Rigi Kulm or Rigi Kaltbad?

Jan 9th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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Rigi Kulm or Rigi Kaltbad?

Dear Fodors friends,

I have narrowed my choices for the first few days of our June Swiss trip to the Lake Lucerne area, and am trying to decide between these two places for our first night. Normally we would choose to stay on top of things, which would mean Rigi Kulm hotel, but I also like the look of this hotel in Rigi Kaltbad:


So my question regards the views and ambiance of the two locations. Can you see out in both directions from the top? What is the Rigi Kulm hotel like on the inside? (I suppose that is a trick question, since they are closed right now and until April for renovations!) But I'd like to hear from anyone who has stayed there---views, food, friendliness, ambiance, etc. And if we wish to observe the time-honored tradition of watching the sunrise from Rigi, does that mean staying at Rigi Kulm? Finally, does anyone know how long it takes to hike from one to the other?

Thank you for your help.
enzian is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Hello Enzian,

I've never spent the night at either place but I would choose Rigi Kaltbad over Rigi Kulm because of the ambience of the small village. Rigi Kulm is up on top, all by itself. It's a big hotel but not very cozy.

Now, about your time-honored tradition of watching the sunrise (and how did you find out about that?), here are the times for sunrises and sunsets:

The only problem with staying at Rigi Kaltbad is that you'll have to walk 1 hour to get to the top of Rigi Kulm. Now, if it's a nice morning, you may regret not staying at Rigi Kulm, where the hike is much shorter. If the weather is bad, you'll be glad you stayed in Rigi Kaltbad.

I'd contact Alpina (which looks very nice) directly and ask them about any suggestions on how to get up to the Rigi Kulm. Maybe they can drive you up to Rigi Staffel.

Other tips:

Rigi Kaltbad Swiss Folklore Show:
Every Friday night, starting at 18.15, you'll be greeted by swiss alphorns and then you can watch the show and even learn how to play an alphorn. It ends at 19.45 (not a long show obviously).

By the way, for anyone who wants to see the sunrise from the Rigi but doesn't want to spend the night on the mountain, the Rigi Bahn has a few extra trains to provide this opportunity. For dates and times, see:
kleeblatt is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Grützi, Schuler! And thank you for your input, as always.

I heard about the sunrise viewing from my good friends Mark Twain and Queen Victoria, among others. Actually, some of my hiking books talk about it. And my "Swiss Mountain Inns" book says that although the Rigi Kulm hotel looks industrial on the outside, it is OK on the inside. So I'm still wondering about that.

My current plan would have us approach from Arth-Goldau (after training from Stuttgart). That would put us on top by early- to mid-afternoon, so we will have a few hours of hiking time. If we choose to drop down to Rigi Kaltbad, we would have to change trains at Rigi Kulm, I believe. But staying at Rigi Kaltbad would make the next day easier---we could ride the gondola down to Weggis and catch a boat to Luzern from there. If staying at Rigi Kulm we'd probably ride the train to Vitznau to catch the boat. So I'll have to check the boat times to Luzern from each.

I'm glad you like the look of the Alpina. Some of the other Rigi Kaltbad hotels were just too fancy for our tastes. They do have one triple room (actually a double with Zusatzbett), so that may sway the decision.

But then there's that sunrise. . . at 5:30 am.

enzian is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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Went up to Rigi and saw the Rigi Kulm Hotel. But did not stay in it (only there for the afternoon)! Yes, it looks pretty industrial from the outside but inside the restaurant, at least, appears OK. Great views, of course. But far away from anything else. For a night, I would think it would be fun. Beautiful area.
kenav is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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enzian, there is NOTHING in Rigi Kulm but the hotel! The view is wonderful but not necessarily the place to stay.

I'd much rather stay in Kaltbad or even better in Weggis where you would have tons of restaurant options. The cable car from Weggis had us in Kaltbad in no time and from there it was an hour hike to Kulm.
marigross is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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Hi Marigross---I know here's nothing up there but the hotel---that is actually part of the appeal. In the US we go backpacking for fun, so having a bed and hot showers is real luxury. And it's just for one night; we'll be heading toward Grindelwald the next morning.
enzian is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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One of our favorite hotels is the Edelweiss at Rigi-Staffelhohe, which is about halfway up from Rigi-Kaltbad to the Kulm. Beautiful site, ask for a south-facing room. Haven't been in a few years, but I know that the proprietor is still the same, so I assume that the excellent food is still being prepared.
vedette is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Thanks! I'll check it out.
enzian is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 04:40 PM
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> we go backpacking for fun, so having a bed and hot showers is real luxury.

Enzian, you are my kind of guy. "Kulm" hotels I know have just the hotel and the view surrounding it. That's the point of Kulm hotel.
kappa is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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OK---after corresponding with both hotels, and getting back prices, etc., I've decided on the Alpina at Rigi Kaltbad---I think it better suits our style. (The Rigi Kulm is actually more up-scale).

And I've changed our routing from Zürich to Luzern---boat to Weggis----up the cable car. I am assuming our Flex Pass will cover every leg of this journey, including boat and cable car---correct?
enzian is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Dear FF

I am having the same problem although we will be staying for 2 nights in early April. I have just found out Kulm is closed but what I am reading about Kaltbad sounds good. The 1 hour walk to Kulm for the sunrise...is it a sharp incline or a gradual incline? We are <60> He's fit and I'm working on it!
We will also have our 14 year old granddaughter with us so kaltbad sounds better for her. We will be hopping off the train from Stuttgart and then going on to Como (cadenabbia) for 2 nights then on to Rome for Easter.

Thanks Irish
irishj49 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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The walk from Rigi Kaltbad to Rigi Kulm is quite gradual at first and then gets a steeper the second half. It's all paved although it might be snow-covered in April.

You won't need climbing ropes or ice picks. I've walked from Rigi Staffel to Rigi Kulm many times. Gorgeous views.
kleeblatt is offline  
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