(This is not a paid advertisement or collaboration. I saw the Sleeperoo at Altrheinsee in my local paper, asked the Eich Tourism Board if I could go and have a look and they very kindly arranged for me to do so. Please note that I haven’t spent the night in the sleeping cube, so have no personal experience of staying in one.)
Travelling abroad is not currently an option for many people in Germany; for many others, it’s an idea they’re not yet ready to entertain. Those still keen to get out and about by instead exploring the country in which they live are discovering that accommodation options are far more varied than they might first have thought. From castles to beer barrels, there are plenty of unusual places to stay in Germany, so if you’re looking for an overnight getaway, you’re not just limited to hotels, holiday lets or visits to family or friends.
The Sleeperoo Sleeping Cube
Sleeperoo sleeping cubes are a sustainable and environmentally-friendly pop-up overnight accommodation created in 2018 by a Hamburg startup. Made in Germany using 100% recyclable plastics, they’re a sort of very well fastened down designer tent with additional creature comforts. What’s particularly unusual about them, however, is where they’re pitched: from 130,00€ a night, you can spend the night in the ruins of a castle, at a reptile zoo, on an alpaca farm or even at the end of a pier.
There are some 75 Sleeperoo sleeping cubes positioned in unusual places all over Germany, both indoors and out. The one spending Summer 2021 at the Altrheinsee (Lake Altrhein) in Eich, around 35km from Mainz, is located at one end of a curved, sandy beach, sheltered by a couple of small trees.
Sleeperoo at the Altrheinsee, Rheinhessen
The cube is fully weather-proofed, allegedly able to stand its ground in up to gale force 8 winds. It has a large window in the roof for admiring the night sky – on a clear night here in rural Rheinhessen, the stars are really quite something – as well as on three of its sides, which have roller blinds to keep away prying eyes. There are mosquito nets, too, to keep out prying insects. At night, however, there’s no chance at all of the former: the beach bar closes at 8pm, camping is otherwise not permitted here and the Sleeperoo host does not stay on site, so you will have the beach entirely to yourself. The site is around 500m from the busy main road between the municipalities of Gimbsheim and Eich, but you I’ve never really noticed the sound of traffic from the beach during the day and I imagine there’s very little, if any, road noise at night.
On arrival at the Altrheinsee (or whichever other location you might choose), you first need to check in with your host. Frau Getz, who you’ll find on site at the Altrhein Strand Bar (beach bar), will tell you everything you need to know your overnight stay and give you a quick rundown of the sleeping cube’s functionalities. At 12m3, with a 160cmx200cm (UK king/US queen sized) bed, the cube comfortably accommodates two adults and possibly a small child as well, if you have one that don’t helicopter wildly in its sleep. The bedhead functions as a cupboard for stowing luggage and very conveniently has a couple of LED lights fitted into it, too.
In addition to the beach bar, also on site at the Altrheinsee are toilet facilities, beach volleyball and boccia courts (1€ an hour, and you’ll need to bring your own balls) as well as a small, sandy playground. The Sleeperoo is only a short walk from the toilet facilities and changing rooms, and an even shorter one to the water, which is good news given that there are no showers on site. But who needs one of those when you can crawl out of bed in the morning and stumble straight into a lake? (On which point, it’s worth noting that day or night, there’s no lifeguard at the Altrheinsee at any time.)
A so-called chillbox, filled with organic vegetarian snacks and drinks, is also provided by Sleeperoo. I’m told it wouldn’t be sufficient for dinner, and barbecuing isn’t permitted, but the beach bar, which serves locally-produced wine, lemonade and spirits as well as simple meals such as burgers or Currywurst with fries, remains open until 8pm. There are a couple of other options for eating out within cycling or driving distance of the lake, and a seemingly endless choice of local wineries nearby, some of which open up courtyard restaurants during the summer months.
Getting there and what to do in the area
It’s not straightforward to reach the Sleeperoo sleeping cube at the Altrheinsee by public transport, but located on three different long-distance local cycling routes, it would make for a fun alternative to a holiday let if you’re exploring Rheinhessen by bike. It would also make an adventurous diversion from the Rheinterassenweg (Rhine Terrace Hiking Route), which follows the course of the river Rhine, connecting the cities of Worms and Mainz.
The area directly around the lake itself is well worth exploring, too. From the sleeping cube site, you can circumnavigate the lake on the 6km AltrheinErlebnisPfad (Altrhein Experience Trail), which will take you through the Eich-Gimbsheimer Altrhein, a conservation area that’s has been awarded Germany’s highest protection status for its unique flora, fauna and birdlife.
Sleeperoo Sleeping Cubes
✷ Sleeperoo FAQ (on the Sleeperoo website, in English)
✷ The Altrheinsee Sleeperoo booking page (in English and German)
✷ Browse other unusual places to stay in Germany on the Sleeperoo spot map
✷ Sleeperoo on Instagram