Pros: The view is incredible - but then again, there are few places in Switzerland where it isn't. Camping, for instance. Camping in Switzerland has incredible views. And a similar level of service and amenities.
Cons: Overbooking is very common at this hotel and you will be rerouted (upon arrival, no prior notice), to more run-down hotels far out of the way - all while being charged full price.
Cons: If you're lucky enough to keep your room, there are a plethora of issues and false advertisements to irritate you for the rest of your stay.
My husband and I booked months in advance and received the "your reservation is guaranteed" notice. Upon arrival, we received the standard greeting, "Hello! Here's your room key; I see you're paying for a week's stay; let me take that credit card from you; *we'll need you to leave tomorrow because we're overbooked*; enjoy your evening!" Wait... what? Maybe I was missing something about Swiss humor, etiquette, or something - but you just charged me for a week and you want me to leave... tomorrow?
After confirming that yes, we heard correctly, we decided that possession was 9/10ths of the law and quickly populated our room with all our luggage. Not knowing what time the eviction notice was going to arrive, or where we would go, we set about investigating the room. Over the course of our stay we experienced the following 'shortcomings':
1. The shower explodes. Imagine that you've just jumped in a nice, hot shower. The sweat and excitement of the day has passed, and now it's just you, your shower, and a nice dry towel waiting for you when you're finished. Without warning, the water pressure fluctuates ever so slightly and *BAM!* the showerhead whips back against the wall, spraying water wildly over the top of the shower stall, right on to your dry towel and soaking the only roll of toilet paper. Repeat scenario whenever you adjust the water temperature, or accidentally brush your elbow/other body part against the shower hose.
2. I've made smaller pillows out of queen size comforters. At one point, I thought that's exactly what the pillows were - just queen size comforters stuffed in a pillowcase. They might be - but the pillow cases were sewed shut on both ends, so we may never know. After a while, we gave up on the impending disc rupture and dug up our airport neck pillows.
3. No room cleaning - not even a change of towels or replacement shampoo. Below I'll describe how we were able to stay for more than just the 1 day before we got kicked to the curb (oh joy!) - yet nothing ever got changed... not sheets, not the garbage, not a fresh roll of toilet paper, not even the towels - which after a few days were sopping wet from the exploding shower...
4. No TV, hairdryer, reading light, other standard amenities
5. Restaurant was closed indefinitely due to "problems"
6. No shudders or blinds on the windows (woo hoo for peeping toms and 4:00 AM sunrises)
7. Burned out lighting left stairs and hallways dark
The following day, we wondered if it would be a terrible shame to have to leave. After all, we could find greener pastures. Reception quickly corrected us that, no, there would be no refund - but rather we would be sent to a 'sister' hotel. Furthermore, it would take several additional hours to coordinate with the sister hotel - and we would need to be available the whole day to find out where we were going, pack up our stuff, and go there.
So naturally we walked right out the front door and got on with our vacation. We half expected to return to find our stuff spread out on the front lawn. Fortunately that didn't happen, but we did return to receive a stern, "We made it work THIS time, but in two nights we have another overbooking and you really have to leave."
Two nights and several exploded shower episodes later, we were referred to a sister hotel "30 minutes drive away" that ended up actually being 45 minutes and a ferry ride away. We were given only the name of the hotel at first - I had to specifically *ask* for the address and the phone number. Considering the fishy vibe I was getting from the Hotel Himmelrich about this place, I wanted to confirm that this other hotel was actually expecting us.
The place we were sent to doesn't have a website... we drove to the address and it doesn't exist there (it's a private residence)... and the phone number doesn't get answered (straight to voicemail... for 2 days in a row). We drove around aimlessly wondering if there were two places with the same address on the lake for a long time, when I gave up and called the Hotel Himmelrich's number. Rather than calling the front desk, however, I was calling a central operator who works for multiple hotels in the area and had never actually seen the hotel we were sent to.
We continued to drive around wasting gas, vacation time, racking up cellphone charges by the minute, and becoming increasingly frustrated when we finally hit a threshold. We declared that we were either getting a full refund and finding our own hotel elsewhere - or we were coming back to the Himmelrich, claiming our room again, AND getting a refund for the hassle. The operator said that she was located at a *different* sister hotel, and that she would issue a different hotel room *and* a refund if we would just drive there.
So we drive an hour and a half to this *other* sister hotel. We get there - they have no clue who we are, who that lady was, why we're asking for a refund - but they'd be more than happy to sell us a room. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... are.. you.. kidding.. me.
After a while, we worked out the details with the second sister hotel's front desk. They were actually incredibly nice and helpful and worked their butts off to right all the wrongs the Himmelrich did - including refunding us the difference between what we paid and where we were staying. But I will never be staying with the Himmelrich again - nor would I ever recommend anyone risk booking there.
Like I said up top, if you want a view, go camping. If you want frustration with your view, go to the Himmelrich.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Himmelrich Kriens, Canton Of Lucerne, Switzerland