You may or may not know that Van is a prior military member. He served in the Air Force for 6 years and I still feel so much pride when I think of his service and I feel very blessed that I was able to call myself a military spouse. It was a great opportunity for Van and the military treated us very well. It's not for everybody and it definitely wasn't an easy 6 years, but it started Van's career on an amazing path.
Anyway, getting off track there a bit (nothing new right?). While Van is not in the military anymore, we still have some benefits because of his job. So, we were able to book a room at Edelweiss. However, being that Van is a civilian, we were made to pay the highest rate. You see, Edelweiss charges room rates based on military rank. And since Van is a civilian, they group him in with the highest ranking military members, i.e, we pay the highest rate. This put me off immediately and I do feel guilty about it. Only because I think it's wonderful that lower ranking military members, who don't get paid a lot of money, are able to enjoy the same vacation that the higher paid officers are enjoying. Amazing right? Except when rooms are cheaper in town. Boo. But, like I said we stayed at Edelweiss to make it easier to connect with the loads of friends that all went for the weekend as well.
So instead of blah blahing about everything I disliked, here are the pros and cons of staying at Edelweiss....Cons first!
My most bleh part about the whole situation. A resort with a bunch of Americans NOT enjoying the local surroundings. Come on people...you're in Germany. Experience it!! The resort is about a mile from the town center and I never saw many people leaving. When I visit a new place, especially in a foreign country, I want to get out and see what its all about! And yes, sometimes that experience takes you out of your comfort zone....but that's just part of it right? Also, to get a cab is about 8 Euro and in order to get that price you must walk all the way to the entrance because the cabbies have to get their cars inspected, like for bombs, in order to come onto the resort (and the meter is running). Which brings me to...
We had to have our passports or military IDs in order to get on the resort each and every time. Well after the first day of skiing, I had to be kicked off the shuttle because I forgot my ID. Van had to walk about 15 minutes to go and get my ID while I waited at the gate, in the cold. Not something that makes a vacation super enjoyable. I learned my lesson, but as the days went on, the threat level was raised (for military) and our IDs were checked everywhere we went on the resort. I get it, safety. But still....BOO.
No Ski Bus
I mean are you serious? Its a resort with no bus to the main attraction. Each time we went into town, boom 10Euro taxi. However, they did have an afternoon shuttle back to the resort at certain times which we did catch on occasion. But yeah, serious pain in the butt. Every Alps ski town that you visit has a very efficient bus system. The town itself does have a bus system, it just doesn't come to the resort for the ID reasons above.
Terrible Ski Equipment
The ski equipment was just plain pathetic. AND more expensive than the actual ski shops in town!!! I can't even talk about this. Yes, I'm pouting. I did end up switching and was much happier because of it. But I just feel bad for people who didn't take the time to research this and just figured that they were getting the best deal on the military resort....
Van and I went to the "Sports Bar" restaurant the first night we were there. At first we were super excited about the chips and salsa, the wings and other American foods. Until our little British tastebuds tasted it. Way too salty!! But, they are catering to Americans and we just had to go with it. And the portion sizes were massive. It made us realize we are going to be in shock if and when we move back home.
Also, there was only the commissary and BX to shop at if you needed drinks or snacks, and it closed at 6pm every night. I never even found the dang place because by the time we got back from skiing and changed our clothes, it was already to late to go find it. Not cool.
Like I said, we got grouped into the higher ranking scale....some of our friends paid $75 a night, while we paid $150.
Nice Sized Rooms| Views
With it being "American" the rooms were very decently sized. And we had a wonderful view. I'm hoping they give the $150 a nighters the good views :) There was a nice size warddrobe area to hang our ski things...no ski locker, but it did the trick.
Decent Prices in the Restaurants
It was soooo nice to pay in $$ and to be paying normal prices for dinners and drinks. Though the dollar is strong anyway right now, it still was very nice.
It was great to be able to watch American news and TV shows. If you have ever been in the military, you know about AFN. The Armed Forces Network. For overseas members, this is available to you so that you can still have American TV in your foreign home. It's basically a receiver box. But yeah, it was nice! I feel like I have easily fallen into a British bubble here and so I don't really follow along with most news in the States. So I caught up on some things in between naps :)
The resort offered many excursions which was nice and takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to do. So if you like that sort of thing, they have it. Tours included night sledding in Austria, a Bavarian brewery tour, Neuschwanstein Castle (which we did) and many more!
At the resort, there were 3 restaurants and a Starbucks coffee shop. There was a gift shop, a laundromat, an outdoor hot tub, indoor swimming pools and a spa with services. So there were plenty of extras that we don't ever see when travelling around Europe.
So in my opinion....if you are a lower ranking military member, or if you love staying at resort type lodging absolutely STAY HERE! You cannot beat the value. But if you are a higher ranking member, I suggest staying somewhere in town. You will be kicking yourself every time you have to pay for a cab into town.
Mixed review...I know. But had we visited 5 years ago as a military couple, I would have definitely had a different opinion!!
On another travel note,
We decided to scrap our second Alps ski trip to Zermatt. Sad I know, but we are exhausted! Just the thought of a 9 day trip to Switzerland makes me tired. Since November we have been to Prague, Rome, Paris, several places in Germany, the US, back to Germany and then hosted my mom. See what I mean? But never fear because we decided to take a shorter trip instead. It will be a splurgey, romantic and amazing getaway to our favorite place. And actually this will be a first 'return' visit while living here in the UK. And where are we heading? Prague. Of course! Oh I can't wait to be back to my most favorite European city. Yay!
But back to the review....What's your take on resort travel? Are you a more independent traveller like myself? Have you ever needed to take a break from travelling?