Woman pays 1.300 francs a night to sleep in Basel shop window

Woman pays 1.300 francs a night to sleep in Basel shop window

When a shop in Basel advertised a three-night stay in their shop window for over 9.000 francs, not even the organisers expected to get any bookings. Now, a woman from America has been confirmed as the “hotel's” first paying guest, although she is paying a much more reasonable 1.300 Swiss francs a night.

Shop window hotel room meant to be a publicity stunt for Basel business

"The whole thing was a marketing gimmick, at no time did we assume that someone would actually book or come," said shop employee Gawin Steiner. The "room" on Airbnb raised some eyebrows when it said guests can “not only see exhibits at Art Basel, but also be an exhibit themselves.”

The listing was targeted at tourists who were hoping to visit the city during the Art Basel event. Between June 16 and 18, Basel and the surrounding cantons are packed with art connoisseurs wanting to attend the event, meaning all hotels are fully booked and many locals choose to sublet to attendees. 

With a total price of 9.900 Swiss francs for a three-night stay in the shop window, organisers hoped the price would put off any would-be guests while still advertising the business. This didn't work, with the shop window welcoming its first paying guest on Tuesday. “She booked for three nights and we renegotiated the price a bit. Now a night in the shop window only costs 1.300 francs,” Steiner said.

Swiss shop window hotel upgraded to accommodate first paying guest

To prepare for their guest, workers put up new pictures, scaffolding and other items to make the shop window a home away from home. However, Steiner was quick to play down the upgrades, joking, “We don't want to give a false impression, like some shop windows in Amsterdam or Hamburg. The bed was in a back room and is never used... most of the rest of the furniture and plants come from our private homes.”

Steiner concluded that "the effort was well worth it and, somehow, this project made us feel like a part of Art Basel." He admitted he wasn’t sure whether the guest would last the full three days, as there is heavy traffic outside the shop window every rush hour. When asked whether the “hotel” will return next year, he said “I don’t think it would work for next year. I don't imagine sleeping here feels that great."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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