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Los Angeles, California
May 29, 2008
Lauterbrunnen is part of the central area of Switzerland, referred to as the Bernese Oberland, which is marked by some of the country’s most magnificent mountain ranges. I chose Lauterbrunnen as a base because there you will find classic Swiss alpine scenery. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is the world’s deepest U-shaped valley and the region claims 72 small to spectacular waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen is nestled in the perfect location to make it both an end destination in itself as well as a commuting point to other midland areas (Műrren and Wengen). This region is jam-packed with natural beauty and it took no time at all to fall in love with it. Visitors immediately relax upon arriving.
Lauterbrunnen is accessed by train via Interlaken. My husband and I connected in Visp, where we had disembarked from the Glacier Express, which we had boarded in Chur*. But the Swiss rail system is so comprehensive that you can link to this region from nearly anywhere in the country. Upon getting off the train, you will feel as if you’ve just been transported to some magical land. You’ll look up and catch your first glimpse of the famous waterfall plummeting to the ground from the mountaintop above. Being a very small town, most everything in Lauterbrunnen is walking distance – the main town can be covered on foot, from end to end, in 15 minutes. We proceeded on foot to our hotel (there are no taxis as the town is too small to warrant them) while pulling our suitcases up a slight hill, with relative ease. Our reservation was at the oldest existing hotel in Lauterbrunnen, Hotel Staubbach. This hotel is rated consistently with high marks and deservedly so. Their staff is friendly and welcoming. The establishment does not offer the services of a four-star big city property, but does offer the basics in a very comfortable chalet-like setting. Anyone seeking to book a large room with mini bar and room service should not stay in this area. Most hotels in the valley do not cater to that level of clientele. They do an excellent job though of offering the basic comforts to those that want to soak up the scenery and take advantage of the visual beauty and sports that this region offers. The Mittelland is famous for its base-jumping and paragliding. Don’t be surprised to look up and see parachutes floating in the sky – it is one of the area’s big attractions. If jumping off a cliff or being swept up by a wind isn’t your thing, that will not preclude your enjoyment of the 24/7 natural beauty that resides here. Hiking and sight-seeing via cogwheel trains and cable cars is the next best thing to conquer the heights around you.
But the main attraction are the many mountain trains to summits which will melt your fillings. The Jungfraujoch, made up of the Eiger (13,025 ft.), the Mönch (13,488 ft.) and the Jungfrau (13,642 ft.), constitute one of the most spectacular mountain ranges you’ll find anywhere in the world and it has been dubbed "The Top of Europe" for good reason. The views are breathtaking and the time spent riding to the top via cogwheel train is well worth it. Lower viewpoints located in Műrren (2,625 ft.) and Schilthorn (9,747 ft.) can be accessed by cable car in the village of Stechelberg. My husband and I took a leisurely one hour walk through the Lauterbrunnen Valley to Stechelberg on a beautiful, clear morning. Enjoy the slow pace, and commune with the cows, goats and fauna on your way. You will actually feel yourself decompress. This is what Lauterbrunnen is all about!
*Switzerland offers many panoramic trains routes of which the Glacier Express is just one. It originates in St. Moritz in the east, for its westbound passage to Zermatt, but can be ridden either direction. Riders can hop on or off at points in between. The entire length of the scenic ride takes approximately 8 hours end-to-end.
From journal Awed by Switzerland
September 4, 2007
Our stay at the Hotel Staubbach was a wonderful experience in all aspects. We stayed in a room with a balcony view of the valley and waterfall. It is by far the best view in town and still very centrally located. It is a great base to explore the beautiful Jungfrau region. The hotel is set at the base of a 1000ft waterfall and in a valley so dynamic you cannot get more in the middle of the Alps unless you are a mountain climber.Rooms do not have TV or phones but not necessary with these heavenly views and the rooms are perfectly clean and tidy. Throughout Europe we had only CNN in English anyhow. The TV lounge was a great place to meet other hotel guests and catch up on the news. Free coffee and tea was a welcomed plus after a long day of exploring. The friendliness of the owners and staff were so welcoming that you can feel that everyone was really enjoying their stay at the Staubbach. We loved our experience and highly recommend the Staubbach. We found Lauterbrunnen to be a great base to explore the region too.
From journal Outstanding Hotel Staubbach
August 12, 2005
There are 30 rooms—some with private bath, some without. While our room on the third floor (European count) was plain, it was quite comfortable, and the carpet looked new. The room had two single beds, a nightstand, a desk, and a closet. The only negative I have is that the lighting was not very good for reading. A piece of Swiss chocolate lay on our pillows the day we arrived.
The bath was divided. The sink area had a place to lay out your suitcase. The large tub and the toilet were in their own little room—not luxurious, but very clean.
What makes this place so special? The awesome view. We had French doors onto a balcony with two chairs and a small table. From there we had a spectacular view of this narrow valley bounded with cliffs and the gorgeous snow-covered peaks in the distance. Three waterfalls were in sight—one the noted Staubbach Falls. What a visual and auditory treat to sit on the balcony--the splash of water from the falls and the river, the tinkling bells of the sheep in a small field nearby, and the bong of the church bells.
After you park your car (free) under the trees out front, you enter the lobby. Fresh flowers stand on a table in the window. There is a small elevator. A game room with TV and internet access (fee), playroom, and breakfast room are found on the ground floor. The breakfast room also has the beautiful valley view. Breakfast is wonderful, too—loaves of fresh bread (slice your own), meat, cheese, cereal, yogurt (the best), real butter, and my favorite—blackberry preserves, seeds and all. Check out the mountain weather on the TV before you head up into the mountains. Outside there is a grassy area where children can play.
My husband has a hard time in Europe without his ice, so he carries small ice trays with him. He was shown to the freezer in the basement where he could freeze all the ice cubes he wanted. The staff were all friendly and had suggestions for things to do and places to eat. They never seemed too busy to answer questions or just chat a bit.
The rooms are cleaned every 3 days, and you would be charged extra for daily cleanings. We’ve "hung up" our towels all our lives, so this didn’t bother us at all.
Restaurants and train station are within a few blocks of the hotel. There are Swisscom phones at the train station.
The Staubbach price per night for a double with bath was 120SF and worth every penny. For info see Hotel Staubbach.
From journal Berner Oberland--Unforgettable!
London, United Kingdom
May 5, 2004
The establishment is located in a large and quite nice late 19th century building close to the southern edge of the settlement. Despite being a relatively low price accommodation option, it has a refreshingly understated and old-fashioned charm, mainly due to the genuinely friendly service, which is disarmingly relaxing.
The bedrooms are fairly plain in terms of décor and do not feature many of the facilities found in more upmarket rivals, but some have en-suite amenities and all are very clean and comfortable. In addition, most have balconies that afford spectacular views of the lovely waterfall that the hotel takes its name from and the gorgeous valley beyond, which more than compensates for any lack of five star luxuries. For me, there are few better ways of starting the day than admiring such eye-catching scenery immediately after rising in the morning.
Meanwhile, the downstairs dining area features large windows that face in the same direction, overlooking a small Alpine meadow directly outside. Therefore, it is also happily possible to appreciate yet more of the picturesque local countryside whilst at the same time enjoying the simple but tasty breakfast that is included in the already reasonable rate.
From journal Jungfrau Region - Switzerland's most outstanding beauty spot?