Zürich's Hotel Florhof Loses a Customer

Having recently returned from a five week stay in Switzerland, I thought you might be interested in some comments regarding hotels I visited.

In looking over previous issues of Gemütlichkeit, I noticed your high recommendation of the Hotel Florhof in Zürich saying that "the cordial, meticulous attention-to detail management style of Brigitte and Beat Schiesser puts the Florhof over the top." I beg to differ!!!!! Incidentally, the Schiessers are NOT the owners but the managers.

In mid-September I called the Florhof from Los Angeles to reserve a room for mid-October. I had been a guest at the Florhof for 13 consecutive years while it was managed by the Schilter family but had not been back since the hotel was renovated and taken over by the new managers. It is now a member of the Romantik Hotel chain.

Upon my arrival no one was available to pick up my luggage at the train station (it had not arrived on the same train from Lugano as I did), a service previously offered. Nor was anyone available to take the luggage to the curb when I left. Also I was told by the front desk staff that the restaurant was closed due to remodeling of the kitchen. I had not been advised of this when I made the reservation and, frankly, was greatly upset to hear of this.

The double room (queen-size bed) was lovely in its decor and the bathroom modern. The rate for single occupancy was Sfr. 248 ($171). Except for the girl at the front desk there was no evidence of the managers.

The next morning I spoke to Mrs. Schiesser and expressed my dismay at the lack of restaurant facilities since I am an elderly lady, traveling alone and was not about to go out to dinner at night by myself. It is for that reason that I always choose a hotel with a dining room. I told Mrs. Schiesser that had I been told of this at the time I made the reservation, I would have chosen a different hotel. Her most insensitive reply was "you can still go to another hotel." The next day she did not even bother to say "good morning" and most of the time the managers were not visible.

When I paid the bill there was a 10% deduction for "inconvenience and noise." Ear plugs had been placed in the room to alleviate the construction noise!

While the decor of the hotel is certainly attractive, the friendliness, charm and warmth of the former managers is sadly lacking and I would no longer recommend the hotel to anyone. I wrote a letter of complaint both to the Swiss Tourist Office and to the Romantik Hotel chain and from the latter received a very courteous and apologetic reply plus two coupons of DM 100 each to use at any Romantik Hotel in the future.

In Lugano I spent one week at the Hotel International au Lac where I had a small but comfortable room with balcony facing the lake for Sfr 195 ($118) including buffet breakfast and dinner. The meals were very good and varied, the service pleasant and efficient and the owner, Mr. Schmid, always available and interested in his guests. The front desk staff was most concerned when, due to a nasty cold, I stayed in bed one day and insisted on delivering a full meal to my room.

In a previous letter to you I spoke highly of the Hotel Mozart in Rorschach and once again my 10-day stay there was delightful. The staff is friendly and makes you feel welcome, the breakfast buffet is superb and there is a good selection of hot meals available in the café which is also frequented by the locals. I had a cheerful, large double room with modern bath, mini-bar and TV for Sfr. 110 ($76).

Another sojourn was at the incomparable Parkhotel Sonnenhof in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, owned and managed by the Emil Real family. I don't recall ever having seen mention of it in your newsletter but it is one of the finest hotels of its kind in all of Europe. Small, intimate, elegant, luxurious and serving excellent food.

Susie E. Kanuch
Van Nuys CA

Munich Airport Brewery

Do you have any recommendations for a hotel in the vicinity of the Munich airport? I can heartily recommend a place to eat and drink near the airport. This would be in Freising at the Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan. This is the oldest continuously operating brewery in Germany, and serves some of the best beer around. It is a great place to spend your last night (or any other night for that matter) in Germany, and also comforting to know you are only 10-15 minutes from the airport.

Mike Elder
Topeka KS

Editor's Note: We've heard good things about the Hotel Isar (tel. 08161/8650, fax 08161/865555) in Freising. By the way, those whose eyes have been widened by the glorious interior of Munich's Church of St. John Nepomuk (aka Asamkirche) might be interested to know that Freising, one of Bavaria's oldest towns, also has a cathedral whose Baroque interior was done by the Asam brothers.

Meersburg Hotel

Congratulations on 10 years in business with Gemütlichkeit!!!

You have certainly given me great service on rental cars over the last 10 years, and lots of good tips of all kinds about traveling in the German speaking countries.

We got lucky when picking up the car in September in Friedrichshafen. We got a free upgrade to a new BMW 318i! The car drove great with good gas mileage. It was those $65 fill-ups that get you. We drove 5,500 km through Switzerland, Italy, and Provence and turned the car in at Orly. Drop off charge was $114, but we still saved about $300 by picking up in Germany.

It worked great to land in Zürich and go downstairs and hop a train to Romanshorn, walk 50 meters with our bags to the ferry across the Bodensee to Friedrichshafen. My business partner and his wife met us and took us to the rental station. Otherwise, you need a taxi as it is about 3 miles.

A treat there is the Zeppelin Museum; really worth a stop. They have the passenger lounge and cabins with beds, etc., on display from the originals. They have announced they will launch a "new technology" airship in 1997!

We stayed for the second time at the Hotel-Café Off (tel. 7532/333, fax 7532/5805) in Meersburg a short drive away (17 km, I think). Great dinner, good service and a friendly staff. It is right on the shore of the Bodensee. Waterview rooms about $100.

Cliff Lindsey
Freeland WA

(U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue of Gemütlichkeit may be inaccurate for these reasons:

* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...
* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.)

February 1997