WTF Fun Fact 12926 – The Zero Star Hotel

In our last fun fact, we mentioned the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland. Some of those rooms have no walls. But let’s talk about the whole concept of Null Stern, which means “zero star,” as in a zero-star hotel.

A Zero Star Hotel

According to Architectural Digest, their hotel rooms with no walls can be fairly posh, in a way, if they’re situated in the right location:

“Although the hotel lacks many common amenities, guests may find comfort in an on-site butler who will play a ‘central role,’ in the experience, according to [hotierl Daniel] Charbonnier. Null Stern’s slogan, ‘The only star is you,’ is a key philosophy at the alternative accommodations, where the founders strive to put the guests at the center of the stay. At all of the zero real estate suites, a butler provides meals and facilitates other requests from guests during their stay. At the anti-idyllic suite, the butler ‘provides a sense of security and care in an environment of insecurity,’ Charbonnier said.”

The concept was launched back in 2009 but began to make headlines in 2017 when their suite in the Swiss Alps got a reputation for having a waitlist of thousands (it’s up to 6000). And while the only “star” might be the guest in their open-air suites in the Swiss Alps, you can certainly get a good view of the stars.

But it all began as something slightly less glamorous than glamping in the Alps.

The original concept

The first hotel that twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin created and named Null Stern was an old 1980s nuclear fallout shelter that they retrofitted.

According to The Guardian (cited below), it’s located in “the small Swiss town of Teufen, in the canton of St Gallen near the Austrian border.”

“Billed as the world’s first zero-star hotel, the Null Stern Hotel occupies the underground space of a nondescript apartment block. The hardened concrete structure and near-two-foot-thick blast doors were designed to take the full brunt of a nuclear or chemical attack. In time of crisis the bunker would have been able to hold more than 200 people.”

We just want to know if this is considered an Instagrammable location.

The original zero star hotel is no longer open since it has been turned into a museum, but you can still grab a room (or sign up for the waiting list at other locations, including in the mountains or at the corner of a busy street outside a gas station).  WTF fun facts

Source: “Switzerland’s Null Stern Hotel: the nuclear option” — The Guardian


WTF Fun Fact 12678 – The (2nd?) Tallest Statue of Jesus

When we see scenes from Rio de Jeneiro in Brazil, their epic Christ the Redeemer statue is always part of the photo montage. However, it’s not even the tallest Jesus statue anymore – and it’s no longer the tallest one in Brazil! Of course, that all depends on whether or not you want to count pedestals.

The Jesus Buntu Burake statue in Sulawesi, Indonesia stands at 172.4 feet (131 without the pedestal), while Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Poland stands at 172.2 feet (108 without the pedestal). But feel free to correct us in the comments since it’s probably hard to get a tape measure up there and we only know what we read on the Internet (but it was from Architectural Digest)!

Rio’s statue is a mere 98 feet tall (and it’s pedestal adds another 28 feet) by comparison. But a tiny town nearly 1000 miles southwest of the city just took the Brazilan title for tallest Jesus statue away from their Christ the Redeemer.

Cristo Protetor de Encantado was built with funds raised by the Associação Amigos de Cristo, and cost of $350,000. It is also far more detailed than Rio’s (though we’re not sure that matters in the long run).

Mexico now pledges it will build the tallest statue of them all in Ciudad Victoriaat standing at 252 feet. Christ of Peace is currently being constructed.

Holy monument? Pilgramage site? Both? More than 37,500 people have come to visit so far, even before Jesus was “open for business.” When he’s done, he will have interior shops, restaurants, and viewing areas, including a glass heart to view the city from.

You can look at him from his base for $4 on the weekends from 9am to 5pm. He opens fully in early 2023.

Now, there’s a little confusion in the press over the height of all of these status and whether or not the official tally includes the base. Smithsonian Magazine seems to think this new statue will be the tallest, however it will stand at 143 feet (43.5 meters) with the pedestal (making it the largest Jesus, but not the largest full statue. Without the pedestal, the statue is 123 feet (37.5 meters), so by our math, Indonesia’s is still bigger in that sense.

Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world and Jesus is a big travel draw. It remains to be seen to what extent the people of this small town will benefit financially, but we’re sure it’s quite a sight nevertheless. –  WTF fun fact

Want to see a video about all of this? Here ya go:

Source: “This Statue Is Now the Third Tallest Monument of Christ in the World — and Will Open to Visitors in 2023” — Travel & Leisure


WTF Fun Fact 12598 – Volunteering for Prison

Zurich West Prison is designed to house no more than 241 people awaiting trial in Switzerland. Prison isn’t a fun place in any country, but that didn’t stop people from lining up to give the place a test run earlier this year. The prison is accepting volunteers over the age of 18 who live or work in Zurich.

As of February, over 832 people had applied to spend a couple of nights testing the facility in April 2022. What can we say, people are willing to try just about anything!

But they won’t be Instagramming the experience – there are no phones allowed. So, you won’t be able to see their prison meals, while they’ll be able to choose from a list of vegetarian, halal, or meat-based options.

Oh, and get this – they’ll also be able to opt-in to a strip search! (We’d pass, but that’s just us.) Of course, as volunteers, they’ll have the option of leaving at any time.

Switzerland’s prisons had come under scrutiny for their poor conditions, so Zurich West Prison wants to iron out any kinks beforehand. They aren’t prepping it to be a luxury stay, but they want to get a sense of how the prison operates with people in it before those people are those who have been charged with a crime.

According to an article in Bloomberg:

What else do we know about the experience volunteers should expect? For starters, they won’t pay anything, and they also shouldn’t expect to get paid for their time in jail. Daily life will include going through intake procedures, testing food, walking the yard, and sleeping in a cell. Cellphones and other electronic devices must be left at the door when checking in, and every volunteer will need a security clearance. To obtain this clearance, participants must go through a security checkpoint similar to airport TSA. And as for strip searches? According to officials, those are voluntary. (Whew!)

During the authentic incarceration experience, volunteers will receive safe words. That way, if things spiral out of control, they can let authorities know ASAP. The same goes for those who get cold feet at any point during the test run. In return, the experience will let officials of the prison system test the new facility’s capacity, operations, and services. It will also give correctional officers a chance to communicate and cooperate with authorities like prosecutors and law enforcement.”

The prison hopes the safe words won’t be necessary.  – WTF fun facts

Source: “Swiss Prison Flooded With Volunteers for Three Nights in Jail” — Bloomberg


WTF Fun Fact – Boiled Lobster?

WTF Fun Fact - Boiled Lobster

New Zealand, Austria, Norway, and Switzerland have banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive. – WTF Fun Facts