Old Swiss Hotel - on the Furka Pass

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Old Swiss Hotel - on the Furka Pass

Post by Guest » Thu 14 Aug, 2008 13:45

Many travellers in central Switzerland must have seen the Belvédère, every time they flashed past it, enjoying the magnificent road which is the Furka Pass. Positioned close to the summit of the Furka – the best road in Switzerland – the Belvédère enjoys a unique location, its rooms looking down onto the village of Gletsch far below.

The hotel was built in 1857 to accommodate the intrepid alpinistes of the period, these generally being upper-class Britons who demanded the best. It still shows its roots, but those accustomed to modern hotels should be ready for a culture shock!

The rooms are – well – old-fashioned, and as the hotel was built for summer use only (it is snowed in during the winter) it lacks comforts such as central heating. Some of the rooms boast nothing better than a handbasin, the showers and toilets being along the corridor, but most rooms offer en suite facilities and some have a balcony overlooking the Rhône Valley far below.

While the dark oak-lined guests’ lounge and the ladies’ withdrawing room may lack comfort, they seem filled with the ghosts of Victorian climbers, and add to the overall experience.

Apart from the old-world charm inherent in the Belvédère, it is sited on one of the many hairpin bends of the Furka Pass, opposite the Rhône Glacier. A 100-metre long tunnel is cut through the living ice every year to the Eisgrotte, involving the removal of 350,000 kg of ice.

Parking for guests is off the road adjacent to the hotel, and is completely safe – no vandal or joy-rider would drag themselves up the Furka Pass, and after all, this is Switzerland.

The restaurant offers a wide range of traditional meals at reasonable rates, not to mention a wonderful view. Two people on half-board, in a double room (at 2006 prices) with bathroom and balcony, costs £102, payable only in Swiss Francs.

This is, of course, expensive by European standards, but there are few other hotels at an altitude of 2,300 metres. This factor also means that the hotel is snow-bound for over six months, only opening between mid-June and mid-October.

To be absolutely honest, the Belvédère does not represent great value, but it does provide an experience which cannot be found elsewhere, although it should only be used by those with a good sense of humour!

It is, however, a good place to stop for morning coffee or lunch.
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(a) Hotel Belvedere & Rhone Glacier s.jpg
(a) Hotel Belvedere & Rhone Glacier s.jpg (221.71 KiB) Viewed 1651 times

greg_ch
Joined: Tue 30 Mar, 2004 14:38
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Post by greg_ch » Thu 14 Aug, 2008 17:41

If people are planning a group trip I would advise against the Belvédère. Fine for one or two cars but any more and the owners can be rather inflexible.

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Belvedere

Post by Guest » Sun 17 Aug, 2008 13:07

I'd advise against it anyway, except for those who could handle the lack of mod cons!

For a group (or any) tour the Hotel Astoria at Ulrichen is far better.

z head
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Post by z head » Mon 18 Aug, 2008 13:08

Drove past it last week on my way from Brescia (Italy) to Lausanne. Drove Gotthard and Furka Passes, fantastic weather and really good fun, very busy on a Sunday though, although most traffic went through the tunnel.

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MarkN
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Post by MarkN » Sun 31 Aug, 2008 10:54

Here are a couple of pictures that I took last year.

This is looking up at the Furka Pass
Image

and this is looking down from the Furka Pass, the Grimsel Pass is over on the right.
Image

garyw
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Post by garyw » Sun 31 Aug, 2008 22:17

Image

Stopped for lunch a couple of weeks ago, for the second time it was very poor service during lunch.
I certainly wouldn't park my car there overnight !!

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