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Monday, March 20, 2006

Hotel Review – Hotel Intercontinental Zurich

I checked in after a full day of work at the office.  Check in was generally pretty strait-forward, I gave them my CC and got my keys. 

I had been warned about the "Club Room" accomodations.  These are rooms intended for business travelers, and they make no attempt to make it seem bigger than it is.  It’s really small.  There is a bed approximately equal to an American twin bed.   For business travel, I rarely complain about accomodation size since I don’t spend much time in the rooms. 

In general it is my understanding that the Hotel IC sets itself apart with its service.  I will say that while the service wasn’t outright bad, it was a bit inconsistent.  When I returned to my room after a full day’s work, it was always interesting to see what shape the room was in.  It was always clean, mind you, but sometimes the bed would be turned down, and sometimes it wouldn’t.  Sometimes they had (mercifullly) left the window open, keeping the room near a liveable temperature.  Other times the heat was cranked up and the windows closed, resulting in a sauna-like homecoming.  

In fact, to keep the room comfortable at night, I had to keep the A/C on and the window open all the time.  Mind you, this was in February.  I don’t know where the heat radiates from, but the rooms are really hot.  And the "A/C" is little more than an air blower.  And the one window that opens exposes you to a sum total of about two inches of exposure to the raw winter evenings in Zurich.  

One weekend day, I decided to take one of those "Gray Line" city tours.  It never ceases to amaze me how many cities in various countries around the world have these.  And, it’s always Gray Line.  We’re taking a Gray Line tour when our family goes to NYC this month, and in February I took a Gray Line tour of Zurich.  I’ve taken Gray Line tours of Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Seattle, and probably others I can’t remember.  

Anyway, the hotel wants you to buy the tour ticket from them.  They probably get a commission or something, although the ticket price at the concierge was the same as the Gray Line ticket window.  Anyway, I went to the concierge, asked to get a ticket, and was handed the Gray Line tour ticket log to fill in myself.  Then, I asked if I could put the ticket price on my (personal) MasterCard – big mistake.  I try to avoid charging personal expenses to my room or corporate Amex because the cross-payments to get everything strait later are a pain in the butt.  

So there was general hrumphing as people behind the desk tried to figure out how to charge it to my MC.  At one point they asked me to sign both an M/C charge slip and a room charge.  I politely declined and tried to reiterate my position.  I learned later why they asked me for this.  It turns out, when I presented my personal MasterCard, they took it as "put all charges to my room on this card, retroactive to when I checked in."  I leaned this on check-out, when they asked if I wanted to keep all my charges on my MasterCard.  That took some clearing up, and I still had pre-charge authorizations  from IC stuck to my card after I returned.  

I’m sure if I were staying in Zurich for a holiday, I would choose a different hotel, like the Savoy at Paradeplatz or the Marriott or Hilton.  For sightseeing, the IC is fairly centrally located (on one main tram route to downtown and walking distance from one to the central train station) but as far as view and holiday comforts, you should go to one of the bigger hotels.  Otherwise, the IC is perfect for the business traveller who spends little time in their hotel room. 

After the jump, links to pictures of the hotel room.     

Hotel room, in all it’s glory and grandeur, upon entry through the door

Most of the hotel room in one picture. 

The very door I walked through to take the other two pictures, as seen from the other side of the room, vast meters from the spot at which I took the first two pictures. 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:00 pm  

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