The Ikea Hostel: Norway’s New Take on Sleepover Tourism

Travel Blog  •  Julia Ross  •  07.16.07 | 2:45 PM ET

imagePhoto by John Pastor via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

Though Ikea has reliably provided me with inexpensive towels and silverware over the years, I’ve never looked forward to spending a Saturday trekking to one of its warehouses. So I was surprised to read in The Guardian that Norwegians consider the stores a destination, a must-see on the summer travel circuit. Now Ikea is capitalizing on this interest by turning hotelier, at least temporarily. This month the company will open a one-week overnight hostel at one of its Oslo locations, where up to 30 shoppers will have the chance to bunk down in-store each night, sample the cafeteria’s Swedish meatballs and wrap themselves in bargain-basement Ikea bathrobes, all free of charge.

“Around 900,000 visitors come to visit Ikea during the summer holidays. It’s more than one of the biggest attractions in Norway, the Holmenskollen ski jump, gets in one year,” an Ikea spokesman told The Guardian. “We found that people from the north of Norway include a visit to Ikea as part of their holidays…The Ikea Hostel will make the destination complete.”

Sleepover tourism may in fact be experiencing a tipping point. Baseball teams including the Los Angeles Dodgers recently started offering stadium sleepover nights, kids visiting Sea World theme parks can sleep with the dolphins at overnight adventure camps and Disney World is running a contest offering one-night stays at Cinderella’s Castle.

Ikea’s move is the first example I’ve seen of a retail outlet jumping on the sleepover bandwagon, however, and could augur all sorts of possibilities.

Camp-out night at your local REI, anyone?

Julia Ross is a Washington, DC-based writer and frequent contributor to World Hum. She has lived in China and Taiwan, where she was a Fulbright scholar and Mandarin student. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Time, Christian Science Monitor, Plenty and other publications. Her essay, Six Degrees of Vietnam, was shortlisted for "The Best American Travel Writing 2009."

1 Comment for The Ikea Hostel: Norway’s New Take on Sleepover Tourism

jv 07.16.07 | 5:38 PM ET

Strange timing on this—the front-page story on the LA Times’ travel section was on “sleepovers” at the region’s zoos. Not my cup of tea, but definitely more appealing than Ikea!

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