Interlaken is a resort destination in the heart of Switzerland. The little town in Bernese Oberland is located on an alluvial land between lake Thun and lake Brienz and is a getaway to the mountains. Its location and easy accessibility from major airports and business hubs such as Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva, makes it an attractive destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), and the proximity to lakes and mountains offer further incentive and team building opportunities.
After two days in Bern we travelled to Interlaken, less than one hour journey by train. I can’t think of any other destination apart of Switzerland that offers such a diverse landscape within proximity – cities, lakes and mountains so close and easily accessible. Without saying, the train journey was an experience in itself!
Why Interlaken for events
Arriving in Interlaken we were greeted by Carmen from Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken and walked to Metropole Hotel where we stayed for one night. The little resort of population approximately of 5,900, has hotel capacity of over 3,500 beds in the range of three to five star hotels, most within walking distance.
Inetlaken’s high season is summer between June and September. Nevertheless, the resort offers big variety of social activities to accompany a business conference all year round. Most notable is the Jungfrau Mountain which attracts visitors from all over the world all year round. Its imposing grandeur is visible from the venues and going to the top could be a nice addition to your social programme. The train journey takes 2,5 hours so you will need to allocate an extra full day for this activity. Unfortunately we didn’t go to the top because of the short stay so it is still on my list.
In summer you can do water activities such as boat tour on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz or mountain activities such as, for example, taking the vintage steam railway Brienz Rothorn up to Brienzer Rothorn, which I did back in 2011. You travel on a panoramic train and can just lean back, enjoy the nature and see the cows peacefully grazing. Luckily I found few old photos on my Facebook you can see below.
In winter, you can incorporate the Ice Magic into your event programme. The Ice Magic consists of various sized ice rinks linked by a winding 400-metre ice runway. Additionally, they have a wonderful outdoor space, The Winter Lounge, a Christmas Market and offer a wide range of culinary option, including mulled wine and Christmas punch to warm you up.
Metropole Hotel Interlaken
After a quick check-in I went for a site-visit of the Metropole Hotel, the tallest building in Interlaken. It has 96 rooms in total, 84 of them are facing the Jungfrau mountain. Our room was on the 14th floor with gorgeous mountain views. When you wake up to this view in the morning it is a real motivation to start the day!
Furthermore, the hotel has 13 conference rooms which can accommodate small groups and up to about 200 people theatre style. Additionally, the hotel has a small gym and a sauna. A 24h business centre with two working stations and free of charge coffee are also included.
Lastly, the hotel has three restaurants, the Bellini, Top o’Met and Metro Bar.
We had our dinner booked at the hotel’s Bellini restaurant. It was very convenient dining at the hotel and the food and service were exceptionally good, we really enjoyed it.
Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken
After dinner it was early bed time as next day I had more to see. Following hotel breakfast I headed to Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken. When in Interlaken, you can’t miss the impressive buildings that form the Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken surrounded by the beautiful park.
Apart of offering event space, Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken can support with event organisation. They know the destination inside out and possess the right local contacts, such as with local hotels and guides. They can also consult and support the entire planning process by offering all-in-one destination service.
When you enter the building you are taken aback by the historic ambiance, modern facilities and the uniqueness of each room. The venue is suitable for exhibitions, conferences, seminars, weddings, gala dinners and concerts with total capacity over 1,500 people. The concert hall is the biggest and benefits from natural daylight.
Additionally, the venue has a Folklore Restaurant “Spycher” that offers traditional Swiss Cuisine and can be booked exclusively for groups. This is a great option to add a local and authentic experience to your business event. The restaurant can accommodate groups from 20 – 200 people.
Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa Interlaken
Lastly, after Congress Centre Kursaal Interlaken we headed to Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa for a site visit and lunch.
Grand Hotels and Palaces in Switzerland are known to be traditional and sometimes old fashioned buildings, so, I was positively surprised how modern the rooms and facilities are at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa! The hotel has 224 rooms, of which 102 are Junior Suites or Suites, the biggest room capacity in Interlaken.
Additionally, the hotel has a leading spa. On its 5,500-square-meter it offers indoor swimming pool, outdoor brine bath, whirlpools, sauna complex, massage choices, fitness gym and Sensai Select Spa range of treatment. The hotel takes great pride being able to incorporate a wellness programme into the conference. For example, they can invite an expert to speak about selected topics on wellbeing and offer balanced menu as part of event catering.
There are in total 22 conference and banqueting rooms and can accommodate group from 10 – 400 people. The biggest capacity is 400 theatre style in La Salle Côté Jardin. The rooms are very bright with natural daylight.
Lastly, there are two restaurants, La Terrasse and Quaranta Uno. We concluded with lunch at the Italian restaurant Quaranta Uno. They have an eye catching anitpasti buffet and fantastic selection of home-made Italian specialties it was hard to choose from. Great place for a quick business lunch or an informal dinner.
Soon after lunch it was time to head back home to Heidelberg. It was very short but enjoyable stay. I think because I come from a city, and not long ago moved from the hustle and bustle of London, I particularly enjoyed this resort destination. It was great just not thinking about planning, getting or waiting for the next transport, and instead strolling around and enjoying the mountain view. I got back surprisingly very relaxed and motivated. The natural environment, coupled with excellent and reliable organisation from the side of Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau and local partners in Bern and Interlaken made this trip very successful.