Hostel vs Hotel – Switzerland


The most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in Switzerland is the Riffelalp Resort 2222m.  This haven is located up the mountainside, via train, from the town of Zermatt.  The hotel sits on the edge of a precipice that overlooks the valley of Zermatt and faces the majestic, well known, Matterhorn.

Riffelalp Resort 2222m
Riffelalp Resort overlooking Zermatt

Every one of your needs are met here, from the minute you get on and off the train your luggage is taken and put in your room.  You leave the train and then are put on a trolley which takes you to the entrance of the Hotel.

Riffelalp trolley from train stop to Hotel
Riffelalp Trolley

The reception area and dining rooms are covered in knotty pine and decorated in traditional Swiss decor.  Every piece of high-end furniture is impeccably clean, and the spot free massive windows draw your eye outside to the alps that circle the hotel.  There are 4 restaurants, 2 pools (one that is outside and hangs off the side of the hotel), spa and bar.  The staff seem to be able to meet every need prior to you even asking. You really do feel like a King or Queen.

Riffelalp Reception Area
Riffelalp Reception Area
One of the Resorts Dining Areas
One example of The Riffelalps dining area

I chose to upgrade us to the 2-bedroom, 2 baths, living room, kitchen and 2 balcony room.   The next morning, I got up at 5AM to a view I had been waiting to see all my life. The sun was out and not a cloud to be had.  I opened the curtain and all you could see was the blue sky and the Matterhorn.  Priceless!

Perfect view of The Matterhorn

Our visit at the Riffelalp for 3 days was a dream and worth the splurge. The views and pampering were worth every penny and a needed break from a fast-paced vacation. If you want it all and don’t care about the price-tag visit the Riffelalp 2222m, you’ll be glad you did.

My other favorite lodging is a very simple, Hostel-like, Chalet in Lauterbrunnen, called the Chalet Im Rohr.  I have stayed at the Im Rohr multiple times and it never disappoints.

Chalet Im Rohr
Front of Chalet Im Rohr

The hardworking Von Allmen family are quite predominate in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, owning most of the businesses in the village.  Lisbeth runs the Inn/Hostel and never skips a beat, (at time of visit in 2006) You can see her cleaning, watering window box flowers and greeting guests.    The Chalet is quintessential Swiss and has gorgeous floral window boxes outside every window.  The old wood and creaky floors give it charm and a sense of home.  The rooms are clean and basic with bed and warm sheets/blankets.  The rooms come in all sizes, some with sinks.

Example of a Bedroom - Chalet Im Rohr
Example of a Bedroom – Chalet Im Rohr

All people have access to showers and bathrooms on each floor.  The communal dining area and kitchen make for a melting pot of cultures.  One day you might get a whiff of Mediterranean food and the next day Asian cuisine.

Dining Common Area
Dining Common Area

The large balconies on the front of the Chalet, face the alps and are my favorite part of the building.  You can meet people from all over the world here and really get immersed in the differences of various people groups.

Lauterbrunnen ValleyLauterbrunnen Valley Home to Chalet Im Rohr

This place is a step up from a hostel, more of a hotel, but really has a great hostel vibe.  You can’t find this kind of comradery and interaction in a standard hotel, thus making this my favorite place to stay in Switzerland.  Give it a try, you really will feel like yodeling!

Stay turned for another post on how to take this Visual Journey and incorporate the look into your home!

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