Tag Archives: Ibis

How to do a weekend trip to Basel and Lucerne on a budget

By Rohan:

When my friend from the Syracuse University London program pitched the idea of meeting up in Switzerland, my eyes instantly lit up. The Swiss Alps have always been a dream destination for me. I was simultaneously enchanted by their beauty and spooked by their mythical tales. I booked my flight with trepidation, knowing that the country is notorious for being expensive. Needless to say, I’m so glad I went.

We flew into Basel, an intriguing town on the Rhine River that straddles three countries: Switzerland, France, and Germany. Flights were reasonable (via EasyJet) and we were able to secure a budget hotel (Ibis) near Basel’s main railway station. The city instantly won me over with its mobility ticket- a free public transportation pass you receive should you stay at one of its many hotels. Trams frequently departed from our hotel to the train station, the Marktplatz, and other idyllic locations on the Rhine. It was perfect for two college students on a budget. We spent our first evening exploring charming old Basel. The Rathaus dominates the main square, boasting an illustrious facade made of stunning red sandstone. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and finding a cheap bar on the Rhine to end the night was definitely a plus.

From the beginning, we knew we wanted to see the Alps. After seeing them from afar during my last trip to Munich and seeing them from the sky as we approached Basel, not going would be such a letdown. Trains run frequently from Basel to the picturesque town of Lucerne, but they do cost a pretty penny. Thankfully, they are convenient and comfortable enough to justify the price tag (and it would be the only way we would get to see Switzerland’s famous mountains). In just over an hour, our train pulled into Lucerne’s main station, a modern building that stands out from the medieval architecture along the lakefront. Lucerne was an instant hit. The city’s historical center hugs the water and the Chapel Bridge looks straight out of a fairytale. We caught the cheap bus from the station to the village of Kriens, where our journey to the top of Mount Pilatus was to begin.

Mount Pilatus is one of Lucerne’s most impressive features. Little red cable cars ascend the mountain for thirty-minute scenic trips. From the top, you feel like you’re on another planet. There are very few places in the world where you can look down at clouds. Just being there, I was in awe that the land we were standing on was created by nature. It’s one thing to see Manhattan from the top of the Empire State or Puget Sound from the top of the Space Needle, it’s another to see one of the most famous mountain ranges from one of its many majestic peaks. It literally and metaphorically took my breath away. I encourage anyone in Europe to make a voyage to the Alps. Their grandeur and fascinating mythology is enough to justify how much it costs to get up there. It is often said that travel is the only thing that makes you richer. As college students on a budget, we couldn’t agree more.

Ibis Malmo – Our First Intro to This Accor Brand is Disappointing

Ibis Malmo
Source: Hotel Website

By Lakshmi:

Siddhi and I recently had to spend a night in Malmo, Sweden and the recommendation provided to us was the Ibis, Malmo.  Given our positive experiences with other Accor brands, we expected our first foray into the Ibis brand to be satisfactory.

However, the stay ended up being a disappointing experience, driven primarily by the service.

First, I want to clarify that this property located about 15 minutes away from Malmo Central is neat with breakfast served on premise, clean functional rooms with free wi-fi and a large grocery store across the street.

However, if you need any form of support, the staff simply did not care.  Given our extensive travels, we are fairly self-sufficient individuals requiring minimal support from our hotels. But in this case, even minimal support was non-existent.

– Given my platinum status with Accor, I asked if breakfast was included.  They said they were busy and would let me know.  The next morning, when I asked, I was told abruptly that I would have to pay for breakfast.  After saying yes to the receptionist, we went to the breakfast area to be told we can’t have breakfast without the right vouchers.  So, we returned back to be given vouchers hastily.

– Given it was our first night in Sweden, we had little cash and asked if they would exchange money.  They simply said no.

– We needed a taxi and asked them to request a taxi which would accept credit cards.  Turned out after using the taxi, the driver informs us that no credit cards would be accepted.  When I asked the receptionist for help, she simply stated that I could drive across the street to the grocery store and get cash…with no offer for any form of assistance.

– The next morning, I asked the attendant about train schedules for Gothenburg and she simply stated that she was very busy and I should call the number myself and get the information.

Granted, the Ibis is a limited service property and while they genuinely may not have been able to address some of our needs, surely they could have at least pretended to be somewhat helpful.

Needless to say, we will be thinking twice before staying at another Ibis property.

In case you want to look into this property, they are located on the web at:

http://www.ibishotel.com/gb/hotel-3332-ibis-malmo/index.shtml