Another headline caught my attention today while things were quiet from the LH Front.
According to a DailyMail UK piece including video evidence, a Canadian business traveller stumbled across a safe in his hotel room that has a default passcode that can be entered to override any combination and open the safe. The traveller suggested that the hotel staff told him the default code is 000000 when he called the front desk to ask them to reset his safe after he had forgotten his code. The article goes on to explain other ways to bypass hotel safes as well. None are difficult to master.
I’m not sure if this is a big problem and one that extends to a variety of safes in hotel rooms around the world. But if it is possible in a hotel room somewhere in Ontario, then it may be likely to be possible anywhere.
So the next time your in a hotel, try it out. See if the passcode default is nothing but 0’s, thus rendering the protection of your valuables fairly worthless.
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! 🙂