Living in a 5-star hotel cheaper than renting in Zurich, report finds

Living in a 5-star hotel cheaper than renting in Zurich, report finds

As the housing crisis in Switzerland continues to rumble on, a new report from Watson has suggested that people in the alpine nation can swap living in rental apartments for long holidays abroad and not lose out financially. They found that it is cheaper to stay at a five-star all-inclusive hotel in a top holiday destination than it is to rent an apartment in the two largest Swiss cities.

Swiss housing crisis continued unabated in 2023

According to the latest data from UBS, 2023 saw the housing crisis in Switzerland kick into high gear. They found that rental costs rose by 5 percent last year, with the bank predicting that if the ongoing shortage of housing - estimated to be increasing by 10.000 homes a year - is not solved quickly, costs will increase further in both 2024 and 2025.

Now, a new study from the Swiss newspaper Watson has put the high cost of living in Swiss cities into sharp relief. To contextualise just how much people are paying for housing in Switzerland, the newspaper compared average monthly rental costs in Swiss cities to how much it would cost to stay at an all-inclusive five-star resort for a month in May.

Luxury hotel stays in Egypt cheaper than renting in Zurich and Geneva

The report found that a month-long stay at the Kairaba Aqua Mondo hotel near Hugharda, with food, drink and flights included, costs 1.600 francs per person. Therefore, on average a five-star hotel on the banks of the Red Sea in Egypt, featuring sun, sea, sand, housekeeping and unlimited food, drinks, activities and more, is cheaper to stay in for a month than a home in Zurich or Geneva.

This is not to mention the extra costs of living outside a hotel such as food shopping, public transport, utilities and other expenses. While not universal, some residents of Lausanne, Winterthur and Bern would still save some pennies if they swapped city living for a life by the beach.

However, it’s important to note that other top holiday destinations didn’t offer such an attractive deal, with prices for all-inclusive hotels found to be much higher in Greece and Turkey. In what will be a relief (or a disappointment) for most, all other Swiss cities’ rental costs were found to be lower on average than a month’s holiday in Egypt.

People in Switzerland increasingly work when on holiday

While the idea of a month-long all-inclusive holiday remains pie in the sky for most, Watson noted that more and more people are staying in hotels for longer. Holidays platforms Hotelplan, Tui and Kuoni have all reported the rise of so-called “workations” where people continue to work remotely while being on holiday for extended periods.

Speaking to Watson, Hotelplan spokesperson Muriel Wolf Landau noted that trips from Switzerland to Thailand, the Canary Islands and the Maldives have all gotten longer since the COVID pandemic. “There are a higher than average number of stays of between 16 and 22 days,” she explained.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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