We are planning to take a fast train from Zurich to Chur, spend the night in Chur, and get on the Bernina Express to Tirano the next morning. Does anyone have suggestions for hotel in Chur?
We did this very same trip last year. We stayed at the ABC Swiss Quality Hotel which is only a couple of minutes walk from the station.
Have fun! I did this back in 2005 and I loved it! Just remember. The Bernina Expressat least when I did it in 2005was ONLY one regular hourly train from Chur to Tirano, which managed to get the fancy touristy name attached to it! I spent almost a week in Chur, and I took the "bernina express" every day. And I never left Chur the same time! I simply took exactly the same train, on exactly the same route, an hour later or two hours later or whatever. It runs nearly all day long, both directions, every hour or so! The views are the same. You can hop off and hop on, tickets and passes permitting, take wonderful easy day hikes on well-marked hiking trails that run right along the tracks, sit on benches and watch little red train cars pass into a tunnel and then out again a little higher or lower, and hop on another one an hour or 2 later. My point is: Don't let the fancy name lull you into thinking you only have one train a day to pick from! At least in 2005, that was not the case at all!
Janis, I stayed at Hotel Freieck in Chur and would certainly recommend them. The room was clean and comfortable, the staff were great and they served a nice breakfast. It's a bit of a walk from the station, so with luggage I'd suggest using a Taxi. Happy travels!
Frankly, you can do better than Chur. Instead, take a train out of Chur on the line towards Samedan. Look at some of the towns where a RegioExpress (RE) would stop (check out sbb.ch for that) and stay there. Google some towns, eg Bergün, Tiefencastel, Thusis and find one that you like and stay there overnight if necessary. At least that will put you in the alps rather than in a nondescript Swiss city. The next morning take a train onwards. Like a previous poster said take a local train (RegioExpress or Regio) instead. It'll travel the same route, will go the same slow speed and will have windows that open so you can smell the alpine air and photograph the countryside going by. The only (dis)advantages you get from the Bernina is more tourists, you have to reserve your spot and you get air conditioning (which is pretty much unnecessary in Switzerland). If you take a Reggio or RE you'll have to change in Samedan but the odds are the train to Tirano will be waiting across the track or you'll have to wait 10 minutes.