On a recent trip to Europe that took me to Hamburg for ‘Hamburg-DO’ and Istanbul to pick up someone special’s Birthday present, I also built in a 2 day stay in Zurich specifically for Plane Spotting purposes.
Ahead of the trip I was debating on which hotel in Zurich to choose from among the options that were near the airport. I wanted to stay in a hotel on or very near the airport property since I would be spending my entire time at the airport and did not want to spend time commuting back and forth between hotel and airport.
After doing a bit of research, I narrowed it down to the Park Inn and Radisson Blu which are both Radisson properties. The Park Inn is barely off of the airport property and a shuttle bus can have you at the hotel (or back at the airport) within 10 minutes. The Radisson Blu is located on the airport property, across the street from the terminal and is easily accessible via an underground shopping center connected to the airport. You don’t even have to step outside into the elements in order to reach the hotel.
When I compared rates, the Park Inn was about 30-40% less per night compared to the ‘Blu’ which amounted to about a $120-140 a night difference on the dates that I was going to be in ‘ZRH’. This had made the initial decision easy so I made the reservation for the Park Inn. I figure I could ‘tolerate’ a 10 minute shuttle ride to the airport in order to take pictures of airplanes and in the process save $240-280. That buys a lot of film.
However, I did wind up changing my reservation to the Blu after discovering a very useful thread on FlyerTalk that kept track of promotional codes, etc. for Radisson properties. After a quick search, I did find a promotional code that would bring the Blu down to $120/night which beat out the Park Inn rate by about $40/night. This was a no brainer and I pick up the big benefit of being right at the airport and a short walk away from the parking structures and observation deck that I would need for my ‘work’. Not to mention the promotional code included breakfast, which was a fantastic buffet filled with the kind of things you’d want and need in the morning.
By no stretch am I an aficionado of hotels and I never pretend to be. In a busy year, I may spend 20-25 nights staying in hotels which makes me a relative lightweight. However, even on 20-25 nights a year I can start to draw comparisons between hotels that I liked and did not like. The Blu, though convenient and pragmatic, left me a bit disappointed.
Upon entering the hotel, it is very impressive. A very nice and modern lobby awaits guests with lounges and a restaurant. It even sports a multi-story ‘Wine Rack’ which provides entertainment for guests as they watch very acrobatic women scale the structure as they retrieve bottles of wines. My first impressions were positive and I was looking forward to my stay.
Once I checked-in and went to my room is where the bit of disappointment kicked in. I was hoping that the modern look and feel of the lobby would carry through to my room but that was not the case. I walked into a room that was fine in terms of cleanliness, space and a few amenities but was showing its age with decor, wear and tear.
As you’ll see in the photos, the rooms colors and scheme (at least in my humble opinion) looked dated and thrown together almost as an afterthought. The clash between carpets and bedding maybe me wince just a tiny bit when I first walked in.
First glance of the room….
I was not a fan of the Red/Blue combination…..
Now of course, it’s not really important how things look but how they function. I was hoping that things were better than they looked but it did not work out that way. The bed itself was ‘OK’ at best. Good mattress, but the pillows were perhaps the worst that I’ve experienced in a hotel. No structure or support and it took 3 of them to make me feel like I was actually using a pillow.
Good Mattress but the pillows need some serious work……
The bathroom would follow suit and was nothing more than acceptable, and only because it was clean. The fixtures, floor, tub all showed signs of significant use and aging and could use a facelift. Again, it functioned and everything worked the way it was supposed to, but still was a bit of a let down based on my previous hotel experiences.
Functional, just a bit aged and worn.
In summary, if you haven’t figure out my opinion, the room is acceptable. Nothing special, no upside surprises and if you don’t mind a stark color combination then it is perfectly OK!
However, a typical room in this hotel can go from anywhere between $200 and $400 a night and what I DO KNOW from my hotel experiences, when I spent that kind of money, I am usually treated to a fantastic room that I typically love. All I can say is that I was VERY happy that I had a promotional code for this room and only paid about $115/night. I would have been REALLY disappointed had I dropped $250 or more like I’m sure other guests have done for the same experience!
However, I do realize that Zurich and Switzerland at large have very high prices for hotels (and most everything else) and I know that there is a premium to pay for staying on the airport property. I just wished that they took some of this revenue and gave the rooms a bit of a facelift to compliment how great the rest of the hotel looks and feels!
Long story short….Would I stay there again? Yes, but for the right price. Would I recommend it? Yes, but for the right price! 🙂
Over the last few years I’ve become somewhat partial to Hyatt properties and seek them out as my first choice whenever I travel. Recently, one of my favorite properties announced a great new amenity for their guests.
The Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon / Hong Kong has recently begun providing their guests with complimentary use of smartphones during their stay. The phones provide unlimited access to the internet, a Hong Kong City Guide and unlimited calling to the USA, Singapore, Australia, the UK and China.
After staying at Hyatt Properties around the world including Istanbul, London, Singapore, Dubai and Hamburg (next month), this Hyatt property thus far remains my favorite – both for location and quality of staff and product.
You can see the Hyatt Regency in the top left corner, the building is lit up like a ‘T’
One logistic that always seems to create additional expense and stress for travelers is being able to stay connected with your own phone when abroad. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to run up hundreds of dollars in roaming data and voice charges with minimal effort. With this new program, it’s one less thing to worry about.
Among all the amenities that hotels offer such as complimentary bottles of wine and fruit plates, lounge access, etc., this in my opinion ranks among the best perk that can be offered to hotel guests. It’s functional and practical…..much more so than a plate of cheese and turn down service! 🙂
As a follow up to my recent post regarding my mileage ‘jog’ to Lisbon, I thought I’d share my thoughts on what amounted to a very brief stay with the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa located near Lisbon’s ‘City Center’.
My main objective for this trip was to get as many ‘P’ & ‘Z’ miles as possible during my 3 day jog to Europe which included 10 segments (on a combo of LH, LX, OS, UA metal) with stops in IAD, FRA (3x), VIE, ZRH (2x), LIS, EWR and finally GRR. My ‘prowess’ for planning even created a nice block of time for Plane Spotting from Zurich’s fantastic observation platform.
I wasn’t nearly as concerned about hotel rooms on this trip since I would only be in Frankfurt for 2 nights and Lisbon for 1. I settled on the Sheraton due to proximity to both airport and city as well as on the recommendation of someone who has visited the property.
This scene was waiting for me as I exited the terminal. If you look closely, you can see that the rainbow ‘spilled’ its colors into the flags……I didn’t realize how perfect this photo could have been at the time. Unfortunately some of the street signs got in the way.
I landed in Lisbon at approximately 2pm and was at the hotel by 3pm. Lisbon has a very efficient subway system with a station at the airport which made it very easy to reach the hotel. In fact, the hotel was only a 15 minute walk from the train station and could have been shorter except for the fact that I got off of the train 1 stop too early.
The staff at check-in was welcoming and offered to acclimate me to the property and amenities. Being that I was in a hurry to see Lisbon since I was leaving early the next morning, I politely declined the offer but asked about what I can see and experience in 6 hours in the city. The check-in agent pulled out a map and proceeded to circle all of her favorite places in areas that were easy to reach and would give me a taste of Lisbon. Her recommendation revolved around the Baixa District, which I wrote about in a previous post. It turned out to be a fantastic tip.
Anywho, back to the room review………yes, anywho.
Being that I do not have any significant status with Sheraton, I was not expecting any type of an upgrade, etc. but thats OK, the room that I was given was more than suitable and had perhaps one of the more interesting bathrooms that I’ve seen in a typical non-suite hotel room.
The hotel room was spacious for European standards. Even with a king-sized bed I had plenty of room and was not tripping over myself or my luggage. The room was appointed in rich, dark colors which made it feel cozy and warm, without ‘shrinking’ it. The room’s furnishings were in excellent condition with the room showing very little wear. After settling in and with the room as comfortable as it was, it would have been easy to skip an afternoon of sightseeing and to take a nap instead. I had to battle through the temptation.
Enough said…..here are a few photos that I took that I think captured the essence of the room and should give you a good idea as to what you can expect should you stay at the property (after seeing them however, I should just stick to plane spotting!). Considering its location and reasonable pricing, I would easily recommend the property to anyone planning on a visit to ‘LIS’.
Looking back to the entry way. Closets are to the left, bathroom is on the right. The ‘X’ on the ceiling and floor are side effects from the camera’s flash.
A VERY comfortable king-sized bed. I slept like a baby.
As I mentioned early, the bathroom was the unique feature. One of the walls was glass which gave a very clear view of the bath from the bedroom. Privacy could be achieved with the blinds but if you are sharing a room with a non-significant other, a lot of steps need to take place to ensure privacy! If I had to guess, I would submit that this glass wall is designed to make the room look bigger. A solid wall would give the room a claustrophobic feel.
Other than the ‘unique’ glass wall feature, the bathroom was outstanding. Spotless, roomy and full of useful amenities. Though I was not a big fan of the large mirror in the shower….Scary and sobering…..I had to turn the other way! 🙂
Looking the other way into the room, you’ll find standard room features including desk, chair, dresser, flat-screen TV etc. The shades are drawn to eliminate glare from the sunshine. The shades are powered, making it easy to adjust settings without fumbling with cords, etc.
Decent views of Lisbon from the upper floor room. Having just rained, the window was spotted….sorry!
Aother view of Lisbon looking to a different direction.