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“Not worth the price, even in St. Anton”
Review of Chalet Helvetia

Chalet Helvetia
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Chalet Helvetia
Savannah, Georgia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not worth the price, even in St. Anton”
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We stayed at Chalet Helvetia over Christmas 2012 with friends from the UK. I don't disagree with much that has been written below, except the EspiritHolidays "responses" to two of the reviews. The review by 'anotherproblem' from 2009 seems like a very accurate description of our experience in 2012. The change in management seems to have done little, if anything, to improve the chalet or the level of service.

So if you do decide to book Helvetia, lower your expectations, take a charitable view toward the management's descriptions of the quality of food, wine, decor and service, and go for the skiing, not the chalet. Without further ado ...

Location

The location, a hop and a skip from the Nasserein lift, is excellent for skiing and renting equipment - there is a rental shop right next to the lift. It is a mediocre location for enjoying downtown St. Anton (~10 minute walk). It is not a nice or luxurious location in general. The chalet is next door to a gas station and the chalet owners operate a taxi service out of the chalet. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except that the taxi company uses the same front door as the chalet guests. Which meant that at all hours of the day, strangers were traipsing through the common area of the chalet, including the mud room where our shoes and jackets and personal effects were kept. We rented the entire chalet, so the discovery that we would share the common area with a business and its employees was unexpected.

Food

The food was not "mouth-watering," "tasty" or "innovative." Nor was it prepared by a "chef," unless by chef one means "18-year old on gap-year holiday." It was edible almost all of the time. At least once it was simply inedible.

BaileyWilson's review of the wine selection is spot on - whatever the management may claim, the wine is of extremely limited variety and poor quality. We were served two wines - the same two wines, a vinegary white and a sour red - every night for the entire week, regardless of the type of food being served.

Staff

In addition to the "chef," two other teenagers apparently enjoying their gap-year played the roles of "service professionals" during our stay at Helvetia. They were all very nice young britons who are there because they want to ski, not because they are service professionals. I don't fault them. I do fault the chalet management for its highly misleading advertisements regarding the level of service we could expect, and for failing to provide this staff with the level of training that would have actually resulted in acceptable service. As mentioned above, the food was cafeteria-grade. In between serving courses, the entire staff would disappear back to the kitchen, making it impossible to obtain drink refills, condiments, extra cutlery or anything else one might expect from reasonably attentive service professionals.

Rooms

The rooms are decently appointed, and the ensuit bathrooms are modern and spacious, especially by European standards. As has been mentioned, the top floor rooms have sloped ceilings - a quirky feature that gives some character to an otherwise bland interior. It wasn't a problem. The rooms in the front have balconies.

Common Area

The common area has the aesthetic appeal of a hospital waiting room. The decor is cheap, with thin, worn carpeting, commercial-grade lighting, and plain Ikea-style furniture. It is not welcoming, "home from home," tasteful, spacious for 16 people, or comfortable. The dining room and sitting area are the same room (it's an L-shaped room). There is no television in the common area (I only note this because it was listed as an amenity by the management, and this turned out to be one of the more obvious misrepresentations, if not a particularly significant one).

Amenities

What do they have in terms of amenities? A sauna, which guests are only allowed to use from 5-7 pm each day. And a ski equipment room with a boot rack.

What don't they have that even a minimally equipped "chalet" should offer its guests? The kitchen is totally off limits to guests, and the chalet does not provide a refrigerator for guests' use, which means you you won't be able to keep any drinks or snacks of your own that require refrigeration. I thought the kitchen prohibition odd until I peeked in there between meals one day - the floor was covered in a viscous layer of grease and grime, trash was stuffed under every counter-top and overflowing onto the floor, and the meat for our next meal was sitting out on the counter. I suppose I wouldn't want guests to see that either. Unfortunately, there is not even a wetbar or kitchen sink anywhere on the first floor available to the guests, which makes simple things like filling up the coffee maker or getting a glass of water much more difficult than they should be. There is no clothes washer or dryer, an odd omission for a chalet that books by the week. Bring lots of underwear!

The Wifi access requires you to sign in anew every time your iPad or computer goes to sleep, or sometimes for no apparent reason at all. It did not seem capable of handling more than 3-4 devices connected at once.

Smoking

Chalet Helvetia bills itself as a non-smoking chalet. However, the owners, who live downstairs, do smoke, and as a result, the chalet always smells like smoke. (Un)fortunately, the mud room where your jacket, sweaters, scarves, and hats are stored is right next to the owners' door, so those items of clothing will absorb at least some of the smoke before it reaches the rest of the chalet.

Conclusion

For the right price (maybe in the range of 50 pounds per night per person), Helvetia is an option if your focus is St. Anton's skiing. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the chalet, or if you want the food and wine to be a highlight of your trip, I recommend finding another option.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank nomad1107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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27 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 (11)
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English first
Manchester, England
Level Contributor
71 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

We have just come back from a week in the Chalet Helvetia and fortunately had taken the whole chalet. Why fortunate? A number of reasons but mainly the consensus of opinion amongst us that the dining area was so snug we would not have liked to share with people we didn’t know and/or get on with, and also we could all smile together in the face of adversity.

The good point is the location – directly on the other side of the road from the Nasserein lift and the ski bus stop. It’s also quiet at night compared to being in the centre. However, the majority opinion of the group was all in all they would not return, despite this.

Our feedback forms were consistent – distinctly average. Because we had booked the whole chalet, we obtained a discount on the price. It’s definitely not worth paying the full brochure price.

It appears that Ski Total are using their purchasing power to drive down their costs and buy all their wine from one supplier, however the wine was not only very poor but poor French. In the local supermarket, a perfectly drinkable bottle of Austrian wine was around 5 Euros, so their stuff must be really cheap and it shows.

If you fancy the chalet for its location, our advice is get enough friends together to take the whole and don’t have too high expectations.

Room Tip: All the roooms are Austrian twin en suites. The one on the top floor are smaller and have sloping ro...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BaileyWilsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EspritHolidays, Manager at Chalet Helvetia, responded to this review, February 7, 2013
The Chalet Helvetia has featured in our programme for two years and has generally been very well received by our guests, be they travelling as one group or several groups, so it is disappointing that this reviewer felt that aspects of the accommodation did not live up to expectations and that it was perceived to be rather cozy at mealtimes.
We select our wines carefully each season in conjunction with our French wine partners, the Perret family, and do endeavour to ensure that the wines that we select not only complement our menus but that there is ‘something for everyone’ in terms of suiting the varying palates of our guests. We do take guest feedback into consideration each season, including comments made about our wine selection and must express disappointment that the reviewer was not entirely happy with the choices made.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2013

Pros:
-Great location (about 30 seconds from the Nasserein lift and nursery slope area and 10 mins to the centre of town).
-Clean and tidy
-Separate boot room with boot warmers.
-Decent sauna

Cons:
-Food was OK but not great and the chalet hosts were pleseant but not spectacular - I wish they'd got more 'stuck in' with us and had more of a laugh - they seemed a bit shy/serious.
-The owners of the chalet live there and clearly smoke in their part of the house which resulted in a smell of cigarettes throughout the chalet (most strong in entrance area). They also have the cheek to then tell guests that it's a non-smoking chalet!
-The interior decor is completely soulless and gives no hint that you're in beautiful alpine village.
-The layout of the breakfast area is rediculous and means a lot of standing up and sitting down during your meal (sounds like a petty thing but it's quite annoying).
-The 'lounge' area feels more like a Dentist's waiting room then a homely relaxation area.

Overall, I'd describe it as functional. It does the job. The location gives it a big boost but it lacks 'wow factor'. Suitable for beginners who want to be close to the nursery slopes and/or groups who are in St. Anton to ski hard and play hard.

I'd say it's less apprioriate for couples looking for a quaint/romantic place to stay.

Room Tip: There are 8 rooms that each sleep two. The rooms are on the 1st and Top floors, avoid the top floor...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank theanakist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolton, Lancs
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2009

The chalet has an excellent location, only a couple of minutes from a high speed chair, ski shop and one of st anton's many bars.

Brochure price for the trip was £1200pp but we got a half price deal so with flights transfers etc paid £600pp

Room was fairly spacious and equipped and beds comfortable.

Food was a bit of a let down, this place is marketed as luxury, and when it should of been £1200 i was expecting a pro chef cooking for me, I was wrong. We got the chalet host because the "chef" (who was a trainee chef at home anyway!!!) had managed to break his arm the day we arrived. It was edible, but mediocre at best. I was extremely annoyed at the fact we had paid for a drink with the evening meal, this meant wine. Red wine or white wine. I don't drink wine but this was apparently alien to the hosts and I had to go to the local shop to buy my own beer who refused to let me keep it in the fridge! This is 2 bottles, not a crate!!

The whole decor of the chalet is cheap and modern, which leaves the place lacking in charm completely. The seating area is uncomfortable and badly laid out. The "real log fire" housed only candles.

We wanted to do the toboggan run and SkiVal (our TO) organized this, although left it until we met to tell us it was cancelled even though we had seen him 20 minutes earlier.

Also did the pub crawl organized by them, was reasonably priced at €5 with a shot in 5 different bars, but we got deserted by the rep in each one as he went chasing women, so it was a constant waiting game until we got what we paid for!

SkiVal - Useless
Chalet - Overpriced and charmless
Location - Excellent!

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Price and Food
  • Stayed February 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank anotherproblem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EspritHolidays, Manager at Chalet Helvetia, responded to this review, February 14, 2011
Just to reassure any readers that this review was posted before Ski Total took over management of this property in Dec 2011 and bears no resemblance to the levels of service now offered by Ski Total in St Anton.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chalet Helvetia

Property: Chalet Helvetia
Address: St Anton, St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Location: Austria > Austrian Alps > Tirol > St. Anton am Arlberg
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #102 of 116 B&Bs / Inns in St. Anton am Arlberg
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Chalet Helvetia Hotel St. Anton Am Arlberg
Chalet Helvetia Austria/St. Anton Am Arlberg

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