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What's up with Swiss hotels that they don't have A/C? (Lucerne's Des Balances and Montana)

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Aug 20th, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #1
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What's up with Swiss hotels that they don't have A/C? (Lucerne's Des Balances and Montana)

We were all set to stay at Lucerne's Hotel Des Balances June 16 for 3 nights due to the wealth of positive reviews here, then we find out NO A/C! So, we got all excited about Hotel Montana and their amazing website, figuring since they just renovated the whole hotel just 2 years ago, of course they have A/C in all the rooms. We just tried to book and casually asked if they have A/C. The nice Best Western people proudly informed us that NO they don't, and both ladies we talked to agreed that if they get hit with a June heat wave, we could be roasting in our rooms. They both said even THEY wouldn't get a hotel in European big cities without A/C due to the wacky weather/heat waves Europe's had lately.

Isn't this odd that a 4* hotel with very expensive rooms doesn't have A/C? Don't we need A/C that time of year, or are we just stupid and should just wing it at Des Balances, hoping for no heat wave?

Thanks in advance.
Steve
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Aug 20th, 2003, 10:02 AM
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If you absolutely feel you HAVE to stay at one of these two establishments then I guess you're stuck with hoping there won't be a heat wave. A lot of higher end establishments all over Europe do not have A/C'd rooms because they apparently feel it isn't worth the expense, so to answer your question: No, it isn't all that unusual. But a lot of hotels at that level DO have A/C...I believe the Best Western Flora in Lucerne is A/C'd, for example.
 
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Aug 20th, 2003, 10:09 AM
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According to the Best Western Flora website, it is definitely AC'd. It's in a good location too.

We stayed at the Des Balances in May 2002 and it was warm in the room on the day we arrived. Of course, 2 days later the weather turned much cooler.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 10:24 AM
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If you take a look at historical average temps for Lucerne for June you will understand why they do not go to the trouble and expense of installing AC. Average temp is about 65F with a high of maybe the low 70sF. You will get spikes, but they wull last a day or two, or you will have rain. That is one of the reasons that the heat wave has hit northrn Europe so hard, they do not have AC and normally do not need it and are not accustomed to prolonged high temps.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Thanks to both of you for responding! I checked out Hotel Flora and there is NOTHING on it in the Fodor's search archives. Plus, we wanted to have a great lake view with a balcony, you know? Kind of one of our main reasons for staying there was to chill out, check stuff (shopping and Museums) out, and gaze out onto the water after 5 days in the mountains by Murren.

Do these hotels like Des Balances have ceiling fans??? That would help, though we dread hot, stolid air recirculated by a noisy ceiling fan. Anyone stay at Des Balances that remembers if you had a ceiling fan, or if it was uncomfortably warm? One thing we DO do is arm ourselves with a 220 volt electric fan whenever we go to Europe! We keep it by our bed for "white noise" to drown out the hotel sounds. We're light sleepers and it helps tremendously. We don't go anywhere without it, like the AMEX commercial.

So campers -what do you think? Just stay at Hotel Des Balances instead Hotel Montana or trying to find a hotel with A/C and just pray to the air-conditioning spirits for cool weather from June 16-19?

Steve
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Aug 20th, 2003, 12:11 PM
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Steve, altho it isn't located on the lake (Des Balances is on the River Reuss, not on the lake), you can find a couple of reviews of the Flora Hotel thru Travelocity's website.

There were no fans in our room at the Balances. However, we were able to open the windows but then had to use earplugs to drown out the noise from the street below. It's a beautiful hotel in a great location and we did have a riverview room on the very top floor with a little patio outside. The views were awesome, but the room was smallish. Anyway, we enjoyed our stay there and would definitely stay again if the price was right.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 12:39 PM
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One more thing. The Grand Hotel National IS on the Lake and all rooms are AC'd. Don't know if it's in your price range, but its like a 4 or 5* and looks fabulous!
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Aug 20th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Steve

I am an Australian and therefore very used to airconditioning in the heat. I have spent the last three years living in Switzerland and didn't really miss airconditioning much until this Summer when I have REALLY missed it. So if we revert to our normal wonderful Swiss Summers I think you would probably be ok without airconditioning next Summer, but you would be more comfortable with it of course. The Flora is about 3 minutes walk from the Lake/River but would not, I am almost sure, have any views. It is near the railway station and the large department stores not on the old town side. I don't know what your budget is but if it is very substantial you could try the Schweizerhof. That is on the lake proper, it is a wonderful hotel, and definitely has airconditioning in all of its rooms. It is however very expensive.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 04:57 PM
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Thanks everyone! The recommendation to stay at those 2 hotels with A/C are too expensive for us... and the Des Balances will be too noisy with the windows open in the evening. It's always something, isn't it?

Still debating where to stay. Any other reasonable hotels with A/C and a lake view? Or maybe that Grand Hotel National will have some summer specials next year! We don't want to spend more than about $290 per night.

Steve
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Aug 20th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Steve: There are some things that money just can't buy, and one of those things apears to be air conditioning in a country that is generally cool to cold and where the natives are incredibly thrifty and unlikely to fork over the francs to pay for what they probably consider a frivolous and expensive treat (and who can blame them?)that only certain American tourists feel they need.
Travel does require some give and take, even for those who can spend $300 a night for a hotel. I hope you enjoy Switzerland anyway.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 07:52 PM
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We found out that most of the hotels in Switzerland are NOT air-conditioned. Usually no need for it. We stayed at the Hotel Waldstaterhoff in Lucerne which was not air-conditoned but we were fortunate to have the use of one of their 5 fans. Thank goodness too since we endured the recent heat wave. No need for the fans or A/C in Murren though. The nights cool off nicely.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 07:56 PM
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St Cirq: Yeah - you got a point. I guess we are kind of spoiled here in the US with our A/C even in the cheapest of hotels in the northernmost cities. I think we'll just stay at Hotel Des Balances and give it a whirl. I love being right in the middle of the action, so when the wife is napping, Steve can go exploring! Staying at Hotel Montana looks great too, but location is pretty important to me, and Des Balances is said to be more "central".

I'll write up a trip report when I get back to let everyone know how hopefully great it was.

Steve
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 06:11 AM
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I was also Switzerland in June, and all the hotels I stayed in lacked a/c. This included hotels in Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen, and Montreux. I had not realized that all these parts of Switzerland could be so hot in June.

The heat was horrendous, and it was very difficult sleeping. My hotel room in Lucerne had a fan, but the room was still stiffling hot.

My advice for anyone visiting Europe May-September is to get a/c if it can possibly be included in the travel budget.
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 06:19 AM
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Switzerland is the only European country we've been to without A/C. I guess this year is hotter than most.

Usually in the evening it's very comfortable.
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 07:50 AM
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I was here in Interlaken, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich in May. The weather was pleasant, but I can understand how important A/C can be. I always make sure the hotels I choose have it, just in case. I was in Norway in May a few years ago and the temps were in the 80's due to some odd heat wave. The usual temp is 65 with nighttime lows in the 50's. I had only one outfit to wear since I had planned for sweater weather. Be prepared for anything.
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Hi

Isn't travel a wonderful experience ?

Experience of different cultures, history, politics, landscape, religions, languages, food, economy, climate, architecture, etc.

Of course some people might prefer to stay home and watch a travel channel ?

Peter
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Aug 23rd, 2003, 07:25 PM
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Just when I thought it was safe to book the Hotel Des Balances without A/C!!! After reading this LAST couple of posts, I think we're going to rethink staying at a hotel with A/C! I don't want to get stuck in that awful early summer heat wave from heck and not have A/C. Plus, it does drown out the sounds of the city.

Back to the drawing board. Guess we're going to have to cough up some serious dough to stay at the Palace or other expensive spot in Lucerne.

HOPEFULLY, we'll be ok in Murren without A/C. When I contacted the Alpenruh hotel, they said they don't have any A/C but that they are so high up, we shouldn't need it the week of June 12th 2004. I hope they're right.

Steve
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Aug 24th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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Until my last two trips, I always brought polarfleece with me on my June trips to Switzerland. These heatwaves are a recent wrinkle. J.
 
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Aug 24th, 2003, 06:21 AM
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Sorry guys...I can't believe this poster is serious. This summer is a major fluke. I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and never felt a need for AC. By all means go ahead and spend the extra money, but there is a very good chance that you will feel foolish. Typical weather for June in Lucerne is low 70's in the day and low 60s in the evening.

Cheers,
Jan
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Aug 24th, 2003, 06:35 AM
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stever --

You're going next June. There is no way to know what next summer will be like. You're going to drive yourself nuts over the next few months....should I stay at the great hotel without A/C or the much more expensive one with A/C or the one without or the one with..........Go with your first instinct and then forget about it until you get there. You have a chance being over joyed with your choice or totally miserable (spending more money than I really should have usually makes me miserable anyway...probably more so than no A/C). I think you have a better chance being overjoyed. (Personally, I would go with the Great Hotel and forget about it.) Sometimes, we (including me) try to get too much info and too many differing opinions and it makes what should be a great vacation a long worrisome process as we over plan and then wait for it to actually happen. I know we all want to have a "Perfect" experience but vacations shouldn't be that much work. (Either planning or going.)

Best vacation I ever had was planned on the spur of the moment. If I'd had time to plan and ask for everyone's opinions, I'm sure I would have thought that the hotel was the wrong choice or that I was not going at the right time or that I wasn't visiting the right sites or.........

By the way, I'm going on vacation in October. I reserved my hotel in Paris in late June after much research and indecision and reading opinions on this site and other places and have thought about changing it a half dozen times for a "better" one....the criteria for "better" vary by the week (cost, location, features, views.....) so I'm resisting the inclination to change and will stick with the one I'm booked at.
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