Saturday, 12 November 2016

Lucerne: Hotel Alpha

Tonight I'm staying at Hotel Alpha, fairly near the station and town centre of Lucerne.

The room proves to be only slightly better than the last for lighting. There is at least a central light over the bed, and a secondary one for the washbasin, as well as table lamps. It's still quite dim though. There are a couple of sockets, but they're a long way from the table where you might want to plug in a device or two while you use them.

The bathrooms are decent though. There's several showers for the floor, and they're proper tiled wet rooms. There's also blissfully bright lighting, although I discover to my consternation that not only is it on a timer, but that the sensor is by the main door. So, um, don't linger. Nevertheless, I am sorely tempted to just come and stand by the basin reading of an evening.

In fairness, it turns out not to be necessary, because there's a lounge as well, and this is (to my surprise) reasonably lit. On the downside, by the time I get back (9.30pm) it's locked. Presumably they're worried that guests will sit up there being noisy and annoy the other guests? It's rather frustrating from my point of view, though, because I was hoping to sit there until bedtime. It's psychologically better for sleeping than sitting up in your own room, and also the lighting's much better.

On the Saturday night, there were people sporadically shouting in the streets nearby throughout the evening. I have no idea why, it sounded a bit like sports-related yelling, but occasionally veered into more worrying-sounding, "are these people actually causing trouble?"-type yelling. I just thought I'd mention it; both as a general tip about the area and an observation on the limited soundproofing. Bring earplugs, is what I'm saying.

A minor gripe, but there's no coathook. It was dry when I stayed, but having to sling your coat on the back of your chair isn't ideal - if it'd been as wet as it was in Zurich, I'd be sitting on my own wet coat as I wrote.

The internet provision is bizarre. On check-in, I get a ticket with a username and password. It's good for only one device.

Typically hotels just provide you with a generic password. Sometimes they give a password for each room. In a few cases, like the one where I stayed in Manchester before my flight, they don't even bother with passwords.

This is the first time I've come across a system where you have unique usernames and passwords and you're only allowed to access the internet on one device, and it's really quite annoying.

See, I use my laptop for research and blogging and all that jazz. But since I bought it last year, I use my mobile all the time. In particular, here in Switzerland, I use it to stay in touch with people - including M-san, who I'm due to meet. We use LINE messenger.

If I can't get internet on my phone in my own freaking hotel, I'm going to have to hunt down somewhere local where I *can* do that. Sigh.

Spoiler: there isn't any such place that I can tell; you have to trek 500m to the station.

In other respects, it's a passable and reasonably-priced hotel, within walking distance with a wheelable suitcase if you're reasonably fit. It sadly doesn't seem to have any meal provision other than breakfast, although breakfast is fine ("Restaurant" appears on the site, but it's just a breakfast lounge; don't get confused).

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