This guide rounds up hotels for each destination that have both a prime location and reasonable standards of comfort, narrowing coverage to those hostelries offering particularly memorable stays. Our hotel picks are categorized by price range - but you should be aware that seasonal fluctuations can be great, particularly in the resort areas.
While luxury houses across Europe maintain similarly exquisite standards, hotels at lower ends of the scale tend to vary by region in comfort and cleanliness. Breakfasts are normally included in budget and moderate room rates. Luxury hotels usually tack on a substantial charge. However, the meal is not an American-style feast, but a modest buffet spread of bread, meat, cheese, and jam, normally served with a choice of juices and coffee or tea. Bidets are a common European feature, a great little gadget intended for washing your nether regions. I've heard of some creative uses, too, ranging from a sock-soak to a baby bath.
High-tech versions prove a real hoot, with water jets that have controls for pressure, temperature, and pattern; built-in blow dryers; and (requiring some imagination) portable remote controls. A wide range of accommodations are available, including youth hostels, private rooms, mountain huts, guesthouses, hotels, and spa resorts. I've included mostly hotels here. When booking lodging at the lower end of the price range, expect to share a bath; at the upper end, expect to pay extra for breakfast. While Switzerland shares cuisines with each of its neighbors, its most intimate culinary relationship is with France. Along with the northwestern corner of Italy, Switzerland and France dish out an astounding array of cheese dishes. The fondue Savoyarde is the most famed of the cheese mixes here, a bubbling pot of fromage made tangy with white wine and a shot or two of kirsche liqueur. Raclette, too, proves another oozy favorite.
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- Roy H