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“Could've Had Better”
Review of Balmer's Hostel

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Balmer's Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 19, 2011

I stayed here with a friend for 3 days. Upon check in, we got the 6-pax dorm and were told both of us would hv the lower bunk. when we went into the room, the lower bunks that hv our numbers on were already occupied. were really tired argue abt that so we just took the upper bunks. what's the point of having numbers on your beds if u can't enforce the discipline? the showers?? they were really small!!!

  • Stayed: July 2011
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1  Thank mrsMal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 18, 2011

I stayed at Balmer’s Hostel in a dorm of 8 beds for 3 nights in September 2011. Here’s my breakdown:

The staff: mainly consisting of young Australians living in the area for a few months. Their English is excellent and although they did not know the area very well, they did their best to help (for example, when I needed to see an orthodontist for a dental emergency, they made the appointment for me).

Common Area: The place is nice and looks “swiss”. The beer garden in the back is nice and the food is good (note that the food offered is more American than Swiss). Everything is quite expensive in Switzerland in general and this hostel’s food is not cheap but when you compare with everywhere around town, their price is reasonable. There is a kitchen where you can cook food, tables to eat, many different lounging areas, a TV, a relaxation room (hammocks), a ping pong table, a baby-foot table, giant checkers game, etc. There is also an indoor cafeteria where you can have breakfast. There is also a nightclub opened all week with cheap “Happy Hours” where all the drinks are 2 for 1. Locals, Solders (swiss Army) and tourists from other hostels come to this bar… it’s nice to not have to step off the property to go out dancing.

Bedroom: I had a room of 8 beds and stayed there 3 nights. It was by far, one of the worst rooms I’ve seen in my 6-week long Eurotrip. The “mattress” was just a thin layer of foam, so I felt like I was sleeping on plywood. Also, there wasn’t any where to put our bags so it was really hard to get around the room while 8 people’s things are all piled up in the middle of room. For some reason, I was put in a room where I had to go thru the men’s washroom in order to access my room (and I am a girl). Very odd. The bunk beds did not have a ladder and even though I am 5’10 and in great shape, I had a hard time getting up/going down at times. From where my room was, I could definitely hear the music from the bar at night but it wasn’t loud to the point of keeping me up. It was mostly just a background noise. They have a “lock out” of the rooms from 10AM to 3PM. Even though I was always gone before 10 and never back before 3pm while in Interlaken, it could be a problem for some people. The lockers are located outside, near the kitchen and there aren’t very many. Even though they are hard to access, I was pleased that they had them at all. My room also did not have AC. The nights were cool (september) but during the day, the rooms became quite warm.

Other details:
- Location of the hostel is good. You can walk to both train Stations (Interlaken East and West) or take a bus from both stations. The hostel also gave me a “free bus pass” for my time there. Everything is close enough to walk to, but with luggage, it’s nice to have that option – for free.
- Breakfast was included. The choices were very poor (two toasts with orange juice or oatmeal with an apple) but I appreciated having something for “free” in this “very expensive country”. You could also get bacon, eggs, BLT’s at a reasonable price (again, that’s according to Switzerland’s standards).
- Wi-Fi internet was also included but it was very poor. Most of the time, I had to walk all the way to the main office (in another building) to be able to log-on and if I ventured too far, I would lose my connection. I had internet connection in my room ONE night. (Not sure why and how but it was appreciated!).
- Although my bedroom, bed and mattress were horrible, I’ve been in other people’s rooms while I was there and they had bunk beds with ladder, mattresses with real comfy mattresses and nice duvet covers. I just don’t know what the ratio of “terrible rooms vs decent rooms” is.

Overall, when I go back to Interlaken (And I will, I loved it), I will probably try to find somewhere else to stay simply because I had a very bad room... BUT if I ever come back, I would make sure to get a decent room. Had I had one of the nicer room I saw, I would have loved this place. I'd recommend it.

Room Tip: get a room in the mainbuilding (above Reception).
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank Anikabella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2011

The main complex is a super place, great 'Beergarden' with good yet cheap food and beer. The rooms are nice and surprisingly quiet given the hustle and bustle inside the hostel common areas. The bathrooms though need to be cleaned more regularly.

Balmer's is truly the most happening place in town for youngsters, what with the atmosphere, games, music and food. Don't miss it, even if you don't stay here. The breakfast is a huge letdown (in terms of quality, quantity, and the utter lack of respect for people that the staff displays). Cook your own grub, or step out somewhere.

The tent style accommodation is a different story altogether. I guess we landed up there on the wrong day (we had to stay one night, as there were no rooms anywhere in Interlaken, leave alone Balmer's main complex). It was raining heavily and the place was in a mess. There was a mini-storm that night, and we couldn't sleep because of the wind noise and the constant flapping of the tent. Don't take it, unless you are staying long and want to save the money. Also remember that you have to walk 15 minutes to have breakfast (at the Balmer's Herberge) as it is not available at the tents, or even when you have to take / return keys when checking in/out. Stay at the main Balmer's, avoid this place unless you are truly backpacking on a very tight budget.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sd1310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2011

The place was cosy. Good facilities--games room, fast wifi, free breakfast, free bus card. Price was good (We got swiss card and got 1/2 price on the 3rd day). We could see the Alps from our skylight (private double room). Staff was generally informative. There is also live weather for Jungfrau. Quick to act on noisy guests.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Yingzangel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2011

Myself and my boyfriend visited Interlaken during our interrailing tour and loved the look of Balmer's from their website! It looked really lovely, and young and helpful.

We arrived and it looked fab. The girl on the desk was a little short with us, but we went straight up to our room and slept! The room was a private double, and was pretty cosy and nice and clean for a hostel. On our last night, we had to move rooms to a room across the hall, which was a twin room. This seemed pretty unnecessary as no one was in the room that night that we had vacated, but nevertheless, it was still a decent room.

There are a HUGE amount of American kids staying here on their year abroad, so if that's going to annoy you - steer clear!! Breakfast was ok seeing as it was free, but you'll find yourself getting hungry again around 10-11am.

The one thing that really did annoy me though was the hot tub situation. It states on the website that there's a hot tub, which looks pretty awesome. But when we got there, they said it didn't open until late October which was really really disappointing, as this was one of the main reason's we had booked it. It would have been nice to have known this.

Overall, it was a nice stay, and the Metro bar downstairs looked like the only good night around which was handy, but it seems like Balmer's have spent a LOT of money promoting this place to Americans abroad, so we were told by locals, which takes away from its 'Swiss-ness!'

Tip: Go visit the Irish pub on the left as you leave, lovely staff!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rachael K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2011

My husband and I started our Euro trip after heaving rave reviews of Interlaken. Although young and fans of fun, the truth is that we didn't love it and enjoyed our following days in Murren (up the mountain from Interlaken) much, much more. Balmers was fine if you are into meeting American and Australian study abroad college kids. The rooms were nice and clean, but the hostel itself is very loud, the shared showers aren't clean, and the complimentary breakfast left us unsatisfied. Interlaken itself is very expensive, so the food and beer at Balmer's beergarden is probably the best deal in town. The town of Interlaken itself isn't the greatest... like I said above, spend the extra $20 a night and stay in Murren or Grindelwald. The hiking and base jumping is much better in those towns as well!

Room Tip: Ask to stay in a room far away from the bathrooms, otherwise you'll likely be woken up multiple...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank allibee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2011

Myself, and 2 friends stayed here for 5 nights in July. We chose to stay in the tent village, instead of the main hostel (in a shared 6 person tent) because of the unbelievably low price (approx. 25$ CAD per night per person). We were a little wary of the reviews, but were very pleseantly surprised when we arrived! The tent village is situated with shared dorm tents (which we stayed in) which house 6 people, and private tent motels, grouped in a sort of semi circle, with the main community tent in the middle.

The "tent" was on a wooden platform with canvas walls with a large screened in window and 3 sets of bunk beds, The bed wasn't the most comfortable, but we were provided with everything we needed for it, clean sheets, pillow,and plenty of blankets for those cold Swiss nights at no extra charge. The tents are co-ed (though later the reception told us we could have requested all female), and generally, people are very respectful of your privacy and will at least ask to come in before entering (at least that was our experience with the awesome roomates we met). The showers are communal (so be prepared for that) but both the toilets and the showers were cleaned daily. The tent village is on the outskirst of Interlaken, near a field, and you honestly cannot beat the view of the mountains you get waking up every morning.


The community tent had a fridge, some tables to gather around, couches and a computer if you need to use it (though we walked to the main hostel office, about 15 minutes away, to use one of theirs for free if we needed to). The tent village is situated right in front of a small mall with some grocery stores as well as a gas station with some food, so it was very easy to find something to eat for cheap (as everything in switzerland seems to be 2-3 times the price). The tent village also had a barbeque to use, a hot tub, and would run different events both at the tent village and the main hostel.
If you wanted to book different activities, the hostel office was super accomodating and helped you do that through their partners (parasailing, rafting, canyoning) though we opted to use the free bus pas the hostel gives you (super useful!!) and bus to both lake Bern and lake Thun to swim, which was free. It was also a 10 minute talk to the nearest train station that would bring you up the mountains for hiking, as well as a short bus ride away from both Station Ost and West (from there you can train to Zurich and Geneva)

Overall, the three of us found it was the ideal place to build a sense of community (especially if you are there for longer than a few days like we were) as people would usually share a beer and a chat when it got dark out. One tip though: I absolutely do not recommend the tent village for young families or parents with babies. Especially as its canvas tents, so sound travels and I saw the parents getting annoyed when people were loud for their child's bed time, and people equally annoyed at them when the child woke up crying at 4 am. This community would suit friends and young adults travelling together best. Be aware of the noise level though, so be prepared and bring earplugs!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Juliedani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Balmer's Hostel

Address: Hauptstrasse 23 - 33, Matten bei Interlaken, Interlaken 3800, Switzerland
Location: Switzerland > Canton of Bern > Bernese Oberland > Interlaken > Matten bei Interlaken
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Matten bei Interlaken
Price Range: $44 - $141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:1 star — Balmer's Hostel 1*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Balmer's Hostel. We are the first established private hostel in Switzerland, providing a comfortable and friendly location from which to explore the adventure capital of Europe. The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau (Swiss Alps) at our doorstep and two big glacier fed lakes are just a stones throw away. We have dormitories, private rooms, apartments and tents. Rated Top 10 hostels of Europe, a product of over 60 years of experience.We are the heart of all hostels. We strive to bring fun and memorable experiences to our guests so come push your boundaries and party in our Club with us! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balmer`s Herberge Hotel Matten
Balmer's Hostel Interlaken/Matten Bei Interlaken

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