Imagine marching through a forest in central Germany at the command of the Stasi secret police. Once you reach a 1970s-era bunker—concealed by a hut with army tanks camped outside—there is a lot of work to be done. Bunk beds need to be made, women must peel and chop potatoes for dinner and men are made to stand guard and prepare a hearty roast made from local spiced sausages.
This wholly immersive, Cold War-themed stay at the Waldhotel Rennsteighoehe in the town of Frauenwold is proving to be very popular for those who want a taste of historic, post-World War II Germany. Guests forego mini bars and warm greetings for the 16-hour “reality experience packages,” which hotel staff say are in high demand.
“It is light-hearted and not meant to be too serious but people come to experience history and that is what they get,” says Manuel Ebert, who coordinates the package for the hotel.
On arrival, visitors trade their resort wear for People’s Army trousers, jackets, belts, caps and gas mask. After the work is done, visiting soldiers are allowed to indulge in beer, vodka or Rotkaeppchen, an East German sparkling wine.
The historic bunker was run by an elite army that imprisoned thousands of citizens deemed a threat to communist Germany during the Cold War. While in operation, the structure functioned as a command center—and bomb shelter in the event of an attack. Relics such as Kalashnikov assault rifles, hand grenades and decontamination showers are on display. waldhotel-rennsteighoehe.de