Grand as a palace? Way-cool as a converted prison? An art-lover's paradise? Or cozy and comfortably lived-in? The hotel scene in Basel is definitely varied. But with its busy convention center offering a different trade fair most months, this is a city that prides itself on being especially business-friendly. Many hotels pamper their business clientele (a never-ending supply), with leisure travelers
taking second place. Signs pointing to meeting rooms and business centers are often more prominent than any paintings on the wall. But don't write off the city's business-oriented hotels—these often drop their prices significantly on weekends and offer superb amenities.
At the top of the pile is the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, which feels like a palace and is frequented by visiting heads of state and the glitterati. Originality also abounds, ranging from the converted prison that is now the trendy Au Violon to the artist's canvas known as the Teufelhof. Many hotels offer a river view and a calm, relaxed, designer interior. Cheaper hotels range from the all-orange extravaganza of EasyHotel to the homely feel of Hecht am Rhein.
When there's a trade fair in town, prices shoot through the roof, and every bed for miles can be filled. This is also true at Fasnacht, during Art Basel, and many of the other festivals. Staying connected is getting easier as hotels are increasingly offering free Wi-Fi. Breakfast tends to be an add-on at budget hotels, while higher-end establishments include it. All Basel hotels equip their guests with free travel passes for use in the city during their stay.