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Arrival in Switzerland before hotel check-in time


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JeremySimons
JeremySimons
9 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2021 - 2:52 PM

I'm sure this has been asked a million times, but I am not sure what the common practice is.

Flights from the USA to Zurich seem to typically arrive in the morning hours, but hotels don't accept guests until mid afternoon. This seems to be the usual pattern in US-Europe flights. In previous trips it has meant miserable tours of cities while being tired from the trip.

My upcoming trip to Switzerland, with four adults and three children, arrives in Zurich at 8:30 a.m. Rather than wander around Zurich we are taking the train to Lauterbrunnen, where we will stay for three days. I imagine we will arrive at about noon with an exhausted party, especially the children (ages 10, 12, 14).

What do people usually do in this common scenario? I expect that we will leave our bags at the hotel and loiter somewhere until our rooms are ready. Is that the usual practice? I have informed the hotel of the plan and they can make no promises at this point. This is fine with me, and only to be expected, but I am curious as to how others have dealt with this minor inconvenience.

Arno
Arno
14570 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2021 - 5:41 PM

Hi Jeremy,

Indeed this is a common issue. I would expect more hotels to cater to guests who arrive early, but that's not the case. Some do offer early arrivals or late departures - for a fee. But it's not standard practice yet. The Radisson at Zurich airport offers "daytime hybrid rooms", for example. Geared to business people who need a work place, but in any case a private room to spend some time. Here's their website: https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-blu-zurich-airport.

Another option is to store your luggage or ship it ahead (see www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/luggage) and have a long lunch somewhere en route or at your destination. There are plenty of options near the train stations in Zurich, Bern and Interlaken.

Some people use the extra hours to tick some sightseeing off their list. Your could travel via Lucerne and the Golden Pass route, to explore Lucerne and enjoy a more scenic route to reach Lauterbrunnen:

Last modified on Aug 22, 2021 - 5:46 PM by Arno
pkerr
pkerr
202 posts
active member
Aug 23, 2021 - 5:51 PM

Had the exact same experience and I don't think there is any "right" answer. We got lucky and out hotel (in Wengen) had our room ready and let us in early.

Another alternative, all be it not necessarily the most desirable, is to book a day early so no matter when you get there your room is ready. (It was actually ready the day before you arrived)

I did that once when I knew we were getting in around 7:00 am and didn't want to "hang out" for possibly 6 or 7 hours.

And there is always the option to just power through that first day and then go to be d early.

JeremySimons
JeremySimons
9 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2021 - 6:16 PM

Thank you Arno and Pkerr. That is pretty much what I thought. I am sure the hotels are used to travelers in this situation. I expect it won't be a big deal. Just wondered if there was anything different than what I was already expecting. I am sure that it will all turn out well and we are really looking forward to our Swiss adventure!

pvonk
pvonk
275 posts
top member
Aug 23, 2021 - 9:02 PM in reply to JeremySimons

Your situation has happened to me a number of times (even outside Switzerland, like Paris). Those overnight flights from the US certainly cause some inconveniences.

"I expect that we will leave our bags at the hotel and loiter somewhere until our rooms are ready. Is that the usual practice? "

That has been the practice for me very time I've arrived early. I don't believe I ever had to pay for this "service" though. The worse occurrence was in the UK when we arrived for our room at 9 am and had to wait until 1 pm. We were all jet lagged and just waited in the lounge, half asleep. No energy to go out exploring. Fortunately, the room was ready by noon!

My experience is that the hotel would store our suitcases in a special room (and there were usually other cases already stored). So we could go out roaming about, which I/we did in most cases - except for that UK trip.

Last modified on Aug 23, 2021 - 9:07 PM by pvonk
Danielsan
Danielsan
191 posts
active member
Aug 24, 2021 - 3:59 AM in reply to JeremySimons

Hi JeremySimons,

I had a similar situation when I was going to Wengen. I arrived in Interlaken Ost from Montreux. (It was a bit later in the day,) but I decided it would be a great time to take a ride on one of the lake ferries since I had until 10 pm to check in. So I put my big bag (main suitcase) into a locker, backtracked one stop to Interlaken, and hopped on a boat on Lake Thun. I went to Spiez, had a nice and relaxing ride on the lake with a great sunset, took the train back to Interlaken Ost, picked up my big bag, and went to Lauterbrunnen, where I continued onto Wengen to check in to my hotel. I realize you have 7 people, with children, but that is an option. Not sure if you have Swiss Travel Passes, but if so, this is a great example of hopping on/hopping off with the STP. Not sure the size of your suitcases, and if they'll fit into a locker, but again, (if so) it's a possible option. Between the train ride to Interlaken Ost (where you'll ultimately have to switch trains to Lauterbrunnen) and if you are able to enjoy a ride on one of the lakes, it may be a great way to get some naps in, to help curb some of the jet-lag, and see some great scenery. I browsed through the link Arno posted, and it looks like there may be an option of sending your luggage to your destination and picking it up there. Again, I realize it may be more difficult with 7 people. I have traveled in the past where "cheap" flights cost a lot extra for bags. What we did was condense as much as we could into one big bag (we were only a party of three), and used backpacks for the rest. This meant only one check-in suitcase/bag. Assuming you are a family of 5 with two extras (perhaps grandparents/friends), maybe you can do something along those lines, to send it (the luggage) ahead, since you are landing in Zurich, which appears to be one of the stipulations of sending luggage ahead.

I hope this may help, or give you some idea's. I hope you have a great trip.

Danielsan

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