World’s Smallest Hotel Was Built Because of an Old Marriage Law

H.Helmlechner, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Eh'häusl Hotel in Amberg, Germany, is easy to miss. Crammed between two houses, the building measures just 8 feet wide, making it the smallest hotel on earth, according to Guinness World Records.

The space's interior takes up 570 square feet across seven floors. Inside, guests—a maximum of two at a time—have their choice of cozy nooks to relax in, including a bedroom, a fireside lounge, a salon, and a bathroom with a whirlpool tub.

The hotel's unique history makes it the perfect romantic destination. Couples wishing to marry in 18th-century Amberg had to provide proof of landownership to the city before they could tie the knot. In 1728, a businessman saw a way around the law and built a "house" by putting up some walls and roof in an alleyway just 8 feet and 2 inches wide. Instead of belonging to one permanent owner, the house was sold to a property-less bride and groom, who then sold the house to another couple, and so on. The building is known as Eh'häusl today, a name which means "wedding house" in the local dialect.

While the Eh'häusl is no longer used as a legal loophole (it's now owned and managed by a municipal agency and run as a bona fide hotel), the idea of passing off occupancy from one couple to the next remains. The hotel's website reads, "As soon as the guest receives the key, he or she is the temporary owner of this miniature sanctuary ... Close your eyes for a moment and you will understand why you don't need a concierge. You will have the feeling that you have arrived home!"

You can book your stay at the historic landmark for €240 (about $280) a night—just make sure to pack light if you want more legroom.

[h/t Country Living]

Images courtesy of Eh'häusl.

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

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China Is Now Home to What May Be the World’s Most Stunning Bookstore

The best place to get lost.
The best place to get lost.
Shao Feng/X+Living

Anywhere with books for sale is automatically a lovely place to be, but this new bookstore in southwest China just upped the ante with its jaw-dropping display of shelves.

The shop, located in Dujiangyan City, Sichuan, was designed by Li Xiang and her architectural firm X+Living. As Li mentioned on Instagram, she drew inspiration from Dujiangyan’s ancient irrigation system, which uses the rivers running in and around the city. You can definitely see its influence on her work; the towering arches and winding staircases evoke images of flowing water, and the mirrored ceiling makes the room seem infinite. ArchDaily points out that the curved display tables on the black tiled floor even look like boats in deep, placid water. Taking in the entire scene elicits a similar sense of awe that you might feel when observing a natural landscape.


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A post shared by Li Xiang | X+LIVING (@xlivingart) on

Then, there are the books themselves. While shelves stretch up to the ceiling (and seemingly beyond, thanks to those mirrors), visitors don’t have to worry about certain volumes being much too far to reach. The highest “shelves” are actually just wallpaper printed to look like bookshelves. According to designboom, the store also houses a children’s reading area, complete with green bamboo bookshelves, pictures of pandas, and bright-colored cushions.

It’s not the first time X+Living has created a space for book lovers. The Dujiangyan shop is the latest in the firm’s Zhonghuge series of bookstores around China, including locations in Beijing, Ningbo, Guiyang, and Chongqing. There are certain recurring design elements—like mirrored ceilings, curved shelves, and archways—but each has its own distinct style.

While you’re waiting for a chance to explore one of Li Xiang’s magical buildings, find out which bookstore is your state’s best one here.

[h/t designboom]