Hotel in Wengen, Switzerland; Bali hotel, and Bali-Gili Islands ferry

This item appears on page 4 of the November 2011 issue.


My wife and I had an outstanding meal in Wengen at the Bernerhof Hotel (CH-3823 Wengen; phone +41 33 855 2721) on Sept. 5, 2011.

Liver dumpling soup, with venison cutlet for her and wild boar steak for me plus wine, sparkling water and ice cream, all for $109. The cuisine far surpassed the other restaurants we patronized during eight days in Switzerland. The Bernerhof features game from late August to mid October.

Peter Calingaert, Chapel Hill, NC



• On a visit to Bali in May ’11, a friend and I stayed at Gandra House (Jalan Karna No. 8, Ubud Kelod, Ubud, BaIi, 80571, Indonesia; phone +62 361 976529). Great location, one block off the main Monkey Forest Road and Jalan Raya Ubud junction. Friendly, helpful, English-speaking staff.

We were in bungalow No. 9, at the rear in a garden/temple setting! A pot of fresh tea is placed on the balcony before you get up. As soon as you appear, they ask what you want for breakfast and it is delivered! IDR150,000 (near $17) double, fan only, including full breakfast.

Staff can do laundry and arrange transport. We rented a Suzuki Jeep for one day, including insurance, for IDR150,000.

• Rather than take a slow local ferry from Bali to the Gili Islands, take the new, comfortable and fast ferry of Wahana Gili Ocean (Jalan Silayukti Padangbai, Bali, Indonesia; phone +62 361 721640, fax 725744).

The trip, with pickup by minivan and 90-minute ferry ride, was posted all over Ubud as costing IDR660,000 ($75) one way, but NEVER pay this price; it’s ridiculous. By shopping around and bargaining, we got it for IDR300,000 from a travel agency along the main street.

If you don’t have time to hunt for a bargain price, book at the Official Tourist Information Center at the corner of Jalan Raya Ubud and Monkey Forest Road. They quoted IDR350,000.

• Flies are not a problem on Gili Trawangan or Gili Air, but they are a problem on Gili Meno due to a lake on that island.

On Gili Trawangan there are no street addresses and no cars. The only lane is not marked, but it’s called Jalan Sama and circumnavigates the island.

Rather than staying in Gili Trawangan’s main village, I recommend staying on the north shore (but avoid high season in July and August when the prices are high and accommodations are full). Inspect a couple of properties, then bargain.

On Gili Trawangan, we intended to stay three nights at Oshi Bungalows (on the north end of the main village and one block off the lane), but we stayed only one. The final straw — they demanded a tip for laundry that was priced 100% over what we had verbally negotiated, plus it was late by a half day and still not dry.

Our double room there, with fan only, private bath and a mediocre pancake breakfast, cost IDR110,000.

We moved to a north shore hotel that was adequate but nothing to rave over.

Cynthia (Crofoot) Rignanese, Winter Haven, FL