Customer reviews: Independent walking in Switzerland
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our walking holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their walking holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their walking holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Mr Lulham on 20/06/2017
Beautiful region, lovely hotel with great food and superb walking - aided by exceptional weather. Switzerland is quite expensive but we felt this holiday was great value for money.
By Mr Harris on 29/11/2016
Outstandingly beautiful area with plenty of fantastic walks. The location could not be better and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The hotel was great with very friendly and helpful staff. The food was excellent - varied, tasty and creatively presented. We had glorious weather for the entire week so we were lucky and could get out and about every day. The information provided by Peter and the other staff was very useful and helped us to get the most from our time. We liked the packed lunch buffet which really helped given the prices of things generally. Similarly the transport pass which gave us free travel on cable cars and buses. Getting there and back was easy and travel very smooth.
The only slight downside was that our room was rather small, particularly the bathroom which was very cramped, and generally not as luxurious as other Headwater hotels we've stayed in. I realise that Switzerland is a very expensive country and this holiday is very good value so it's probably a compromise to keep the holiday affordable. It certainly didn't spoil our stay. We had a wonderful time - thank you Headwater and Alfa Soleil.
By Mr Clegg on 30/08/2016
Good summer walking in a lovely valley. Not as spectacular as the Jungfrau region, but impressive. Great to have passes for most (but not all ) of the walks. Good cooking at Alfa Soleil, though watch out - heavy handed in cooking with cream.
Even in bad weather there are walks one can do.
By Mr Kelleher on 30/08/2016
We had a fantastic time on the Classic Swiss Alps walking holiday. Everything was organised for us - from the flight to the journey to the hotel and details on the walks. The hotel staff were all very friendly and extremely helpful. The food was the surprise of the trip, it was delicious!
The walks and the scenery was spectacular, and the suggested routes were all brilliant. There was also enough flexibility in the suggested guide to vary the hiking to your level of ability.
Overall, we had a brilliant time!
By Ms Cutts on 23/08/2016
Kandersteg is the most perfect setting - the beauty of the mountains, lakes and meadows is breathtaking! The walking options are fabulous - but remember to take your poles for those steep downhill sections! The staff at the hotel were welcoming and so helpful - a real plus. A wonderful holiday!
By Ms Schoenfeld on 16/08/2016
Our trip we booked through Headwaters for a stay in Kandersteg, Switzerland at the Alfa Soleil was the highlight of a few weeks spent in Europe. The hotel was wonderful, and the hiking suggestions from Headwaters were great and provided us with all the information we needed to do some great hiking on our own. They scheduled our train trips and everything worked just as planned. It was great to have a home-base from which to do a lot of different hikes in the area. We were very pleased with our whole experience!
By Mrs Hutchinson on 25/07/2016
The route notes from Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald need to be improved. Several instances where unclear, eg says continue downhill but there is a 3 road junction with all 3 roads going downhill, unclear what is road and what is drive, doesn't tell you which way to go to get to hotel relative to the gondola station when you turn off the main road in Grindelwald - road splits and no info as to whether L or R.
On arrival at Wilderswil by train, book says cross over the tracks to taxi, but arrived on the taxi side of the station so didn't have to cross tracks - a bit confusing.
A note in the booklet about having to fill out name/passport number/date on the rail tickets would be useful.
The pack lunch from Hotel Baeren was very poor.
By Ms Moore on 06/07/2016
Wonderful holiday - excellent hotel in an amazing varied area for walking with stunning views round every corner. The buses and lifts - free with the complementary pass - make the high level walks (and/ or restaurants) so accessible. One of our best holidays ever and we will be back!
By Mrs Hayward on 06/07/2016
The Classic Swiss Alps walking holiday was a wonderful blend of a comfortable and welcoming hotel and varied walking. As a single centre holiday it was good to be able to access amazing scenery very easily and close to the hotel. The walks could all be tailored to suit ability, weather and level of energy by extending or shortening the suggested itineraries. The map was a great help in addition to the written descriptions. We were there at the end of June just before the hay cut in the village fields so saw the myriad meadow flowers before they were harvested, a process that was also very interesting to watch. The higher alpine meadows were the best we have ever seen anywhere and the waterfalls were impressive, fed by the melting snow. Kandersteg, where the holiday is based, is well served by trains and this was our method of transport all the way from England.
By Mr Wilks on 30/06/2016
We had a wonderful time - excellent hotel, interesting food and superb walking. If you like wild flowers, it was a stunning to see the variety and colour on display. It is a reminder of what we have lost with our 'improved' grassland and factory farming. What was nice was that we could tailor each day's walk with the help of the hotel staff according to how strenuous a walk we felt like and what the weather was like in various parts of the area.
By Mr Doublet on 16/06/2016
Great location and excellent Hotel with some fantastic walks for all abilities.
By Mr Jones on 15/06/2016
This was our third trip with you and all have been most enjoyable - the right length of walks and the grading worked out fine.
By Mr Craig on 08/06/2016
A very good experience with lovely location, accommodation and scenery.
By Mr Asteriades on 29/09/2015
We have been on a large number of self-guided Headwater walking holidays. This was in many ways the best in terms of scenery and walking. For those who suffer from vertigo it does have a few 'moments' but you can invariably negotiate around these.
By Mr Tucker on 29/09/2015
Overall holiday was very enjoyable and notes were excellent. Quality of food at Hotel Alpenruh was fantastic.
On slightly negative side - we found out that Hotel Baeren had fully booked for a conference and we were put in a room which was off the first floor function room. This was not of the same quality as first room and was noisy with staff clearing later away later following function downstairs. Seemed like we were the easy option to relocate?
Food at Hotel Alte Post was very basic and not of the same quality as other hotels.
By Mr Patten on 24/09/2015
Good value and well thought out
By Ms Savage on 01/09/2015
Excellent hotel, food and location.
By Mr Hardaker on 13/08/2015
An excellent circuit of the Bernese Alps staying at good standard hotels run by friendly and helpful people. The walking notes were well written and accurate, allowing the map to stay in the bag.
By Mrs Weaver on 12/08/2015
Our first walking holiday and first with Headwater. We had a great experience and will come back. A few errors in notes we will send details to you.
By Mr Bryant on 11/08/2015
Hotel is in great location, all walks are very close and varied. Hotel was comfortable, our room was old in terms of decor, but others have been recently refurbished. The evening meals were pretty good (mainly meat, very little fish), breakfast was rather bland (limited selection mainly bread). Packed lunch was welcome, but was a sandwich only, which was quite lacking compared to other Headwater packed lunches.
By Mrs Love-fordham on 24/07/2015
Challenging hiking with amazing views and a good choice of things to do on non hiking days. First two hikes have very few other hikers which I like. Last two hikes were much more public and busy. On a whole, the area has been developed as a vacation spot and one encounters masses of tourists from Asia and India in the towns and any attractions - never on the trails. It is a bit overwhelming. There isn't much of an opportunity to encounter Swiss culture. We enjoyed the hikes, the views were wonderful, but we were a bit dismayed that there were so many tourists to contend with and that we rarely encountered Swiss people to chat with. There is no local rep so you depend on the hoteliers - all were very good except for Hotel Baren.
By Mr Hunter on 20/07/2015
An amazing time
By Mrs Jenkins on 07/07/2015
Contrasting walks in a beautiful area of Switzerland. The two walks to the Oeschinensee and the Doldenhornhutte are particularly challenging with many steep or tricky paths often very narrow and across waterfalls or shale slopes. Essential to have a head for heights and walking poles. These however were the best walks with terrific views. Do the extension to the Daubensee walk as the views at the final destination are well with it. The Alfa Soleil Hotel is a good 3 star hotel and our junior suite was excellent and worth the upgrade. Our one complaint of the room would be the shower and the sudden change of temperature when running going from very cold to scorching and dangerously hot; we had to be be swift to move out of the range of the spray when this happened. Breakfast is not as varied as other Swiss hotels we have stayed at and there was a huge additional charge if you fancied eggs and bacon. The food overall was inconsistent and not up to expectation following all the reviews and varied from poor ( tough poached chicken and lamb curry one night) to very good on the barbecue evening. However, great value holiday overall for Switzerland which is very expensive. PS the house wine is very good and at 22 Swiss francs per 50cl, a bit of a bargain.
By Mr Boyce on 02/07/2015
Exceeded expectations, scenery gorgeous, hotel friendly and helpful staff
By Mr Tattersall on 01/07/2015
The holiday was stress free, everything was as explained or advertised .
The walks were maybe tougher than we expected , but that is not a negative reflection on the holiday
We would definitely do another similar holiday, this was our 6th Headwater Holiday, but not our last
By Dr Luton on 17/06/2015
Great walking on good paths. Excellent scenery and wonderful alpine flowers.
Consider Berne as a day off destination.
By Ms Gane on 17/06/2015
It was a beautiful location and we had some lovely walks and saw amazing flowers. The hotel owner who was supposed to give us some guidance was not as helpful as he could have been. He raced through some information on the first evening and gave us various passes not all of which he explained.After that, he told us about one bus route being unavailable and arranged for us to travel on it when it became available. However when we asked questions subsequently, in particular if a route was Ok, he said it was up to us if we went on it. In fact it was challenging with some landslides on steep mountainside and frozen snow partially covering a fast-flowing stream through which we had to paddle.
The breakfast and packed lunches were great. Dinner was positively gourmet. (Whisper it low, but we would have preferred something simpler with fewer courses so that there was time for a walk afterwards). Mark-ups on the wine in the restaurant were enormous. We were also rather startled to be charged for tap water every night.
By Mrs Triger on 11/06/2015
This was our second visit to the Alfa Soleil in Kandersteg. We were incredibly fortunate to receive a double upgrade to their new Loft apartment!! We had booked a new junior suite and we believe we were given this because there were a large party of elderly people staying and possibly some of them had booked the Loft, only to find there was no lift. This really made our week's stay as it was spacious and beautifully furnished giving us room to spread out and to also enjoy the enormous terrace with views all round of the mountains.The weather held up every single day and what with this, and the excellent food provided by Nico, we could not have had a more enjoyable stay.
By Dr Banyard on 16/10/2014
Everythiing worked just as it should. We were very happy indeed with our holiday. My wife's dietary restrictions were coped with very efficiently and without fuss by the hotel. Thank you very much!
By Mrs Salisbury on 26/09/2014
Wonderful walks, great advice from Peter at hotel. We walked every day, and enjoyed exploring the area. Food and the friendly staff at the hotel made this one of our best holidays.
By Ms Foulds on 15/09/2014
Kandersteg is a good base for the series of walks suggested by HW but also for constructing your own routes if you are a confident walker. The hotel is comfortable and friendly and the food was mostly excellent. A small buffet was provided every day from which to make sandwiches for a picnic lunch, although more choice of fruit would have been welcome. Kandersteg village is very quiet (at least in summer) and we were a little disappointed at the lack of anywhere to go in the evening apart from having a drink in another hotel. Prices for cable cars, soft drinks, coffees and cakes were higher than envisaged but quality was very good. The scenery in the valley is stunning but the typical mountain weather meant that the peaks were not always visible. On cloudy days, it was good to have the choice of taking a quick train ride into the Rhone Valley area where the weather was usually better. Several of the walks in the HW itinerary can be shortened or lengthened to suit individual abilities and taken as a whole they give a very good overview of the area.
By Mr Stewart on 12/09/2014
A good short break in spectacular surroundings, with enough guidance to enable us to enjoy the area to the best as and when we wished without forcing us into any particular programme.
By Mrs Frechette on 27/08/2014
We had a great time despite the weather!!
Please note the food at Alte Post restaurant was dreadful and needs addressing
Dear Mrs Frechette, Thank you for your feedback, we are pleased to see that you had a great holiday in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. Although, it was disappointing to read of your dissatisfaction with the food at the Alte post. Whilst the previous feedback we have received for this holiday has scored good to excellent we realise that we cannot afford to let our standards slip and will continue to monitor the feedback over the course of the season. Yours sincerely, Headwater Customer Service team
By Mr Fowler on 06/08/2014
An excellently organised walking holiday
By Dr Paterson on 15/07/2014
The Alfa Soleil is a wonderful hotel with a really excellent restaurant.
We're vegetarians and the chef provided an amazing series of creations over the week for us.
The hotel proprietor is a lovely host who really takes care of all his guests and the hotel team are superb.
The walks are amazing and very varied with plenty of other options - one day we took a day trip to Bern which is a fascinating city, and also spent a day on the lake taking a steamer from Spiez.
We travelled by Eurostar and TGV - dinner in Paris on the way out and lunch in Basel on the way back - really comfortable - do book ahead and get cheap first class tickets for the TGV though.
By Mr Williams on 08/07/2014
Overall an enjoyable holiday, the walks are definitely in the 2 boot category but using the cable cars means much of the walking is flat or downhill. The scenery is majestic providing you can see it for the clouds! Go prepared for mixed weather, we were in Kandersteg in early July and had everything from glorious sunshine to sleet (above Oeschinensee) by way of rain and thunderstorms. We were lucky enough to see an ibex, marmots and an eagle (at the top of Gemmi Pass). The paths were all well maintained and the signage is very good making the navigation easy.
The hotel is welcoming and the rooms comfortable if somewhat dated in decor and furniture. The food is good but be aware that it's a 4 course set menu with just a choice of 2 main courses (or an unspecified vegetarian option). The 'lunch buffet' where you can make up your own packed lunch at breakfast time is a good idea.
The travel arrangements all worked well and the Swiss trains were on time as expected. Being a Saturday the train from Zurich Airport to Bern (and return) can be busy and does not cater particularly well for luggage, we had to leave our bags in the area by the doors along with a number of others. The reserved seats that Headwater provided were necessary but these were upstairs away from our bags. Also note that the train from Bern to Kandersteg splits at Speiz with only the front portion going to Kandersteg and Brig, we didn't find this entirely obvious when boarding the train. It's not a big problem as the ticket inspector checks that you're in the right part of the train but it's easier if you don't have to move yourself and your bags at one of the stops.
By Mr Beresford on 07/07/2014
A great holiday based in an excellent friendly hotel with good local food. The walks,starting from the hotel or via a short train, bus or cable car ride,were interesting and varied. The walks are deserving of the 2 boot status, taking most of the day to complete with the suggested extensions, allowing time for photographs, eating the excellent hotel picnics and admiring the views and the magnificent alpine flowers in June.
By Mrs Hallier on 23/09/2013
We had an excellent holiday and would highly recommend it. The notes were invaluable for the hiking and we could not have managed without them.
The transport of our luggage from hotel to hotel happened without a hitch. We were very impressed with the friendliness and efficiency of the Swiss.
It is a beautiful area in Switzerland - not to be missed in your travels. Hope to go back there.
By Mr Sykes on 20/09/2013
Enjoyed our holiday - despite mixed weather Thought all the hotels v good - better quality than Inntravel which suited us. Good walking notes Had a satmap (never used it despite mist) Carried the map but rarely used it need it.. You have probably been told this before but there was one major mistake I the notes.
All in all an excellent holiday thanksOn day 8, the first leg of the valley walk back from Grindelwald takes 80 minutes - not 3 hours
By Mr Finn on 18/09/2013
We thought that this was an excellent walking holiday. The variety of the walks meant that we could always choose one which suited us plus could travel to the next valley for better weather. The hotel was extremely comfortable and Peter and Agnes were great hosts with lots of good advice.The big surprise was the quality of the food which was definitely 5 star with good flavours and presentation
By Mr Williams on 14/08/2013
Reassured by a member of Headwater staff who had just been there that the Alpen Soleil in Kandersteg was 'a quiet hotel', we were very disappointed to discover that the hotel is right on a main road at the front and that at the back is a railway line carrying cargo freight through the night. In the hot weather, with windows open, it was hard to sleep for the noise of traffic and trains, all the more intrusive because occasional.
By Mr Bradley on 25/07/2013
Wellorganised, comfortable hotel, easily followed walking notes, beautiful area, challenging treks
By Mr McDavitt on 25/07/2013
We enjoyed our holiday. However, we were a little disappointed by the lack of entertainment in the evening at both the hotel and location.in general.
In terms of value for money we felt the holiday content was expensive when compared to other holidays we have been on. And I do appreciate that we were in Switzerland!
By Mr Dennis on 21/07/2013
Kandersteg was an exellent place for a walking holiday with a good variety of walks but age was against us (we are 80plus) in some instances, we made full use of the cable cars however.
By Mrs Longfoot on 17/07/2013
Switzerland is breathtakingly beautiful and we loved it, but everything was ver expensive, so we were glad of half board and the picnics provided which helped to keep the cost down.
By Mr Hill on 09/07/2013
Awesome scenery, excellent hotel, wonderful wild flowers and butterflies.Mixed weather.
By Dr Horn on 07/07/2013
A challenging walk but more than amply rewarded by fantastic views. We needed the rest days for rest!
By Mr Brisley on 26/06/2013
disappointed that grindelwald to wilderswil path not open and not advised until received route notes 10 days before holiday that this may be the case
We were very sorry to read that you were unaware that, during early and late season, the path from Grindelwald to Wilderswil may be closed for safety reasons due to heavy snow over the winter. We advise of this in our brochure and also on our website, prior to guests booking with us.
We do provide full details of two alternative walks for day 8, so that should this unfortunately be the case, you are still able to enjoy the holiday, which we hope you were able to do.
By Mrs Bailey on 26/06/2013
This was a well organised, really enjoyable holiday. The walk notes were mostly accurate (only a few unimportant details were different) and the times suggested were about right for a reasonably fit couple in their 50s. There was plenty to do on the non-walking days although we found the local knowledge of the hotel owners and their brochures of more use than the notebooks Headwater sent to us.
Every hotel was great - good people, lovely food and useful information about our own walks and others.
We would certainly book again with Headwater.
By Mrs Triger on 15/06/2013
An excellently organised walking holiday with a selection of very interesting walks. First rate hotel with superb food - makes a huge difference to be 'family owned' and upon arrival we were given an upgraded room as the hotel was not full. A very nice way to start! Kandersteg is quite beautiful and the people courteous and friendly. It helped that we had superb weather for 5 out of 7 days and the mountains and meadows were looking their best. All in all a most successful holiday. Thank you Headwater.
By Mrs Satchell on 12/06/2013
Don't go to Alfa Soleil, beautiful scenery, rubbish food
We are so sorry that the food at the Alfa Soleil did not meet your expectations. It genuinely took us by surprise - it is normally one of the highlights! Please let me assure you that our Swiss Progamme Manager will be discussing this with the hoteliers and monitoring the situation closely. We have worked with Peter and Agnes at the Hotel Alfa Soleil for many, many years and they are always extremely keen to act on our feedback, we are confident that any issues will be resolved effectively.
By Mr Williams on 13/09/2012
An excellent relaxing holiday. None of the walks are particularly strenuous (for a reasonably fit 60+ year old) and do not take up a full day so if you want extreme exertion it might be better to look elsewhere.
By Mr Clare on 23/07/2012
Kandersteg in June is a winner!
By Mr Phelps on 23/07/2012
This is a brilliant holiday with staggering views and some very good hotels. The walking is challenging but rewarding though, as on all mountain holidays, one must expect some bad weather and lack of views as a result. We found the notes excellent and the timings pretty accurate even a couple in mid/late 60s.
By Mis Stainer on 11/07/2012
Our holiday was excellent. Never done an activity holiday before but will do again. Already recommended Headwater to many people.
By Mrs Robertson on 07/07/2012
Tremendous experience which resulted in me challenging myself in some situations and overcoming fears to enjoy the scenery and the local flowers at their best.
By Mr Moore on 07/07/2012
Well organised and good value for money
By Mrs Tallis on 00/00/0000
The Classic Swiss Alps holiday based in Kandersteg gives a good taste of walking in the Swiss Alps. There is a variety of transport to get to the start of walks and get you back again when your legs are tired at the end of the day. We used cable cars, trains and buses. The Hotel Alfa Soliel is comfortable and welcoming.
Jungfrau Peaks and Glaciers - The walking is challenging but the views of the mountains and the meadows full of flowers made it all worth it. The hotels are all comfortable and the food was consistently good.