We stayed eight nights at Hotel Zermama in Zermatt. It’s located in the north end of the city centre, directly across from the Zermatt-Sunnegga funicular station.
The hotel is a 5-minute walk to the Zermatt and Zermatt GBB (Gornergrat) train stations and less than a 10-minute walk to the southern end of Bahnhofstrasse (main shopping street) where many bars and restaurants are located.
As far as location goes, it’s hard to beat this hotel.
Room – Double L
We booked a Double L room direct on the hotel’s website and our booking included breakfast. Our room did not have a Matterhorn view but one was not needed because the Matterhorn is visible from almost every point on the mountains.
Double L rooms (ours was #301) are the second-largest rooms in the hotel, however, it must be noted that most of the additional space was in the bathroom which I appreciated… when I was in the bathroom.
The bathroom vanity had above-average counter space and it had drawers for extra storage. There was a wide ledge below the window to put clean clothes on to change into after showering and the shower was a walk-in shower – no glass screen or door. It was marvelous.
Our room had two large built-in wardrobes with ample shelving and hanging space. One thing that the wardrobes were missing was drawers which was a bummer because there was no other furniture in the room to store clothing and personal items.
Note: When I’m on a long vacation – especially one where there’s a lot gear and different types of clothing – I completely unpack my bags.
On the other hand, Peter dumps the contents of his bags onto the floor and works from a pile of clothing all week.
The sleeping area was large but it was not a functional use of space. There was a large “chest” in the corner of the room that took up an entire wall. It was filled with things from the hotel like a fondue kit, coffee cups, a fridge, minibar snacks, etc.
Better use of that space would have been a desk and chair so that there would have been an area to store and charge electronic devices.
The bed was a double bed (comparable to a US king bed or UK super king bed) and it was comfortable.
We found the room to be uncomfortably hot at night and slept every night with the bathroom window open. There isn’t a thermostat in the room nor were there radiators or vents in the room. The floors didn’t feel heated either so we have no idea how the room was heated.
Lastly, the room would have benefited from a foldable luggage stand or a bench to set open luggage on. There was a small ottoman that we used as a luggage stand for one of our carry-on bags. The rest of the bags were open on the floor and we were always stepping over them.
The Double L room gets a rating of 8/10.
Room – Double M
I’ll go into our room charades later in this post but, in short, we were forced to change rooms after our 7th night. The hotel moved us into a Double M (ours was #202) which is a standard-size room with a Matterhorn view. They didn’t tell us that they were giving us a different room type, they just handed us the key and surprise! Not the same type of room.
The bathroom in the Double M was cramped. It had no counter space and no surface to put clean clothes (or anything for that matter) on except on the toilet seat. There was a small corner shower and the wall that divided the bathroom from the sleeping area was split into halves. One half was a traditional plaster wall and the other was floor-to-ceiling glass. Why?!?!?!
The glass half was directly in front of the toilet so when sitting on the toilet, I could see into the sleeping area. And since this glass worked both ways, when I was in the sleeping area, I could see the toilet. Why?!?!?!
The wardrobes and the bed in the Double M were identical to the Double L so no skimping on amenities in that regard.
The sleeping area was much smaller than the Double L but it had a long bench that we used to set our open luggage on which made the room more functional than the Double L. The same worthless “chest” existed in the corner where a desk and chair should have been.
As for the Matterhorn view, yes, technically, there was a view of the Matterhorn but I had to stand in the corner of the deck and peer around the deck’s dividing wall to see it. I did this same maneuver on our Double L deck and saw the Matterhorn and our Double L room was not marketed as having a view of the Matterhorn.
The Double M room gets a rating of 7/10. And if we were to return to Hotel Zermama, we’d book the Double L room again.
Ski and boot room
The ski and boot room at Hotel Zermama is in an adjoining building between the Flexrent ski rental shop and the hotel. The walk to the Zermatt-Sunnegga funicular station entrance (at the street) is a one-minute walk in full ski gear. It could not be more convenient.
Every hotel room has an individual locker which is opened with a swipe of the room key card. The locker key card reader is located on the wall inside the room next to the door that connects the ski and boot room to the hotel.
The full-length lockers have hooks, helmet pegs, heated boot and glove pegs, and a cargo net attached to the door to store small things like glove liners and hand/foot warmers.
Most of the time we had the ski and boot room to ourselves but, on occasion, others would join us. It was never crowded but one improvement that could be made is to replace the plinth (showcasing a pair of shoes) that’s in the middle of the room with a bench because there’s a shortage of seating in the room.
The ski and boot room gets a 9/10 because of the limited seating.
Our booking included breakfast, something we’d wish it had not included. It was a disaster every day.
The breakfast was comprised of a limited cold buffet that included juices, bread, fruit, yogurt, cereal, and cherry tomatoes.
In addition to the cold buffet, there was a three-tier stand on every table that included a variety of pastries and yogurts – basically the same foods as the buffet. Perhaps the three-tier stand was a leftover workaround from pandemic restrictions where open buffets were not allowed?
Breakfast was never busy and we were always seated promptly. After we were seated, the server delivered a bottle of orange juice and a wooden board with 4 thin slices of deli meat and a couple of slices of cheese.
Coffees and eggs cooked-to-order (e.g. soft boiled, omelet, fried) could be ordered from the server which we did daily.
Note: The hotel restaurant is open to hotel guests (with breakfast included or ala carte) and to non-hotel guests as ala carte. There is an ala carte menu but this is not presented to hotel guests who have breakfast included in their booking.
After seven breakfasts (13 cooked-to-order egg orders), we concluded that the chefs at this hotel do not know how to cook eggs. It did not matter what we ordered or how clearly we described how to cook the eggs or which ingredients to include in the omelets, our orders were never cooked properly.
As we worked our way through the week, we noticed that some diners were eating foods that were from the ala carte menu.
On or about the 5th morning, I asked if items on the restaurant’s ala carte menu were included in our breakfast. I was told that I could order from the menu and up to 20 CHF would be included as part of our “included breakfast.”
She went on to firmly explain that if I ordered off of the ala carte menu, I could not take anything from the cold buffet, the three-tier stand on the table, or the wooden meat/cheese board.
I agreed to the terms and conditions of my ala carte order and she removed my plate and pushed the three-tier stand and the wooden meat/cheese board to Peter’s side of the table.
It was a Classic Swiss move.
Switzerland, as we learned, is a country that “nickels and dimes” customers for everything. Ketchup packets, mustard packets, hot chocolate toppings (whipped cream and marshmallows), and tap water are a few examples of chargeable items.
The shakshuka (a baked egg dish) I ordered arrived 20 minutes later with egg whites that were raw.
Breakfast gets a rating of 2/10.
Due to its location across from the funicular station, Hotel Zermama is a hopping place for après-ski!
There was live music every day (outside) and if you are willing to sit inside, there’s plenty of seating. Outdoor seating is highly sought after and starts to fill up around 3pm. The outdoor area was standing room only by 4pm every day.
The après-ski menu had a good variety of foodstuffs and cocktails, both alcoholic and alcohol-free. Wines were available by the glass or bottle and there were a handful of beers on tap and more available in the bottle, so there was something for everyone.
The prices in the table below were for drinks ordered at Hotel Zermama. Their prices were in line with restaurants and bars in Zermatt and on the slopes.
|Hotel Zermama drink||CHF||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|500ml of beer||9.00||9.60||7.40|
|100ml of wine|
Note: A bottle of wine contains 750ml so this is a tiny serving.
|1 liter of tap water||9.00||9.60||7.40|
Room charades / reception
When we arrived at the hotel, we were informed that we would possibly have to change rooms after our fourth night but that they were going to try to rearrange their bookings to keep us in the same room and they’d be in touch.
We were disappointed to hear this and reception insisted that we had been informed of this before our arrival – we had not been. Days later after the room situation started to unravel, reception finally admitted that they had not informed us of this before arrival.
They blamed their booking system for not alerting them that it had automatically split the reservation. While that was understandable, there was no person or system to blame for how things spiraled over the course of our stay.
The fourth night came and went and since we had not heard anything about changing rooms, we left for the slopes on day 5 without packing up our things.
Whilst at lunch, Peter received a call asking why we had not packed up our things. He said, “No one told us we were moving rooms.” This was strike two on room change communication.
The call ended with reception saying that they would pack and move our things and that we needed to stop by reception to collect our new keys when we returned from skiing.
When we returned to the hotel, we were told that they rearranged their bookings and that we were able to stay in our room. They went on to say that we would possibly have to change rooms after our seventh night.
The day of our seventh night came and when we returned to the hotel from skiing, we found a thank you note on the bed indicating it would be our last night in that room. There was no verbal communication from reception of confirmation of a pending room change – no voicemail on the room’s phone, no call to Peter during the day, nothing. This was strike three on room change communication.
We stopped by reception on our way to dinner that night and asked, “What’s the thank you note all about?” He told us that we knew we would have to change rooms and we said, “We were told that we might have to change rooms and that someone would be in touch. No one has been in touch.”
I asked, “Does this mean that we won’t have access to any room tomorrow between check-out and check-in?” He confirmed this was true and I made my thoughts known.
Note: Peter took a tumble on the slopes (bad enough to visit the local doctor and have x-rays!) and it was unclear if he would be skiing the next day. If he decided not to ski, then being without a room all day would have been problematic.
The following day we went skiing but it was a short day and returned to the hotel before our new room was ready. Word of our dissatisfaction with the room change situation (our dissatisfaction was not with the room change but with the lack of communication about the room change) reception team and they offered us free dinner at the hotel.
We declined but said we’d appreciate free cocktails so we sipped espresso martinis in the hotel bar whilst we waited for our room.
About an hour later, reception handed us our key and I knew from the room number scribbled on the key that they had assigned us a room that was not the same type of room we had booked. Reception didn’t say anything about the room type when he handed us the key, just handed it over with a smile and I was like hmm.
We value spacious rooms and from our perspective, the smaller Double M room they assigned to us was a downgrade. We also paid for a Double L room and assumed that because the Double M room was smaller, it was cheaper so noted that something financially would need to be done to make things right. More conversations were had with reception.
Upon check-out the following morning, reception finally acknowledged how poorly the situation had been handled. She said that when reservations are split, they do their best to upgrade the guest’s room for the second half of their stay. And because the Double M they assigned to us was categorized as having a Matterhorn view, they considered it an upgrade.
Note: The Double L and the Double M had the same per night price, so from a financial perspective, these rooms were equal.
There were a few problems with their theory of upgrading the guest’s room.
First, the view is not the priority for all guests. And I’m not sold on the story that, in our case, it was a voluntary decision to assign us the “upgraded” Double M room. In my mind, it’s more likely that their system overbooked the Double L room and that’s why we were assigned the Double M room.
Second, as mentioned above, the room did not have a view of the Matterhorn.
Third, handing a key to a guest and not giving a heads up that the room type was different than what the guest had booked is a risky proposition. And in our situation, it backfired.
Reception explained that they typically do not inform guests when the replacement room is an upgraded room because they want their guests to have a wow factor when they walk into their room.
We had a wow factor. It was, “Wow! After everything they’ve put us through this week, they’ve topped it off by assigning us a downgraded room.”
Reception closed out our stay by trying to make things right. I suppose this was to thwart any negative online reviews which I can understand.
She gifted us two camping mugs and comped our breakfast for that day.
She gave us a sincere apology and admitted that they had learned from how our stay was handled and that they are better equipped to handle situations like ours going forward.
Hotel Zermama is a good hotel that is on its way to being a great hotel. The location and design of the hotel are hard to beat but the breakfast and communication need to improve.
We left Hotel Zermama with mixed feelings but overall happy with our experience and would stay there again.
If we were to do our vacation over again, what would change?
As far as core decisions go, we wouldn’t change a thing. We’d stay at Hotel Zermama, we’d rent from Flexrent, we’d buy 7-day ski passes (including Italy access), and we’d fly into Geneva and take the train to Zermatt.
The things we would change are related to eating and dining.
We’d opt out of breakfast at Zermama (unless there was a revamp), we’d do more après-ski on-piste like at Adler Hitta, and we’d swap out a couple of restaurants we dined at for dinner for other restaurants that found whilst in Zermatt.
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