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“Great rail journey - part 2”

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Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria
Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in Kandersteg
Cornwall, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
160 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
“Great rail journey - part 2”
Reviewed May 9, 2014

The second main centre on a recent Great Rail Journey was here in Kandersteg. The Hotel Victoria has a lot to like particularly the genuine if slightly fraying "Belle Epoque" touches. The public rooms - lounge and dining room - are splendid spaces with elaborate glass chandeliers etc. The bedoom (112) we were given as a couple was more like a family suite with a separate room with bunk beds and comfortable sofa. The main room with two attached single beds was very spacious and both rooms had access to a balcony (no outside seating) with mountain views. Getting in and out of the bath/shower was a bit of a challenge as the shower doors on top of the bath got in the way of easy access. Unusually there was a machine for hot drinks although this proved to be a bit temperamental.

We liked Kandersteg very much and the hotel is only a few minutes walk to the station and there are shops, bank etc very close.

On a package tour the food was only just O.K with no choices apart from a meat main course or vegetarian option. Foolishly some of us tried the veggie dish one evening - the alternative was chicken curry with rice! - but we struggled with 3 stalks of inedible white asparagus, a bit of mushroomy scrambled egg and a baked potato beautifully presented in foil shaped like a swan!

Breakfast also presented a challenge if you wanted a boiled egg (the only cooked option). Mastering the egg boiler became a matter of great hilarity amongst our party but rarely did any one get away with an egg boiled to their liking.

The hotel features a swimming pool, library/ quiet room and games room. In the lounge there is a grand piano where I "entertained" the great railway travellers on three nights culminating in a grand finish with everyone singing "Auld Lang Syne". Not perhaps the up-market image which the MD of Great Rail Journeys wants to convey!!

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ColdstreamKeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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221 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
Huntingdon, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2014

Only stayed for a few days but wished it could have been for longer. Best hotel and food that we have enjoyed during tour of Switzerland. In an excellent location with just a few minutes pleasant walk to the railway station.

Room Tip: I believe that all rooms have good views but you can request a mountain view should you wish
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Roy593
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dereham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2014

Difficult to find a negative point about this hotel from the staff to the rooms to the facilities to the food. All outstanding and made for a very pleasurable holiday. It is also close to the village centre, a few minutes from the railway station and has car parking. The staff are friendly. You can borrow Swiss apdaptors from the desk so do not worry about taking your own. Coffee machine in each room and they even off to remake your beds with blankets if you do not like duvets!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Anne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2014

This is a grand hotel form the belle époque era, and the Reception, large and comfortable lounge and above all the sumptuous dining room have fantastic grace and style. There is also a large indoor swimming pool, leather chaired library, children’s games room etc. The hotel also has a separate a-la-carte restaurant, but being part of a large group we ate in the elegant dining room to a set menu, which on reading sounded rather ordinary and dull, but the quality and presentation of the food was first class, well above the standard of its 3 stars. Breakfasts were excellent too.
Now for the “almost” in my title. Someof the rooms and non-ground floor areas are ‘fraying’ a bit, which is a shame. The standard of the rooms varies quite a lot, those in the oldest part of the hotel being very traditionally furnished (and closer to the main road through the village). Our room above the Hotel entrance was large and well-furnished with reproduction furniture, comfortable bed, tea/coffee machine (fun to use!!). The room was extremely well heated, but the windows open. We found our room comfortable and acceptable, but some cracked/mouldy plaster by the window and many loose and odd tiles in the bathroom need urgent attention, and the sanitary ware modernised.
It is a shame that the style of the corridors has been marred with unsympathetic poor quality modern fire doors throughout added as a second access door to the room.
Everywhere in the hotel was very clean and tidy, the staff exceptionally friendly and helpful (and all spoke English) and if it were not for the many little faults I would have classed this hotel as excellent. As I is, it is still well above its 3 star rating.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank eaglesclan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 6 Contributor
75 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

The Victoria appears to be a Kandersteg institution. Established in the year the French decided they didn't want to have a king any more, the hotel appears to have stood untouched by time since then. This shows in its delightful old-world elegance, its excellent location in the town centre and its occasional formality (especially at dinner). The hotel is often used as a rendezvous point for events in the town.

Let's talk about the decor: this also appears to have been untouched by time, although it's a fair bet it's been refurbished at least once since 1789. If you like brown, you'll love the Victoria, as every shade of it has been used to paint the walls, tile the bathrooms and carpet the floors. I get the feeling someone way back told the proprietors that the decor was "ahead of its time" and no one has thought to contradict them since. Anyway there isn't much else to criticise, so that's a minor detail.

Having suffered a major setback in our travel plans, owing to a hijacking at Geneva Airport, we arrived very late in the evening. The hotel was extremely accommodating, sending a driver to pick us up in Bern and laying on an out-of-hours evening meal for us (although I fear we were too tired to appreciate it properly). That's very good service, and they deserve commendation for that.

The hotel is clean (but it's Swiss, so you expect no less), the lounge is very stylish (and much less brown than the rooms!), and the views of the mountains delightful. Our suite was spacious, with a bunk bed for our children - which they were very excited by - and overall everything was comfortable enough. (The towels in the hotel were the standard-issue, postage-stamp size sandpaper ones, alas.)

We were half-board, so we had our evening meals at the hotel. The dining room is very large and quite pleasant, although it's easy to see how it could lack atmosphere at quiet times. The evening food was generally very good, but we did have one Chinese-style meal which was over-spiced. The breakfast was only average, but it was good enough.

The staff are all very friendly, although they can often seem a bit clueless. Reception is regularly left unstaffed and you have to try and reach someone by phone - perhaps they just don't have enough people. The proprietor - a gregarious and self-confident man, who clearly spends a long time working on his jokes - seems to take personal responsibility for many things, including the ski school. There were a few breakdowns in communication - although we had an email saying our children had been booked into ski school, the hotel claimed to know nothing about it when we arrived. However, they promptly arranged a private lesson which actually worked out better in the end.

I didn't go into the pool. Our children liked it, but my partner complained that it was a bit cold. Which is ironic, as the rest of the hotel was baking hot most of the time.

The hotel is very conveniently located - about 3-4 minutes' walk from the train station (longer with cases, although they will take you there if you ask very nicely and in good time*). There is a regular shuttle service to the foot of the cable car, and the ski hire centre is very close to the hotel, along with a pharmacy, post office and several souvenir shops. The hotel has a basement room for storing ski equipment, although this is largely unstaffed and a bit of a free-for-all.

The Victoria is a decent option if you want a conveniently-sited stay with good amenities and friendly service. It drops the ball a few times, but not enough to get upset about.

(* Must publicly state our appreciation to Sam and Michael, the two drivers, who ferried us around and were immensely helpful.)

Room Tip: Ask for a room at the back of the hotel, with a balcony. You'll have a good view of the mountain...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ursulahx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We stayed here for Christmas 2013 and I couldn't recommend this hotel more highly. We felt very welcome and the food was fantastic. We enjoyed the facilities on site, probably the best kids club I have come across with good quality toys/books/arts & crafts etc - not to mention the wonderful staff who my girls loved spending time with. The pool was a great as were the numerous lounges full of board games and books. The hotel is well located in the village. Many people have commented on the quality of the rooms, this is not a 5* hotel and they don't claim to be, it is in our opinion a very high 4* and where they fail on luxury fittings in the rooms they make up for in great hospitality! Definitely recommend.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Longlands18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sheffield
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2014

The hotel is very close to train station, views are brill out the window. Few thing to look at is in our room we had a massive crack in a over mirror lamp and a hole on the wall, which should be sorted before other guests check in, as it brings the quality of stay down.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank vlasta00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria

Property: Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria
Address: Aeussere Dorfstrasse 2, Kandersteg 3718, Switzerland (Formerly Victoria Ritter Hotel)
Location: Switzerland > Canton of Bern > Kandersteg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 9 Hotels in Kandersteg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Belle Epoque Hotel Victoria 3*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel Victoria is centrally located with a great view on the snow topped mountains. You will find a cheerful and familiar atmosphere combined with best Swiss hotel tradition. The ideal place to relax and enjoy oneself.Various recreational activities are at your disposal: indoor swimming-pool, sauna and steam-shower, a beautiful park and a sun terrace. In our restaurant Ritter you will enjoy excellent dining. Our rustic rooms in the Ritter or the comfortable rooms in the Victoria are all equipped with radio, colour-TV and direct-dialling telephone. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Victoria Ritter
Victoria Ritter Kandersteg

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