Helen Brixey – Leisure Training Manager
Where did you Just Get Back from?
Email / Telephone Number
Helen.Brixey@altour.com / 812.206.5128
When were you there?
Provide a 1-3 liner highlighting your experience!
There are few words that can describe what an amazing country Switzerland is. From the snowcapped mountains to the crystal clear lakes, Switzerland certainly has some of the most incredible scenery of any place I’ve visited. So beautiful that I could visit Switzerland every year for the rest of my life and still remain as awestruck as I was the first time.
Words to describe what you felt when you first arrived:
Being my third trip to the alpine country in less than twelve months, I was thrilled to go back! A sense of safety is always present when visiting Switzerland as it is one of the safest countries in the world. Having spent so much time there in the past year, I also felt at home. I found the rush of excitement this time as strong as my first time last year. Stepping off the train in Lucerne and breathing the fresh, clean mountain air was completely invigorating.
Where did you stay?
Luzern – The Palace Luzern
St. Moritz – Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains
Zermatt – The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
With whom would you recommend staying at this hotel / resort?
Luzern – The Palace Luzern – A perfect hotel for couples, singles and families. With its fantastic location on the shore of Lake Luzern, it’s a picturesque 15 minute stroll from the heart of the city, including the famous Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument, Mt Pilatus and the KKL; Lucerne’s Performing Art Center, as well as easy access to the many boats that ply the lake, taking the traveler even farther afield.
The perfect start to the day begins with a delicious breakfast in the beautifully appointed restaurant, Les Artistes. Featuring an extensive buffet, along with cooked to order items, guests can sip their morning coffee while taking in beautiful views over the lake and surrounding mountains.
Singles, couples and families will enjoy the easy access to the Verkehrshaus (The Swiss Museum of Transport) either via a leisurely 15 to 20 minute walk along the footpath on shore of the lake, or via the tram that stops right outside the front door of the hotel.
At the end of a busy day taking in all the beauty the city has to offer, there is no better place to relax than sitting in the hotel’s lake side terrace with a glass of wine followed by a steam and sauna in the beautifully appointed spa.
St. Moritz – Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains – Located just outside the busy center of St. Moritz, in St. Moritz Bad, this is the perfect hotel for singles, couples, families – everyone really. Those looking to take to the ski slopes should most certainly consider this hotel. Located directly across the street from a cable car, via underground pedestrian walkway, the hotel makes it easy for skiers to get to and from the slopes. Featuring an onsite ski shop offering equipment rentals, clothing, and all the essentials for a perfect day in the slopes. Discounts are offered when renting equipment for multiple days and the hotel staff will collect the equipment upon arrival and store it for you until you are ready to go again. Staying 3 nights or longer come with the benefit of lift tickets for all lifts, cable cars and mountain railways in the Engadin region. Even non-skiers benefit from this as they can go up the mountains to take advantage of the breathtaking scenery of the Alps, enjoy a drink, meal, or even a hike across a white blanket of freshly fallen snow. For those who don’t meet minimum stay requirements, the hotel participates in a discounted ski pass rate of CHF35 a day.
Zermatt – The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof – The trip from Visp to Zermatt via the Matterhorn Gotthardbahn Railway along some of the most stunning panoramas in Switzerland is a highlight in itself, but being picked up at the Zermatt Train Station by a private horse drawn carriage is the cherry on top. The baggage is swiftly loaded onto the luggage cart while you board a beautiful blue carriage for a short ride along Bahnhoffstrasse to the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof.
Being so close to the Matterhorn, one feels as if they could reach out and touch the famous Toblerone Mountain. The Grand Zermatterhof is a perfect choice for couples looking to experience old world charm combined with all the grace, sophistication and elegance of the five-star hotel. For the ultimate experience, book a room looking out to the Matterhorn. Watching the top of the mountain turn pink as the sun rises is a wonderful way to begin the day. After a day of skiing, traveling to the top of the Gornergrat by rack railway to snap a picture of the Matterhorn reflecting off the surface of the Riffelsee and watching the sky change from light blue to deep blue as the stars start to make their entrance is a captivating experience.
Tempt us: Name the most special place you discovered on this trip:
Mt. Titlis – located just 45 minutes from Lucerne by fast and comfortable train, Mt. Titlis in the Engleberg area makes for a great day out. Skiers will love the numerous runs that will challenge their abilities. Non-skiers will enjoy the cable car ride and the “rotair” – a 360 degree rotating cable car offering panoramic views of the surrounding area. Highlights include the Cliff Walk – not for the faint of heart, a chocolate shop, the Glacier Cave; a tunnel of ice through the mountain and so much more. Swiss Rail Pass holders will enjoy a 50% discount on the ticket prices.
The Glacier Express – A must-do for everyone traveling to Switzerland, The Glacier Express is an 8 – hour journey between St. Moritz and Zermatt or reverse that takes the guest on a visual journey unlike any other. Snowcapped mountains, waterfalls, rivers and streams are just a few of the things one will see when embarking on this incredible journey. Enjoy a 3-course fixed menu or order a-la-carte from the extensive menu while taking in the stunning scenery, winding your way through a spiral tunnel or crossing one of the many viaducts. A journey on the Glacier Express is included as part of the Swiss Rail Pass ticket, with only a small supplement required for mandatory seat reservations.
Air Zermatt Helicopter – For those adventurous travelers, a helicopter trip with Air Zermatt to view the Matterhorn up close and personal is a must-do activity. Offering 20 minute flights to the Matterhorn, Gornergrat and the surrounding area, guests will feel like a bird as they fly over the tops of mountain peaks, peer down into the seemingly never ending crevasses of the glacier and experience some of the most incredible scenery one could ever imagine.
What’s the best time of year to go in your opinion?
I don’t think there’s a bad time to travel to Switzerland. For skiers, obviously the winter is the best time to travel, but I recommend checking websites of the ski areas you plan to visit since opening times may vary. For those looking to experience things like hiking, local attractions, boating etc. then the spring and summer is a perfect choice.
Anything else to add?
With its efficient and extensive rail network, there’s really no reason for anyone to rent a car. A Swiss Rail Pass, available from Rail Europe prior to departure, is available for both first and second class travel, as well as for varying durations of travel.