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Balmer's Herberge

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Hostelz.com's Review
All told, Balmer's Herberge is probably not a bad place to stay for location and access to things as you are right near the action centre of Switzerland. However we were a little disappointed with how noisy it is and how much room they allocate for communal spaces when the bedrooms and bathrooms are so uncomfortably tiny.

The Location

The hostel is located on the main road through Grindewald, so you won't miss it, particularly with it's colourful and traditional design. In fact it was this that first drew us to the hostel when initially we had thought to stay elsewhere. It is friendly; the staff are helpful; and the bottom level with its tourist information, internet, book exchanges, and comfortable lounges promises much. You are also very close to other facilities in town -- trains, buses, shopping centres, and food and restaurant options.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There is a slightly inconvenient lockout of the rooms for a few hours a day, but the worst thing about the rooms is probably the number of people pushed into them and the lack of space provided. There are rooms with six, eight, or ten beds. There is nowhere to keep your things inside the room. There are lockers outside somewhere that are completely inconvenient to access, plus all the girls in our room have their washing strung up all over the place.

Our room is right by the shower and because it has an incredibly high speed water release that literally knocks you off your feet, it also makes a lot of noise. People are heading off for hiking at all times of the morning, really early, so we were awake from about 5 a.m. with the shower going on and off. Every time someone goes in or out of a door, it beeps with the security code, plus the doors are really kind of heavy to close. The walls are also very thin so you can hear noise from just about everyone else anyway. Suffice to say this is not a place you will sleep well.

The bathrooms are adequate in number but the shower gives you no room to change and they have this awful sort of steel cage to stand on that collects water and gets sopping wet.

Common Spaces

The common spaces are really quite good, which is kind of a sad thing. You feel like if they cut back on these and gave more space to the rooms you would have a more comfortable overnight sleep. There is a kitchen and dining room in one section, apart from the rooms. It is probably one of the worst kitchens we've seen in Switzerland and there are not adequate places to wash and dry up. The tea towels are filthy, so people would not bother to tidy up. And some of the stove tops don't work or take a long time, so we were all lining up to use one or two elements, which means some people waited a long time for their meal.

There is a TV/lounge area near the kitchen that is quite popular and in the morning you have your breakfast near here. This is probably one of the worst breakfasts we've had, too -- the staff do not seem too interested in it either. There are also communal spaces below the dorm rooms, which are largely unused. Most are enormous rooms with just one or two places to sit, and seem a waste of space. There are also large game rooms that aren't well used either.

Summary

We are quite surprised it is one of Europe's top ten hostels and that it is located in Switzerland -- a place you expect things to be really perfect and very clean. Plus they have been operating since 1907 so you wonder if they have become a little too assured of their success and have let standards slip. They could easily improve a few things and it would be a much better place to stay.

by Jo
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
December 2010

Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
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Location/Contact
How is Balmer's Herberge rated on other websites?
 OverallCleanlinessStaffLocationAtmosphereSecurity
Hostelworld  
81%
79%
88%
79%
85%
81%
Hostels.com  
82%
83%
89%
80%
86%
81%
HostelBookers  
86%
84%
89%
86%
89%
84%
HostelsClub  
96%
90%
100%
90%
100%
Average  
86%
84%
92%
84%
90%
82%
Hostelz.com Guest Reviews
5   Great time Couldn't ask for much more. Hot showers, simple breakfast or could order a hot breakfast, club in the basement for partying late night with other locals and fellow hostelites, sold post cards and stamps with a mailbox in the office, and told where to go for all the high adventure type stuff (expensive, but worth it).  , age 25, USA ()
1   THIS PLACE SUCKS The rooms are small with many bunks crammed into them, bathrooms and showers are in the hallways. To work the shower, you need to hold the button down or else it will turn off on you -- just like the hallways lights, so be prepared to shower in the dark. Bar was okay, but closed the first night we got there. There are many hostels on the same street or nearby so you have MANY other better options ... everything is walking distance in Interlaken so don't sell yourself short by staying here -- find a nicer hostel and just visit their bar if you really want to see what it's like.  , USA ()
5   Fun and friendly! I loved this place so much I extended my stay! Easy to meet people, fun bar, and free use of a kitchen (essential for any backpacker in pricey Switzerland). The companies used for the activities were really great and professional. The rooms are old, but clean, and you really don't end up staying in them much since there are always so many more exciting things to do. Definitely had a great time and would stay here again!  , USA ()
5   So much fun, and a great value! If you love having a good time, come here! My favorite hostel in Europe. I had an amazing stay at Balmer's and would tell anyone who has a social life and loves the outdoors to come here. The staff is really helpful and friendly, always full of suggestions for you stay. And the extreme sport heaven is unreal! The alps are right there! The bar is a fun time too. I personally thought the local adventure sport guys were really fun, had no problems with them at all! The dorms are fine, linens provided. The bathrooms vary from building to building (there are two or three different areas I think). My side had no problems and was very clean. Definitely the place to stay in Interlaken!  , USA ()
1   Crap You are kicked out of your bed at 10:30 a.m. and not allowed back in until 4 p.m. they say for cleaning but i didnt see any cleaning taking place. Our beds at bed bugs so we were forced to share the tiniest single bed you have ever seen. The bar is ok. the guys who run the adventure sports are pricks and run wild in there every night. We were harassed, followed had bottles thrown as us, and security stood by and happily watched it happen as long as we kept our voices down. It was just gross the way we were treated and we met some guys who were also harassed by the same guys.  , Australia ()
5   The Best. Of all the hostels I've stayed at through the years, this one is my favorite -- hands down. Balmer's has become my benchmark for any new hostel I visit. Balmer's has it all. I would live there if I could.  , USA ()
5   One of my Favorite Hostels When we were there in July, the entire hostel was booked so we ended up staying in the Tent Village outside of town. The canyoning and other tours they book are amazing, they picked us up, dropped us off, and were super helpful! The staff totally hooked us up with a bed that night and were friendly, and even came and hung out with us at the bar that night. And check out the little bar, it's wicked fun! Had a great atmosphere there, met lots of people from all over the world. The tents were unheated and had no light, but they were tents!  , Canada ()
1   Worst of fifteen hostels I have ever stayed in... We stayed down the road at another hostel seven times and one time we made our reservations too late. So, we stayed here. I don't know where to begin, it sucked so bad. Paper thin walls. Paper thin mattresses -- worst beds ever. Scratchiest sheets ever. Breakfast sucked. Powdered coffee and one slice of bread? Prisons feed their prisoners better. Suckiest hostel that ever did suck.  , American living in Europe ()
Balmer's Herberge Reviews from the Web

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