Lisbeth Mathys was displeased feeling like the odd person out when asking for a single room at a hotel. That is what convinced the widow of an industrialist to set up a comfortable refuge for solo travellers. Since September 2006, she has been the owner of Switzerland’s first hotel catering to individuals travelling
on their own. The exquisitely appointed, four-star Eden is located in Spiez on the shores of tranquil Lake Thun.It can be a very unpleasant experience, especially for women, spending the night alone in a hotel.
The discrimination begins with the booking: paying a hefty supplement for single occupancy of a room. And dinner, the only available table is the one beside the entrance to the kitchen or in the best case, the one in the middle of the dining room where you are on display for all to see. The service staff avoid you and your innocent request for a nightcap at the bar is often misunderstood, attracting unwanted attention. All of this is irritating since even single guests have the right to be treated like a king or queen. This was often the experience of Lisbeth Mathys
when she began to travel alone following the death of her husband Robert a few years ago. Together, they had seen the world, and after his passing, she wanted to get to know Switzerland better. But the 62-year-old businesswoman from canton Solothurn soon discovered there was a big difference checking into a hotel alone or with a partner. “I had many bad experiences and never really felt welcome. I was never treated the way I wanted to be,” she remembers. The more popular the hotel, the more she felt as if she had been stranded on a desert island. Due to a lack of alternatives, she would often take refuge in her room after dinner, having to spend the rest of the evening with the television as her sole companion.
Lisbeth Mathys discovered during her many visits to Swiss hotels that she was not alone in her thoughts. She saw people of all ages eating by themselves and lonely: no heartening conversation or special attention from the staff. It was a touching scene that played on her mind. Then one night, as she once again retreated to her room disappointed, the idea came to her:
A hotel for people travelling unaccompanied – that’s what! more...