Author Topic: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015  (Read 8389 times)

Offline Chapshnell

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Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« on: January 19, 2015, 12:31:46 PM »
Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015

A few European relatives of mine asked me if I wanted to join them in Switzerland for a weeks vacation & with another opportunity to fly & to experience hopefully a different airlines premier cabin I was all in...

Now I needed to get my flights in order, I was set on flying LX & to experience their J product. I never flew LX in comfort before & I was hoping to fly at least 1 leg with them.

After some research it seemed that there was nothing nonstop on the outbound or inbound (plan B not possible with UA due to no business or first class seats avail, was totally booked solid) but there was availability with UA F on the return via Geneva (I am returning from Zurich) & the short connecting flight didn't bother me so I just grabbed the UA F seat.

Now all I needed was the outbound.. I had an option of booking via:

1) LH M&M for 52,000 + $433 tax & YQ

2) EWR-BOS-ZRH on UA & LX but I preferred to sweat it out & hope LX would release last minute nonstop J seats.

I packed my bags even without an outbound ticket & 25 hours before the scheduled departure I checked again & I see LX opened up 7 seats! Rushed home & booked via AC for 45,000 miles + $27.80 in taxes. Patience paid off!

I knew that in the worst case if I'm in a crunch I can always book via option #1 & eat the $406 extra in YQ.

Lufthansa business class lounge in EWR terminal B wasn't anything special, no showers.. Just your typical nice quiet lounge.

I was able to get seat 6A which is a single seat by the window. The seats are arranged in piggyback order 1-2-1-2. Loved the elbow room & the 2 tables on the side of the chair where I was able to lay down my iPad, soul headphones (awesome noise canceling vs jet noise), phone, dinner platters, pillow & blanket.

Borensteins appetizer is an awful excuse of a "meal" & the "chicken" as the "main dish" is more like a rubber ducky. Why did I even waste the stewardess time & a waste of 45 minutes of sleep I don't know. Time for Borensteins to give up catering.. Its pathetic & a joke.. I ended up asking them to provide me with Hashems premier catering service products & the fresh fruit was awesome! However, going into this flight I knew that Borenstein will cater the KSML & knowing that, my sister offered to make me a delicious burger as dinner with raspberries ordered from the "amazon fresh" deal for dessert :)

Got a good few hours of sleep, breakfast was served (Borensteins) & supposedly the highlight is an omelette.. However there is no bread, roll anything etc to eat it with... The only mezonos was a Beigels muffin, a chocolate danish & a croissant that I didn't touch. Got another portion of fresh fruit, some grapefruit juice & sent the KSML back for disposal.

I liked the comfort of this LX A330, the only negative thing I can think of is that when the bed is lie flat the footwell where the feet lay is kinda hard.. But this is nitpicking.. Overall its a pretty good product.. The service was outstanding.. Any little look or blink & they came running in a non aggressive or pushy manner what they can help with etc. The amenity kit is cute too, it was your typical business amenity kit but it came packed in a swiss colored ski hat.

Im only in this mileage game since mid 2013 but after getting a good grip on how these programs work etc I have flown 4 J products & 1 F product & my rankings to date are:

1) UA F 767-300 (lie flat)
2) LX J A330-300 (lie flat)
3) UA J 767-300 (lie flat)
4) LH J A380-800 (angle flat)
5) LH J A340 (angle flat)

After arrival I checked into the Swiss arrival lounge where I was able to take a good shower. Its very nicely decorated & clean as can be. They have approximately 15 rain showers. No need to wait..

The trip to Arosa consists of 2 stops.. First you get on the train from Flughafen until Hauptbahnoff (10 minutes). Then you take the train to Chur (1:15). Then you take a red train to Arosa (1:01) 

Checked into the Starbucks at Hauptbahnoff (grand central station).
A small coffee costed 5.90 franc! ($6+)
The Starbucks app on my phone that the cashier scans for payment doesn't seem to work here. I ended up using my Amex platinum card that has a zero forex fee.

First mistake of the trip!.... last year I made the same trek with 8 other family members on the Wideroe "glitch" & we purchased regular seats on the train (55 franc one way) This time I wanted to see what 1st class on their trains are like.. So I spent 97 franc for approximately a 2:56 train ride.. It was a mistake.. Its somewhat quieter in 1st & slightly less crowded but it absolutely doesn't justify the additional 42 franc. Don't throw out your ticket as a person comes unto the train to check.

Just a note about the Schweitzer system... They keep to the clock & schedule.. This isn't your NYC subway system.. If you come 1 minute late the train has usually left the station. 

Checked into Hotel Metropol, it reminded me of camp. The "decor" & everything about it. The room I had is I would guess no larger than 100 sq ft. But if you want to enjoy the majestic outdoors & be served kosher this is the compromise.... The owner of the place is Mr. Mordeche Levin, however you have an option to sleep somewhere else & eat at the Metropol..
The carpet in this "hotel" is at least 35 years old (I would guess older). This is what someone told me, that the first time they came in the 1980's the carpet was the same.
(Skip 1 paragraph for the costs)

Shabbos meals in the hotel are waitered at night & buffet by day. Dont expect any other (cold) drinks (even weekdays) except 1 bottle of grape juice & water. Any different type of drink you can buy at the coop grocery store up the road or Denners down the road. Room service will come before Shabbos to change the bedding & cut tissues in the bathroom.

The food is delicious, not fancy but tasty, everything is homemade.. Nothing commercial.. They change the dinner menu daily. There is no lunch, a big breakfast is served & he gives bags for whoever wants to pack along for their day trips.. I stuck to kind bars in the outdoors, that kept me going..

All below is PER PERSON:

The Levin's have different types of rooms, pricing starts at 155 franc & go's up to 205 franc per person with a balcony and a nice mountain view.

Food pricing PER PERSON if u dont stay here... (Only other hotel that looks decent/nice is the Waldhotel & the Tchuggen)

$45 Breakfast
$95 Dinner
$105 Shabbos each meal
$65 Melava malka

As much as its tempting to go to a different hotel, there is something about the Metropol that is weirdly attractive.. You have minyan on hand 3x daily + you make friends through the stay. Unless a points/miles bookable hotel opens up locally I don't think people will change. The closest such hotel is in Davos (Sheraton, and its not close).
There is no incentive for Mr. Levin to upgrade the hotels conditions as he's always full & people pay the premium price + he has no competition in the area! I will give him credit though for redoing some of the rooms bathrooms as not that of a long time ago there used to be a shared bathroom in the hallway! Now everyone has their own. He also used to charge for Shabbos candles & grape juice but not anymore. Im figuring he's just adding it to the original cost of the room.
There is a mikvah in the hotel. I did not check the pricing. However I'm almost certain its 5 franc. 

Skiing per day cost is 69 franc for the lift tickets & the rentals skis, boots & poles are 55 franc per day (I rented at Becks, its the closest to the lift) Multiple day passes are cheaper. One of the amazing things I experienced here is they help u put on the ski boots! The USA can learn something about that!

For those that cant ski you can always learn, they have some great ski teachers I am told. If you can get a hold of the guy with the long blonde hair he's a great teacher. I dont remember his name but Becks would know who he is. Ive seen him teach noobs 2 years in a row.. There are very nice & pretty bunny slopes here as well.. Another fun snow activity is ski biking (imagine a bike on skis vs wheels), A free activity which is actually priceless are the beautiful walks.. Some of the nicer ones are the walk from Arosa to Litziruti (downhill the entire way, if its cloudy this walk is fine as its mostly in the forest/mountains) and than you take the red train back up 1 stop (3.60 franc, 10 minute ride) Its a stunning walk with small waterfalls from melting snow, a small stream, mountains from all sides.. Very pretty...
Another nice walk is "Rotter trit" or "Tschuggen way", you take the lift up to "middlestation" or the bus up to Pratschli and walk down the mountain, its majestic & very scenic!
If the skies are blue its a must! You can also take a horse sleigh ride on near the Rottertrit walk or from the train station "bahnoff" to the hotel if you don't want to shlep your bags up the road (5-6 minute walk).
Last year there was outdoors ice skating probably with the nicest background I've ever seen. This year for some reason I didn't see it open.

A fun night (or day) activity is to take the bus from near the Arosa post office up to Pratschli its 3 franc per person (until 7pm its free, buses run pretty late into the night, seemed to me 3 buses per hour) & the hotel supplies sleds (first come first serve), but this isn't your small mountain sledding.. This is intense & you will probably be screaming along the way (Schlittelbahn)! When u press down with your right heel the sled turns right & the same for left... Its dark in the forest in some spots but in all certainty you wont get lost & will get used to the lighting or lack of it quickly. Its a lot of fun, your bottom may hurt though as its bumpy in some spots. A good tip would be to tuck the bottom of your pants into your boots otherwise the snow will find its way into your pants & boots.

Headed out back towards Zurich Airport where I booked myself at the Radisson Blu in the terminal. I didn't want to use points for a stay in the actual city of Zurich as my flight was 7am & I only arrived back into Zurich at 12:30am. A BRG for the Holiday Inn Zurich Airport didn't pan out so I just used an Expedia coupon for $50 off $200 when using their mobile site & bit the bullet. The points used would be worth minimum $200 + taxi or train costs + getting up earlier & it just didn't make sense.

Checking into the Radisson was a pleasure as I got a nice decent room with a normal bed finally. Shame the night wasn't a bit longer. I could've used a longer nights sleep... Just a quick note about the Swiss escalators in some places... If you see the escalator isn't moving but you see a green light just keep on walking.. Its on energy saver mode...

Zurich Airport seems to me like an airport that every time I come here I tend to walk alot.. Feels like everything is far from the check in. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your gate.
Swiss departing business lounge is simple & comfy, although nothing major. The flight from Zurich to Geneva is 30 minutes, I was served a kosher breakfast from Shalom caterers in Vienna. It was simple & tasty. The shmerling chocolate bar didn't hurt ;)

After a short stopover in Geneva, which the duty free shops pricing were way out of range I boarded a United 767-300 in F. Seats & footrests are comfy & service was very good. Just a small example though of how I feel about United's product vs. the Swiss & Lufthansa products out there... With United you are served a pre flight drink in a plastic cup. With any other carrier I traveled with its in a glass. Its a very small difference, but the attention to detail the other carriers have is lacking... Another example would be their quality of headphones vs their competition.. Its just not in line with what other F class cabins have... I have my own (as mentioned previously) but for someone who doesn't have their own headphones it would probably be a disappointment.
Flight attendant wanted me to unplug my phone from the charger for taxi & takeoff, I have never heard of something like that before.
Once in the air, I was served a hearty meal from Stogel caterers from Belgium, I was very pleased to finally have some good airplane food. The coconut chicken nuggets were delicious & the simple white rice & cooked string green beans were a perfect compliment. Its a shame that with a country so big as the USA & with so many kosher resources the airlines cant get the ex USA departure meals right.
A stewardess offered to make the bed for me, they put some kind of cover (lets call it a small mattress) over the bed & it was even more comfortable than the original seat cushion.

Landed back into Newark, went through the expedited customs via TSA Global Entry & took a ride with Lyft home. Used up my $50 credit for sign up & first ride with them.

So long until next time,
Chapshnell :)

F = First Class
J = Business Class
KSML = Kosher Meal
YQ = Fuel Surcharges
LX = Swiss Air
LH = Lufthansa
UA = United
BRG = Best Rate Guarantee (Free Night)

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 12:34:58 PM »
Swiss LX A330 J

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 12:35:38 PM »
Train routing from Airport to Arosa

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 12:36:15 PM »
Train from Airport to Hauptbahnoff-Chur

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 12:36:55 PM »
Train from Chur to Arosa

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 12:38:31 PM »
This is like a bus that without wheels takes you up to the top of the Weisshorn..

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 12:39:01 PM »
This is the view from the top of the Weisshorn mtn.

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2015, 12:39:33 PM »
Ski board. Green day :)

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2015, 12:40:03 PM »
Another photo from the top of the Weisshorn

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2015, 12:41:06 PM »
This is the Litziruti walk..

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2015, 12:41:33 PM »
Rocking chair made out of logs on the walk...

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2015, 12:42:31 PM »
Made this at the end of the walk from pine tree material while waiting for the red train to take 1 stop back up the mountain to Arosa...

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2015, 12:43:22 PM »
This is towards the rotter trit walk

Offline Emkay

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2015, 12:43:35 PM »
Quote
Hashems premier catering service products
?


Quote
$45 Breakfast
$95 Dinner
$105 Shabbos each meal
$65 Melava malka
seems like alot, did you feel it was worth it?

Quote
There is no incentive for Mr. Levin to upgrade the hotels conditions as he's always full & people pay the premium price
a big problem with most hotels catering to frum jews

Quote
F = First Class
J = Business Class
KSML = Kosher Meal
YQ = Fuel Surcharges
LX = Swiss Air
LH = Lufthansa
UA = United
BRG = Best Rate Guarantee (Free Night)
[/quote]i like your dictionary idea

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: Chapshnell's Trip Report - Arosa, Switzerland 1/2015
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2015, 12:44:00 PM »
At the start...