Swiss retirement home opens up spare rooms as hotel for tourists
While it’s always lovely to see elderly friends and family in their retirement homes, they aren't often known as great places to spend the holidays. It's clear that one retirement home in Switzerland thinks otherwise, with rooms at their site near Bern now advertised on Booking.com.
Senevita Dorfmatt retirement and holiday home near Bern
“The Senevita Dorfmatt holiday flats and apartments await you with a restaurant, garden views and free Wi-Fi," the company wrote on Booking.com. For between 527 and 693 francs for three nights, holidaymakers are given sumptuous service and a comfy base from which to explore all that Münsingen, Canton Bern has to offer.
The catch? The Dorfmatt is in fact an elderly residential and care centre. The site boasts 50 separate nursing rooms and 78 age-appropriate apartments, four of which are now converted for use as a hotel for paying guests.
Policy helps keep our residents young, says manager
Speaking to the newspaper Bern-Ost, retirement home managing director Sarah Weihaupt explained that the policy was originally created because occupancy rates at the home were low. She added that along with catering to tourists, the rooms are a great tool for retirees whose family "lives further away... [they] can therefore go on holiday with their relatives.”
When asked whether tourists may be put off by the fact that the rooms are in a care home - especially considering that being a retirement home isn’t mentioned on Booking.com - she said that guests are informed about where they are staying when they are welcomed, and that so far no one has been bothered with it. “I think that this information on Booking.com is not relevant because holiday guests benefit from Senevita’s excellent hotel business,” she noted.
“The whole thing creates a good mix that also keeps our residents young,” Weishaupt concluded. In terms of whether people feel like they are staying in a retirement home, she added that “the toilet support aids can be removed at will, encounters with the older residents only occur in the hallways and in the restaurant and so far no one has been surprised about the emergency button in the room. The guests often don’t even notice where they really are.”