My friend came up to visit from Lausanne last week as she wanted me to help her book a hotel room in Zürich. She could have tried through the Internet of course but it was a chance to see each other again, and chat about the things that only women chat about.
No problem to find a decent hotel room in this city, proud of it’s tourist tradition you may think, except we wanted to book a double room for someone in a wheelchair.
Luckily we didn’t have a budget, so our first stop was a high 5* hotel belonging to an American group across the river from the main railway station. The lobby was beautifully decorated with so many Orchids that I thought I was back in Bangkok. At least we had them to admire while we waited ten minutes to find out if they had a free room that was wheelchair maneuverable for the said dates. The staff at the reception also had a bit of difficulty with my friends’ accent, she speaks with the dialect from Bern but had offered to speak English if it was easier for them.
Eventually we were shown a double room and a suite, both very small by 5*standards. There we might have had difficulty getting through the bathroom door with a wide wheelchair,and there was no way we would have got between the end of the bed and the commode of drawers in the double room. So much for their wheelchair friendly room.
Having a drink in the bar was nice but a visit to the toilet brought the two steps at both ends of a twenty foot gangway to eye. One way of stopping drinking and driving a wheelchair I suppose. The hotel had been recently renovated. Somehow we had the feeling they didn’t want invalids.
We slipped a star, and tried a well established Swiss hotel in the major shopping district. Rooms compatible but decidedly tricky to wheel around in.They smelt of smoke (? from inside or out) and rates were higher than the first one.
And so it went on. Steps here steps there. Doors too narrow, bathrooms too small. Could it be that hotels didn’t want their guests to be offended by the sight of anyone with a disability.?
We had given up on most of the hotels in the center of Zürich for one reason or another.Then we came to Hotel Central. It couldn’t be more central but being by a tram stop and big road junction I hadn’t given it a chance because of the very likely possibility of it being very noisy.
I noticed the special wheel ramp by the entrance straight away. A friendly smiling women greeted us at the reception,
although we were both looking a bit the worse for wear by this time.
Could she help us? But certainly, the entire first floor was planned to accommodate guests in wheelchairs.!!!
She took us to look and we couldn’t believe our eyes or ears.
Perfect, modern, but friendly decorated rooms .Windows triple glazed,you could have heard a pin drop. Even specially designed toilets.
The price? It is probably the most reasonable 4* hotel in Zürich. We could book it straight away she told us,but we would get cheaper rates over the Internet page.
That’s real Swiss service.
At least one place where a hotel is a hotel for everybody.