Review: Swiss Travel Centre
Travel Service - Tour Operator/Travel Provider
Glacier Express prize!
68 people found this review helpful
At the beginning of September, my husband and I were fortunate enough to travel on the Glacier Express due to winning the prize holiday on the Silver Travel Advisor website. Hearty thanks to them and the Swiss Travel Centre for their help and generosity!
Our flight to Zurich was punctual. We then set about finding the rail station underneath the airport for our train to St Moritz, changing at Chur. During the whole trip, we were so impressed with the Swiss rail system which ran like clockwork and had announcements in English. We had opted to upgrade to First Class on the Glacier Express itself and were kindly upgraded to a first class rail pass on the rest of the network too. The station announcements even told us whereabouts on the platform the first class carriages would halt! Sorry British rail, but you could learn a thing or two. The rolling stock was clean and comfortable too.
At Chur, (pronounced “Koor”) we phoned the Hotel Laudinella in St Moritz who then sent their hotel bus to meet us at the station. The hotel staff were very pleasant and welcoming and gave us a superb corner room with lounge area, balcony and views over the mountains. We set out immediately to explore the town with a walk to the lake where we heard the Church’s carillion playing. We enjoyed a tasty buffet dinner at the hotel and a lovely breakfast in the morning, before being taken back to the station in the morning to catch the 9am Glacier Express train.
Our first class seats on the iconic red Glacier Express train were wonderfully comfortable, which was just as well as the full journey we were undertaking to Zermatt was to take over 7 hours. However with scenery gazing, listening to the commentary at various places en route, nipping out at certain stops to stretch our legs, eating lunch and chatting to fellow passengers, the time went all too quickly. It was a most relaxing journey, saturating our senses with typical Swiss chalet mountain scenery in places, splendid rock formations and gorges and later on, a couple of hanging glaciers, glacial rivers and bridges and tantalizing glimpses of the snowy peaks around Zermatt.
The Hotel Schweizerhof is literally two minutes walk from Zermatt station on the main street. Although their little electric buggy meets each train, we decided to walk and soak up some of the atmosphere of flower decked balconies in the pedestrian street.
The check in staff were most welcoming again and gave us what must have been the best room in the hotel! We were at the rear of the hotel, overlooking its garden sun terrace area, tennis courts, but most importantly, the Matterhorn rose majestically before us. We appreciated the views whilst sitting on the sofa and whilst basking on the huge balcony, shielded from the sun by our own awnings. This was the life!
Our Swiss rail pass gave us half price tickets on the Gornergrat cog railway up into the mountains near the Matterhorn. Stunning views of the Matterhorn and several glaciers really wowed us. We were so glad we had opted for an extra day in Zermatt to enable us to spend all day up there, an experience not to be missed. We even saw a family of marmots, not to mention the gorgeous plum tart and coffee in the summit cafe.
This hotel’s restaurant was only fully open in the winter season but there were countless numbers of restaurants and cafes in the town, so we ate at an upmarket Pizza house one night and a small cafe the other. A delicious buffet breakfast was included though.
We left our luggage at the hotel on the morning of departure and explored the church and churchyard where there were touching memorials to climbers who had lost their lives on the mighty Matterhorn. We also found the fascinating old part of Zermatt with about 30 dark wooden houses on a winding hilly street. These were built partly on big stone “mushrooms” to keep mice out of the grain and fodder they were storing.
Our trip back to Zurich airport by rail (changing at Visp) was easy and we grabbed a meal at the airport before our flight. The hotel had helped us to check in and print our Swiss Air boarding passes so that saved time too.
The Swiss Travel Centre had given us a helpful detailed itinerary with times and even platform numbers of trains, along with alternative later choices. We also downloaded more times from the internet, but they were not needed.
We were so impressed by our pleasant independent rail travel in Switzerland that my husband has all ready begun to explore a possible trip to Lake Geneva and Lausanne!
68 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.