First, the positives: you couldn't ask for a better location. Literally a 1 minute walk from Interlaken Ost train station. Facilities are modern, free breakfast, and staff speaks excellent English and are very friendly. One employee in particular bent over backwards to help me after my experience, but that experience in itself was enough to turn me off ever staying at this hostel again, despite her friendliness.
Now, the negatives. After my second night there, I began developing itchy red welts on my arms, hands, neck and face. I became concerned and alerted reception, who shared my opinion that they were bedbug bites. They sent in a team of people to check my room and found several bedbugs on the wall behind someone else's bed.
They gave me a new room, also transferring my two dormmates to the same room. I was too creeped out and apprehensive to go in and make my new bed right away, and about an hour later I went up by myself, making sure to give the room a thorough scouring before I settled again. Sure enough, I came across ANOTHER bedbug in the NEW room, chillin' on the wall in broad daylight. Either a) the bugs were traveling with the dormmates who were transferred to the new room with me and who settled in an hour before I did, and coincidentally one hopped off their bags to a wall on the opposite side of the room in that short amount of time, or b) (more likely, in my opinion) the entire hostel is infested.
The hostel gave me a refund for one night (out of three) and put me up for free in a single room with an attached shower and bathroom, I think in an attempt to make me feel better about the situation. I wouldn't have lingered, but couldn't grab a train out of Interlaken until the following morning. While the new room appeared clean, I still developed a few new bites overnight, although they could have been pre-existing bites that worsened, because I seem to have a pretty bad allergic reaction to them.
I'm aware this isn't directly the fault of the hostel itself: bedbugs are a risk of any high-traffic sleeping area, and short of fumigating all incoming guests, there's not much that can be done to prevent transmission, aside from washing linens regularly, which this hostel does. People aren't permitted private sleeping bags. But still: if there are a few around, there are almost assuredly more.
Long story short: while the female employee I dealt with was super apologetic and extremely kind and even brought me a breakfast to take away for my early departure the next morning, the manager could have done a little more, namely, refunding me the other two nights. He assured me that they would fumigate the rooms in question, but if this is a hostel-wide problem like I suspect it is, that won't be an effective solution.
I've never had the misfortune of dealing with bedbugs before, and I hope never to again. The bites are extremely itchy, red, and stigmatising. Not all of them are easy to cover up. My future sleeps have been disrupted from paranoia...this has been generally a terrible experience. Exercise EXTREME caution when staying here! And I suppose while staying anywhere. By all accounts this is a clean, well-rated hostel...but direct experience suggests perhaps looking elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Interlaken is a town with international flair. The unique location of the youth hostel next door to Interlaken-Ost Railway Station and at the foot of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains offers boundless pleasure for adventurous guests. A train journey up to Jungfraujoch is one of the highlights of a trip through Switzerland. Jungfraujoch also boasts the highest railway station in Europe - at an altitude of 3,454 metres in a high-alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rock. The extensive ski areas with over 200 kilometres of pistes are also very popular in winter. ... more less
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