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August 27, 2009 @ 10:35 am
Eco-friendly Honeymoon in the Hay?

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When I read about these “hay hotels” yesterday I couldn’t resist blogging about them – especially since some of the quotes made me laugh out loud (don’t worry I will include them). In recent years I’m sure we have all noticed those little hotel cards asking if you want your towels and/or bedding laundered and replaced. Guests can energy and water by reusing these items (and in a big hotel the total savings can be quite large). It’s not a sacrifice to sleep on the same sheets a few nights – you don’t change them and launder them daily at home do you?

Heuhotels (‘heu’ is German for hay) have taken the concept one step further. There are no sheets to wash. In a romantic nod to the middle ages, villages in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been converting barns and other old buildings into cheap (as little as €8/$11), green alternatives to traditional hotels. The beds are made of fresh hay and proprietors recommend you bring your own sleeping bags and blankets unless you really want to rough it. Some provide hostel like communal accommodations while others offer more “luxurious” touches. The Zum Alten Marstall is located next to an 11th century castle so staff members wear cloaks and male guests are referred to as “Knights.”

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Without new construction, minimal laundry and less energy consumption the hotels provide sustainable tourism in a back to nature sort of way. They’re generally in historic, scenic areas with access to outdoor activities such as horseback riding, canoeing and even archery. If you’re not sold yet, one of the managers said “Think back to when you were a child – this would be heaven! What’s changed since then?” She also touted her heuhotel as a great group retreat. “We have many important people from the city coming to stay here, all types that you wouldn’t expect…what better way for a team to bond than by eating together around a camp fire and then rolling around in the hay?” No comment…

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The author of the full article (from CNN) also claimed the hay beds are becoming very popular for honeymooners. He’s backed up by a comment by Heinz Laing who runs one of the hotels outside Hamburg, Germany; “For lovers, there’s nothing more exciting than a night on the hay.” I guess the only way to know is try it for yourself…

Photos Courtesy: Zum Alten Marstall website

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