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Best hotel in best location in Basel

Two of us are traveling to Basel & taking a Grand Circle River Cruise in late November. Lots of questions! I always buy Rick Steve’s books & I just got the one on Switzerland, but there’s nothing on Basel. I love all his suggestions on the “back door” kind of travel. I always take his advice on where to see a more traditional & experience a taste of the country. I realize Basel is a big business type atmosphere w lots of business travelers, but I wondered if there were some special places to go.

With Three nights in Basel, where is the best location to stay in? We don’t like high rise, ultra modern hotels. Something more quaint & w a charming, old fashioned Switzerland feel, would be perfect.

Are there tour companies there which offer city tours or trips outside Basel…into the countryside?

We’re coming into the Basel Airport. How far is that from the old town? Take the bus?

Is there any type of entertainment that would be similar to that in Salzburg, w singers, traditional dancing & music?
Any place similar to the famous beer hall in Munich?
Are there any restaurants w traditional Swiss meals & traditional Swiss entertainment?

Lots of cities have places that cater to the tourists looking for the “old country” feel.

Where do we go to get on the cruise? Do all cruises leave from the city center?

Thank you so much!!

Posted by
20017 posts

I can answer a few of these questions.

With Three nights in Basel, where is the best location to stay in? We don’t like high rise, ultra modern hotels. Something more quaint & w a charming, old fashioned Switzerland feel, would be perfect.

I can't give you a specific hotel but look in the old city north of the main SBB station. A couple of stops on the tram north of of the station.

We’re coming into the Basel Airport. How far is that from the old town? Take the bus?

The airport is actually in France. There are buses every 10 minutes to the Basel SBB station for 7.60 CHF..

Where do we go to get on the cruise? Do all cruises leave from the city center?

There are several spots along the river that the cruise boats dock, and only your cruise company can tell you the location. Spots are assigned by the Port Director, and it could be on short notice. Many stop on the north end of the city on the east bank.

Posted by
155 posts

Does Rick Steves have any suggestions as to where to stay that’s convenient to the bus terminal & the old town? Does the bus come into the train station or near by?
Thanks!

Posted by
2073 posts

Take a look at Rome2rio. You can input the train station and hotels to see how far apart they are and how to get there by public transport or walking.

Posted by
108 posts

We stayed at Les Trois Rois. It is historical, quietly elegant and on the river. Very nice with good restaurants. We highly recommend it although it is expensive.

Posted by
20017 posts

Basel is not on Rick Steves' radar. There are lots of interesting places in Europe that are not.
This place looks like it would fit the Rick Steves style
http://www.stadthof.ch/
Low price (for Switzerland), pedestrian area, steps from the tram stop. Note it says "Toilet and bathroom are on the same floor." Which indicates to me that it does not have ensuite bathrooms.
3 stops away from Basel SBB station on the #8 or #11 tram at Barfuesserplatz.
Note that when you stay in most Basel hotels, including this one, you get a guest card that gives free public transportation within the city.

Posted by
155 posts

Thanks for the responses. I looked at the Three Kings but for $650. per night, without breakfast, is too rich for my blood. I’d rather pay $300 per night & eat the other $350.00 each day. The hotel w/o a bathroom en suite isn’t appealing either.
Basel just doesn’t seem to have much to offer in the way of nice hotels at reasonable rates. We’ll just keep looking at other cities to spend our time. I don’t know what attracted me to this off the wall town, but I realize it’s not what we’re looking for…
Thanks for everyone’s suggestions.

Posted by
20017 posts

And I thought you wanted a Rick Steves type of place. And referring to the beautiful city of Basel as an "off the wall town" is rather odd.

Posted by
383 posts

Basel is a city, so there is not a lot in the way of rustic, old-fashioned "alpine" Switzerland or touristy folklore shows around like in Luzern or the mountain areas. However, there are some places that might be close to what you are looking for and Basel has a lot to offer culturally. Not sure when you arrive, but on 25 Nov, the Advent season is opened at the Munster (cathedral) with an alphorn ensemble. If you check the Basel Tourism website, they have a whole section about Christmas events

For a "beer hall' ambience: not on the scale of Munich, but the best place would be Zum Braunen Mutz. This is very centrally located at Barfüsserplatz, has a nice exterior and interior and offers typical German/Swiss food. I prefer it to the Stadtkeller, which is another option near Marktplatz.
For traditional Swiss food: Gifthüttli (near Hotel Basel), Löwenzorn (also near Hotel Basel), Walliserkanne (fondue), Restaurant Zum Tell (near Spalentor). In the St Alban neighborhood, which is quite charming, there is the Gasthof zum Goldenen Stern. For more upscale ambience, Schlüsselzunft is very nice. And for a very old-school bakery/cafe, go to the tea room at Schiesser in Marktplatz.

Some nice smaller hotels: Again, rustic charm is not really what Basel is about, but there are many nice smaller hotels. You could have a look at Hotel Spalentor. It's about 10 minutes walk from the 'old town' and offers good rates and comfortable rooms. Der Teufelhof is also an option (the "Gallery" part may suit you better than the Art Hotel part). Hotel Schweizerhof, which someone else has mentioned, is also a good choice. Although right at the train station, it is a cozy, well-run small hotel. And the location might actually be a plus since it is directly at the end of the airport bus route and is convenient for any day trips. Hotel Krafft is just over the bridge on the other side of the river (some rooms therefore have very nice views of the old town) and also has a nice restaurant.

PS: The thing with the open bathrooms is not a Basel phenomenon - I've found these all around Europe, more often in the German-speaking countries, especially in 'boutique' hotels or where they have converted old buildings and have limited space.

Posted by
16178 posts

I suggest you take another look at Hotel Märthof, which I suggested on your other thread.

https://www.hotel-maerthof-basel.ch/en.html

I scared you away with my caution about the lack of privacy between shower and sleeping area. But the higher priced Signature and Deluxe double/twin rooms offer more privacy (especially the Deluxe), and they are within your $300 price range. This hotel is very close to the Old Town market square, and accessible by tram from the train station.

Or, for maximum convenience, look at one of the hotels close to the train station, which would not require a transfer by tram or taxi. I suggested Hotel Euler, across the street from a park (and thus quieter from tram traffic) but there are 5 or 6 others right there. These are nice, typically Swiss city hotels—-modern, clean and comfortable, Just not quite as charming in appearance as the Maerthof.

Posted by
16178 posts

I did not read hopper18’s post until now. Good advice there.

But if you have given up on Basel, take a look at Luzern, specifically at Hotel des Balances.

Posted by
155 posts

Thank you, everyone!
Sam, I would like the Rick Steve’s style hotel if I weren’t traveling w an elderly lady who would most likely prefer something a bit more upscale. I love Rick’s books & I’ve stayed in the places he’s suggested when it was just me & my two boys traveling.
All of your suggestions are so helpful. I checked on the Hotel Basel & their rate is $265 per night & if u stay 3 nights, there’s one night free. I’ll probably go w that offer. I’d love the Trois Rois, if it were just a tad more inviting…like maybe including breakfast! It looks so charming, but looks like a little charm seems to cost a lot more money in Basel than elsewhere. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my visit & hopefully in the 4 days before my cruise, we’ll have some day trips to the countryside & maybe Lucerne!! Thanks again!!