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Wondering if the Alpine Europe My Way is a good fit for us?

We're taking a Rhine River cruise next July & thought we'd extend it by going to Paris before the cruise & use trains etc. to visit places in Austria & Germany post cruise. We've never taken a Rick Steve's tour, but have used his travel advisors & they've been spot on in their recommendations. We noticed the Alpine MW tour went to the areas in Germany & Austria that we wanted to see, & included the Dolomites & French Alps which also looked beautiful. We've already stayed in the Lauterbrunnen area & loved it! The appeal of doing this tour is having the transportation & lodging taken care of & the freedom of being able to be spontaneous & do our own thing, BUT, we're wondering about the accommodations? The description said there's the possibility of having to share a bathroom, & that could be a deal breaker. Though the itinerary is most important in our vacations, we also look forward to nice hotels at the end of the day & would definitely want to know we'd have both air conditioning &/or heat. Have any of you had to share a bathroom on this tour? Have all the hotels been air conditioned? Though I know the hotels for 2016 will probably not be the same as this year's, if you've been on this tour, would you mind giving us a couple names of hotels you have stayed at? Maybe we should just stick to our original plan & focus on Austria & Germany? Any information or thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Posted by
3580 posts

If even the possibility of sharing a bathroom is a big negative for you, better not go. I've been on 8 RS tours and shared the bathroom only once, in a small French town.

Posted by
118 posts

I just returned from 3 weeks in Europe and stayed at this hotel in Paris, has air and heat and you don't share a bathroom. Train and buses are close and you can see the Eiffel tower from some of the rooms. Rooms are small but thats the norm in Paris. I really liked this hotel.
These are Rick Steves recommended hotels. Some were great, others not so much. I was there in Aug, so very hot month. All hotels in Italy were wonderful.

  1. The staff are really nice and helpful, they went on line and booked my tickets to Versalles. air and heat, no share bathroom.
    Hotel Beaugency 21 rue Duvivier Paris, 75007 FRANCE Tel: 011 33 147 05 01 63 Email: infos@hotel-beaugency.com Website: www.hotel-beaugency.com

  2. Hotel Stechelberg Stechelberg, CH-3824 SWITZERLAND had shared bathrooms but I lucked out and had my own, many others in the group had a shared bathroom. They mentioned the difficulty in doing their hand wash laundry as a problem and coordinating showers with the other couple that shared the bathroom. The floor I was on had a community bathroom that was used by others not on that floor, people hiking etc. Shower was separate from bathroom. 2 people on the tour had to use these. Heat yes, was cool when I was there so not sure about air. Lovely area to stay. Lots of hiking. I loved this hotel.

Hotels in Germany:
3. It was terribly hot, no air and no fan, I was on the street side, very noisy. because you had to leave the windows open. Very pretty room but sleep was impossible. No share bathrooms. You are right in the middle of the town, maybe ask for room on the non street side. Hotel Goldener Hirsch Rothenburg Untere Schmiedgasse 16 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 91541 GERMANY

  1. No air, and no fan, again really hot. No share bathroom. You are right on the train tracks that run every 12-15 min , decrease after 11 pm to every 1/2 hour. I was on the non train side, but area was interesting, small town. Hotel Kranenturm Langstrasse 30 Bacharach, 55422 GERMANY

Hotel in Austria:
5. No air, and no fan, again really hot. No share bathroom. This was my least favorite hotel of all, the staff was not friendly and you just didn't feel welcomed.
Alpenhotel Ernberg Ernberg-Zum Dorfwirt Reutte, 6600 AUSTRIA

Posted by
845 posts

I have been on the MyWay Alpine, solo, and did not share a bath. Numerous RS tours stop in Lauterbrunnen, and it is possible for different groups to be housed in different hotels during the same time period. For example, MyWay Alpine may be there at the same time a GAS tour is there. There may even be more than two in town at the same time.

Questions about shared baths appear on this forum from time to time. Many seem to touch on Hotel Stechelberg in Lauterbrunnen. My group did not stay there. Perhaps if you call the Tour Office they might be able to let you know if this hotel is part of a specific tour you have targeted and under which conditions a shared bath may come into play. Maybe this occurs in high season when the area, facilities, and tours are maxed out, but perhaps not in shoulder season.

I really enjoyed this tour. Memorable hotels for me were in Hallstatt, Bolzano, and Chamonix. I do not have the names at my fingertips. Some had air; some did not.

Posted by
14241 posts

I was on the tour this year in early June. After receiving the full hotel list, I checked the hotel websites. None stated they had AC. I didn't need heating in any of the rooms - generally had the windows open. The room in Salzburg had a fan. I had some single rooms and some double rooms, none had a shared bathroom. I didn't hear of anyone on the tour having to share with another room. The hotels were all good to very good, though I was somewhat unhappy with the rooms I was given at the first 3 hotels.

Posted by
544 posts

I've only done fully guided tours and really like them because of the educational aspect/storytelling that you get from your guide and going to things that I wouldn't normally do on my own. Planned activities are only half the day and sometimes less. Group meals usually have one or two entree options and you learn about local specialties and things like that. It sounds like there might be a possibility of a shared bath from other people's experiences and probably no AC, but my experience is that hotels will be clean, have wifi and a friendly local feel (except maybe in a big city stop). I've never had a shared bath on a RS tour, but I have in hotels on my own. Usually there's a sink in the room if there's a shared bath and I've never seen locker room group showers or anything like that.

Posted by
8 posts

I'd love to hear from anyone who's taken this tour, how did the pace feel? I'm concerned that you're only getting one full day at each location and it might feel rushed?

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you Swan, Pndidy & Debbie! This is exactly the help we were looking for! Pndidy, we stayed in Wengen 2 yrs ago & had lunch & a beer on the patio at Hotel Stechelberg after a hike & visit to the Trummelbach Falls -- loved watching the hang gliders! We did that trip in mid-July, & heat was not an issue (maybe because we're from AZ!) When booking hotels on our own & using Rick Steve's guide as a reference, we mostly book his higher end recommendation & have found them perfect for us -- not high end as in "stuffy", but cozy, spacious, clean rooms with great beds & baths, (sometimes special touches as in Dingle, Ireland), great locations, & warm, accommodating staff. We've never been disappointed, & have occasionally found his highest end recommendation to be less $$ than his mid-range recommendation. In looking at the web sites of the hotels you listed, we'd be fine, except for the bathroom issue -- let's just say it's more than a convenience, & we appreciate your not being critical about this. We spoke to a gal at Rick Steve's but she was not able to give us the assurance we were hoping for. Hmmm - this looks like a great trip -- what to do?

Thank you again everyone, for your very helpful & honest information!

Posted by
518 posts

I was also considering the My Way Alpine tour for next spring as well, particularly for Halstatt and Lauterbrunen, but mostly because all lodging/transport/logistics will be taken care of and I can focus on activities. If we do go, it'll likely be in May. Do any of you have experience with the weather in that part of Europe around May time frame?

Posted by
16832 posts

The My Way Alpine tour does not stay at Hotel Stechelberg nor any other hotel where tour members have shared baths. Very few tours have that warning stated in the "activity level" for the specific itinerary - such as 21-day Best of Europe, which typically does stay at Hotel Stechelberg, and the Scandinavia tour which stays at a hotel with some shared baths in Aero.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you for the response Laura - looks like we're good to go!!! (-:

Posted by
845 posts

I'd love to hear from anyone who's taken this tour, how did the pace feel? I'm concerned that you're only getting one full day at each location and it might feel rushed?

When I signed up for this tour, I had already been to 3 of the locations. Since it was unguided, I figured I'd better plan how to spend my time, so I drew up lists of things to do in each location. That was WAY too ambitious. After a few days, I settled in and just went with what came or felt right at the time. Then, the trip became truly relaxing. The pace of the trip is fast, but so it is for most tours. The area covered here is less than that in many tours, including the original MyWay GAS, i.e., bus time is shorter. I always look at time on the bus.

The only place I felt really rushed was Hallstatt. I would have appreciated more time to get out and explore the surrounding areas. But, I would probably not have gotten to Hallstatt without this tour, so now I know I want to go back.

In retrospect, it was interesting how the trip unfolded for me: rush around Salzburg; envy relaxed Austrian vacationers in Hallstatt; needing some down time in Bolzano; kicking back and relaxing from there on in. I even got over my fear of funiculars and heights. By Chamonix, I was actually filming out the open funicular window descending from Aiguille du Midi. Geez, back in Bolzano I was terrified of the tiniest little climb. Once I left my agenda behind, I found lots of leisurely, relaxing, and fun experiences. The Greek restaurant in Füssen provided an unexpectedly fairy-tale quality to the evening (it's in a fortified building with ramparts and such); then there was the relaxed lunch of boar burgers by the lake at Schwangau; a few hours kicking back at the hostel in Gimmelwald, and finally, catching some sun and sipping wine while watching river rafters from the lawn of our hotel in Chamonix. What a great trip - too fast for sure, but I will return. I highly recommend it.

Posted by
265 posts

The My Way Alpine tour is basicly a great tour for those who like to hike in the mountains. Other than in Salzburg and the Castles near Fussen hiking was the main / only event for most of the people who were with my tour. Salzburg was the bigest town with sights to see. After that most of the other stops were for the scenic views and to hike the mountain trails.
The transportation and lodging are taken care of. As described they are family run centrally located...sometimes creaky...but all charming and fine accomodations. (No shared facilities) I don't think any were air condtioned but you are fairly high up in the mountains. We had some rain and clouds in late May early June. We had no need for AC. Just opened the windows. The RS escort provided helpful suggestions and information about each stop so we could hit the ground running.

Posted by
644 posts

Hotels from July 2014 My Way Tour

Salzburg: Hotel Hofwirt
Halstatt: Seehotel Grüner Baum
Bolzano: Hotel Feichter
Fussen: Altstadthotel Zum Hechten
Lauterbrunnen: Hotel Scheutzen
Chamonix: Hotel de L'Aarve

All fine hotels. Not fancy, but perfectly fine. No shared bathrooms.

Posted by
18 posts

Thank you for all your help & information everyone! Eric, we know there will probably be some changes in the hotels, but we really appreciate your list!!! The ones you stayed in all look ok, & as long as we don't have to share a bathroom, we're good (-: We love the Alps, & love to hike -- throw in a charming town or two, & it couldn't get any better! We're signed up & getting so excited, but we have another question (& probably more), that we're going to post under Switzerland, so I hope all of you Switzerland experts will take a look over there in the next day or so to see if you're able to give us some more good advice!

Thanks again!!!

Bob & Judy