Alpine Accommodation: What Is It Like?

Beneath Mont Blanc on the Italian side | Kate Baker
Beneath Mont Blanc on the Italian side | Kate Baker

Alpine Accommodation: What Is It Like?

Read on as we explain the differences between a mountain refuge and a private room on a Mont Blanc walking tour 

Is staying in dormitory-style accommodation all it's cracked up to be or is it worth paying extra and upgrading to a private room on your alpine walking holiday?
To put it bluntly: this question doesn’t have a straightforward answer. It comes down to a matter of personal taste and a range of factors. Understanding what type of traveller you are will help you tailor your Alps accommodation preferences so you can have the best possible hiking tour.
Comfortable gite in the Swiss Alps |  <i>Jac Lofts</i>

What is a Mountain Refuge? 

On alpine trips, the accommodation can sometimes reflect the rugged nature of the trail. Dorms in mountain refuges can sleep up to 40 people, often in bunk beds with blankets and shared bathrooms. Common areas for dining and sitting lead to a convivial atmosphere.
Staying in a dorm represents a chance to live simply and communally with people from all over the world. Every dorm is different. They can sleep as few as 6 to as many as 40 in bunk beds, one long platform with separate mattresses or one long continuous mattress. 
Clean bedding is provided, so don’t worry about packing your sleeping bag, but we recommend bringing your own sheet. If you’re a light sleeper, don't forget to pack earplugs!
Elizabetta Soldini Refuge situated just below the col where the most famous climbing routes on Mont Blanc can be seen including the Peuterey Ridge and Brouillard Face. |  <i>Sue Badyari</i>

Reasons for choosing to stay in a mountain refuge

You’re travelling solo
A dorm is generally the only option available to you when travelling alone in the Alps. Private rooms have two beds in them, so even if you request a private room, the other bed in the room will be assigned to another person and you will end up sharing with someone you don’t know. 
Evening dinner at Refuge Elena |  <i>Ryan Graham</i>


You like to socialise
In the mountains, when you’re disconnected from social media and other first-world conveniences, good old-fashioned conversation takes over as the main source of entertainment. Many travellers rank the conversations they shared with fellow travellers in dorms after a long day of walking as a trip highlight. 
Dorm Room at Relais d'Arpette |  <i>Ryan Graham</i>
It’s not just for "young people" 
Don’t expect the dorms to be filled with backpackers. Mountain refuges are convivial places full of people of all ages and from a range of backgrounds – students, professionals, families and retirees. 
  European alps refuge accommodation

Private Room Upgrades in Mountain Hotels

The option to upgrade your accommodation is possible on many of our alpine walking tours.
As the name suggests, private rooms in mountain huts offer more privacy. They usually equate to a bit more space to move and relax after a long day, too. If you are travelling with someone and want your own space, you can pay a supplement and upgrade to a private room. 
Be mindful that not all private rooms have en-suites, so you may end up sharing facilities with those in the dorm anyway. 
On self-guided trips private rooms are available every night, but on guided trips you will get a mixed bag of private, quad-share and dorm-style accommodation. 
Comfortable lodges on the Mont Blanc Circuit provide a nice respite after a good days walk |  <i>Sue Badyari</i>

In Summary

No matter where you rest your weary head, you are bound to have an incredible experience walking an alpine trail or the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc. Check out past UTracks Traveller reviews to see how much they appreciate their walking holidays. Everyone on a tour in the European Alps shares a fantastic camaraderie and spirits are always as high as the mountains themselves.

Alpine Walking Tours

Time to start planning which alpine walking tour is right for you? Check out our comprehensive range of affordable self guided and guided walking holidays. If you'd like to do the Tour du Mont Blanc, click here.

Are you the mountain refuge type or prefer a private room while on an alpine walking holiday? Let us know in the comments, but remember it doesn't really matter what you like because with UTracks you can explore the Alps your way.
Alps, France, Mont Blanc, mountain huts, mountains, refuges, Switzerland, Alpine accomodation

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