Atlantic Cities
Postcard

Spend the Night in a Vintage Camping Caravan Jammed in an Old German Warehouse

About two miles from the city center of Bonn, Germany, sits a large, nondescript industrial building across the street from an abandoned factory. Behind its utilitarian facade is a collection of camping trailers, decommissioned train cars ... and people on vacation.

BaseCamp, designed by German television and film-set designer Marion Seul, is one of the more recent additions to the growing world of unconventional hostels. But it's apparently the first to give customers the choice of sleeping in a Pullman coach or an Airstream trailer. 

The two-month old hostel, inspired by mid-century Americana, carries different design themes for different trailers ("Flower Power," "House Boat," "Hunting Lodge") and furnished, faux front lawns for mingling with neighbors.

The former storage facility has 15 different vintage camping caravans (Volkswagens and Citroëns for the more Euro-centric), two decommissioned Pullman railway coaches and four American-made Airstream trailers, providing a total of 120 beds. Reuters photographer Wolfgang Rattay recently went inside to see just how it works:


A guest arrives at the Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel, the world's first camping trailer and Pullman coach hostel, in Bonn September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)


A general view inside the Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay) 


(REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)


A guest of the Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel walks past a Citroen H van, a 1950s delivery van known as the "Pig Nose", a Volkswagen T3-model and a Volkswagen T-2-model (L-R) camper vans known as "Bully" at the hostel, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay) 


A man leaves "Flower Power," a vintage camping caravan that was converted into a hotel room at the Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay) 


A newly wed couple sits in front of the "House Boat", a vintage camping caravan that was converted into a hotel room at the hostel, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay) 


Guests of the Base Camp Young Hostel Bonn sit in front of "Hunting Lodge," a vintage camping caravan that was converted into a hotel room in the style of a shooting box, at the hostel in Bonn, September 20, 2013. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)


A young Belgian couple is seen on their bed that was built into the back of a Citroen H van, a delivery van of the 1950s that was converted into a hotel room. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)


A Dutch guest of the Base Camp Bonn Young Hostel gets ready for the night in the "Drag Queen" a vintage caravan turned into a hotel room at the hostel. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Keywords: Hostels, Travel, Germany, Bonn

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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