Spend A Night Way, Way Underground In A Swedish Silver Mine
September 2, 2009 at 9:45 AM
Beginning in the Middle Ages and for centuries afterward, the Sala Silvermine produced copious amounts of silver for Sweden and its monarchs. Those monarchs, in turn, paid miners to dig ever deeper, until today the mine is a cavern of shafts and alcoves and pristine underground lakes. So naturally it was only a matter of time before someone tried to convert the entire thing into an underground hotel.
The Sala Silvermine Company that maintains the mine has two types of accommodations, which they manage in addition to their regular tours and events. The standard option is the above-ground Gruvfruns Bed and Breakfast, a hostel with 15 single and double rooms and shared bathrooms. Prices are 400 SEK per adult for a double and 500 SEK for a single, or about $55 and $70 respectively.
The real treat, though, is the Mining Suite: a double bed tucked into a small alcove, buried 155m under ground. Don't bother bringing a cell phone.
The mining suite comes as part of a bed-and-breakfast tour package. Guests are greeted by an employee and taken on a tour which ends at their underground bed. Then they're left for the night, the better "to enjoy the quiet of the mine." In the morning they're served breakfast - the suite is conveniently located next door to a cavernous underground festival hall - and take back into the sunlight. There's an intercom which connects to an above-ground employee and is monitored all night, just in case someone gets a little too claustrophobic.
The deadly silence of an ancient mine isn't going to be for everybody. But if you're interested a night's stay plus the tour plus the refreshments will run you 1,875 SEK per person, or about $265.
[Photos: Unusual Hotels of The World]