Would you overnight in a hotel made of waste materials?

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Nadja Beschetnikova
April 10, 2018

On the saturated market of the hotel industry, it is no longer so easy to establish a new hotel. The market is characterized by many hotels. Substitutes such as Airbnb, hostels and pensions are intensifying this already strong competition. To stand out from the crowd, you need an innovative and new business idea. And, it’s advisable not to forget about modern trends.

Robert Dahl, the owner of the Karls-Erlebnis Dorf in Rövershagen near Rostock, Germany, often dubbed «the strawberry baron», came to the idea of bringing sustainability to the hotel industry.  In March, he launched the first upcycling hotel in Germany, «Alles Paletti».

Karl Dahl, the grandfather of Robert Dahl, had been running a farm near Rostock since 1921. In 1993, the 22-year-old Robert Dahl opened a strawberry farm in Rövershagen near Rostock directly on the B 105, one of the main routes for tourists to the Baltic Sea.

Besides strawberries, he soon sold coffee and cakes, sausages and products from the region in a farm shop. In this way, the Erdbeerhof developed over time into one of the largest farmers' markets in Germany.

Since 2001 he bears the name of his grandfather, "Karls Erlebnis-Dorf» (means Karls village of experience) and serves as an amusement park for families. The village offers a mixture of farm shops, glass manufactories, restaurants and rides in the villages. There you can buy food and articles from the local production. The hotel became a part of this entertainment imperium.

The hotel has a favorable location. It’s only 10 km from Warnemünde. The airport Rostock-Laage is 27 km away. 

In contrast to classical recycling, where new raw materials are obtained by shredding, the hotel focuses on upgrading and the deliberate misuse of used materials. Used objects are thus converted into completely new products.

The name is not random. In German slang ‘alles paletti’ means ‘everything’s Ok’. Besides, it’s an unambiguous reference to ‘palette’, which were largely used in the decoration of the interiors. According to the owners, 2500 europallets were remolded into new furniture.

Euro pallets evolved into beds, cable drums into coffee tables, transport boxes into drawers and old fabric bags into seat covers.

On two floors, the "Alles Paletti" offers 50 rooms, so-called treasure chests, in which up to five people can be accommodated on 26 square metres each. Each accommodation has its own veranda with a view into the green or towards the adventure village. The rooms have double beds as well as bunk beds and baby beds for the children. In addition, the rooms have a rustic bathroom with rain shower, a 49-inch smart TV and free WLAN, so there is no need to forego contemporary comfort. The accommodation has its own children's playground.

"That's pretty much the coolest thing we've done at Karls so far,» said Robert Dahl, who invested 3 million Euro in his project.

The first guests seem to be delighted too.

«You have a lot of fun discovering everything. Our son was especially enthusiastic about his bed. Everything has been furnished with great attention to detail,» wrote one guest in the review.

The Friedrichshain furniture manufacturer "Upcycling Berlin" makes tables, benches, chests of drawers and sideboards. Michael Dobler, 28, a trained carpenter and one of the founders of the company, explains that the processing of these pallets is quite complex.

The fact that the furniture is made of waste wood does not mean that it is cheap. For example, for a pallet table, you have to pay 1800 euros.

Michael Dobler says many of his clients were part of the LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) milieu, so they were committed to a lifestyle where sustainability and health are critical. Customers appreciate the history behind the furniture. Made of a natural material, sustainably produced, each model is unique with individual traces of use. Anyone who owns such an object stands out from the crowd.

So, grab the pallets! The rooms can be booked from 67 Euro for two persons including day tickets for Karls Erlebnis-Dorf.

Once a niche market, LOHAS became a constantly growing segment. According to estimation in 2017, the LOHAS consumers make up more than 25% of US shoppers, and more than $290 billion in sales. According to the Trend Report Green (TdW 2011), about eleven million people belong to this group in Germany. The entire LOHAS target group grew by around a quarter between 2007 and 2015.

What do you think, will those people who buy tables for almost 2000 Euro, really want to sleep on a wooden box?

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