To review the current situation as of October 4th: The Delta variant is here, our numbers are high but perhaps starting to decline.
For travel to Europe: Everyone must be vaccinated and everyone must have a Covid test minimally 72 hours prior to their departure. We all need to mask-it on Europe’s public transport, in public areas, at concerts, in restaurants, museums, etc. Switzerland’s not in the EU, but they’re complying with parameters set by the EU.
Overall it’s lower than last year and, to compensate for a ‘lost year’, many hotels have raised rates – but some have actually kept them the same which is good news.
Some airlines are requiring all employees be vaccinated or pay up. United has done it successfully. Delta, for non-vaccinated employees, is initiating a $200.00 monthly insurance charge. American, Jet Blue and others are starting to follow suit.
In Our Resorts
In Austria, Michelin changed their star awards policy this year so now only major city restaurants are eligible for ratings. This resulted in Kitzbühel’s Tennerhof and Kirchberg’s Rosengarten losing their stars. Strange as the change hasn’t occurred in the other Alpine countries so I’m investigating further.
This year, Kitzbühel celebrates its founding – 750 years ago in 1271 – amazing! I wonder if they were skiing back then?
And St. Moritz still has the best priced ski pass: this year it’s 45 CHFs or about $ 50.00/day.
In November 2022 Zermatt, with Cervinia, their Italian neighbors, will have their first ever FIS World Cup race series. The men’s downhill will be the highest and longest among all the FIS races.
On a lighter note, a few unknown country-wide Swiss facts: They have 4,536 miles of pistes; 3,417 miles of cross-country trails and 385 toboggan runs.
Austria and Switzerland, with the Alta Badia not far behind, are near the top of sustainable travel lists – something that’s become more much important and worth considering when planning travel in our climate challenging times. Here are some ways they’re combating climate change: promoting local public transport, i.e., trains and buses; resorts using solar and wind power; hotels employing thermal heat and Swiss stone pine paneling, so we sleep better; and sourcing locally for foods and produce.
In Our Hotels
Zermatt’s Hotel Europe & Spa was selected as Switzerland’s 8th best in 2021 by Travelers’ Choice Awards – nice!
Do you get the feeling there are more and more five-star hotels in the ski program? My apologies – but you’re right. Years ago, many had lower ratings, got better and better so the stars kept coming. Some examples: Allodis went from 3 to 4; le Hameau Albert 1er way back when, was a 3 then a 4 and now a 5 star; Christiania went from 4 to 5; Europe 3 to 4; and the Grand Hotel des Alpes 4 became 5. Then these have an ‘S’ for a Superior ranking, meaning they’re a step above their hotel rating: Angela, Bellerive, Belvedere, Châlet d’Adrien, Cordée des Alpes, Edelweiss, Kulm, Mirabeau, Schönegg, zur Tenne, and Zermatterhof. Guess we’re not the only ones recognizing a great hotel when we stay in one!
Some Basic Advice
We are still in uncertain times SO it’s smart to at least consider taking out travel insurance once you’ve booked any kind of foreign travel. The old adage, “rather be safe than sorry” really applies now. And I’ve said before, ALWAYS read the fine print to make sure all possible outcomes are covered.