A night at Obersteinberg is a highlight for everyone on our Bernese Oberland tours. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and inspiring. And the fresh mountain air is the perfect antidote to today’s stressful routines.
The rooms are simple and absolutely charming. Private beds with thick, fluffy duvets, a little side table, porcelain washbasin, and a candle in case you want a little extra light. All rooms come standard with gorgeous waterfalls views, as the Schmadribach falls now directly at eye level across the valley. There is a lounge and dining room where you can hang out with a drink and play cards or chat, or if the weather is good, sit outside at one of their outdoor tables and take in the panorama. If they have pear torte on hand, order a big slice “mit Rahm” (with whipped cream), for a post hike recovery snack.
Obersteinberg has been in the same family for generations and is run by two sisters, Dori and Manuela von Allmen. Manuela’s son Julian has started taking on a more active role at the guesthouse. They’re not perfect. A little stressed at times and not overly effusive, but don’t come here expecting a best friend and you’ll find them to be professional, hard-working and efficient. Until recently the cows were tended by their brother Hans with his American wife Vicki. This is truly a family-run operation.
Dinners are a communal affair. At 7 pm, they’ll ring the dinner bell and you’ll likely be seated with others as you are treated to a hearty all-you-can eat buffet of soup, salad, meat and starch. It’s not fancy, but it’s always delicious, and you’ll never leave hungry. Milk, cheese and butter all come from the cows outside. Afterwards you can hang out in the lounge area, or if the weather is good, take a short walk. Especially in early summer when it doesn’t get dark until 9 or 10, this can be the magic hour.
After a blissful sleep, you’ll wake to cowbells and a simple breakfast of bread, jam, cheese and coffee. Before leaving, you might wander over to the barn to check out the cheese-making operation. Everything is still made the traditional way – cows milked daily, milk and rennet heated slowly in a copper cauldron over a small fire, the farmer scooping out huge bags of curd with cheesecloth and then pressing it under a giant stone weight. This timeless process is the very heart of Swiss culture, key to survival for a subsistence farmer in this remote environment.
You’ll want a reservation before heading up to Berghotel Obersteinberg. Even though their remote location cuts down on traffic, they only have a small number of rooms, and Obersteinberg can fill up, especially on weekends when they are a popular destination for Swiss families. They don’t have a website and they take reservations by phone (+41 33 855 2033) when they’re at the inn in summer, June through September — be sure to call after breakfast and before dinner.