From the airport in Geneva, I took the train to Lucerne and the journey was a pleasant one as I arrived in Lucerne before sundown. This time around, instead of staying in a ski town or resort, I chose to stay at Lucerne, one of the larger towns in Switzerland as it was in close proximity to several ski resorts. In addition with the merger of SPG and Marriott, there was not several hotels in the city and I stayed at the Renaissance Lucerne.
Hotel is located about 5 minutes walk from the train station and the signs outside the hotel pointed me in the right direction to the entrance when bringing luggage. Guests have to enter via the side entrance as the main street entrance is open to the restaurant.
Inside, I was greeted with a small lobby that has only a couple of seats and 2 reception counters. There was no bell desk here as far as I can tell but with no one else in the lobby, I was served immediately by the lone check-in agent. The hotel had a room ready for me when I arrived and confirmed the duration of my stay along with handing me out the breakfast vouchers.
As SPG Platinum, I was provided with both the bonus points and breakfast since the hotel has no lounge serving breakfast. From the lobby, there was only 2 elevators, one of them being more compact, leading to the rooms as this can be classified as a boutique hotel located in a small heritage building right in the city centre.
Room No: 306 Category: Deluxe King Room
Due to the hotel being housed in an older building, the corridor to the rooms was somewhat narrow but as a small hotel with only around 12 rooms per floor, it was quiet. Another thing to note is that there are a couple of steps on the corridors leading to the rooms so it is not as accessible for all guests.
Entering the room, it has an ordinary layout with a closet and minibar on the left of the doorway.
The minibar has a Nespresso machine, an electric kettle and an ice bucket along with mini disposable cups so it was convenient for guests to make espresso and bring it with them to go.
Across from the minibar was the door leading to the bathroom. Initially when I arrived, there was no bathrobes and slippers provided though a quick call to the front desk meant it was sent up immediately. Subsequently, the bathrobes were hung on the bathroom doors. The bathroom itself is a very large space with a generous countertop on the right side.
On the left side, there was the toilet and across from that was the large shower area with partial glass enclosure. However the large space and wide glass partition meant there was no water splashing out of the shower area. This is one of the most modern and nicest standard room bathroom and definitely my preferred setup for a city hotel.
Amenities placed on the countertop was by the brand Tokyo Milk and they were just fine with a floral scent.
In the room, there was a luggage bench, desk and armchair placed by the wall. The desk was a decent size to work out of with a TV placed over it, mounted by the wall. Beside the armchair was a circular side table where the visitor information guide was placed at.
A King sized bed sits in the room with another leather bench at the bottom of the bed. This made it a very spacious room with quality furnishings. At the back of the bed was a mural of the old town of Lucerne which made the design of the room even more outstanding. There was bedside tables and lamps on top of reading lights that made this a very bright space even at night.
Making the room even nicer was the small ledge with a view out onto the streets from the window. The view was nice for city hotel and even though it was not that of the waterfront, it was adequate for me at least. Another thing I noticed was the room did not get too noisy when the windows are closed but if you want a quieter room, do mention it during check-in.
For turndown service, a card indicating the weather forecast was placed with Lindt chocolates, making it very Swiss and I appreciated this. Though I do have to mention service is limited here since they provide an ice dispenser and bucket in the room. Neither was there any bottles of water provided inside the room though Swiss tap water is perfectly fine to drink.
Breakfast at Pacifico Mexican Cantina & Bar
Breakfast is provided at the Pacifico Mexican Cantina & Bar which is one of the most prominent Mexican restaurant in town. The restaurant has its main entrance facing the main street, Pilatusstrasse, though a side entrance next to the elevators allow hotel guests to enter the venue.
The decor of the restaurant is slightly outlandish with red leather chairs and chandeliers. There are tall dining tables with stools by the window and bench seating with armchairs by the side of the walls. The restaurant is large but one section of the restaurant is closed during breakfast.
During breakfast, the area behind the bar is setup as the buffet console while next to the bar there was a table with daily newspapers.
At the start of breakfast there was smoothie shots for guests and the flavours changes daily ranging from peach, pear and cinnamon to mango.
Continental selection like packaged yogurts were offered in the buffet with plain and flavoured ones available. Dried items like seeds, nuts and cereal to add to yogurt and milk are placed by the window.
On the buffet, there was 4 kinds of cheese and this is always a highlight when in Switzerland.
There was 4 kinds of cold cuts with meats like veal and turkey available. Smoked salmon was an additional cold choice. Placed beside the cold cut there was more sliced cheese, fresh vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and sliced oranges.
A section on the buffet holds some cottage cheese, muesli and fruit salad to round up the cold dishes selection.
For the carbs, there was a nice variety of breads and pastries on the buffet. On the basket, there was several choice of breakfast rolls. Another basket has 2 kinds of croissant, butter and one with sweet filling.
On the plates, there was 3 types of sweet pastries with different fruit fillings. Another plate contains mini muffins and Berliner donuts (a kind of donut with sweet filling).
There was larger breads like baguette and larger rolls placed on the tray with a bread knife for guests to slice it themselves. Plain toast was also available with a selection of jams and spreads in individually packed containers. This is how bread in buffet breakfast should be like!
A small section of the buffet contains some crackers and dried goods for guests with gluten allergies. They could also request for special gluten-free breads from the servers.
Hot dishes in the buffet section has hard boiled eggs, veal and pork sausages as well as bacon. There was scrambled egg, hash browns and mushrooms as well but the hash browns were not as crispy as I would like them to be.
On top of all the buffet choices, guests were able to order eggs cooked to their preference like poached eggs, sunny side-up or omelettes. There was also pancakes that guests could order. In fact on one of the mornings, due to the low occupancy, the restaurant did not setup the buffet. Instead, I was able to pick anything from the buffet along with the made-to-order eggs.
Drinks in the breakfast buffet includes several types of milk, water and juices. Cranberry, tomato, grapefruit and orange juice was available. There was packaged hot chocolates that guests could make on their own along with Ronnefeldt tea.
There was an espresso machine in the restaurant as well though servers will have to prepare the coffee drinks for guests as they are not for self service. I was always offered coffee every morning and had a nice cup of cappuccino with my breakfast. For some reason the coffee made from a proper espresso machine seems tastier than those from self-serve espresso machines. Refills were even offered and I would get an extra cup!
While I was provided vouchers for the breakfast, I did not really require them as providing the room number suffice. Breakfast in this hotel was really good as it was very complete for a small hotel. Even staying for several days, I did not get tired of the food here and I do have to commend on the servers working here as they were excellent.
Lounge and Other Facilities
Aside from the restaurant beside the lobby, there was a nice guest lounge on the first floor above the lobby. The first floor has the ice dispenser as well and a fitness centre which can be accessed from the lounge.
Inside the lounge was a TV area with a couple of sofas. There was medium sized round tables with several chairs placed around the lounge so guests could use this to converse and socialize. Guests on work trips could also use this lounge as a co-working space.
There is a computer in the lounge for guests to use along with an espresso machine for guests to make their own coffee beverages. Like in the breakfast buffet, Ronnefeldt tea sachets was provided inside the lounge.
For snacks and other beverages, there is a vending machine that guests could use to buy their own. While it is not exactly a large space, this lounge was nicely furnished and makes for a nice space to hang out in the evening since the lobby is small with not much seating space.
Accessible using the key card from a door inside the lounge, guests would find a fitness centre that occupies roughly the size of one guest room. Inside was just a cycling machine, a treadmill, a stepping machine and a weights bench. There was a cabinet where fresh towels were supplied. A fruit bowl containing apples could be found on the cabinet.
Since the fitness centre is basically a remake of a standard guest room, the bathroom was actually preserved and it functions as a shower room and toilet for guests after they workout.
My stay in the hotel costs around CHF150 (~$150) inclusive of taxes per night. For this rate, the hotel room was beautiful and with a great breakfast, it made the stay very worthwhile. A public transport card is also included in this stay so guests get free use of trains and buses within the city limits. With the hotel being walking distance to the train station, the old town and the Chapel bridge, it made for a fantastic stay that I would recommend. For skiers, the fact Lucerne is close to several noteworthy ski resorts, it made for a reasonable ski lodging in the city centre.