, Germany
Film set designer Marion Seul has employed some movie magic and a sense of humor to turn a warehouse into a hip trailer park. At BaseCamp Bonn, camping and hostel accommodations converge to give you a one-of-a-kind excursion.
Each camper’s décor spotlights a country, era or hobby. Formula One followers should request the racecar-themed Pitstop caravan, and hunters will feel at home amid the mounted antlers, fur rugs and stuffed fowl of the Jägerhütte. Wake up in Africa, deep space or the 1950s in the Safari, Space Shuttle and Rockabilly trailers. Or rest your head in a tour bus, 1960s VW van, train cabin and other vehicles.
All campsites have access to a community bathroom, outdoor recreational area, shared kitchen and food truck. The nightly rate includes breakfast, linens and Wi-Fi. See www.basecamp-bonn.com for details.
V8 Hotel –Stuttgart, Germany
Car fanatics will never want to leave Stuttgart. Admire hundreds of exhibits and autos — flawless classics, modern beauties and futuristic prototypes — at the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche museums. The homage continues at the V8 Hotel, where you can envision the perfect set of wheels while snoozing in a bed constructed from vintage vehicles.
Built on the grounds of the former Böblingen Airport, the V8 Hotel has stylish and comfortable rooms geared toward motorheads but appreciated by all. Enter Death Valley via Route 66; top up your tank in the Filling Station; run a business in the Repair Shop; or enjoy a rooftop deck, sauna and all things Mercedes in the multi-level Tower Suite.
Motorworld is next door, so you can ogle antique cars during maintenance, meet fellow enthusiasts, dine in exclusive restaurants and smoke cigars in the lounge. Visit the official websites www.v8hotel.de and www.motorworld.de for more information.
After your stay at these transportation-themed hotels, you’ll have something to talk about! Email contentteam[at]stripes.[dot]com to tell us the inside story on Europe’s weird and wacky hotels.