Vacation rentals in Switzerland (chalets, farms, apartments)
Review 966: Sicking Immobilien, Apartment Hitismatte
2bed/2bath chalet apartment in Saanen, Berner Oberland
September 2003, 2 weeks
I was using the Gstaad Tourist Office website to find a vacation rental, but their database stopped working when I had made my short list, but still needed to do more searching. I reported it to them, but they said it was working fine. It wasn't. It did not go back online for another two months.
Earlier the Tourist Office had faxed me a list of local agencies. I had not been successful emailing some of the tourist office listings (either did not receive answers to my inquiries or could not get the person to tell me if the apartment had a phone we could use - a requirement of ours), so I decided to work with an agency.
I booked Apartment Hitismatte through a local Gstaad agency, Sicking Immobilien. They had lots of photos and it looked nice - with a good kitchen, wood floors, an outside sitting area and a telephone that we could use to connect to the internet. It is a 2bed/2bath ground level apartment, larger than we needed, but the price was good (750 CHF per week, about $600).
The apartment is in a modern chalet with six apartments in a complex of a few chalets just outside of Saanen (5 minute walk to train station) in an area of farms and residential houses. The complex is beside a small sawmill/lumber yard, but the apartment is not near it and we did not hear noise from the sawmill. (I was concerned that we were close to a noisy sawmill, but as we traveled around this area I realized that lumber must be one of the main businesses here because there are small sawmills everywhere.)
The master bedroom is the typical (in Switzerland) two single beds joined together (with a gap between them). The bathroom off the master bedroom had two sinks and a tub/shower (good deep tub, plenty of hot water). The bedroom had a large wardrobe and shelves for your clothes.
The second bedroom is two sets of bunk beds across the hall from a bathroom with shower. So, the setup would be good for a couple or a couple with children, but not for two couples.
Large living room / dining room / kitchen area, all with wood floors (low carpet in bedrooms, tile in bathroom). Large entrance way with places for coats and hiking gear, bench to sit on.
Outdoor patio with a few chairs. French doors from living room to patio, windows on two sides of living area (very bright) and on two sides of master bedroom (very bright). Views to fields with chalets and mountains beyond (not spectacular views, but very nice views). Bright and sunny and very spacious feeling. A few cats live in the area and drop by to visit.
The aparment was good quality and comfortable furnishings. Two large comfy couches, cable TV with CNN, BBC, NBC (and Italian, German, Swiss, and French channels). Bathrooms in good shape, but a touch "70's-ish" in style. Great European style bathtub (long, narrow, deep). Excellent kitchen (dishwasher, oven, electric stovetop, coffee maker, electric kettle, microwave, medium size fridge, good pots and pans, lots of plates and utensils).
There is a shared laundry room in the basement of the building. I used it several times and never ran into anyone else using it. It has a washer and a dryer and it is free (no coins needed!). There are lines down there to hang things on.
There is parking in an underground garage. You get a garage door opener and an assigned spot. From the garage you go into the apartment basement and up on set of stairs to the apartment, so the car is very close to the apartment. The agency put my name on our apartment buzzer (by the front door) and on the mailbox - just for a two week stay!
Check in was easy. We arranged to meet Yvonne from the agency at the train station in Saanen and then followed her to the apartment. We could call their office with any questions. Check out was easy too - we arranged a time and Yvonne met us at the apartment and did a quick walkthru.
I recommend this apartment and would stay here again. The only improvement would be a double bed instead of the two singles. And if you were higher up instead of ground level, you would have a better view. But the quality of the furnishings and kitchen makes up for this. Also the price is good - 750 CHF per week ($550 in 2003). They said they wanted an 800 CHF deposit, but they did not ask for it when we arrived. Payment was half by wire transfer at time of booking, half in cash on arrival (you don't have to pay on the day you arrive - you can go to their office to pay later in the week).
This is my favorite kind of vacation rental - it is the second home for the owners so it is well equipped, but you don't feel like you are moving into someone's house with no room for your things. It is well setup.
When you stay in Switzerland, at a hotel or a vacation rental, you pay a daily "tourist tax". Usually you pay the landlord and they pay the tourist office, but this time Yvonne who checked us in said we should go and pay at the tourist office (which seems to make a lot of sense). So we went and declared ourselves and paid 2.80 CHF each per day (14 days, 2 people = 86.80 CHF).
We spoke to the agency about their listings and I would use them again if booking in this area. They have a number of listings throught Saanenland.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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