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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hotel Review – Hotel Intercontinental Zurich

Ah, where to begin.  Well, it was a disaster from the start.

I travelled on business to Zurich from September 4 through 11.  My company has a corporate rate with the Intercontinental, and it’s only two tram stops from the office, so it’s usually OK.  We know the rooms are small, but the proximity makes it a good choice.


I arrived at Zurich International Airport at about 10:00 PM Monday night.  Usually I take a cab strait to the office, but since I did not have to be at work until Tuesday morning I figured I’d take the hotel shuttle.  I waited at the clearly marked and appointed location, where a schedule was clearly posted that the Hotel Intercontinental ran shuttles every 30 minutes at 05 and 35.  Since I emerged from the baggage claim and immigration at about 10 PM, I figured I’d have plenty of time, since (again, according to the clearly posted schedule) the shuttles run until 23:35.

After wasting an hour waiting for the shuttle that did not arrive, I called the hotel.  "Oh," they said, "The shuttle is no longer running.  Just take a cab."  Well, a cab will cost me about CHF60, and the shuttle would have been CHF22.  The hotel assures me that they’ll take care of it.  Meanwhile, having waited around for an hour for a ride, a gypsy cabbie had already started stalking me out, hoping for a fare.  I had to give him the slip first (thanks, Hotel Intercontinental) and then find a real taxi to take to the HI.

I finally arrived at the hotel at midnight.  The hotel is 20 minutes from the airport.  

I entered the lobby and was immediately bombarded with the noise from some sort of renovation work being done on the floors.  It was very loud, and almost impossible to hear the hotel staff, who apparently were unaware of the major decibels being emitted from this floor destruction equipment, because they refused to speak any louder to make themselves heard.  At one point, I had leaned so far forward over the desk to hear the front desk staff, I thought about climbing up on the desk.

I asked for a smoking room, I got a non-smoking room.  "No problem," the front desk guy said, he handed me an ashtray.

I booked my corporate rate, and didn’t get it.  It took phone calls from an executive’s assistant to get the rate.  

My priority club membership level gives me free local phone calls, which they charged me for.

I tried to complain about these issues; they always told me the manager was "away", and that they would review them upon his return.  I never heard from them again, nor did I get a credit for the local phone calls.

About half way through my stay, the phone stopped working altogether.  It turns out, they thought I had checked out, so they turned it off.

The Hotel Intercontinental is used heavily by my company.  It’s small, it’s cheap, it’s convenient.  But the mishaps and unresolved issues will cause me to rethink staying there again.  We also have a corporate rate at the Marriott. 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 7:15 pm  

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