I was recently enjoying a long weekend in Lausanne and staying at the lovely Hotel Regina, which, despite the price, is apparently considered a "Swiss Budget Hotel."
In Switzerland, CHF 188 ($174) a night for a hotel is "budget."
As most Americans who have visited or attempted to live in Switzerland know, the Swiss have a very different definition of the word "budget." The Swiss Budget Hotel guide is a great example of this. Here, the hotels listed include places that cost CHF 250 ($230) a night. And I don't know about you, but I find that far from the "budget" I used to know.
Another crazy thing about Switzerland is what people consider a sale. Getting excited about a 50% discount is one thing. But in Switzerland, people get excited about 10% off.
For example, RailAway often has some deals on trips and places within Switzerland, but these involve buying the tickets at the departure station from the counter, which, more often than not, is filled with lines of confused people and usually not worth the 2 CHF I might save on the entrance to the Ballenberg Museum, for example. If I'm going to wait in a line the length of a Swiss bus, then I want to save more than 2 CHF.
When friends and family visit with their American perceptions of "budget", I always find myself apologizing for the high prices. I mean, you can't eat dinner for less than about CHF 50 for two people. But, nevertheless, if I pay CHF 50 for a meal for two now, I remark, "what a great deal." I guess I'm becoming slightly less price sensitive in my old expat status.