Vouchers Look Better
With the sudden drop in the dollar, package deals at guaranteed dollar rates established before the dollar's recent decline, represent better value than usual. If you are heading for Switzerland this summer, you might consider some of the programs outlined in the Look No Further. Switzerland. Vacation Planner published jointly by Swissair and the Swiss National Tourist Office.
One program is the Swiss Travel Invention which offers vouchers for more than 200 hotels in six price categories from $47 to $168 per person double occupancy. Appenzell's Hotel Hecht, for example, is in the second least expensive category at $70 per person, $140 double. Gemütlichkeit rates this hotel above average with a very good kitchen. The 1995 Swiss Hotel Guide lists double rooms at the Hecht ranging from 170 to 200 Sfr., or, at current exchange rates - $1 = 1.16 Sfr. - $154 to $172.
Another of the brochure's voucher programs is for Switzerland's MinOtel chain. The basic voucher is $53 per person. The "countryside" voucher is $76 per person and includes a three or four-course dinner. (Note: some MinOtels charge a "price adjustment" of from $5 to $22 payable at the hotel in local currency.)
The MinOtel program is also available in Switzerland and other European countries through DER Tours. Also sold by DER are Euro-Guest Cheque vouchers for use at some 800 Best-Western Hotels throughout Europe. Contact your travel agent.
The main attraction of most hotel voucher programs is not that they offer a bargain, but that they enable the traveler to fix hotel costs in dollars in advance. So be cautious. Get a rate quote from two or three hotels to compare against the cost of the vouchers for the same hotels. And, if the dollar bounces back, any financial advantage the vouchers may have enjoyed will be lost.
Phone 800-662-0021 ext. 30 for a free copy of the brochure.
The Munich Tourist Office publishes a guide to the city's many hotels and pensions. The 1995 edition contains a list of 90-plus pensions offering room - most with private bath - and breakfast, some as cheap as 69 DM ($49) double. Most are priced in the 100 to 140 DM ($71-$100) range. Write or fax D-80313 München, Germany, phone 089/239 12 56, fax 089/239 13 13.
This year KD River Cruises of Europe offers 34 cruise itineraries with a total of more than 500 departures, April through October. There are 10 new offerings this year, including a trip on the Volga river in Russia. New Danube cruises of three and four nights duration sail between Passau (Germany) and Vienna at fares of from $600 to $920. KD will continue its Nürnberg-Budapest cruises which include the Main-Danube canal. A "floating wine seminar" on the Mosel and Rhine rivers is scheduled for October 17-24, at the height of the autumn grape harvest. The program includes lectures, tastings and tours of eight cellars and vineyards. For a brochure describing KDs 1995 programs, phone 800-346-6525 in the eastern U.S. or 800-858-8587 in the west.
Ludwig II Festivities
This year Bavaria celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig II, the "fairy-tale" king. Information about the activities surrounding this event are available from Fremdenverkehrsverband München-Oberbayern, Postfach 200753, D-80007 München, phone 089 597347, fax 089/593187. Information about hotels offering special arrangements is available through Discover Bavaria Incoming, Hanielsstrasse 5, D-83471 Berchtesgaden, phone 08652/64971.
For example, the Prien Cure Administration (D-83209 Prien am Chiemsee, phone 08051/69050, fax 08051/690540) has a "King Ludwig Special" in which guests pay from 222 DM ($157) for six nights/breakfast, boat ride, castle tour, entry to the Heimatmuseum and King Ludwig sticker.
Weekend Train Special: Just at press time Gemütlichkeit learned of a special German weekend rail pass. It costs only 15 DM ($10.60) and offers unlimited weekend travel on local German trains, not including the fast intercity trains. It is our understanding there are no age restrictions. The passes are available only in Germany. (A caveat: we learned of this program too late to confirm complete details.)