I arrived in Switzerland on March 20th, traveling from Wisconsin to attend a conference, the World Psychedelic Forum. The WPF conference was hosted at the Congress Centel of Basel, which is right next to/ attached to the Swissotel le Plaza Basel, making it an obvious choice for accommodations.
Check-in was efficient and they took care of retrieving my luggage from the train station, as I had it checked through to the station and it arrived four hours after I did. The hotel staff were very friendly upon my arrival.
I had originally booked a Classic Room online, and then called and asked if they could change it to the Advantage, the larger and pricier version of the single room, as I wanted to have more space and a desk to work at. The upgrade was accommodated, and I'm glad I decided to request it, as it was well worth it. The room was gorgeous, and the services included in the Advantage bookings make up for the increase in price- a varied and elegant breakfast spread is included, buffet or room service style, as is free wireless (in the form of 24-hour access cards, of which they give you several upon check-in and/or upon request), and a public transport pass (which is, I believe, included for all guests regardless of room type).
The staff was very prompt and thorough with cleaning the room- perhaps too prompt, as once or twice they walked in when I was still in bed or getting dressed- but I learned to utilize the door sign for "privacy please" or "please make up room." The turn down service was also excellent, with a Sudoku puzzle, a card with the weather forecast for the following day, bottled water and Toblerone chocolate, although there were two nights out of my five night stay which this was not done, so I wonder if it is supposed to be requested, or what happened.. That was a little frustrating, but a minor incident.
The bed was one of the more comfortable beds I've ever slept in, and while the pillows were too soft for my liking, they do offer several types, so I was able to call and have firmer ones sent up.
The concierge was just great about things like giving directions, recommendations for restaurants, and helpful with requests like taxis and posting mail. They also provided me with a CD/DVD player upon my request- when it was brought up, the gentleman made sure it worked and showed me how to use it, but when I tried to use it the following evening it would not turn on. They did come up and attempt to fix the problem, but could not, determining the cord was broken and not getting power to the device. They didn't have another one available at the time, but it wasn't a big deal, as I realized I could just use my laptop to play music, and didn't have much extra time for music and movies as is, with the busy conference schedule.
The food was amazing- huge portions, gorgeous preparation and aesthetics, and an extensive menu with many choices. As a vegetarian, I was not able to take advantage of all the choices, but still dined well- they offered many styles of pasta and several sauces, including marinara, alfredo, and pesto; an elegantly presented cheese and fruit platter served with delicious crusty bread rolls or baguettes (told they were baked fresh each day); pastries including croissants, cake, and other sugary delicacies; and fresh-squeezed juices, fruits, salads, etc. Everything I ate was excellent. They also take special requests not on the menu, and were able to provide soymilk when I asked for it. The room service is 24 hour, so you can squeeze in meals when needed if running on a hectic schedule.
I didn't spend much time in the bar area, but one evening stopped down there with a couple friends to have a drink before retiring to our rooms. It was around 12:30 am, and it wasn't packed or full by any means, but I'd say about half of the fifteen or so tables in the lobby/bar area were occupied, plus some people directly seated at the bar itself. Things were pretty calm and there didn't appear to be any problems, but when a woman/staff member came up to us, she took the drink menu. I didn't want a drink other than water, but the two gents I was with were planning to each order a beer. She picked up the menu, and said something like "I take." My friend politely asked if he could order something, and she said curtly, No, and walked off. It was a good hour and a half before closing, and there were still others around us. We were quite perplexed.
There were a couple other occasions where women staff members seemed either rude or curt when interacting with me and others, and sometimes I found the language barrier compounded this. All the male staff (it was a mostly male staff, it seemed) were extremely friendly, and most everyone spoke excellent English, but I also know enough German to get by, so either way was not a problem. I don't know if it was a gender thing, a cultural thing (American is not the most popular country right now, understandably so, but I wouldn't expect to be discriminated against based on that personally) or what, but it did seem to happen several times. That said, there were some women on the staff who were extremely friendly and helpful, so I don't mean to imply that I was ill treated all or even most of the time- it was just two or three isolated instances, but I did hear someone else mention that the women seemed unfriendly to him.
The televisions had a feature where you could see your hotel bill and additional charges on the screen in real time, which was convenient, and the binder with the hotel info, in both German and English, was extremely thorough and provided information on everything from car rentals, babysitting services, massage, dining, navigation, etc. Anything you would want, you could probably get at this hotel.
The location was also convenient, right across from a tram stop and within a block or two of shops, pharmacies, an ATM, etc. The river was also not far, and made for some beautiful scenic walks.
I would definitely recommend the Swissotel le Plaza in Basel to anyone traveling to Basel. Whether you are traveling for pleasure and prefer a more leisurely pace, or are attending a fast paced business meeting or academic conference, the hotel seems to be able to accommodate every conceivable need and exceed expectations in the process.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Basel is not only a Swiss City with a big heart, with a smile on their face people from Basel proudly declare it a major city in pocket size format and they are right. The city by the Rhine offers everything you could wish for in a city trip. Culture and Business go hand in hand and only the sky is the limit. The same holds true should you decide to stay at the Swissotel Basel. No matter if you are traveling to the border triangle, the old town, the Rhine, the musical theatre or to other numerous sightseeing spots in Basel, all of which are in walking distance. Centrally located you will not only enjoy our elegant guest rooms but also real Swiss hospitality. Swissotel Basel provides 238 spacious rooms and suites with satellite LCD TV. Start your day right with a sumptuous breakfast at our Grill 25 restaurant or room service, make use of the complimentary newspaper, free wifi, complimentary use of our Puerovel Sport with a sauna and a steam room. Our concierge team would be delighted to assist in planning a day trip or assist in getting tickets to numerous Events and shows. Additionally our gusts truly value our pillow menu in the guestrooms as well as the espresso machine. Should you feel the need to discover even more of Basel and its surroundings, you can make use of your complimentary mobility ticket, which is provided to you for the duration of your stay to use the public transportation system, even for the day of your arrival and departure. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Swissotel Le Plaza Basel Hotel Basel
- Swissotel Le Plaza Hotel Basel
- Basel Swissotel Le Plaza