Monday, July 25, 2005

Switzerland and Austria hotel reviews - serious price/value gap

We stayed in one beautiful and astronomically expensive hotel in Switzerland (reviewed) and two pretty expensive (220 euro per night) dumps masquerading as hotels. The short story is - save money, go to Austria.

Switzerland, Wengen, Near Interlocken, Hotel Caprice (
Location: near Interlocken, have to park car and take a train from Lauterbrunnen to get there, which is a bit of a pain, but well worth it for the views.
Room (2 adults, 2 children < 10): very nice sitting room and connected bedroom. Boys stayed in single beds in the sitting room and there was a door between it and bedroom. Deck with drop dead views of the alps.
Service: outstanding service
Internet: no
Food: breakfast was very good. Dinner was outstanding, with inventive meals created by French chefs.
Best feature: the view, the view, the view
Best food nearby: the restaurant in the hotel is outstanding
Price: over 600 swiss franks per night (July), with breakfast and dinner included. I made the mistake of not asking the price when I made the reservation and was blown away by the price. They may have cheaper rooms, but our impression was that prices in Switzerland were sky high and you can get equally nice accommodations for a fraction the price in Austria.
Overall family rating: good but pricey, 8 out of 10. As beautiful as it was, it was not nearly worth what we paid for it. Two nights later we were staying in an equally nice hotel with spectacular views in Lech, Austria for 150 euros a night with breakfast and dinner included.

Austria, Braz, Near Zurich, Hotel Gasthaus Traube (
Location: between Zurich and Innsbruck
Room (2 adults, 2 children < 10): great layout with a sitting room where the boys slept connected by a door to the bedroom. Beautifully decorated rooms and extremely quiet.
Service: very friendly
Internet: hotel has a computer you can use
Food: breakfast was outstanding, with fresh breads, wonderful air-dried meats and of course outstanding muesli and yoghurt.
Best feature: this was the nicest hotel we stayed in during our trip, with wonderful food and rooms, but not much to do in town other than sleep and eat.
Best food nearby: the restaurant in the hotel is terrific, we had two wonderful, typical Austrian meals with wiener schnitzel, deer
Price: 120 euros a night, includes breakfast (July).
Overall family rating: excellent, 9 of 10. This was our favorite hotel in Europe so far. The only negative is that it is located in a wide spot in the road without a lot to do. I would definitely stay here again if I were ever driving through Switzerland and Austria. If this hotel were located in Lech, we would check in and might just never check out.

Austria, Lech, Near Innsbruck, Hotel Omesberg (
Location: in the self-described “most beautiful village in the world,” which is only a slight exaggeration
Room (2 adults, 2 children < 10): we stayed in a very large room with two small beds for the boys and a large bed for us. Very quiet, and cool at night, a nice change after Italy. Room layout was not ideal as we would rather have a room where there is a door between the kids and us, mostly so they don’t wake us when they get up at 7am. The hotel does have connecting rooms so next time we stay here we will probably get two connecting rooms.
Service: very good, with famous Austrian friendliness (the owner pointed out that Arnold Schwartzenhegger comes from his province)
Internet: YES, the first hotel we have been in during our 8 weeks in Europe that actually had normal Ethernet connections in the hotel room. For this alone they should get a medal!
Food: breakfast was good, with fresh bread and well-prepared muesli. Dinners were good but a little heavy and after two nights we were ready for a meal out on the town.
Best feature: those beautiful mountains, those rushing streams, those friendly Austrians! Lech has a wonderful setup where you get a card from the hotel that gives you free rides on the bus, on the gondolas and entrance to the huge outdoor pool. You can put your children in an all-day program of hiking, rock climbing or soccer for 8 euros per child per day – Lech is the most kid friendly place we have been to in Europe!
Best food nearby: there is a great restaurant located somewhat inconveniently half way up the ski run right above the hotel called Restaurant Rud-Alpe. From the outside, looks like a big beautiful barn, from the inside, looks like a chic San Francisco restaurant. Serves traditional food like gulasch suppe and kaese spaetzle but done incredibly well and with a jaw-dropping view thrown in for free. A great wine list and very knowledgeable waiters makes for a sure-fire memorable meal.
Price: 150 euros a night, includes breakfast and dinner (July).
Overall family rating: excellent, 9 of 10. After traveling through Italy and Switzerland for 8 weeks, this was the place the kids (and the parents) found the most relaxing and had the most fun. We will definitely come here again, stay a week, and take in the beautiful scenery, all sorts of outdoor activities and good food.