BERLIN - The Tannhof, a wellness hotel in Germany’s Black Forest, is for adults only. So is the Ringhotel Dolce Vita in the Bavarian Forest.
According to the Adults-Only-Holidays website, there are five hotels in Germany where children are not welcome. There are five such establishments in Austria, the UK and Turkey; four each in France and Sweden; and one in Switzerland.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Florida, Australia, New Zealand or Fiji, you’ll have no trouble finding a hotel where you will not be disturbed by the patter of tiny feet.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. For some time now, there has been a growing trend for hotels to target specific types of guests: singles, couples, swingers, gays, women travelling alone, you name it.
Germany’s leading leisure travel company, TUI, lists 60 “age-18-plus” hotels in its selection. And no, there is nothing in German law to prevent that. In effect, few if any German hotels have suffered for discriminating against a category of guests.
This is probably because hotels do not discriminate against influential groups. Imagine the backlash if senior citizens were banned from certain hotels, although that is unlikely to happen, as there are more seniors than younger people and they also have more buying power. That would be discriminating against solvent customers, especially when, as in Germany, 40% of all travel is booked by the over-50s.
Although that is much the same in The Netherlands, an Amsterdam chain called the Flying Pig Hostels has nevertheless set an age limit for its three establishments. Its website states, “To preserve and maintain our laid-back atmosphere we do not allow persons under 18 years of age or above 40.” That is just another way of saying that since older people ruin the atmosphere, they had better find somewhere else to stay.
Youth hostels for youth only
Germany has its own trendy hostels for young party people. We contacted some of the more popular establishments.
Six of the seven hostels had no age limits for older people, and some thought that would be "nonsense," in the words of Edgar Schmidt von Groeling, of Berlin’s Eastern Comfort Hostelboat. “A hostel is a way of life. It is not about age. We gladly accept older guests if they want to stay here and are plugged into our vibe. We don’t see ourselves as ‘young and stylish’ but rather as ‘down to earth.’”
As Constance Bruns of Hamburg’s Superbude puts it, "If 70-year-old Aunt Erna says ‘Hey, that place looks terrific, I want to stay there,’ then she should definitely come. She sounds so cool we want to meet her.”
Sandra Nielsen of Frankfurt’s Five Elements Hostel says she has no age limits, but “we advise older guests that we have a lot of younger guests, so noise levels may be a little high.”
Andreas Taut of Labyrinth Hostel Weimar notes that "Our unusual design, young music, and a young team will probably be perceived as a deterrent” to stuffy older guests, while Elmar Nyhuis of Cologne’s Hostel Köln says, "In our experience, our older guests have money, but they chose to come here because there are young people-- a mixed public,” adding that the establishment actively welcomes guests “from under a year to 100 years old.”
Thomas Scheibner of Dresden’s Hostel Mondpalast says, “We like a colorful mix of guests, and that includes mixed age groups.”
Only Alfio Vockner of Munich’s Euro Youth Hotel said his establishment practiced a kind of very soft age limitation by reserving its dormitory beds for those 35 and under, but there were no age limits on their three- to five-bed rooms.
Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.
• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.
• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.
• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.
• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.
• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction
Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.
🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.
😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.
🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.
— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.
🇮🇷🎓 IN OTHER NEWS
Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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