Hotel Near Geneva Airport

May we suggest for an overnight stay near the Geneva Airport the Hotel-Restaurant du Port in Yvoire (74140 Douvaine [France], tel 50 72 80 17, fax 50 72 90 71). This small hotel has been a favorite place for us to recover from jet-lag since 1988. Unfortunately, since our first stay there they have refurbished and added, in our opinion, such unnecessaries as TVs and minibars with an appropriate raising of rates, of course!

We preferred the hotel when it was a simpler place but a recent visit assured us that it is still one of our favorites. Our room was small but pretty, with a lovely view of Lac Léman and the owners/staff gracious as ever.

If you have never visited the charming village of Yvoire you are missing a real treat, and this only a 40-minutes but light years away from Geneva!

We have recently returned from six weeks of driving the backroads of Northern Italy and Austria with a detour to see Ludwig's castles on the way back through the Appenzell and to Zürich airport. We had a delightful time and were charmed (as you were) by Pension Heim.

At your urging we recently spent three nights in room Number 20 at the Heim in Seeg (near Füssen in Germany, tel 08364/258) and found it to be exactly as you described it. Thank you!

We were much less enchanted by the Hotel Hecht in Appenzell (Switzerland, tel 071/87 47 80, fax 071/87 10 47) which we thought rather ordinary but adequate for a one-night stay. The desk clerk who booked us had a surly attitude, "if you're afraid of heights, don't look out the window!" this for $100 per night. Anyway, it was clean and we like the sound of church bells all night.

Lee & Caroline Jordan

San Rafael CA

Redemption

We were about to lose all faith in your concept of Gemütlichkeit when we, on your advice, booked into the Des Vignes in Sion (Switzerland, tel 027/31 16 71, fax 027/31 37 27) for three days. The accoutrements were superior, but the severe, cold modern exterior was not what we expected. We left after two nights and went to the Waldhotel Doldenhorn (Kandersteg, Switzerland, tel 033/75 18 18, fax 033/75 18 28), reviewed in the same issue. You redeemed yourself here. Although it doesn't have the view of the valley of the Hotel Bellevue (tel 033/75 12 12, fax, 033/75 13 33), it has Gemütlichkeit which I thought was what your newsletter was about.

Elizabeth Little

Mill Valley CA

(Ed. note: We agree with Ms. Little, the Doldenhorn is the more gemütlich of the two hotels but we'll stick with our recommendation of Des Vignes. Not every hotel we review is cozy and kitschy, a type not so prevalent in French-speaking Switzerland'(Doldenhorn is in the German-speaking part). Readers should also know that the high-season rate for a double room at the Royal Hotel Bellevue is 290 Sfr. to 600 Sfr. [$193-$400] vs. 180 Sfr. to 230 Sfr. [$120-$153] at the Doldenhorn.

Lived in Switzerland

Gemütlichkeit helped me while living in Switzerland for a year. I started reading it almost a year before we went, and it helped planning my sabbatical and trips throughout Europe. We lived in Lausanne where our children attended schools. It was a wonderful family experience.

Most of all, we enjoyed one of your recommendations L'Auberge De Chernex (tel 021/964 41 91, fax 021/964 6857) above Montreux. Your description is very accurate, and we enjoyed a lovely meal in this charming and very friendly inn. Christine Demen, our lovely hostess, welcomes everyone with the friendliness of a good neighbor. We enjoyed it immensely.

Many of your recommendations are truly classic Swiss hotels. The Romantik Hotel Santis (tel 071/ 87 87 22, fax 071/87 48 42), in Appenzell, and the Hostellerie Bon Accueil (tel 029/463 20, fax 029/451 26), Chateau-d'Oex, are so different, yet so appropriate for their respective locations in Switzerland.

Robert R. Sfire

Grosse Pointe Farms MI

Dreamer

I don't know why I am doing this, renewing my subscription and even subscribing to First Cabin. During all the years of subscribing to your newsletter I had only once the time to go to Europe, and that was just a few weeks ago. I guess I like just to dream about all the places I want to go to someday if I only just had the time.

Here are a few impressions of my experiences.

• Lauda Air: The absolute best. Cabin attendants were very friendly and helpful. Food was quite good considering it was airline food. Plenty of leg room in coach class.

• Vienna: Stayed at the Hotel de France for a week. It was o.k. but there must be better. We went with a group and the room we had was marked to cost normally 5000 AS ($420) a day, way too much. The best place we found to eat was Landsman. The food was good and so was the service. In our desperation and liking Mexican food we even went to a Mexican restaurant. Big mistake. The absolute worst food ever.

Schloss Fuschl This was the nicest place we stayed. The location is absolutely beautiful and the grounds were well kept. The food, service and decor in the restaurant were perfect. This, in combination with the view from the restaurant overlooking the lake, made it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Dinner for two with two glasses of wine and one calvados cost 1659 AS ($144).

• Berchtesgaden: Stayed at the Hotel Geiger and decided to remain an extra night. The location with its view is really outstanding. The restaurant is also good.

Romantikhotel Lindner in Bad Aibling: My wife and I were not quite as impressed as you were. We stayed at the new annex in room Number 28. The furniture was like post-World War II and had no charm. Not what we expected from a Romantikhotel. The restaurant, however, was very nice and rustic also the food was very good. The service was something else, I had to wait 55 minutes for my dessert. I would go back for the food but for a room I don't know. By the way we had plenty of room to park, this was no problem as one of your readers had mentioned.

After many years not having been in Europe I found driving much easier now. Drivers seem to be more disciplined and courteous while the situation here in Southern California seems to get worse.

Heinz Schneider

Palos Verdes Estates CA

(Ed. Note: Michelin Main Cities Red Guide lists the highest price for a double room at the Hotel de France as 3700 AS [$314]).

Avoid Füssen in Summer

We have just returned from a week in Germany (via Zürich on Swissair, excellent arrangement, and thanks to Gemütlichkeit the best buy for travel).

Worth passing on: avoid Füssen in July-August. Traffic and crowds (lines everywhere) make seeing Neuschwanstein a real bore. Very worthwhile: Rothenburg ob der Tauber; Ulm; Scwetzingen (near Heidelberg); the Drachenburg Hotel in Gottlieben (CH-8274 near Konstanz, tel 072/69 14 14, fax 072/69 17 09); Zum Wolfbrunnen Restaurant (in Schlierbach near Heidelberg, tel 06221/80 37 58); and the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim. In Freiburg im Breisgau the Colombi Hotel (tel 0761/210 60, fax 0761/314 10) is not to be missed.

Would like to see a feature on road signs in Germany, both their version of the international symbols as well as the signs in German with American equivalent. (I soon learned Nur Fussganger in Heidelberg.)

John D. Mears

Newbury MA

Report from a Regular

We have had two visits to Germany since my last report. Mr. Geiger and his son at the Hotel Geiger in Berchtesgaden (tel 08652/50 55/96 53, fax 08652/5058/965400) are gratified by Gemütlichkeit's high rating. This June we had an unusually fine stay (our 17th) in Room 305 on a newly-constructed third floor in the "new" wing. The view of the Alps is superb because of the slightly higher vantage point. The staff is still very cordial and nicely dressed in local garb. For my money, this is my favorite place to go hide in the entire world and I only hope that you don't send so many people there that the place will become so full that my wife and I cannot escape from reality. I doubt Mr. Geiger will share my concerns in this regard, however.

I recommend a place about 90 minutes from Frankfurt Airport along the Main River. It is in a small town near the Odenwald called Der Schafhof (in Amorbach, tel 09373/80 88). This is an old monastery converted into a sheep farm and now converted into a nice small inn, but with a few sheep remaining on the farm. The rooms are a bit pricey (DM 350/$206) for a nice, big room, but this includes a good breakfast in a cheerful, quiet setting.

Last fall we returned again to Le Rosalp (tel 026/31 63 23, fax 026/ 31 10 59) in Verbier, Switzerland. The room was outstanding and not too expensive considering the neighborhood (Sfr. 275/$183 including breakfast, but not inside parking.).

We discovered two new things about Munich and there is one "old" fact which I think may be useful. We were customers for years of Der Königshof am Karlsplatz, but have been disappointed by the continued escalation of prices, the proliferation of "extra" charges, e.g. breakfast, morning paper and other items. We have switched to the Vier Jahreszeiten on the Maximilianstrasse; this is not as conveniently located, but is really all right. The prices are subject to reduction through the Six Continents Club of Inter-Continental Hotels; this group can be joined at an annual fee of $25 and there are all sorts of perquisites derived from this in the form of room upgrades, free breakfasts, late checkouts and extra attention of all sorts.

The other "new" information is that near the Vier Jahreszeiten is a fine restaurant, but a bit on the touristy side. It is next to the Hofbräuhaus and called Der Haxnbauer. They have wonderful rotisseried Bavarian meats such as Schweinshaxen and Kalbshaxen. They have either fixed-priced meals or charge by the gram for meats.

For quaffing, the "old" news is to recommend the Mätthser Bierstadt on the Stachus (Karlsplatz). It is friendlier than the Hofbräuhaus and the music more upbeat. The cost for a liter of fresh beer is the same, but the ambiance is superior.

The only negative of this report relates to the Hotel Bareiss in Mitteltal in the Schwarzwald. This was formerly called Kurhotel Mitteltal and I recommended it. The service in the dining room has consistently gone down the tubes and there is generally a bad attitude conveyed. We have visited this site five different times and my wife has previously enjoyed it a great deal, but she concurs in the present assessment. Keep up the good work.

Victor P. Obninsky

Tiburon CA

(U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue of Gemütlichkeit may be inaccurate for these reasons:

* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...

* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.

August 1993