I stayed at Balmer’s Hostel in a dorm of 8 beds for 3 nights in September 2011. Here’s my breakdown:
The staff: mainly consisting of young Australians living in the area for a few months. Their English is excellent and although they did not know the area very well, they did their best to help (for example, when I needed to see an orthodontist for a dental emergency, they made the appointment for me).
Common Area: The place is nice and looks “swiss”. The beer garden in the back is nice and the food is good (note that the food offered is more American than Swiss). Everything is quite expensive in Switzerland in general and this hostel’s food is not cheap but when you compare with everywhere around town, their price is reasonable. There is a kitchen where you can cook food, tables to eat, many different lounging areas, a TV, a relaxation room (hammocks), a ping pong table, a baby-foot table, giant checkers game, etc. There is also an indoor cafeteria where you can have breakfast. There is also a nightclub opened all week with cheap “Happy Hours” where all the drinks are 2 for 1. Locals, Solders (swiss Army) and tourists from other hostels come to this bar… it’s nice to not have to step off the property to go out dancing.
Bedroom: I had a room of 8 beds and stayed there 3 nights. It was by far, one of the worst rooms I’ve seen in my 6-week long Eurotrip. The “mattress” was just a thin layer of foam, so I felt like I was sleeping on plywood. Also, there wasn’t any where to put our bags so it was really hard to get around the room while 8 people’s things are all piled up in the middle of room. For some reason, I was put in a room where I had to go thru the men’s washroom in order to access my room (and I am a girl). Very odd. The bunk beds did not have a ladder and even though I am 5’10 and in great shape, I had a hard time getting up/going down at times. From where my room was, I could definitely hear the music from the bar at night but it wasn’t loud to the point of keeping me up. It was mostly just a background noise. They have a “lock out” of the rooms from 10AM to 3PM. Even though I was always gone before 10 and never back before 3pm while in Interlaken, it could be a problem for some people. The lockers are located outside, near the kitchen and there aren’t very many. Even though they are hard to access, I was pleased that they had them at all. My room also did not have AC. The nights were cool (september) but during the day, the rooms became quite warm.
- Location of the hostel is good. You can walk to both train Stations (Interlaken East and West) or take a bus from both stations. The hostel also gave me a “free bus pass” for my time there. Everything is close enough to walk to, but with luggage, it’s nice to have that option – for free.
- Breakfast was included. The choices were very poor (two toasts with orange juice or oatmeal with an apple) but I appreciated having something for “free” in this “very expensive country”. You could also get bacon, eggs, BLT’s at a reasonable price (again, that’s according to Switzerland’s standards).
- Wi-Fi internet was also included but it was very poor. Most of the time, I had to walk all the way to the main office (in another building) to be able to log-on and if I ventured too far, I would lose my connection. I had internet connection in my room ONE night. (Not sure why and how but it was appreciated!).
- Although my bedroom, bed and mattress were horrible, I’ve been in other people’s rooms while I was there and they had bunk beds with ladder, mattresses with real comfy mattresses and nice duvet covers. I just don’t know what the ratio of “terrible rooms vs decent rooms” is.
Overall, when I go back to Interlaken (And I will, I loved it), I will probably try to find somewhere else to stay simply because I had a very bad room... BUT if I ever come back, I would make sure to get a decent room. Had I had one of the nicer room I saw, I would have loved this place. I'd recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Balmer's Hostel. We are the first established private hostel in Switzerland, providing a comfortable and friendly location from which to explore the adventure capital of Europe. The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau (Swiss Alps) at our doorstep and two big glacier fed lakes are just a stones throw away. We have dormitories, private rooms, apartments and tents. Rated Top 10 hostels of Europe, a product of over 60 years of experience.We are the heart of all hostels. We strive to bring fun and memorable experiences to our guests so come push your boundaries and party in our Club with us! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Balmer`s Herberge Hotel Matten
- Balmer's Hostel Matten Bei Interlaken, Interlaken