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bernese oberland - apartment vs hotel? where?

bernese oberland - apartment vs hotel? where?

Jun 27th, 2008, 07:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
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bernese oberland - apartment vs hotel? where?

I'm planning a 5 - 7 day stay in BO area in September, deciding between Wengen, Grindelwald, & Lauterbrunnen, & would like opinions/advice on accommodations. Husband & I have always stayed in hotels when we travel, but am wondering if a studio/kitchenette apartment might be more economical because we could prepare own meals rather than eating out in restaurants. Or might the price of groceries & food in expensive Switzerland (even eating modestly & drinking grocery store wine & beer)come out somewhat even? Also, any recommendations for apartments or rooms for around $100 US/night would be appreciated, along with opinions about which would be cheapest. A balcony with a view is important to us; can such a place be found in our price range, or am I dreaming? Lastly, which of the 3 villages would be cheapest as a home base, when considering transportation expenses getting around for sightseeing over the entire area?
logogm is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 02:29 AM
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Hi logogm,

I really favor Wengen as the only car-free town that you name. Plus, Wengen is at the highest elevation of these towns, so the views will be more sweeping and impressive. As an additional note, Grindelwald is usually the most crowded of the three -- because it's the highest village that allows cars. I don't know if the crowds will be that bad in September (they are murder in August), but maybe not worth the chance.

Here are some facts to help you make up your mind:

Wengen 1274m pop 1,050
Grindelwald 1034m, pop 3,733
Lauterbrunnen 796m, pop 2,663

Good luck!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 28th, 2008, 03:07 AM
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We stayed in an "apartment" of sorts for $100 a night but it was in Interlaken - so not actually up in the mountains, although Lauterbrunnen was only about 5-10 minutes by train or car. It was Suzies B&B, owned and run by the Hotel Lotschberg (www.lotschberg.ch/). It's a five minute walk from the train station, and a supermarket. It's only one room (plus bathroom) but has fridge, stove, oven, sink, etc. so you could prepare meals. Owners are wonderful. In fact Fritz takes guests handgliding every day. Although everyone seems to hate Interlaken (and we weren't that crazy about the town itself) it did make for an economical, convenient place to stay. We were interested in also doing a day on the lake (boat ride, visited several towns), and a day in Bern, both of which were easy to do from Interlaken. The other days we went up into the mountains. We also liked the fact that we could wait until we saw what the day's weather was before deciding if we wanted a mountain day or to do one of the other things. We were there 5 days in July and had quite a bit of clouds.
isabel is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 03:20 AM
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Hi again,

I forgot to comment on buying food -- it's not so expensive that it would wipe out your savings on the apartment. Though I usually get half-board in the BO, I always shop for groceries for lunch and for the odd dinner when I don't feel like eating downstairs. I've also shopped for food in other places in Switzerland when staying without half board or when staying in apartments (in Chateau d'Oex and in Montreux).

You can easily buy a great meal for two for about 30 chf. I don't cook, so usually get prepared salads, fresh bread, local smoked ham or Scottish salmon, Swiss cheeses, German yogurt, local wine, and then Swiss chocolates or bakery goods for dessert. There are plenty of easy dinner options too -- prepared frozen meals, frozen pizzas, prepared sauces for pasta or meats, etc. And of course the produce is really fresh.

Have fun!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jun 28th, 2008, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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We also stayed in Wengen and loved it there! The scenery is magnificent! I can't help with appartments as we stayed at the Hotel Eiger for 4 nights. I will say that if we were to go back, we'd stay in Wengen again.


pja1 is online now  
Jul 5th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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We stayed in Gimmelwald at Esther's. She has two apartments. The upstairs apartment has it's own large, private balcony with fabulous views.

Gimmelwald is a small, quaint village just across the valley from Wengen.

We paid 160 euros but saved a lot of money cooking all our meals by judging from the posted menus.

This is a place I would go back to year after year if it was closer to home and I'm not one to return to places--too many places in the world to see.

Be sure to get Swiss Pass. It will save you a lot of money, time and stress because you will be getting on and off lots of modes of transportation as you visit the area.
Connie is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:07 AM
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Since we have young children, we usually stay in an apartment/chalet. Mostly staying in Pays d'Enhaut (Gruyere, Rougemont, Chateau d'Oex) and Gstaad. It's a popular ski destination, so lots of apartments owners are renting during summer seasons.

You should be able to get property information usually through local tourism office. We pay CHF1200-1500/wk for 2-3 bedroom in August. Assume September should be cheaper.

Grocery shopping is quite reasonable, there seems to be either Coop or Migros in any major towns. They have good selection of ready-to-cook or pre-cooked meals, as well as freshly baked bread. You can also find individual bakeries, meat or cheese shops.
W9London is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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I don't think eating out in Switzerland is all that expensive. My bigger problem would be with the limited Swiss menu. But if you don't like cooking on your vacations, I don't think it's worth the marginal savings.

I like Lauterbrunnen because I think the valley floor is so beautiful, but car-free Wengen has its appeals!

Wherever you stay, it's nice to be someplace with easy access to a train that can take you into a city in case it rains.

You might also consider Spiez, a favorite town of mine with a variety of things to do and easy access via it's train line to more variety.
zeppole is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 04:09 AM
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Your concerns about the high-cost of "living-Swiss" are justified, but the pleasures of vacationing there are well worth the hit to your bank account.

You might want to consider staying at Hotel Staubbach. I was there a few years ago. For the Bernese Oberland, it's good value for money, features friendly service, memorable waterfall views from balconies (be sure to ask for one), and is a terrific base for trips up to Wengen, Gimmelwald, Murren, and Jungfrau.
The more I think about the Staubbach, the more I'd like to be there right now. What a fabulous region the Berner Oberland is!


Best of luck.
ExplorerB is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 04:42 AM
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I have visited the Berner Oberland several times. In fact we just returned from a week there.

To date I have opted for Chalet Horner in Lauterbrunnen for several reasons.
First, the town itself is a transportation center. Lifts, trains, buses, and the road to Interlaken radiate from there.

Second, Chalet Horner is comfortable. Teresa Staeger who owns the chalet also lives there. She is very flexible in her rental periods. Many Swiss apartment renters want a fixed Saturday to Saturday rental period. Teresa does not.

Third the town is quiet in the evenings, but beautifully located for views of the falls and the mountains.

I know there are those who argue for Wengen and Mürren. I do not disagree with their position at all because both towns offer beautiful views.

Because I go many different places, I like the central location of Lauterbrunnen. This most recent trip found us driving to Engstligen Falls near Adelboden and around Sarnensee and Lungernsee.

Naturally we went to Grindelwald as well twice to take our favorite gondola rides.

I doubt if you will find a hotel room for under $100 a night. Even the apartment we had at Chalet Horner was 120 chf per night.

There are stores along the main street, a Coop grocery that is compact, a meat shop, a dairy store, and a bakery.

Because we usually rent a car (free parking at the chalet), we stocked up at the Migros store in Wilderswil for our week there.

One can argue the pros and cons of where to stay, but the convenience of Lauterbrunnen has continued to appeal to me. I have more freedom of movement with ample opportunities to go higher in the mountains on both sides of the valley.

Bear in mind that Mürren and Wengen and all points higher are not reachable by automobile.
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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We stayed in Gimmelwald which is up in the Alps from Lauterbrunnen and I will stay there again BUT I agree with Bob_Brown that Lauterbrunnen is a very handy place to stay. It is the jumping off spot for going up into the mountains from both sides of the valley and if you want to run into the "city" of Interlaken, it's a short train ride or drive from there.
Connie is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 09:42 AM
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We will be staying in the BO in late August. We are staying at Apartment Stockli in Lauterbrunnen. It is very economical, but I don't know if it is rented for the time you will be there. You can find it on the Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren website. Of course I only know what I have seen on the internet, but it looks fine. You might want to look it up and see for yourself. I have found that staying in apartments saves a considerable amount of money and is more comfortable than a hotel.
psychobabe is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 09:51 AM
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One aspect of using Chalet Horner was that on the times we arrived by train, the owner met us with her car at the station.

The times we arrived by car, we knew the way and simply pulled into a parking place in front of the chalet and unloaded our suitcases.

Then we had to greet Teresa's dog before we could go to the apartment.
Meg, a Jack Russell terrier, was very much a people dog. Chico, her new dog, was easy to coax into my lap. The silly dog, however, feels motivated to bark at the church bells. Sunday was a long day for him but he finally chased off the bells.

Last year he came by or flat from time to time for a visit. When Teresa could not find him, she knew where to look.

By using an apartment we had more space than a hotel room, and convenience of a small refrigerator and a cook top with cooking equipment and eating implements.
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 16th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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Bob -- We took your advice last year and stayed at Chalet Horner and were extremely pleased. Do you have any places like this up your sleeve in any of the following places -- Passau, Bamberg, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, or Luebeck? Any personal recommendations would be appreciated.
Kristinelaine is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 07:21 PM
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We stayed in a studio apt room (fridge and stove) in Grindelwald 2 weeks ago. A very nice lady rents out 6 rooms. The price was 80 swiss francs for 1 night or 70 swiss francs for 2 nights. (I don't know if the rates go any lower for longer stays) I will locate my receipt with the name of the place if this appeals to you.
deladeb is online now  
Jul 26th, 2008, 01:44 AM
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Hello Deladeb,

Could you post the adress for the rooms in Grindelwald? I will spend one week end there in August and the prices sound good !

Thanks a lot in advance

marieparis is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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I cannot help on the others.
I visit Switzerland mostly with one apartment rental in the Ötztal of Austria, south and west of Innsbruck.

It was actually the best rental we have had in terms of space, funishings, etc.

To comment again on where to go in the Berner Oberland: I will readily admit that more beautiful views are to be had from Gimmelwald, Wengen, and Mürren. That is why I go there every trip, just to look at the Jungfrau, Breithorn, and the adjoining peaks.

I have opted for Lauterbrunnen because of the ease of going other places, even on a whim. I can readily recommend those higher mountain villages for their stunning views.

I have to stay someplace and, to date, my wife and I have opted for Lauterbrunnen and its convenience for us. It is a personal decision, of course.

I really don't think you can go wrong. If you are staying in Mürren, you probably will want to go to Wengen, to the top of the Männlichen, to Kleine Scheidegg, to Grindelwald, etc. I would not go there and not visit the surrounding areas. Transportation up, down, in, and out is readily available in various forms with cable cars timed to trains, and trains timed to each other.

Our week there disappeared like lightening. Now that I am back, I wonder where it went. Well, it is in the past now and all I have are memories and a large group of pictures.

bob_brown is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:45 PM
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bookmarking for planning - thanks
see_the_world7 is offline  
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