Welcome to the Hotel Caloriefornia
Germany has been known for many things. Sauerkraut. Lederhosen. Nazi aggression enslaving most of Europe and threatening world peace.
Many things, indeed; this doesn’t even scratch the surface. But even a much longer list of German traits would not include “individual initiative.”
Nevertheless, Juergen Heckrodt is on to something.
The hotelier from Norden—near Germany’s border with the Netherlands—has broken new ground. One might say he’s about to become a heavy in the hospitality world. Mr. Heckrodt, you see, is making guests pay based on their weight.
It’s all from good intentions; he observed many too many grossly obese guests at his hotel and decided to give them an incentive to slim down. UK visitors, for example, could save pounds by losing pounds. Dieting Czechs could pay their hotel bills with smaller checks.
Don’t even get me started on people from Hungary.
But for German guests, this might be a struggle. Giving up weiner schnitzel and beer won’t be easy. Especially for country recently led by the immense Helmut Kohl, who reunited Germany … apparently by eating the entire East.
Chubby men and women feeling their anger rise should know: Mr. Heckrodt does not turn away those people who choose not to weigh themselves. He does not force them to take advantage of his offer, which allows slimmer guests to pay only half a euro per kilogram. He also caps overweight patrons’ room charge at 39 euros, the standard single-occupancy rate.
This is a great deal for the lean among us. In fact, there are many celebrities taking an unusual interest in the German-Danish border region. Like Kate Moss, Marc Anthony, and Keira Knightley. Rumor has it Teri Hatcher virtually lives at that hotel.
But you won’t find Hurley from “Lost” within a thousand miles of Norden.