Hello forum! Can anyone who has been on the Alpine My Way tour comment on the hotels? Were they decent? Some in my group are concerned about the disclaimer of potentially sharing bathrooms. Any insight is much appreciated!
No shared bathrooms when I took the tour in 2014. Hotels were good to excellent. Pretty typical RS hotels. Nonetheless, the scenery makes the trip, not the hotels.
Mine was in 2015. The hotels were fine, though most didn't have elevators, 1-3 flights of stairs. All bathrooms were en suite - no sharing, no corridors to traverse
I have been on 3 of the RS My Way tours, Italy 2014 , Alpine 2016 and Spain 2018, every hotel room I stayed in had its own bathroom with toilet, sink and shower and sometimes a bathtub and even a bidet. RS uses many different hotels in their tours so maybe the shared bathroom disclaimer covers the odd hotels.
The most important thing to understand and realize is you are in a different country and you are going to be located close to the important sites in every city you are visiting. The good news is that you are not going to be staying in a generic hotel room that looks anything like a room at the Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Ramada, Hilton, Motel 6 or whatever. Every hotel room is going to unique, different, quirky and hopefully very memorable. In almost every case the hotels exceeded my expectations because I assumed we were going to be staying in some very simple rooms but the majority were very modern and nice.
I am a single traveler so I had a few rooms on these 3 tours which were clearly "smaller" for a single person with a single bed but they all were fine because I spend so little time in my room.
The tour manager or guide would usually rotate people/couples around to different rooms if some hotel rooms offered a view etc.
Most of the time I had a regular double person room and was surprised at how nice the rooms were.
I actually would rate the hotel on whether it had a restaurant, bar, outdoor patio, rooftop lounge or community room for the guests to be together at the end of the day.
The Alpine tour was by far the best because we had great weather and saw some amazing scenery (early September) and had so much fun hanging out with other members of the tour.
I understand your concern with having to share a bathroom but on the Alpine tour you are there for the amazing views, hikes, sites, experiences, friendship and interaction with the group, the hotel room is the least important aspect of this tour. Happy travels Scott
I went last year and all rooms had private baths and were in excellent locations. Some were a bit more posh than others or had better free breakfasts but as others said I wasn’t concerned about that aspect.
We have taken 7 RS tours and have always had a wonderful experience but I have friends that would never go on one because they are concerned that the hotels are not up to their "standards". I think the issue is if you enjoy the adventure of experiencing other cultures, meeting new people, walking instead of riding all the time, then the RS tours are great but I have two very dear friends who have gone to Europe and practically never left their hotel! In other words, the "hotel" was the destination for them not the city or town.
The RS tours challenge a person to look at the world maybe in a different way than your use to, I love this experience and it has changed the way I see not only other countries but how I view my own country. Several years ago I was sent to a meeting in Barcelona and my wife came along, we were at the Ritz Carlton on the beach (it was paid for by the company!), after the third day my wife looked at me and said "this place is pure luxury, but I miss my Rick Steve hotels!" If you are the type of person that would rather stay at a Bed and Breakfast than a Holiday Inn then the RS tours are perfect for you.
We did the Alpine My Way tour in 2018. I called the RS office ahead of time to ask about the bathrooms. They checked the itinerary because different dates can have different hotels, and all were en suite.
Look at Physical Demands on the tour page:
It looks like one hotel might have shared bathrooms.
My GUESS is that the shared bathroom might be in Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Only a guess based on past comments. Seriously, I wouldn't sweat it.
I had a shared bathroom in Aeroskobing, Denmark on the Best of Scandinavia tour. It was a fantastic B&B. Would stay there again.
I'm guessing the same as Eric. I'm not sure if all departures of this tour stay in Stechelberg or if some stay up on the mountain in Muerren but yes, this is the location where there are shared bathrooms for some rooms. The hotel is in an absolutely fabulous and breathtaking location so I'm sure that is why they keep using it.
I did wind up sharing a bathroom here on my 21 Day Best of Europe tour - I was in a single room on the 1st floor of the Annex building and there were 2 of us solos along with 3 couples from our group. Each bedroom had a sink but the toilet and shower were shared. I never had to wait for either the toilet or shower. As we were leaving the folks who where staying upstairs in the Annex said we should have come up there if we needed to as they had fewer people (4 or maybe 6) using the facilities there. In any event, the whole building was filled with tour members who we knew well by this time in the journey.
The people on my group who were housed in the main building DID have ensuite bathrooms.
I would say that the possibility of having a shared bathroom would not keep me from taking a certain tour itinerary, particularly here. The facility was very clean, I knew ahead of time it was a possibility and from looking at the hotel website concluded the single rooms were in the shared bath area so packed my shower flipflops. I generally do not like shared bath situations but visit Yellowstone at least yearly and have had to do shared bath in some of those accommodations as well. I guess I'd say I'm willing to do that if the location is worth it and there is no choice.
When you called the tour office to express your concern about not wanting shared bathrooms, what were you told?
Let’s start with that.
Actually, to me the place to start is the link LizinPA gave to the Physical Demands of a tour. The office may not be able to tell what hotel a specific tour date is staying in for Switzerland until 30 days out when the list is ready to email to the participants.
The Physical Demands on this tour state:
"5. Be content with the possibility of sharing bathroom facilities at one hotel during this tour."
As indicated, even on my tour which stayed in Hotel Stechelberg, some had shared bath facilities, some had en suites. So...even if you know the hotel you may not be certain which room the hotel will assign you.
I did the Alpine My Way tour in 2018. Funny, I thought I had read everything pre tour but did not notice the shared bathroom disclaimer. The hotels were all very nice with our own facilities. My favorite hotel was in Castelrotto Italy http://www.cavallino.it/en/ absolutely beautiful with marvelous hosts. As a solo traveler I have stayed in several accommodations with shared bathrooms and rarely had to wait for toilet or shower. The tour was my favorite you will have a marvelous time. It of course depends on your own comfort level and reasons but I wouldn't let that possibility stop you. I think the pros far outweigh that possibility.
I did this tour in Sept 2019 - the hotels were wonderful - my favorite was Hotel Hirsch in Fussen and Hotel Cavallino D'Oro in Castelrotto - both were gorgeous! I travel with a single supplement and have never had to share a bathroom (this was my 2nd RS tour) My room in Hotel Staubbach in the Lauterbrunnen valley was my least favorite - extremely small and plain, like the inside of a camper. But the view of Staubbach Falls from my tiny balcony made up for it and the staff was marvelously helpful and friendly. I think RS does a great job in their selection of hotels and above all location, location, location.
Regarding the idea of sharing a bathroom... I am agreeing with Pam. I haven't taken this tour but I have shared a bathroom while traveling. We stayed at Kennicott Glacier Lodge in remote Wrangell St. Elias Lodge in Alaska. We had a cold sink in our room and down the hall were 2 different toilet rooms that were shared by 12 or 14 rooms and 1 shower room. We only had to wait a short time for the shower when everyone came in at the end of the day. The upside was hiking all day over the glacier. INCREDIBLE beauty. Fabulous experience staying at the Lodge and eating with the other guests in the Lodge. Just enjoy the experience!
We haven't been on this tour, but we have been on the 21 Day Best of Europe twice. Both tours stayed in Stechelberg, which we absolutely loved. The first time there we stayed in the main building, not the annex, and shared a bathroom with several male German tourists. It was fine. Everyone was considerate. The second time we were also in the main building, and had an en suite bathroom. That surprised me; I didn't know they even had them! And as it happened, we still occasionally used the "shared" bathroom, when one of us was taking a long shower and the other needed access to the facilities.
It will be fine. The area is magnificent, and if sharing a bathroom is the price we pay, well, it was worth it.