To let, for £40,000 a night: Small country adjoining Austria. (May contain Liechtensteiners)

Adam Sherwin
Saturday 16 April 2011 00:00
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It's an attractive Alpine retreat, offering excellent skiing, a fairy-tale castle and a compact 62 square miles to explore. And now, the entire country of Liechtenstein is yours to hire (allegedly) for just £40,000 a night.

Travellers who take up the offer are being promised the run of the bijou land-locked principality, tucked between Austria and Switzerland.

It is advertised on Airbnb, a website that helps holidaymakers rent accommodation from homeowners, and which has brokered the deal in association with Xnet, a Liechtenstein-based events production and marketing firm.

Upon arrival, the new "owners" will be presented with a "symbolic key to the state" in a ceremony at the new state parliament. Guests can organise a parade and even name a street in their honour – temporarily.

There is a two-night minimum but guests are promised a busy weekend of wine-tasting from the Prince of Liechtenstein's personal cellar, skiing and a sumptuous dinner overlooking Vaduz Castle. Liechtenstein's population of 33,000 will be allowed to stay but "a large portion" of local accommodation is promised to the renter.

It is a good deal for the residents, Airbnb said in a blog post, because "each event draws heavily on local vendors and service providers for everything from accommodations and catering, to infrastructure and activity production".

It continued: "Rent a Village by Xnet partners with these destinations to transform them into highly customised settings for events, corporate retreats, conferences, and more. With Xnet and Airbnb, events take place throughout the idyllic landscape of your host destination, not in some generic hotel."

The company can accommodate groups of up to 150 people.

The 110-strong Liechtenstein police force will notionally be at your service, but given that the country has one of the world's lowest crime rates, its armed officers will most likely be used to give tourism information.

Snoop Dogg sought exclusive access to Liechtenstein last year for a video shoot but the plan was abandoned when the LA rapper's management failed to give sufficient notice for the arrival of his entourage. Airbnb requires six months' advance notice to hire the country and the penalty for last-minute cancellations is that only half of the down-payment will be returned. The travel company is expanding its operations after offering exclusive access to six Austrian villages, three German towns and one Swiss ski-resort village.

A spokeswoman at the Liechtenstein Information Office in the capital city Vaduz said that she was "surprised" to hear that the country was for hire and wasn't aware of any imminent occupiers.

The San Francisco-based Airbnb says that its purpose is to "connect people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to say. Guests can build real connections with their hosts, gain access to distinctive spaces and immerse themselves in the culture of their destinations".

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